Three weeks ago I had a surprise email from Susanne Wong, one of the organizers of TO Food Fest 2012. I was invited for a preview of their food event that happened today. When I realized that it was the same day as I am leaving for my vacation, my heart skipped a beat that I would miss it. Good thing I read the email once again and found out that it was happening from 1:00 – 6:00pm. I have enough time to squeeze it in as my flight to leave for my vacation was a little bit past 10pm. The foodie gods were really smiling down at me. Checking out their website, I discovered that my friend Diona of Kanto would be on site. I crossed my fingers that she would do sisig fries once again. The last time I tasted it at the Toronto Waterfront Night Market, I knew then that I have to have another one of it.
I thought it would be good to go to this food event with my partner-in-crime, Abraham Wornovitzky. We were instructed to come by 11:30am, an hour and a half ahead than the rest of the crowd to meet and greet the owners of the hawker stands. It was such a treat to be able to get more interaction with the owners and being able to ask questions about the food that they make. I felt it gave more excitement to the dish once you get a passionate person speaking about the food they make and obviously the food they love.
As we were waiting for the official rounds, we sauntered off to Mary McLeod’s Shortbread table. Sharon McLeod came ready and handed sample short bread cookies to us. Of the three she handed me, I was aghast at the burst of chocolate as I bit to the chocolate cookie. It was like Christmas in July! Abe preferred the original recipe, impressed with its buttery crumbly goodness.
Noting the time, we moved on to the entrance of the venue and met up with Winston Chiu, member of the Board of Directors for TO Food Fest. He divided all 70 food bloggers and writers into 4 groups and off we went to hear the sales pitch of every vendor on site. What impressed me with this experience was that it was very good to see new entrepreneurs show their moments of genius as they explain what they have on their menu and it was also refreshing to see established old timers take part and showcase their best-sellers. It was a good mix of vendors, from the traditional, handcrafted ones to the creative fusion dishes.
But just like any other, I must confess I have my favorites. Let’s get Kanto out of the way as I have always professed addiction to Diona’s food. Kanto and Mary McLeod’s shortbread cookies aside, what best impressed me was How About Those Meatballs? tomato sauce and moist meatballs. You can never go wrong if you make your food cook slowly and for a loooong time. We were told it was simmering for 7 hours! I wished I could have another serving of it but considering all the food we tasted, I refrained myself. I didn’t want to be sick in flight. Another one notable to mention is Pavitra Restaurant ‘s Mango Lassi. Such was its velvety burst of flavor that I wished I had a full cup. Coming from a tropical country, I have a love for mangoes and this lassi hit every correct note. I think once back to Toronto, I’d give their restaurant a visit and try out their Palak Paneer!
I was glad I squeezed this food event to my crazy schedule. There were good choices and there were new things to try. I wish I had time to line up behind the long lines to try some new things like Baos’ lobster bao, Mashi’s Mashed Potato balls and Nom Nom Nom’s Tornado Potato. I do hope there would be a repeat in the near future. And that time around, I’ll be the last foodie standing. :)