Not So Awe-Struck at Awestruck Food Truck Fest

IMG_0201.JPG
This was the scene at this weekend’s Day 2 of Awestruck Food Truck Festival 2014 held at Wellington and Portland this year. Now it may be because there were also about 10 other events in Toronto including the CNE and Fan Expo just next door, but this is just low attendance. It was so low that by 6:30 PM, the food trucks started leaving the premises for an event that was supposed to go on until 8PM. But when there’s more staff in your truck than there are people buying, business should be taken somewhere else.

IMG_0205.JPG
What: Frankie’s Fettuccine
Where: Frankie Fettuccine Food Truck Co.
Pointers: Rather disappointed with such a large serving of pasta for $12. It was very bland even with sun dried tomatoes, artichokes and mozzarella cheese on it. The peas added a bit of weirdness as a whole to this “Italian-fusion” dish. We’re not sure what the attempt was with the peas but it didn’t do anything overall. If there were salt and pepper around, we would have salted that thing just add a flavour to it. Rather disappointing so we threw most of it away.

IMG_0203.JPG
What: Nachos
Where: Curbalicious Food Truck
Pointers: This one is a new discovery for us and glad to have found it! Curbalicious offers a rotating menu but today was an Indian-inspired dish that had a lot of flavour in every bite. Served with the same concept as a nacho, Curbalicious offered a base of crispy-fried naan bread topped with cheese curds, shredded chicken, tamarind sauce and mayo. So it was more Poutine than nachos, if you ask me. The different flavours complimented each other and perfect for the crispy naan bread. We’d love to check out this food truck again and try the other dishes.

IMG_0204.JPG
What: Fish Tacos
Where: Rancho Relaxo
Pointers: I referred to them as fish sticks on a taco. But it’s not all that bad. For $10, you get three small taco with a deep fried breaded fish stick topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc. The toppings themselves had a “refreshing” taste similar to one you would on the streets of Mexico, so I give these guys chops for that. But we weren’t fans of the fish stick idea. For us that would be more of a Po’Boy approach.

IMG_0206.JPG
What: Jerk Chicken Wrap
Where: Caribbean Provisions on Da Go
Pointers: We thoroughly enjoyed Caribbean Provisions on Da Go Jerk Chicken wrap. It was mildly spicy with tender chicken on a bed of Caribbean rice. It was meant to be enjoyed by the masses so we enjoyed that it’s not overpowering like traditional jerk chicken. We would prefer more chicken next time.

IMG_0202-0.JPG
What: Barbequed King Cole Duck Cakes w/ Spicy Corn Relish
Where: Localista
Pointers: Thoroughly enjoyed the duck cakes from Localista. The corn relish bed was a perfect pairing for this crispy on the outside, moist on the inside duck cake. We would have preferred some kind of tangy drizzle of sauce over the cakes just to bring it another flavour profile. Don’t get us wrong, it was still good, just felt it needed something tangy to balance out flavour.

IMG_0207.JPG
What: Chocolate
Where: Chimney Stax Baking Co.
Pointers: After an onslaught of savoury dishes, we needed some sweetness to balance the palate. There were 3 food trucks offering desserts but we decided to go with Chimney Stax. We had both the Classic Sugar Stax and the Chocolate Stax. It’s a hallowed-out baked good dressed on the outside with sugar, sprinkles, and so on. It has a nice crunchy crust yet soft and chewy underside. For more adventurous patrons, you can stuff the hollow portion with ice cream. It’ll likely hold the ice cream. We certainly thought of it!

Other food trucks that need no mention on our blog in this event were Me.N.U, Fidel Gastro’s and Buster’s Sea Cove. All of which haven been blogged on previous events.

Overall, a pretty disappointing turn out and nothing really exciting at this year’s event. Our hope is that next week’s ticketed event for the awards night at Celebration Square in Mississauga has a better turn out for these food trucks.

Advertisements

TD Night It Up 2014

The annual TD Night It Up at the Markham Civic Centre was another success this year. Sticking to the traditional night markets in Asia, food vendors offered a wide range of street food that some may consider delicacy. But if you are Torontonian, this is normal grub. Below are the ones we got to try before calling it “we’re full!”

