Secret Food Festivals
I've decided I'm fed up with giant food festivals that have become nothing more than tourist rip offs. I don't want to fight hundreds for a chunk of over cooked charred pork at Taste of the Danforth; there is no more $5 tasting tickets at the Food and Wine Expo; and definitely no more bad Summerlicious meals.
I am searching for the secret or poorly advertised street festivals, parties and great cook get-togethers.
Here's my contribution so far:
This weekend we went out in the country to Stadtlander's for his Ramps and Maple Syrup Festival. Great day, great food, 200 people.
I just came across this "Sausage Party" that took place last July with Berkshire Pork on Toronto Island. I'll find out if it is happening this year.
Last summer we were driving down Davenport and the local Portuguese community were having a little street fest, grilling sardines on the BBQ. Maybe 60 people, delicious sardines.
Let me know what you know. High profile, low profile, cheap, expensive, in or out of town…
Well, it kinda went like this. We were meandering (...lost) and trying to find our way back downtown when my roommate spotted bushels of tomatoes on sale for $15. We screamed to a halt and purchased 3 bushels from this funny shop that looked like it specialized in homemade wine supplies and grapes. As close as I can figure after the fact it was Culotta Grapes & Darrigo's Grape Juice Limited at 1800 Davenport.
Right around the corner they were having this little streetfest. And it was sometime around tomato season.
Sorry, it can't get more cryptic than that. Thanks for your tips.
If you'd like to do your own Portuguese Sardine BBQ, you can find them at NO-Frills, frozen. Just sprinkle with O-Oil and let sit for a hour or so B4 BBQ-in' Delicious...........just like our Portuguese neighbours do. We join them several times a year for these and Sea Bass/Trout also at N/F's.
This past Sat. there was a Ukranian celebration at Centenial Park (Eglinton and Renforth) probably not well publicized, but was in the local paper (The Guardian) Lots of Hulupchi (?) and Pierogi and Sausages, but an extended rain shower kind of cooled things down.
It's not particularly secret or poorly advertised but I tried the Salsa Festival on St. Clair West last summer and had a great time - yummy papusas and churros were the standouts for me.
There's a pretty good latino festival at Christie Pits in late June/Early July, food, music and a beer garden. There's also the car-free Sundays in Kensington Market. It might not be a food fest but there is some damn fine food around the area available for sampling.
The Dufferin Grove Tasting Fair, a joint offering of Slow Food and the market (and one of Slow's cheaper events), usually late Sept/early Oct, $2 an item/drink ... good local organic etc.
One summer we chanced upon a big Hare Krishna festival on the island -- dunno if it's an annual event. Great smells, great food, little proselytizing. Long lineup for cheap and yummy pork curry ... suspiciously next to the empty elephant ride. (The other grey meat?!)
The dinners are every Friday (weather permitting), in the summers they have them outdoors by the gardens and pizza oven. Volunteers shop at the farmers market at Dufferin Grove on Thursdays, and on Friday they cook a meat main, a vegan main, 2 sides, and a dessert.
The mains usually are $6, or PWYC depending on your financial situation. I love the idea of it, and the fact that they cook organically... I've been a few times, but have never been in love with the dinners.
I do, however love the little snack cart that they bring out everyday in the summer with hotdogs, soups, cookies, sandwiches... etc. I guess it's because I know what to expect...
2917 Dufferin St, Toronto, ON M6B3S7, CA
The Hare Krishna Island festival is an annual affair commencing with a huge street parade of hopping, flower petal throwing, Krishna chanters and giant floats from the temple on Avenue rd. I understood that it was a weekend event with the food provided gratis by the religious sect on opening day.
More accurate info can be obtained by connecting with the temple.
The Indonesian Christian Church at 1000 Petrolia Road is holding their annual Indonesian Food Bazaar on June 9th starting at 11am. It's likely one of the last places to offer Indonesian food within the city limits. I had not heard of it until this year, so I don't know what it is like. The contact number is 416-665-4777.
For Indonesian food, here's also the Warung Kopi run by UNICAS coming up on April 26. Menu includes:
"Nasi Gudeg, Bakmie Kangkung, Nasi lemak (nasi gurih, Ayam kari, Sambal teri kacang, serundeng, green beans), lumpia [and other small foods], [Indonesian snacks]."
and they have a Spring Bazaar on May 24 as well:
Aha! The Festival of South Asia will take place on Gerrard August 18th and 19th. Last year it featured classical dancing, pop singing, and a whole lot of eating. If you've not tried barbequed corn rubbed in lime juice and rolled in spices or battered and deep fried hot peppers or kulfi (ice cream), this is a good opportunity to do so.
