Last Saturday and Sunday, Queens Park in Toronto played host to the President’s Choice 1000 Tastes of Toronto, part of the Luminato Festival.
According to the website, “Toronto is justly renowned for the cultural diversity of its cuisine” and 1000 Tastes would offer “a unique opportunity to sample some of the very best gourmet delicacies prepared by the city’s finest chefs.” Entrance was free and each item/ plate was priced at $5. Not a cheap sampling event but, it turns out, a cheap meal since all of the servings were extremely generous. I was fortunate enough to meet up with a bunch of my foodie friends to peruse the selections and share the humungous-sized samples – on my own, I would have had room for one single tasting. Note to the organisers – next year, why not consider having $3 tickets for real tasting-sized portions?
I mean, really – that’s a tasting plate??
In any case it was a bounty of deliciousness and we had to scope out the entire row of vendors to figure out a) what we wanted to eat and b) how many tickets we needed. We each bought four but could all have probably done with three. I ended up buying some of this awesome shortbread from The Sweet Escape for the admin staff at my school who are still working, even though classes are done.
This was delicious though I ate most of the filling, leaving most of the (fabulous but oh so big) bun. It could also have done with a little more of those pickled onions.
The Local Kitchen and Wine Bar
1710 Queen Street West
Next up, a few of us shared this combo plate:
This was really tasty but OMG – a meal!! Also that hot sauce – beware! It was deadly. The flier these guys were handing out promised food like this for very reasonable prices and if I lived in the neighbourhood (it’s on the other side of the city), I would probably be a frequent diner there.
New Bilan Restaurant
83 Dundas Street East
Toronto, Ontario M5A 1Z4
This steak and cheese on flatbread from Toritos Tapas Bar was sampled by a large number of people in our group, such was the portion size.
This was absolutely melt-in-your-mouth succulent.
Also on offer from Torito’s, a vegetarian plate that I didn’t try but that looked wonderful:
Of course some of us couldn’t go past this stand without ordering something:
Again, the plate was a full meal and a few people helped out with that.
Their whole-roasted pig attracted a lot of attention!
(416) 364 1332
(416) 232 2426
We couldn’t go past Chippy’s for some fish and chips:
This was really good – even though it was a hot day. The chips were crispy and fluffy inside and the fish was pretty tender. Not bad for being cooked in a tiny little booth!
As soon as I saw the sign for Susur’s Cheeseburger Spring Roll, I knew I had to try that:
This was just ok. I am glad I tried it but it was basically just ground beef and cheese in a spring roll wrapper with the ubiquitous spicy mayo. Glad I tried it though. Now I can say I have!
To end the eating part of the event, I couldn’t go past a tiramisu from La Bruschetta:
1317 Saint Clair Avenue West
Toronto, ON M6E 1C2
Of course there was so much that we didn’t try as well – here is a sample of those:
Paella from On the Move Catering
5200 Dixie Road
Mississauga, ON L4W 1E4
Clam and mussel stew from Cava
1560 Yonge Street
Pulled pork sandwich from Santaguida Fine Foods.
Toronto, ON M5R 3G5
17 Baldwin Street
Toronto, ON M5T1L1
Champignones con Quest Fresco y Tortillas by Sabrosito
416 624 9157
Ingredients for Susur’s Singapore Coleslaw.
Poutine from Poutini’s House of Poutine.
1112 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M6J 1H9
Amazing arancini from Trattoria Nervosa.
75 Yorkville Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5R 2C8
Burgers from Amuse Bouche.
Caprese salad kebabs from Hot House.
Tajine from The Sultan’s Tent
Italian BBQ dry ribs from Via Allegro.
One of the longest lines (it was a hot day) was for the new President’s Choice line of “Ice Cream Shop Flavours” ice creams. They were the event’s main sponsor and the samples were free!
Spring rolls from Young Thailand.
Chicken with preserved lemons and olives and vegetable and fruit tajine from 93 Harbord.
93 Harbord Street
Toronto, ON M5S1G4
The crew from Crêpe Delicious.
This was a very fun event and I am glad I have now finally made it to one. I really liked the leafy green location of Queen’s Park because it made it very family-friendly and a great place to meet up with the large group of friends you are going to need to get through all the samples!
Next year, I will be back. With a big group of friends and a plan of action. And an empty stomach!