Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Real Girl Travels Takes on Taste of Toronto

Among the crew at Real Man Travels I have a bit of a reputation for being a food nerd. So when Sam told me the folks at Taste of Toronto had offered us the chance to come check out the festival, I was very excited.

After some pre-game menu research, we set off to the city on a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon.
I’ve been to a few food events and I have so say I thought this one was one of the best. There was a good mix of restaurants and food vendors, all of which were pretty high-caliber (Milk Bar, Blue Goose, and The Culinary Adventure Co/Cheese Werks all gave us some delicious goodies). Line-ups moved fast thanks to the seasoned restaurant pros staffing the booths, and the space was a good size, but not overwhelming. It took us two hours at a wandering pace to check out the whole place, which I think is just perfect. The setting was historic Fort York, which is a really cool place (and not just because old-timey soldiers occasionally march by).


Old timey garb
What we ate: 
  • Guu Izakaya’s Takoyari (deep-fried octopus balls, six crowns) - I love deep fried anything, especially when served with mayo, but these were little balls of magic. They also set me up for the best one-liners of the day: Sam: “How is it?” Me: (with full mouth) “Octopussy.” 
Octopus balls from Guu
  • Bymark’s Lobster Poutine (10 crowns) - When I did my menu research I picked out a few favs, but the Lobster Poutine was the only thing on my ‘must eat’ list. It did not disappoint. Tender morsels of lobster were served on top of perfect fries and covered in a light bearnaise sauce.
  • Khao San Road’s Thai Tea Shake - Really yummy, and it came with a cute little umbrella. 
Tips 
  • The festival has it’s own currency - crowns. They exchange at $1 for 1 crown. However the crowns are mostly reserved for the restaurants, so you can also spend actual money at the vendor booths. Crowns are loaded into a nifty tap card, but unused crowns were not refundable (but they were donated to a great cause - Second Harvest). I wouldn’t put all your budget into crowns, plus there were lots of stations to fill your card back up if needed. Sam and I filled up with $40 and that seemed to work well. I spent about $10 cash on necessary purchases (cookies). 
  • Shade was at a premium, especially for a pale kid like me. Each standing table had a small shaded area at the end. A good game plan would have been to send one person up to order while the other hoovers, waiting to pick off a shady spot with sniper-like accuracy. Or if you have an American Express you can just go sit in the big shady tent for American Express members.
Lobster poutine
Okay, so at one point stuff got a little weird. I spent the last of our crowns on the Thai Tea Shake from Khao San Road, thinking this would be great for the ride home. But when we went to leave I was told people weren’t allowed to leave with open containers, even those containing non-alcoholic beverages. I had two options, wait just inside the gate and down my shake, or dump it. The AC was a calling, so my $6 shake was dumped, which was a bit of a downer to end an otherwise outstanding experience.
    Cheers to a great day!
    All in all, I would definitely recommend Taste of Toronto to my fellow food nerds, and I can’t wait to go back next year! 

    Did you attend Taste of Toronto? Have a favourite we didn't mention? Let us know in the comments below!

    About the Author

    Sam Williams is a content creator for Real Man Travels. He is also the site's dedicated sales and sponsorship man. Connect with Sam on Twitter or Instagram.

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