20140713-172226-62546119.jpg
What: Oolong Tea Creama
Where: Sharetea
– Sharetea added a twist to the bubble tea movement with their Oolong Tea Creama. It’s basically iced oolong tea but with a heavy sweet milk cream on top. It has a fluffy cream cheese like texture that you can either eat by itself of try to mix it in with the oolong tea at the bottom. It was interesting alone but it made the oolong tea bland if you ate the cream first. Eventually, I mixed mine in. That resulted in a refreshingly sweet drink. Check out Sharetea at Northtown Way in North York!

20140713-172226-62546687.jpg
What: Spicy Chicken (left) and Rice Squares (right)
Where: Roy’s BBQ
– I think Roy’s BBQ is a pop-up food tent for now. They served us up spicy but mild chicken skin and tendon balls (they were more like chicken popcorn than BBQ) and a cooling rice squares. Both were very nice.

20140713-172227-62547219.jpg
What: One Up, Porkzilla and Angry Birds
Where: Me.n.u
– Me.n.u started as food tent vendors in events like the TD Night Market. I think we first saw them at TO Food Fest about two years ago. Now they have a food truck added to their roster but continue to do food tents. We were able to try all three. We liked the Angry Bird the most interestingly enough since we are fans of pork. But for some reason, the One Up and Porkzilla wasn’t as savoury as we remembered them. They also used to have more meat in it and moist, but they were a little dry today and maybe a little over fried. Overall, it was still good eats. Just need to be mindful of the texture next time.

20140713-172225-62545479.jpg
What: Pork, Beef and Chicken Satay Skewers
Where: Mamak Satay
– If you go to any night market this season and you see these guys, go! You can’t go wrong between the three satay skewers they serve up. Each has an explosion of flavours that is just wonderful. We liked all three with or without the sauce. Check them out if you see their pop-up food tent.

20140713-172228-62548936.jpg
What: Mango Ice Cream
Where: Ice Volcano
– One of our favourite stops in these food events is Ice Volcano’s 100% Canadian milk liquid nitrogen ice cream. It’s always a blast watching these guys create their ice cream right in front of you. It’s an edible science experiment! They added dry ice to the presentation so your ice cream cup is not only fancy to look at but also keeps the ice cream stay frozen a little longer. Check these guys out when you see then at food events!

20140713-172227-62547759.jpg
What: Assorted stuffed chicken wings
Where: Stuffed and Co.
– Stuffed and Co. is a catering company that is serving up stuffed chicken wings. Yes, they stuff the chicken wings with things like Mac’n’Cheese (Cheesy Mac), dumpling (Wonton Bomb), and jambalaya (Yaya Wing)! We liked all three, but our fave was the Yaya Wing. It had an Asian yet Southern comfort zing with jambalaya in sriaracha aioli and creole seasoning stuffed in a chicken wing then fried. It had an explosion of flavours that is unique to Stuffed and Co. Very good indeed!

20140713-172229-62549781.jpg
What: Oyster Omelets
Where: Oyster Omelet
– The Toronto Star raved about this food stand as a must check out in this season’s food events so we decided to check it out. Sad to say we were not impressed by the dish at all and decided to throw most of it away after a bite or two. It just wasn’t good and we actually blame it for perhaps causing stomach upsets later on. Just not a fan of oysters that way. Give fresh oysters with a bit of lemon and garlic butter and I’m good. Cooked this way? Not so much. We say, skip this one unless you are heading home soon to be near a bathroom.

Overall, another successful TD Night It Up event at the Markham Civic Centre. We love getting invited to this event every year and look forward to it. See you next year TD Night It Up!

Hawkers Market – Vancouver

Second foodie event of the summer! Hawkers market is a cool event that aims to bring local food businesses together for foodies like us to experience new and innovative food creations. This year, the event was held in East Vancouver, near Kingsway with the majority of vendors inside but also a few food trucks lined up outside.

hawkers2

Our first stop was the table selling Chicken Waffles. The sandwich was made of free range chicken (really nicely fried), organic kale slaw (which they ran out of), chipotle maple aioli (super creamy), and watermelon gastrique (we had no idea where this component was). Overall, not bad for $9 and it was really filling!

