Recently, I went to the TO Food Fest and ate pretty much EVERYTHING.
I wanted to talk about each and every single thing that I managed to try, but I think I’ll just settle for some highlights — I think I’d run out of adjectives if I even attempted to describe everything! As well, I’ll try to talk about the general atmosphere of TO Food Fest.
In short, I really enjoyed my time there. I managed to get in early before the crowds came and was able to get a lot of pictures with pretty much all the stands. A plethora of different culinary options were available: from Spanish paella to lobster rolls to fresh oysters to macaroons to porchetta sandwiches and stinky tofu, there was definitely something to satisfy every individual’s fancy. There was even nutella ice cream made using liquid nitrogen!
Some of the highlights include Island Oyster Shuck Bar’s trio of fresh oysters with a series of different sauces, which allowed you to sample three different oysters from the East and West Coast for $9. The vendor was efficient and kind, offering suggestions for which mignettes to use for each oyster. As usual, my favourite was the Kusshi oyster, which is a meatier, larger oyster that has a stronger briny favour.
Gushi Japanese Street Food offered these amazing karaage skewers that could be dressed with things like salt and pepper, chili flakes, soy sauce marinades, and Japanese barbecue sauce. As with all good deep fried chicken skewers, the outer layer was intensely crisp, while the interior was moist and tender.
The porchetta sandwich at Little Tomato Co. was a real treat, offering succulent hunks of deliciously fatty porchetta meat and pork rinds. I mostly remember the texture and feeling of fullness that my mouth had as I bit into the sandwich — the bread was also nice and hearty, which went well with the extremely rich dishes.
My final highlight would have to be the whole squid at the BBQ Squid stand. It was literally around a foot long and smothered in a spicy asian sauce and grilled to perfection on a flat-iron. The edges of this squid furled up and became crispy, while the inner layer retained a somewhat gelatinous (but never overly-chewy) texture.
Even though the TO Food Fest is a relatively young event compared to some of the other big name foodie events (such as Taste of Danforth) in Toronto, it nevertheless offered a great deal of variety and many fun new things to experiment with.