How’s your spring coming along? I spent my Victoria Day long weekend in Niagara. Food Truck Eats at Peller was a rather lovely afternoon with a warm sun, cool breeze, and lots of eats. I also challenged Bob Blumer to eating edamame one by one with chopsticks at the fabulous Stratusphere event – love Stratus’ space, love Stratus’ wines. But hey, there are more events yet and May’s not even over. Here’s the updated summer list (→ indicates new or updated listing).
→ The Stop’s Night Market (June 18 & 19, Tickets: May 22)
Tickets go on sale TODAY (May 22) at noon. Last year’s inaugural event was the highlight of my event eating – and for a great cause to boot. You’ve got your choice of a Tuesday or a Wednesday, but if you’re like me, you’ll opt to attend both days! Though I’d give the edge to Tuesday’s lineup.
→ The Art Of Cocktail (May 23)
I love cocktails and learning about them in that very general toe-dipping way. So this event could be an interesting way to get an overview of what bartenders in Toronto are mixing up right now. Kind of like bar-hopping, minus the hopping. Very efficient. It is, however, presented by Diageo and I’m assuming it’ll be only their liquors on deck. Something to be aware of and what held me back from committing until I got invited (there are bonuses to documenting and nattering on about food!). The event will be held at Oliver & Bonacini’s Malaparte space in the TIFF building – haven’t been into that event space, so am looking forward to checking it all out.
→ Crave TO (May 24)
Craft beer & street food & DJs is how these newcomers bill themselves. Reminiscent of Toronto Underground Market, but skewed, perhaps, to the younger set. I like that food is all $5 and under and entry is set just shy of $20. Lots of drinks at this one – feels like quite a few more breweries than usual.
→ Taste Of The Food Terminal (May 25)
The Ontario Food Terminal is the gateway to your grocers’ fruits and vegetables and it is the third largest wholesale market in North America. Basically, this is the only chance you’ll get in here that doesn’t involve being a vendor, waking up at 4am, and buying in quantities that would dwarf Costco’s offerings.
→ Back To The Future: 5-Course Tasting Menu (May 26)
I don’t know much about the people putting this on or the chef, but the fact that they’re touting it as a gluten-free menu means that it caught my eye. Though there’s no menu out, they’ve written it up as classic dishes (with meats, dairy, fish, and vegetables) through current techniques. Suitably vague. I also sort of facepalm at the end when they mention that your ticket includes a local craft beer sample. Didn’t think any of them was offering a gluten-free beer (but hey, I wouldn’t necessarily have noted it)!
→ Death Row Meals: Food-Trotting T.O. (May 27-31)
The kids from DRM throw a globe-trotting series of demos and meals: Nonna cooking, classic French desserts, Latin cooking, Thai classics, and Japanese bites and sake cocktails.
→ Burger Week & Burger Day (May 29- June 2)
67 restaurants are participating in The Grid’s second annual burger week. For $5, try out a one-time-only buger from participating restaurants until June 1st. This all will culminate on June 2, at Wychwood Barns, where they will all gather and feed the masses.
Kampai Toronto (May 30)
Get your sake on at this event at The Distillery. I couldn’t go last year, sadly. Lots of restaurant partners on the list too – Hapa, momofuku, kingyo, and guu, amongst others.
DOS (July 19, Tickets: June 1)
I loved watching La Carnita evolve from an exercise in marketing to its own bricks & mortar and event juggernaut. Joining them in their 2nd celebration: the Big Star kids from Chicago. That’s pretty exciting. Last year’s event was great in many aspects (food, music, art), but the crowd management was simply awful. Lines to get in, lines to buy tickets, lines to get food (which ran out). All of them long waits. Rumour has it that they’ve addressed these issues. We’ll see.
Victorinox Swiss Army’s Home Butchery Demo (June 8)
There’s been pork. There’s been fish (I missed that one!). Now Peter Sanagan, of Sanagan’s Meat Locker in Kensington Market, will demo how to break down a chicken. Not useful for everyone, but interesting nonetheless.
