Thursday, July 7, 2011

Toronto's Eat St!

This was going to be my first (of many, hopefully) chowmeet to the Food Truck Rally.  Skipping the gym this morning I thought this early start would give us a jump on the crowd.  I couldn't be more wrong when I started to walk toward Balzac's as our meeting place. We finally met up and devised our plan as well as claiming our table. Each of us goes to our respective vendors and just wait.  They just opened half an hour ago; how can they possibly run out, right? Oh how wrong and how naive of me to think that.

Didn't I just wait almost an hour for stinky tofu last week? Am I such a glutton for punishment that I will do almost anything for food? It's sad but true. Weaving through the crowds I can't even tell where one line ends and another begins. Just looking at my line I estimated that it would be another hour. On the upside I started to converse with the person next to me.  It was pretty loud there but I think he said he biked forty kilometers to get here. Huh!?! Bike? Ok, I won't do that...driving is not a problem. My stomach is growling seeing morsel of food flying by.  Hopefully my comrades are doing better than I am.  The stranger's friend brought some food for him in line. I can't remember if this from Cava or some where else but things were starting to look better.

That was until I saw on the camera display that I space for only thirty pictures.  Sure enough when I checked there was no memory card; two batteries but no memory card.  The Fates must be plotting against me on this day!

As time marched on I did get a chance to shake the hand and thanked the man who had organized this event. The line coming ever so closer to the order counter.

Leaving my house in a hurry I didn't have much of a breakfast.  Thankfully some one from our group brought food over.  It was the chicken croquette from Chef Hopgood. A bit of juggling was required with the camera while holding on the food. When I had the first bite I couldn't tell that it was chicken.  I must have not been fully awake since I took the one with minimal sauce and garnish and couldn't really get to fully taste this dish. Must have willpower... can't eat another...

Another friendly face came walking up to me bearing treats later on. It wasn't exactly a smorgasbord but more like a sampling platter of some of the vendors there.  Food is food and I'm not complaining especially since this was delivered to me while I still waited in line inching forward.

Quickly I snapped up this shot of this sweet kulfi and Gorilla Cheese as the crowds cleared for a bit before filling up again.

 Now at the table of Simple Eats food truck I see them assemble them fresh as people continue to line up. Thankfully another hand came by to grab the all those catfish tacos and lobster sliders!

Getting back to our table I see that people have already started to chowdown and I better take some more shorts before they disappear. Now is not the time for my camera to get temperamental.

The top picture is the ice cream sandwich from Marben as my camera was having a bad day for this shot.  Next was the Bahn Mi or as they called it a Mekong Sub from from The Distillery Restaurant Corp (DRC). Thirdly are the half dozen delights from Cupcake Diner. Here in this last picture is what was left after the longest wait for our group; the pork buns from El Gastromo.

It was very hard to get a true taste since all of the portions were split between a large group. The chicken croquette portion I had did not has much sauce or dressing to it. The center was creamy and I can see pieces of pulled chicken. Honestly I wasn't focused on the taste at that point as I wanted some food in my belly. What I thought was salsa on my makeshift sampler platter was actually the Kingfish ceviche from Cava.  The wrappers on what looked like a tamale contained shrimp in one and mushrooms in the other as I poked and prodded. Both were good and moist and held their shape but I have to say I love mushrooms with anything. Marben's ice cream sandwich may have been given just a touch of refinement but it still is not pretentious in being anything else other than a cool messy treat on a hot summer day. My apologies for the picture since I would have really liked to get a better one.  The Mekong sub wasn't anything to write home about except for the five dollar cost.  Our cupcakes came out from the hiding place to the daylight as we divided amongst ourselves.  Out of all of them I loved the chocolate banana since it was just the right sweetness and richness. Disappointment would best describe what was left on the menu for El Gastro.  The steamed buns drowned out the flavor of the small sliver of meat and garnishes that were on it.

Scorching rays of the sun was just too much for me to bear.  Perfectly timed, I received a tweet from a twitter friend saying she was also at this event and also taking refuge at Sweet Escapes so I head on over. No luck here as i couldn't find her but I did find some great flavors of ice cream there like Bananas Foster, Salted Caramel and Cinnamon Toast Crunch!  Not to mention the only location in town that I know that carries sandwiches with meats from Buster Rhino. Communicating back to home base, the organizer rushed in hearing about it since she loves Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  I never would have pictured her as that type. They also had a great picture post card that read "Stressed is backwards for Desserts".  Truer words have never been spoken!

Today was an emotional day of ups and downs.  Some vendors had some great items but they were poorly executed.  A la minute is great for freshness but not practical when it would take ten to fifteen minutes per order for places like Gorilla Cheese.  Many vendors sold out quite quickly and some even gave free drinks afterwards like Buster Rhino.  Customers lining up in the chaos anxiously waiting to try some trendy eats. It sounds just like any other day in the life of a busy restaurant.  That is music to my ears.


  1. The food in your first picture is from Chef Rossy Earle. It is her Panamanian chicken & pork tamale with her Supi Cucu Salsa Del Fuego hot sauce.

  2. Thanks, Sidman! There was so much going on it was hard to tell what and where anything came from. On August 20 their will be more trucks spread around the area instead of all the trucks hitched at the the previous location.