Date: Sunday August 11th 2014
Place: Chinese Cultural Center, Scarborough, Ontario
For a third year I was invited as media to attend the T.O. Food Fest. This year there was a nominal fee to attend of two dollars or bring a non-perishable food item, as they were teaming up with Second Harvest. I loved this idea so much. So many people are attending this event to eat and gorge themselves, why can’t we then in turn bring some canned goods in for the less fortunate. I happily brought mine and picked up my media pass.
When I was checking out the vendors I noticed many repeat vendors; which is always a good sign like: Babi and Co., Bricks & Mortar, Buster’s Sea Cove Food Truck, Dutch Frites, Gala’s Peppersauce, Ice volcano Ice Cream, Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ and Lemonade.
Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ
Served here today was pork skewers, pineapple soda and pulled pork on a bun. They were grilling on a large BBQ and it smelt and looked delicious. A secret BBQ recipe that has been passed down from generation to generation is used on the meat. No shortcuts are made as they want a quality dish sent out every time.
For the first time I tried the pork skewers and yum. There really isn’t a part of the pig I don’t like and this was perfectly barbequed with a cube of pineapple on top of the skewers. The stand is hard to miss as it looks like a tiki hut with lei’s and Hawaiian hibiscus shirts/dresses and bright yellow tee shirts are all around.
New Vendors for 2014
Greek – Canadian street food like calamari, souvlaki, gyro sliders, feta fries. I enjoyed their feta fries last year at the CNE Food Truck Frenzy.
Oven baked brioche-style buns stuffed with international flavours, catering is available for any event. On the menu today was: Surf & Turf, St. Lucia Jerk Wild Boar, Buddah’s Bacon Butter Chicken, Ontario 5-Cheese, Mushroom & Spinach
Island Oysters Shuck Bar
Island Oysters started 2 years ago and can be typically found at farmers markets in the G.T.A.
Kusshi – British Columbia, Il de Magdalen – Ontario & Little Neck Clams – PEI. Two types of hot sauce were for sale – Habanero Xtra hot sauce and Jalapeno Xtra hot sauce.
Kanto by Tita fl!ps
A soon as I saw Tita I knew I was in for some Filipino food. Today they were serving
Palabok – Cornstarch noodles in shrimp gravy topped with hard-boiled eggs, shrimp, crushed pork rinds, tofu and green onions; SigSig – Fries Pork jowl and ear with french fries and Halo Halo – a dessert with an assortment of fruits, sweet vegetables, ice cream etc. These dishes looked so delicious, but I couldn’t eat everything I will be visiting storefront as I have to try the sigsig fries and hopefully find some tocino or lumpia there.
Two cultures wrapped into one delicious jumbo dumpling. The husband is from Trinidad and the wife is Korean. The jumbo dumplings served are made from 100% local organic beef, pork & chicken
The menu included -Classic (beef & pork), Jerk (beef & pork) Curry Chicken (Chicken) , Curry Potato (Vegetarian) which is served with a side of pineapple coleslaw and soy sauce or mango chutney dipping sauce. I tried the Koribbean iced tea (Sorrel) as I couldn’t resist this as Sorrel always reminds me of Christmas. It wasn’t too sweet and quite refreshing.
Meat, meat and more meat, a carnivore’s paradise: Flavours from around the world are found here. There was bacon brulee & tocino sliders & Korean pork belly, which had me looking for the Filipino running the show and I was correct the owner is Canadian with Filipino and Iranian parents.
Mon K Patisserie
Baked treats that are not commonly found in Toronto are served here. Its French treats with an Asian twist. I of course bought Macarons and had the Cassis, Earl Grey, Banana Chocolate, Green Tea, Raspberry and Salt Caramel. Not too sweet and quite yummy and I even shared with the hubby.
Moo Milk Bar
A milk & cookies bakery. Today there was a selection of their yummy cookies and cookie mix in a jar. I haven’t had a flavour I disliked yet from Moo Milk to date.
Penny Lou Lou Sweets & Treats
A cute and exciting, yet simple twist to the dessert scene and items on the menu all contain the word “Penny” in it. The food is Hong Kong style bubble cake – that has a crispy, golden-brown outer shell, and a soft and chewy center. The bubble cake is used to create, sammies, cake with fruit or nutella, cake wraps with a filling inside, and even filled with chicken and vegetable for a more savoury treat.
Website – http://www.pimenton.ca
Spanish & Mediterranean Fine Food like chicken paella with saffron, chicken & seafood.
Pure Leaf Tea
Website – http://www.pureleaftea.ca
Simple pure & uncomplicated iced tea with no preservatives, no added color and no artificial flavouring. It’s just real-brewed tea made from tea leaves picked fresh from the best plantations around the world.
The Saucy Pierogi
A pop up vendor serving pan fried Pierogi’s with a twist. I have only had pierogi’s two times before, one frozen from the grocers and another at a wedding as Hors d’oeuvres. These were how I think they should taste, fresh, not to doughy and with great toppings. On the menu was Jerk Chicken Pierogi’s with Jerk sauce & slaw, Cheddar & Potato Pierogie’s, Kimchi Sauerkrat Pierogie’s topped with Kimchi, Pork Schnitzel Plate with garlic mash & sauerkraut slow.
Stuffed & Co.
Stuffed chicken wings… yes please. How can a person resist with such an interesting idea. I have only heard of stuff wings one other place and that’s out of North Carolina with the 2 fat 2 fly stuffed chicken wings. Today there was Cheesy Mac, Wonton Bomb & Yaya Wing which I tasted it had jambalaya filling with sriracha aioli & creole seasoning. I choose the Yaya Wing as it was a limited flavour and it wasn’t spicy and it was well balanced.
Sweet Pop – Gourmet Dessert Popcorn
A two month old business that came upon by just saying: “let’s just do this and see what happens.”
With a long time baker at the helm cookies & cream, s’mores and birthday cake gourmet popcorn is being sold. The popcorn was sweet and not soggy and was the perfect sweet pop in my mouth. (I also tasted leaps and bounds better then the chocolate coated popcorn I attempted to make for Valentine’s Day. It is definitely harder than it looks)
Vegiterra – Worldy Vegan Flavours
Upon reading the name I think vegan, vegetarian and of the earth. This is a pop up vegan restaurant that began as a food, travel & culture blog. They offer flavours inspired by their travels, lifestyles and things of interest. Peanut Stew Empanada, Crispy Sweet Potato Gnocchi, Yam Burger, Jhal Muri, Lemongrass Basil Juice & Jasmine Coconut Iced Tea was served today.
Other vendor today were: Twisted, Toben – food by design, Best Gushi Chicken, BBQ Squid, Hakka Bao, Asian Sliders, Grilled Mini Eggs and Snow Ice.
I had another great year at the T.O. Food Fest and spoke to some great vendors with some very tasty and interesting foods. Every year this event is running more and more smoothly and it’s great to see that the organizers are learning ever year and making the T.O. Food Fest a better experience fro all. I can’t what to taste some more foods next year.