We then tried some blueberry lavender marshmallows toasted with a blow torch, followed by a blackcurrant, raspberry and cream popsicle which was my favorite dessert of the night ūüôā

hawkers3

The beautifully designed bottles of Taiwanese cold tea were from Oolloo Tea, the founder has a long family history of growing tea leaves and I love the simplicity and chicness of her designs and packaging! The chocolates were made by a lady who infused lavender and roses into the cocoa and cream, which makes the chocolate very rich and flavorful without being sweet at all. Probably the healthiest chocolate I’ve ever had. Another drink stand was called Kombucha, which is a different way of brewing tea with sugar. I got to try the pumpkin flavored one, which reminded me a bit like gingerale. Definitely a new foodie creation and seems very interesting!

hawkers1

Overall, it was a fun event although I wish there were more food vendors! A lot of the vendors didn’t prepare enough portions so my advice would be to arrive early next time! Thanks for inviting us Hawkers Market – hope to see you at the next event!

CraveTO 2014 – Hits a high note for Music

20140630-210807-76087260.jpg

Back at Honest Ed’s alley, this year’s CraveTO (Night) food, music and drink event fell on one of the busiest weekends of the summer. Competing with a number of festivals around the city including the much awaited World Pride and a Canada Day Long weekend, CraveTO had to celebrate on a weeknight. Last year’s event consisted of day and night ticketed events, but this year, offered only an evening one. Similar to last year, it promised food, beverage and music. Food booths were smaller in numbers this year, which made the selection fairly limited. We still managed to try 80% of the food from the vendors. They are as follows:

20140630-210805-76085069.jpg
What: Pork BBQ and Chicken Parm Meatballs with Kettle Chips
Where: We Got Balls Food Truck
Pointer: Actually a little disappointed with both portion and taste of the meatballs. For one, we couldn’t distinguish the difference between the two as both texture and flavour was the same. We couldn’t taste any barbeque flavour on either meatball. It was swimming in marinara sauce and we concluded perhaps they gave us the wrong order. The Kettle Chips were good and crispy. I mean it’s Kettle Chips. We would have preferred a slightly larger sized meatball like what other food trucks and food pop-ups offer in these events.

20140630-210805-76085387.jpg
What: Po’Boy Hot Dog and Katsu Hot Dog
Where: Let’s Be Frank Food Truck
Pointers: This is probably the one worthwhile stop we tried at the event. The tiny Silverstein’s buns sandwiched a tiny Nathan’s Famous beef hot dog and loaded with toppings. A little salty but you are not eating a dozen of them so live a little. Definitely check out Let’s Be Frank food truck when you see it.

20140630-210806-76086950.jpg
What: Chicken Roti
Where: Randy’s Roti Food Truck
Pointers: A little disappointed with this one. Maybe our expectation was to be wowed since we know a little bit about roti. Or at least we think so since we’ve had our share of home made authentic roti. We’re not looking for perfection here, but at least something with flavour other than the tongue-burning Tobasco sauce. It had a bitter after taste also, which is often reminiscent of store bought roti mix. We expected spicy, but on a good heat. Not spicy for the sake of being spicy and call it roti.

20140630-210805-76085995.jpg
What: Beef Cheek Pastrami
Where: Brick and Mortar Pop-up Catering
Pointers: This is also one of the best in the lot that day. The beef cheeks were marbled and had lots of flavour. The fresh mustard and pickles (which I am not often a fan of) offered a nice tangy balance to the sandwich. We had no complaints here. Awesome, friendly and chatty staff and a tasty sandwich to boot!

20140630-210805-76085686.jpg
What: Cheddar and Potato Pierogies
Where: The Saucy Pierogies
Pointers: These were okay, we thought. Not as good as, perhaps, European Delight at the St. Lawrence Market, but it’ll do. We just wished there was more filling inside and the cheddar wasn’t as runny and melted like water. It made it appear to be cheap cheese.

20140630-210806-76086310.jpg
What: Deep Fried Chicken Skewers
Where: Gushi
Pointers: Gotta say, we were a little disappointed with Gushi this time around. We raved about it from previous posts as their Deep Fried Chicken Skewers were really good. At this event, they were not cooked all the way thru and it seems to be lacking the flavour it once had. It just wasn’t good any more. I hope their chicken at Market 707, their actual location, is serving up better chicken.