→ Harbourfront Centre: Artisanal Food Market (June 8 & 9)
New, independent, and local food producers are gathered for a weekend at Harbourfront. Only a couple names on the vendor list are familliar to me, but that actually makes it more interesting (and more of a gamble). Also going on at the same time is their World Cafe, including Le Ti Colbri and One Love Corn – two restaurants I’ve been meaning to get to.
Oyster Fest Niagara (June 9)
Not in Toronto! But The picturesque wineries of Niagara as a back drop to scarfing down (elegantly!) our bivalvian friends is a lovely mental image. In addition to oysters from Tide & Vine, there’s El Gastronomo Vagabundo, Avella’s Wood Fired Oven, and Hometown Ice Cream. Drinks from Dillon’s and Silversmith Brewing. It’s a good line up.
Earth Day Gala (June 12)
Fancy pants time! This green gala is Earth Day Canada’s 10 year anniversary taking place at the Fifth… with celeb chef Michael Stadtländer helming a bounty of local sustainable food for the tasting! It’s a big ticket, but if Stadtländer wasn’t inducement enough, it’s also open bar. A worthy event to include on this list, despite the very fact that by including it, I’m entering a contest.
→ Hannibal: We’re Having Friends For Dinner (June 18)
Had to include this. Food stylist for the Hannibal television series Janice Poon and Chef Matt Kantor will be hosting an event at the Cookbook Shop. Possibly introduce yourself as Clarice to avoid potential trouble. Should be interesting, at the very least. A lot of fun, if you get the right mix of people (HAR HAR SEE WHAT I DID THERE?).
Victorinox Swiss Army’s Knife Skills & Cutting Techniques (June 22)
Of all the demos that Victorinox is sponsoring, this is the one I was most interested in. I’ve been pondering taking a knife-skills course for a while, AND at George Brown, so this is a nice toe-dip. It’s also free.
→ Butter & Egg Road: Late Night Snackery (June 22)
I’ve attended a few B&E events (Muskoka, Leslieville) and they’re rather intimate & convivial. Coming up is their Asian snack tour where you will visit a number of hand-picked places: Oddseoul, A-OK, and a Nick Liu/Gwai Lo pop amongst the list. It’s a relaxed, yet exclusive, edge that owner Ivy Ackerman has managed to balance upon. I heard that last year’s late night Chinatown was pretty epic, so I’m hoping that this will either match or exceed those stories… While not inexpensive, I find it’s generally more than worth the cost between the experience, drinks, and eats. Limited to 12 spaces.
→ Butter & Egg Road: Best Scoop – Members Only (June 25)
One more B&E event – a tour of some delicious ice creams and gelati. SOMA, Greg’s, and Ed’s Real Scoop are on deck for this. I wonder if we’re walking from place to place to help burn it all off? Limited to 8. For members only, and free. How does one become a member? Sign up! If you manage to do it before May 31, let ’em know foodpr0n (or Jen) referred ya and you should get a $25 credit to your next event. Maybe I’ll see you at the Late Night Snackery?
Night It Up! (July 12-14)
For all you downtowners, these guys have been setting up various incarnations of this event in Markham since 2002. Run by a non-profit youth empowerment group, they’ve been serving up a slice of night markets popular in Asia. Look for the murtabak from Pondicherry and well, you can’t miss the aroma of stinky tofu. Also, it’s busy. They topped 100,000 attendees over two days in 2011.
Victorinox Swiss Army’s Summer Entertaining (July 15)
I’ve now listed pretty much all of Victorinox’s demos. The one that wasn’t (and would have been) included, Fishmongering 101, has already passed. Whomever curated these events has a really good fix on a food-lover’s radar. Well, on my radar, certainly. This demo (poorly named, I think), were it solely on authentic Italian cuisine, doesn’t pique my interest at all. But the secrets to salumi-making? That certainly does! How about you?