Taste Of Toronto

If you’re a reader of my blog, you know I’m all about food festivals and I love it when there are events happening in my city, Toronto.  Back in July, I was able to attend the Taste of Toronto Food Festival held at historic Fort York.  This event brings some the hottest restaurants in the city to one spot to serve up delicious food and drink to foodies from all over.

Honestly, sometimes it pays to go VIP.  No big line up to deal with, complimentary drinks and use of the air-conditioned Delta lounge.  How can one say no to that?

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For a few “crowns” – the festival currency, one could sample a ton of different food and drink items.  Sometimes it was hard to choose.

What did we eat this day?

Ceviche Tradicional – cod, pico de gallo, serrano, lime from Los Colibris.  (fresh and light)

Uni Carbonara // quail egg, smoked bacon, parmesan & Toro Tartare // caviar, sour cream, wasabi, dashi soy from Morimoto (super rich)

Guu Toronto “TAKOYAKI” deep fried octopus balls with tonkatsu sauce and karashi mayo from Guu (this was the winner, I think we had 3 orders of this dish)

Biff’s Bistro’s Merguez Lamb Burger with Red Pepper Chutney, Harissa Mayo on O&B Artisan Brioche from Biff’s (teeny tiny)

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The weather this day was perfect and the company awesome and I had a great time eating all this delicious food.  I will certainly make an effort to go back next year. =)

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Joh vs. Food – Chicago Edition 2015 – Day 1

So let me just put it out there.  I LOVE Chicago.  And Chicago loves tourists right back.  It shows.  I was in Chicago last year for few days.  Decided that another trip in 2015 was warranted.  The focus this time around however, would be food.  Of course.

After checking into our hotel – Aloft Chicago City Centre, it was off to the Shedd Aquarium to check out all the water wildlife.  I quite enjoyed seeing this guy give me a grin. IMG_3007

After the long walk to the aquarium and spending a few hours there, we were famished.  Time for the The Purple Pig. This busy and bustling establishment is located on the Mag Mile and serves food in they style of tapas and share plates.

This was a long-awaited meal and it did not disappoint.  First off, let me say that the wait staff was AMAZING.  The hostess was friendly and welcoming.  The busboys were so efficient and we sometimes didn’t even notice when they re-filled our water glasses or took away dirty dishes, they were that swift.  And our waiter! Oh the waiter! So generous with his time and not just with us, with all the people he was serving.  We told him what we thought of selecting and he offered his thoughts on which ones were better and what order he thought was best to eat them.  He periodically checked in on us and it seemed our dishes appeared in perfect time just as we were ending with the one before.  I’ve never been so well attended to at a restaurant.  Especially one as busy as this one.  Kudos!

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Some sangria to start.

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Roasted bone marrow with herbs and capers, served with bread. IMG_3047 IMG_3048

Pig’s Ear with Crispy Kale, Pickled Cherry Peppers & Fried Egg

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Octopus with Green Beans, Fingerling Potatoes & Salsa Verde

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Squid stuffed with prosciutto & bread crumbs, santorini fava puree & charmoula

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Sweets to end.  Always.  Lemon panna cotta and Sicilian Iris (brioche stuffed with ricotta and chocolate)

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Fully stuffed, it was time to walk some of the food off and go to bed.  Day two would be just as tasty.

Joh vs. Food – CNE Chronicles 2015

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….

I hope you sang that line…you know… like that Xmas song and the Staples jingle?  No? Yes? Ok. Moving on…I’m not talking Xmas or back to school.  I’m talking about my favourite time of the year…CNE time!!

The news broke about the new food items at the CNE a few days before opening.  I was quite impressed with this year’s offerings and of course was very excited to try as many of them as my stomach could handle.

The day began early, just after the opening.  Always best to get there early and avoid the food line ups. The first meal of the day was from Far East Taco.  I selected the kalbi and bulgogi bao, both items I have eaten in previous years.  I’ve always enjoyed them, but this year I definitely noticed a difference.  The bao was much bigger, fluffier, but I found that it overwhelmed the filling.  Still made a good breakfast however. IMG_3385

Now it was time to start trying the new food offerings.  First up was Bub’s Bad @SS Burgers and the beef patty cheeseburger.  Yes, you heard me, a cheeseburger with a split beef patty as the bun.  Quite a tasty burger.  Seasoned well.  A nice change to the typical cheeseburger.

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Next up, Jake’s Lobster for some garlic snow crab fries.  My FAVE of the day.  The fries were perfectly crispy and never got soggy.  The garlic aioli was delish, though there could have been a bit more of it.  The feathery shredded crab generously covered the fries like snow.  I’m craving this right now.

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Always time for some drinks.  Some vodka lemonade at the beach bar and then a nice glass of cab merlot at the wine bar near the shopping area.

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After all the savoury, it was time for some sweet.  Out to the midway to find some deep-fried cheesecake.  Creamy vanilla cheesecake, dipped in batter and fried perfectly.  Then back to the food building for some deep-fried red velvet Oreos.  I expected them to have a redder hue, but no matter, they still tasted great.  I am a sucker for Oreos.

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Time for deep-fried gnocchi.  Pillowy potato nuggets with a slight crisp dipped in some tangy marinara sauce.  A good snack.

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Chicken waffle on a stick was something new this year too.  Isn’t everything better on a stick?  Enjoyable.  Some fruity sherbet as a palate cleanser.

Eating at the CNE may have ended, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t continue to eat at home.  Had to get some Jamaican oxtail with rice and peas.  I was disappointed last year (they sold out), so I was determined to get some this year (tears would have been shed if I didn’t).  Craving satisfied.

Lastly, I needed some Filipino snacks.  Banana Turon – plantain banana, rolled in brown sugar, wrapped in a spring roll wrapper and fried to a golden colour.  When I see this anywhere (including my parents house), it always comes home with me and I can eat a ton of it.  FAVE!  And then there was ukoy – a shrimp fritter made with thinly sliced potatoes, some bean sprouts, dipped in batter then fried and eaten dipped in garlic vinegar.  I rarely eat this outside of the CNE, so it is definitely a nice treat for me.

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Yet another successful CNE eating event.  Was able to eat all the new food items I wanted to try.  Threw in some shopping and laughs on top.  It was a fantastic time. =)