20140630-210806-76086639.jpg
What: Bubble Cake
Where: Penny Lou Lou Sweets
Pointers: If you’ve been to Asian night markets in and around the GTA, you’ve had your share of bubble cakes. It is basically a waffle batter and cooked like a waffle on a bubble-like mould then topped with whatever topping your heart desires. We had the one with everything on it – fresh fruits, Nutella, caramel, chocolate syrup, sugar icing and ice cream. There is no denying that it will satisfy your sweet tooth. This was the perfect way to top off our salty pickings from the other vendors so check them out.

There were two other food vendors that we didn’t try for a number of reasons: 1. Poutini’s has their own location and we’ve been there before, and 2. We’re not fans of oysters that had been exposed to the summer heat. We’ll visit Oyster Boy at your location instead. Invite us!

Well, that’s it. One summer food event down. Certainly looking forward to the others that we can get to. Thanks to the organizers of CraveTO. Looking forward to the next ones. Cheers!

Vancouver Food Truck Festival

First foodie event of the summer! It was so much fun attending this year’s Vancouver Food Cart Fest located right by the Olympic Village this past Sunday. Go check them out this summer as there will be different food trucks there every Sunday from 12-5pm. Not only do they offer valet bike parking, there’s also lots space to hang out, chillax and even play some ping pong! Also, kudos to all the staff for sorting the garbage, contains for recycling and composting – it felt like a game/quiz every time we walked by the throw something out!

PicsArt_1403665002738

Drink Trucks:

The Juice Truck – their watermelon aloe juice was refreshing and tasty.

Jamaica Blue Cold Brew – Coffee on tap! This was a really neat concept as I’ve never tried this kind of coffee before. It was frothy and smooth, almost beer like actually. For someone who doesn’t normally drink black coffee, I could have easily filled a mug full of this delicious drink. The brewing process eliminates a lot of the acidity, and I didn’t feel the need to add coffee or sugar at all.

PicsArt_1403664169302

Food Truck Name: Feastro – the rolling bistro
What we ate: Dirty Fries – fries topped with pulled pork, a generous amount of BBQ sauce, garlic lemon aioli, tomato salsa and pickled jalapenos
Verdict: This was the biggest portion we had out of all the food trucks. However, quality is better than quantity in this case. All the components taste good individually, but after digging my fork in for a bite, it just didn’t make me want to take another bite. Perhaps I should have added¬†some Sriracha hot sauce, to enhance and combine all the components together (But then again, Sriracha tastes good with everything). Oh well –¬†I’ve heard good things about their tacos though, maybe next time!

PicsArt_1403664102244

Food Truck Name: Ze Bite
What we ate: Ze Moroccan – nicely marinated chicken, mint, moroccan spice mix, hummus, grainy dijon mayo, mixed greens
Verdict: This savoury gluten free crepe surprisingly did not taste like cardboard (though the crepe looks a bit like it though don’t you think?). Chicken was flavorful and not too dry, and the hummus added another dimension in texture to the dish overall. Pretty healthy if you ask me!

PicsArt_1403663985355

Food Truck Name: Mogu
What we ate: Sweet Chili Chicken Karaage
Verdict: YUM YUM YUM. It’s everything that chicken karaage should be: fried crispy but saucy on the outside,¬†juicy and tender on the inside. This was probably my fave savory dish of the day, and bonus points goes to the cool art on their truck!

PicsArt_1403663800199

Food truck Name: Vij’s Railway Express
What we ate: Puffed rice and chickpea salad
Verdict: For someone who’s not the biggest fan of chickpeas, this was quite good! The green peas, chickpeas and tomatoes in particular were bursting with flavors ¬†from the Indian spices, but the puffed rice and sprouts contribute to a crisp and refreshing taste.¬†Looking forward to trying the curries at the Vij’s restaurant – hopefully the line won’t be too long when I go!

PicsArt_1403663735847

Food Truck Name: Sweet Ride
What we ate: Froyo with caramel sauce, toffee bits, Belgian waffles, and a slice of banana
Verdict: The tart frozen yogurt paired really well with the sweetness of the caramel sauce and crunchy toffee bits. In my opinion, it would have been even more amazing to have fresh, warm Belgian waffles (mmm imagine how good that smells), but I guess they had to make it in advance to avoid melting the froyo during the assembling process. Overall, a yummy summery treat for all ages.

