1000 Tastes of Toronto

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.

The Sweet Escape
55 Mill Street #102
Toronto, Ontario
(416) 214-2253

Sweet Escape Patisserie on Urbanspoon

My first bite of the day had to come from The Local Kitchen, a place I know and love already:

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
Toronto, ON
(416) 534-6700

Local Kitchen and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

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
(416) 943-0330

New Bilan on Urbanspoon

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:

Toritos Tapas Bar
276 Augusta Avenue
Toronto, ON M5T 2L9
(647) 436-5874

Torito Tapas Bar on Urbanspoon

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!

The Great Canadian Pig Roast

(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!

Chippy's Fish & Chips on Urbanspoon

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:

I really liked this – sweet and creamy and not too heavy. Too large for a “sample” size though.

1317 Saint Clair Avenue West
Toronto, ON M6E 1C2
(416) 656-8622

La Bruschetta on Urbanspoon

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
(905) 615-9957

Clam and mussel stew from Cava

1560 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON
(416) 979-9918

Pulled pork sandwich from Santaguida Fine Foods.

Bathurst Street
Toronto, ON M5R 3G5
(416) 535-1393

Bird’s Nest by Vegetarian Haven

17 Baldwin Street
Toronto, ON M5T1L1
(416) 544-9800

Champignones con Quest Fresco y Tortillas by Sabrosito

Carlos Fuenmayor
416 624 9157

Ingredients for Susur’s Singapore Coleslaw.

Poutine from Poutini’s House of Poutine.

1112 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M6J 1H9
(647) 342-3732

Amazing arancini from Trattoria Nervosa.

75 Yorkville Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M5R 2C8
(416) 961-4642

Burgers from Amuse Bouche.

Caprese salad kebabs from Hot House.

35 Church Street
Toronto, ON M5E 1T3
(416) 366-7800

Tajine from The Sultan’s Tent

49 Front Street East
Toronto, ON M5E 1B3
(416) 961-0601

Italian BBQ dry ribs from Via Allegro.

1750 The Queesway West
Toronto, ON M9C 5H5
(416) 622-6677

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.

(various locations)

Chicken with preserved lemons and olives and vegetable and fruit tajine from 93 Harbord.

93 Harbord Street
Toronto, ON M5S1G4
(416) 922-5914

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!

(people’s favourite Toronto food memories, a contest sponsored by President’s Choice. I hope I win!)

58 thoughts on “1000 Tastes of Toronto”

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 1000 Tastes of Toronto -- Topsy.com
  2. Great post and pictures! Although I wasn’t there, I agree that they should have smaller sample plates…those portions look crazy huge! I’m sad that I missed out =( Need to check it out next year for sure.

  3. Hi Mardi – now that’s a fun place to be with a camera! I was disappointed to hear about the so-so cheeseburger spring rolls. That sounded so good! I think I want to try a fresh version of that, with rice paper, not fried…
    Glad you had a good time! YAY for summer!

  4. Those look delicious – the steak and cheese – yumm! And the tortillas. I’m suddenly quite hungry for dinner.
    Always makes me wonder whether I should have opened my own restaurant…
    Too bad I did not make it to come and taste this year, but business is business. I’ll have to put the next year’s event into my calendar, if they repeat it!
    Bon appetit!
    – Lorne

  5. Wow, that is comprehensive coverage of that event! I wonder what you thought of the ice cream flavours? Oh I love and miss Young Thailand! Those tickets are a great deal. The Seafood Fest here you paid $2 for a tiny scallop!

  6. It’s these amazing foodie fairs that I miss most about Toronto. Thanks for the write-up and all the food looks amazingly delicious.

  7. Wow! What great looking food. My mouth was watering just looking at you photos. I must say,you were right about the size of the SAMPLE SIZE serves.

  8. What an amazing sampling! Huge portions for a tasting, I totally don’t blame you for not eating the whole bun from your porchetta sandwich… there would have no more room left for the rest of the goodies.

  9. wow, you’re right, those are enormous “tasting” sized portions! you live in the perfect city for a foodie – such great events and restaurants!

  10. YUMMO…….from start to finish!!

    Each amazing blog post extends my next visit by an hour………Mardi and Mr Neil, reckon I’m stopping for at least a month time, forget Ikea and Canadian Tyre, it’s going to be food a go-go (and maybe a wee Corona visit)!! Cleo Cat will be ecstatic.

  11. My, oh, my, that looks like a LOT of fun. (That’s exactly like the food fest I was going to take you to in NY, if the date had been right). And next time, if you get Phin and myself for company, you’d never have to complain about the portions being too big. And funny, I don’t think that’s a complaint I’ve ever made. Yum.

  12. Wow, great selection of restauranteurs and venues this year. I wasn’t too impressed with last year’s round-up. A little sorry that I missed it this year!

    As always Mardi, great photos!

  13. That food is amazing! I can’t believe it’s all in one place. What a wonderful day! I’ve had this page open two days because I can’t stop scrolling through the scrumptious photos. Obviously I’m into self torture. 😉


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