The popularity of food trucks are on a meteoric rise thanks to people like Tamara and Adam (team El Gastronomo Vagabundo) putting out good food and Suresh Doss (Spotlight Toronto) getting the word out and making events happen. So it’s awesome to see the momentum behind things really having effect on the city-level: last week, the St. Catharines City Council (unanimously!) approved a street food pilot project – with El Gastro being the first in line for permits. Not only that, but team EGV thew a free viewing party for their spot on Eat St., taking place at The Cookbook Store in downtown Toronto. Of course, that’s where you could find me last Wednesday (May 30th).

Chef Adam Hynam-Smith fires things up for their viewing party

Out in the front room of The Cookbook Shop, a screen was set up for the viewing later on that night. Drinks were being plied in a corner with two refreshing options: cucumber hibiscus and watermelon. However, it was the gleaming kitchen through the back doorway that drew me. This was where all the action was taking place – so I quickly made my way over. With a menu of new entries and their more classic dishes (in a bite-sized format), I was looking forward to the evening’s nibbles. Here’s the visual line up:

Hibiscus drink with cucumber, hibiscus flower, fresh cucumber, mint, & tonic. A little tart and a lot refreshing.

Scripted: Skewers of white anchovy, tomato, olive, palm heart. Scripted is a tribute to Frank Camorra, Movida. A nice way to start with a bit of vinegar and salt.

In Syndication (1): Crumbed pickled lamb’s tongue, chili mint relish, shaved fennel. Funny enough, I hadn’t had this from their menu yet, but it does make a regular appearance.

In Syndication (2): Tempura cod , smoked pineapple & habanero hot sauce, coconut sour cream, coriander. Their canapé take on the very popular fish taco they serve. I love their fish taco so much.

New Cast Member: Seared scallop, chili caramel, coconut tapioca, crispy smoked chicken skin. So good. I had 5.

My favourite of the night was the New Cast Member – a really great mix of spicy, salty, sweet, crispy, and chewy – the flavours just exploded in your mouth. The perfect morsel. I had quite the collection of spoons at one point. I also was sad to have missed out on their watermelon drink – I forgot to go back for it before it got ridiculously busy.

The popularity of Ontario’s first gourmet food truck is in no doubt – once the event opened to the public, the space really filled up. Demand is here. Supply is here. Given all the activity, I hope that Toronto will follow St. Catherine’s suit and make some room for this burgeoning industry. All my journeys around Toronto – even one occasion in Niagara – there was always something delicious to be found from El Gastronomo Vagabundo’s window, making them a (my!) favourite amongst the food truck conoy.