10514511_10153013512823298_7405894246890201378_n

Food Truck: Johnny’s Pops
What we ate: Blackberry Mojito Handmade popsicles
Verdict: All these Popsicles are made with fresh local berries (and cream for other flavors) which is awesome because not only is it a somewhat healthy and refreshing treat, we also get to support local farms at the same time.

10300296_10153013512908298_641333745591905365_n10445516_10153013512873298_7918453976433585768_n

Food Truck Name: Cloud Nine Cotton Candy
What we ate: Mango Cotton Candy
Verdict: So cool and innovative to create cotton candy flavors ranging from watermelon to pina colado and root beer. Hope they get to develop even more wacky flavors in the future!

 

Thanks again to Vancouver Food Cart Fest for organizing a great event, look forward to dropping by again this summer! Follow them on Twitter @FoodCartFestYVR or at foodcartfest.com

Foodival 2013

Toronto’s first Foodival, coined to be the first carnival themed food festival, was held a few weeks ago at 99 Sudbury in the trendy Queen West neighbourhood. It was a set up with two separate ticketed sessions – day time ($12.50/person) for the families with young kids ($7.50) to enjoy, and a 19+ age-requirement for the night one ($12.50). We attended both and got to try the following:

20131007-172653.jpg
What: Kombucha Beverages from RISE Kombucha
If you don’t know anything about the techniques of making kombucha, you should! This was such a refreshing drink especially on a hot day of food vendor tasting at the event. We met with Cheryl Gomez from RISE and she gave us the lowdown on their kombucha drinks. It turns out kombucha is a drink created from fermenting tea using symbiotic blend of beneficial yeast and bacteria that transform mere tea into a tonic drink that enhances vital energy, balances digestion and detoxifies your body. The RISE Kombucha drinks had a hint of sweet and citrus, or light cider flavour that is really refreshing and hydrating. Our personal favourites were the Mint Chlorophyl and Ginger. RISE prides itself on its raw, organic, vegan, fair trade and made with love in Quebec. You can get RISE from most health and organic food stores including Whole Foods. But check out their web site for more info. We highly recommend you try it!

20131007-172707.jpg
What: Sliders from Rashers
Rashers claims to be North America’s only bacon sandwich shop which is located on Queen Street East. We had all three of the sliders in their stall menu which included the¬†Bacon Butty (British style bacon & homemade brown sauce), the Hogtown (peameal bacon, aged cheddar & homemade ale mustard) and the Wild Boar (cider glazed wild boar bacon, apple chutney, blue cheese & arugula)¬†and enjoyed all of them. Mainly because they were all pork. But our favourite was the Hogtown, which is their signature sandwich. If you find yourself on Queen Street East, make sure you visit Rashers.

20131007-172721.jpg
What: Shrimp “Corn Dogs” from The Happy Hooker
A little disappointed with The Happy Hooker’s shrimp skewers. Well known for their all seafood menu at their restaurant on Dundas Street West, these shrimp skewers did not impress. It had a texture of over-pur√©ed shrimp meat in flour batter and then overly deep fried. It had no taste and the dipping sauce it came with did not make it better. We ended up throwing it away after one or two bites.

20131007-172752.jpg
What: Slider from Tocino Boys
We were looking forward to the evening event because Tocino Boys was going be there (was not in the day time event); and, again, because they serve pork. This sandwich shop prides itself of making this Filipino breakfast meat staple available to Torontonians in their store located on Queen West, which is only open between 6pm to 4am; perfect for after hour/bar munchies. The slider was made up of soft Sweet Buns (Filipino bread) and a slice of pork tocino (sweet cured pork meat) and a sauce which the owner claims to have taken 5 years to perfect for the sandwich. We like to consider ourselves Tocino connoisseurs and Asian food in general and we know when we are being taken for a ride. Here is our problem with Tocino Boys, as foodies – please do not use store bought tocinos and bread, and pass it off as something new and genius to your customers. We can hit a T&T supermarket, or really any Asian supermarket for that matter, and have in front of us an array of various flavours (depending on the region, tocino flavour and curing techniques varies) of Tocino. While we are there, we can also get Sweet Buns (or Pandesal) that we can insert the cooked Tocino in between. It isn’t that very hard to cook. You can grill it or fry it on a frying pan to your liking. All this effort is less than $5 for 1 slider. We suggest to fully commit to your product is to create your own brand of Tocino and bread that’s above and beyond the grocery-shelf kind. Otherwise, you are really just selling us Shopsy’s hot dog and Wonder Bread buns above market price. It was a good effort tho, but nothing really exciting.

