I’m still in awe at how quickly the summer is flying by me and the team. But I guess what they say is true.. time flies when you’re having fun! One of the most anticipated food festivals of the year is about to take place. Yes, that’s right ladies and gentlemen, Taste of Toronto‘s debut is happening this month and you aren’t going to want to miss this! Taste Festivals have been taking place around the world and finally Toronto has come on board to join the global community of food lovers and businesses alike. “Everywhere it goes, Taste represents a gourmand’s dream come true: delicious food created by the city’s greatest restaurants, world famous chefs, superb drink and outstanding entertainment, set in stunning outdoor surroundings.” Taking place July 24th – 27th at Fort York, this incredible gathering is going to set the bar high for future food festivals. So let me tell you all about it and why you should come join us all!
For those of you who follow along on my social media adventures, you will have noticed that I recently took part in one of the best events I have ever attended. Taste of Toronto hosted a small group of media and took them on a #TasteSafari around the city of Toronto to interact with restaurants and chefs that would be taking part in the Taste of Toronto festivities. I have to say, this was really awesome. Like really really awesome. I got onto a bus and had no idea where I was headed. With five stops planned for the night, it was an exciting time to re-explore the city I love. I feel as though that is really what Taste Festivals help us all to do. To fall in love with our cities anew and see how incredible the food scene really is.
Along with great friends and great tour guides, I truly fell in love with Toronto all over again. I’ve always know this is the city I was meant to be in, but this really helped to reaffirm why. Let me give you a quick run down of five Toronto hotspots that you both have to try AND come visit during the Taste of Toronto.
Stop # 1
El Caballito for margaritas and Pollo con Mole. Known as the hotest tacos joint in Toronto, this was a playful stop to start the night off. Combining flavours of mole poblano, pulled chicken, white onion and avocado. Earthy and bite sized, the group enjoyed the sweet, salty & savoury combination of yumminess. For those of you in the mood for playful Mexican cuisine, quality tequilla and strong cocktails, El Caballito is the place.
Yours Truly for Salt Cod Inari, Charred Octopus and the strongest most delicious cocktail known as The Boxer Julep. Their seafood dishes absolutely blew me away with their elegant decor. A must in the west end for those of you looking for something unique and delicious.
Stop # 3
Hopgood’s Foodliner for Albacore Tuna with preserved tomato, basil and crispy shallots. Alongside delicious cocktails in their BEAUTIFUL private dinning room in the back (a must for groups. White cottage sentiments with a beautiful skylight. I was in awe.) Yet again a place for seafood lovers with the tiniest kitchen I have ever seen. But it has that small intimacy that you crave alongside five star food.
Stop # 4
Barque Smokehouse for Smoked duck tacos combining the beautiful ingredients of pickled radish, carrots, crispy fried chicken skin, and a hoisin BBQ sauce on a flour tortilla. Yes it was as delicious as it sounds. Combined with an elder flower and sparkling wine mojito inspired cocktail, I was in BBQ heaven. This space has blazed a trail for the smokehouse trend in Toronto and is a must for anyone looking for authentic smokehouse dishes with a twist.
Stop # 5
Our last stop of the night was the King West icon of Weslodge for homemade Wagyu Hot dogs on fresh baked buns with beet mustard and beef cheek marmalade. Absolutely stunning in its flavours and truly inspiring in its creation, it was the perfect ending to a perfect night. Not to mention the fact that the stiff Sweet Tea inspired cocktail was my favourite beverage of the evening. Be careful when enjoying that one though because it packs a punch.
I wish that you could taste the photos above and experience how exciting it was to bar hop from restaurant to restaurant around the city of Toronto. All five of these hotspots are a great addition to the roaster of restaurants attending and representing Toronto in The Taste of Toronto celebrations.
The full line-up of the attendees for Taste of Toronto 2014 is as follows:
- Barque Smokehouse, David Neinstein
- Bosk, Damon Campbell
- Guu Izakaya, Ippei Iwata / Kinton Ramen, Aki Urata / JaBistro, Koji Tashiro
- Hudson Kitchen, Robbie Hojilla
- Khao San Road, Chantana Top Srisomphan
- Los Colibris, Elia Herrera / El Caballito, Gerry Quintero
- Patria, Weslodge and Byblos, Stuart Cameron
- Richmond Station, Carl Heinrich
- Rose and Sons, Big Crow and Fat Pasha, Anthony Rose
- Splendido, Victor Barry
- The Grove, Ben Heaton
- The Harbord Room and THR & Co., Cory Vitiello
- The McEwan Group, Mark McEwan
- Momofuku Noodle Bar, Sam Gelman (Thursday only)
- Yours Truly, Lachlan Culjak (Friday only)
- Hopgoods Foodliner, Geoffrey Hopgood (Saturday only)
- Valdez, Steve Gonzalez (Sunday only)
“We are beyond excited to host 17 of the city’s top chefs and restaurants for our first North American event,” said Meghan O’Hanlon, event director, Taste of Toronto. “With so many of the city’s hottest talents joining ranks, we know Taste of Toronto is going to be the most delicious event of the season!”
Like I’ve said, I am beyond excited to attend this three day affair and get my hands on some of the best food that Toronto has to offer, get to try my own cooking skills out at the Metro Master Class and swing by the VIP Lounge for some good times with great company.
Have I convinced you yet? I thought so. Make sure to get your tickets today before they sell out!
Or… you could win a pair if you want. I mean, at the end of the day, who doesn’t love to win with DoTheDaniel.com?
To enter to win a pair of tickets to Taste of Toronto and join in on the festivities tweet the following:
“Dear @DoTheDaniel, take me on a #TasteSafari with @TasteOfToronto!”
** One tweet per twitter account will count as entry. Tweet must comply with above format to be entered to win. Contest will run until Friday July 11th 2014 at 5:00pm EST. Winner will be chosen at random and announced via @DoTheDaniel twitter account. No cash value will be associated with the price. Contest winner will be contacted via twitter for personal details to have prize sent to them.
Please remember to enjoy responsibly and never drink and drive.