20131007-172804.jpg
What: Meatloaf with Fried Egg Sammy [Slider] at Kitchen Cargo
We liked this combo coz it was like breakfast on a bun. We figured it was a North American fusion of an Asian quick breakfast staple – spam and fried egg on a bun. We couldn’t eat it as one sandwich, however, but it was still good. They also had the kimchi dog, which we heard good reviews of. We will have to visit their Market 707 food stall location to try that out next.

20131007-172819.jpg
What: Turon from Kanto by Tita Flips
Can Tita Flips do anything wrong?! Not by our standards! Wow, these Turon bites were awesome! Perfectly bite-sized for an event where holding on to your food, chewing, and dodging foot traffic whilst walking can be a challenge, these Turon were just the perfect sweet alternative. An all time favourite Filipino snack, Turon is made from slices of sweet plantain bananas wrapped in spring roll wrapper dusted with brown sugar then deep fried. Tita Flips has done it again by making Filipino food get a mass appeal. Visit Kanto at Market 707. You can try them there along with Sisig Fries!

20131007-172835.jpg
What: Candied Bacon Grilled Cheese (with side of Root Beer Ketchup) from Cut The Cheese
Taking the gourmet grilled cheese war to the next level in Toronto is Executive Chef Gavin Gusche of Cut The Cheese. We totally enjoyed the candied bacon grilled cheese sandwich and glad we got some during a crowd break at their food stall in the event. We also tried the root beer ketchup which was interesting but didn’t feel that the grilled cheese needed that added. The grilled cheese had enough flavour on its own and the root beer ketchup just added distraction. Perhaps it is good with another dish and we’re certainly looking to try it again when they open their store location soon. Maybe a little Mac’n’Cheese are in our future!?!

20131007-172845.jpg
What: The Blonde Jerk from Johnny Blonde Food Truck
Call me Blonde, Mr. Blonde! Wow, this flatbread sandwich was just awesome! This has got to be our favourite at the Foodival Event this year. Made with beef short ribs in a jerk and root beer marinade with cabbage and apple slaw and heavy dijon dressing cradled on freshly baked flat bread; it had a perfect “jerk” kick that was perfectly cooled down with the cabbage and apple slaw. We could have had more of these for sure! Chef and owner Johnny Blonde prides himself of only using quality, locally-raised and local seasonal produce to create his eclectic food truck menu, infusing international influences to classic favourites. Sadly, we can only enjoy Johnny Blonde in Toronto from time to time as the food truck is based in Hamilton. Hamilton is so lucky.

20131007-172856.jpg
What: Sesame Seed Ice Cream from Ice Volcano
Ice Volcano introduced this new Black Sesame Seed ice cream at Foodival this year and it was awesome! We’ve crossed paths with Ice Volcano this year many times at different events and we think we may had had tried all their flavours – mango, coffee, strawberry, Oreo, green tea, and of course our favourite Milo! The new Black Sesame Seed certainly goes up in the same ranks as the others with its roasted sesame seed flavour on a very creamy ice cream, flash-frozen using liquid nitrogen. And if you are wondering it is safe, we are still alive and we have consumed many. So next time you are at food even like this one, make sure you visit Ice Volcano’s food stall. Watch as they prepare your ice cream (it’s quite awesome and very Bill Nye the Science Guy) and enjoy a cup of 100% Canadian Milk ice cream. Well done guys! We will add the Black Sesame Seed to our flavour favourites!

20131007-172907.jpg
What: Cronut from Le Dolci
Don’t be afraid of this Cronut, it’s not the same one you heard about at the CNE that caused food poisoning this summer. This Cronut was made by Le Dolci Bakery and Studio on Dundas Street. First, the photo above does not do justice for the cakes and cupcakes these ladies had at their stall so you got to visit their store; they were much more colourful and really too pretty to eat. So we went for the cronuts, which they kept running out of fast so we got them the minute we spotted some come back out on display. We had the dolci one, which had a dabble of creamy dolce de leche on top, rolled in sugar (like a traditional doughnut), but has the texture of a croissant’s…hence CRONUT. It was sublime! It wasn’t at all too rich like one would expect with all that sugar content; in fact, it was perfectly balanced. Visit the Le Dolci store as not only do they carry their products there, you can also take classes to make macaroons and other baked treats, and decorate cakes!

20131007-172948.jpg
What: Nacho Rama, Kettle Pop Corn and Apple Chips at Wild Child’s Kitchen
If you are a vegetarian, make sure you hit the Wild Child’s Kitchen food stall in these events. You will find gluten free options such as their Nacho Rama, which is a must try for nacho lovers out there…and this one is actually good for you. Priding itself with not using any refined sugars or peanuts, and only using organic ingredients in their dishes, Wild Child’s Kitchen made us believers that gluten free *something* can taste good. We also had the Kettle Pop Corn and a new favourite – Apple Chips. Again, who knew chips can be good for you! Well done, Wild Child’s…you have won our non-vegan hearts!

20131007-173010.jpg
What: The Salted Pig
We had both the pulled pork sandwich and the Pigs in the Blanket (pictured above) from The Salted Pig which hailed all the way from Hamilton. We enjoyed the Pigs in the Blanket as it was an interesting combination of ingredients from the corn tortilla chips that the pulled pork was wrapped in, deep fried, then topped with sour cream. It was an interesting fusion of flavours and texture. However, the pulled pork sandwich was too moist for us and it made the bread really soggy. We prefer our pulled pork smokey and slightly dry so that the bread can hold it together. Maybe it was still early on in the day that the meat has not yet completely soaked the sauce.

20131007-173238.jpg

And of course, what would a carnival be without the Carnies. There were performances throughout the day and evening events including buskers and musicians, and even carnival games.

Overall a good event curated by the folks at Foodies On Foot in support of Real Food Forward, which leverage donations into free or subsidized lunches for kids at school. Congratulations to those involved and we look forward to next year’s event!

Hits & Misses at this Year’s CraveTO

The second annual CraveTO food event was last Saturday offering two event shifts – CraveTO Day (12:30pm – 5:00pm) and CraveTO Night (7:00-onward). Set up at Honest Ed’s alley and parking lot at Bloor and Bathurst Streets, CraveTO has curated a mix of food vendors, food trucks, and mini breweries soundtracked by some of Toronto’s hottest DJs.

20130823-081618.jpg

We had tickets to both events since food vendors were originally split between the two; with some only slated to be in one but not the other. (We learned later that the organizers allowed those who were not staying for the evening event to stay in hopes of making more sales.)

The day event looked like a hard sell for the patrons with an almost empty parking lot at 3pm when we got there. We spoke to a few vendors as we made our rounds to those who was not scheduled to be there for the evening event and confirmed that it has been a really slow all afternoon. We strategized a divide and conquer strategy as we had in the past with other food events we’ve covered, but there certainly was no need here. There were no line ups and we were able to sit at a table with an umbrella even after we had left it to get more food & drinks. But we did what we came here to do – eat! With fistfuls of $5 bills, we started vendor surfing!

Crave TO Day:

20130820-083918.jpg

What: Octopus Taco, Fish Taco, and Lobster Sandwich
Where: Buster’s Sea Cove Food Truck

We immediately hit Buster’s Sea Cove food truck since we got there starving. We had the octopus taco, fish taco, and lobster sandwich. The octopus meat was slightly tough but that could have been from it sitting in the warmer too long and not getting served. But it was still very good and enjoyed by all. In fact, we ordered another one for good measure. The Lobster was okay, but the fish was nothing to be desired. It didn’t wow us like the other two, which had so much flavour. The fish tasted bland after having both the octopus taco and lobster sandwich.

20130820-085014.jpg

What: Pabellon Arepa
Where: Mango Pinton

A little disappointed with this sandwich. We were looking forward to a tasty arepa (South American flat bread made from ground corn dough) and tasty pulled beef but instead the black bean overpowered every thing. The arepa was stuffed with loads and loads of beans, while there was very little pulled beef and cheese on top. It became very messy to eat and was not conducive to food event-style consuming – eating sans table and cutlery. We would have preferred a smaller, manageable, amount of black bean so that you an eat it in its entirety. We ended up throwing it away after one or two bites. It only had the distinct flavour of the black bean and nothing else.

20130822-083715.jpg

What: Fried Chicken Wings
Where: Esé

Another disappointment for us was Es√©’s deep friend chicken wings. It was deep fried, but not all the way through. It had a crispy batter and skin, but other than that, the meat inside was just bland, tasteless chicken white meat. There were two choices for sauce; one we were told was mild and the other hot. We had the mild and it wasn’t even that. It was very bland with no memorable hint of spice or flavour.

20130822-084336.jpg

What: Hand-made Cannoli
Where: Terra Nera

To end Crave TO day, we visited Chef Roberto Marotta’s Sicilian street food tent and had the pistachio and chocolate hand-made cannoli(s). What a way to top off what an otherwise disappointing afternoon. We liked this one a lot. Perfectly crunchy cannoli and creamy filling with pistachio bits on one end and chocolate flakes on the other. Just delicious! No complaints here.

Crave TO Night:

20130823-082907.jpg

The first one for the evening was Fidel Gastro’s food truck named Pricilla. The line was already forming so we hit it first. We had (top, l-r) The Rubano, Killzilla, (bottom, l-r) Sgt. Slather, and Captain Belly. The Killzilla was a little salty but could easily have been evened out by adding a bit more of kimchi. The spice and sour flavour of kimchi can lessen the saltiness of the dish. Maybe they usually put more. We felt it needed more kimchi. Other than that, liked all our choices here and would recommend you try them. Make sure you check out Fidel Gastros if you see the truck. It’s been voted the number one food truck in Canada!

20130823-091351.jpg

Next, we hit Hot Bunzz. Hot Bunzz has taken Asia’s meat-filled steamed buns (siopao), and changed it up to meat-filled flour-based bun that’s baked. We had the Bison Short Rib and Brazilian BBQ Beef, which were both a win in our books. You gotta hit up their location on St. Clair (Yonge St. and St. Clair) if you miss them in this summer’s food events.

20130823-171412.jpg

What: Fresh Oysters
Where: Höly Crab

We decided to try H√∂ly Crab’s fresh oysters to break from all the deep fried items we’ve been having thus far. We weren’t told where the oysters were harvested but they were smaller than the ones we’ve had in these events. They had a number of sauces to add including a generic shrimp sauce, a Japanese-inspired one, and a few others. I kept mine simple with just sprits of lemmon juice, but the group tried the others. No complaints from them on any of the sauces or freshness of the oysters. So that’s a win for us also.

20130823-173051.jpg

What: Chocolate Churros
Where: Pancho’s Bakery

Last but not least, Chocolate Churros from Pancho’s Bakery food truck, which made its debut at CraveTO. It was a little crispy/hard for us and appeared a little overcooked. Maybe they are still working some kinks out since it’s their debut. We look forward to trying them again as they roam the streets of Toronto.

Not to be missed:

20130823-183452.jpg

Of course, our event vendor hopping won’t be complete without stopping at some of our food event vendor faves this summer: Kanto, Gushi, Pretty Sweet, Eudora Foods and Ice Volcano. As always, best Karaage at Gushi, awesome Sisig Fries at Kanto (thanks Tita Flips!), cupcakes at Pretty Sweet (coconut and banana chocolate), Eudora’s Fine Food yummy samosas and sauces, and Ice Volcano’s liquid nitrogen infused coffee ice cream (miss the Milo, hopefully next time!).

Beers:

We only got to try one brewer from the four that was there. We frequented Tromba Tequila’s booth more and used up our drink tickets there.

Overall, thumbs up to the Crave TO organizers for curating a good selection of food trucks and vendors. It’s too bad the day event was a bit of a dud, but the night one was a hit! Good food, beers, and awesome music. Looking forward to next year!