There's the annual "night market" at Metro Square (steeles and warden)
most of these street food are common in east asian countries (HK, china, taiwan). The event gets bigger and bigger every year, it gets really really crowded since the size of the parking lot doesn't change at all, boo~
Try the stinky tofu if u're there~ u'll never forget it
the Asian Night Market was quite a unique experience when I attended last. Thousands of mainly Asians congregated in the parking area.
The sounds, the buzz, the smoke flavoured night air filled with the smells of
a vast variety of exotic food items. Sampling was very delightful and inexpensive. I did try the stinky tofu and enjoyed it. It was a night to imprint upon your memories.
That reminded me that St Lawrence Market does it's customer appreciation night which I went to a few years ago.
Googled it and alas, missed it by a month. So for next year. Just ask any merchant, they love giving out tickets.
Customer Appreciation Night
April 12, 7 to 9:30 p.m., South Market
"Our annual party to thank our customers with FREE food and entertainment inside the Market after hours. By invitation only; available from Market merchants from March 24th."
Thanks everyone for suggestions and hopefully we can follow up this summer with how each festival went.
Argentine BBQ's are woth looking for. Just ask a friend from there.
The biggest and best was Joe Foti's, near Vaughan and Oakwood, until his death about three years ago. The beef and pork were raised on grass near Scugog, and a huge wood fired grill was set up for three adjoining back yards. It was free, if invited, or a small Lib. party donation would get you in. Lots of liberal brass, even P.E.T one year, but each year a feast to remember.
I believe I attended that street festival with my GF. It was around that area and was organized by the residents of the unrembered street name.
I remember the grilled Portuguese sardines. there were draws for prizes and many activities for the neighbourhood kids including construct your personal pizza. We heard about it in Now Newspaper 'DAILY EVENTS" Section.
Very few people have a chance to experience wild, fresh, Great Lakes Salmon or Trout. The Chantry Salmon Derby affords such a chance. This is good, old-time, Ontario, stripped-down, country eating with no pretense.
The Derby takes place about the first 2 weeks of August. Contestants donate their catches to the committee in order to stay within legal daily catch/possession limits. The results are fried up on the first and second Fridays.
$12 buys you all you can eat - baked potato or supermart fries, supermarket cole slaw and...
wild, Lake Huron: Lake Trout; Chinook Salmon; Coho Salmon; Pink Salmon; Brown Trout, or Rainbow Trout. Any shortfall due to the Fish Fry's popularity is made up by local, commercially caught Whitefish - from our Sobey's I believe.
In truth there is mostly Lake Trout and Whitefish on the menu which is still not shabby considering they don't have far to swim to the frier. The fish are deep fried in a commercial batter and the frier knows what he is doing.
You takes what you gets in the lineup because that's the way of it and don't ask if it's whatever kind of Salmon or Trout because no-one will tell you unless you've spent a winter here.
There is a fry-up this Friday beginning at 5:00 p.m.
I'm a paid-up member of the Lake Huron Fishing Club whose volunteer conservation and fish stocking programmes benfit us all, so I tout shamelessly.
...this sounded awsome!...until this part...
"You takes what you gets in the lineup because that's the way of it and don't ask if it's whatever kind of Salmon or Trout because no-one will tell you unless you've spent a winter here."
..but, if I was driving by and happened to see a fish fry in progress the brakes would be working overtime!...
Saw a poster today for an event called 'Family Fun Day on the Danforth', taking place Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Entertainment, kids' activities and "international cuisine" promised. If I remember correctly, it will extend from Woodbine to Greenwood.
THAI FOOD FESTIVAL
I remember attending a Thai food Festival at Nathan Phillip's Square-Toronto City Hall one Saturday and Sunday the same day as the start of the Hare Krishna Island festival. A variety of Thai restaurants were represented and sample tastes were quite inexpensive. We even had a Thai message there.
(ouch) under a tent on a very hot humid day.
just found this while searching for and indonesian restaurant and i think this thread is awesome and should be kept current.
my input, the bread and honey festival in streetsville, more about beer than food but definitely a good place to pick up local honeys and a pretty good time as well...
In my opinion, give Ribfest a pass and find a way to make a pilgrimage to Buster Rhino's in Whitby (not open weekends or past 8 pm, which can make it difficult for a road trip).
Great smoky smell when you walk in the door, nicely smoked (huge smoke-ring) ribs, though back ribs so I found them a tad less meaty than I like). I haven't tried the brisket I brought home yet, as I had a vegetarian visiting for the weekend. Looking forward to it and will report back (in a new review thread).
If you are really interested in this get yourself hooked up with some other foodies..Lots of them out there. We meet in Toronto once or twice a month and try new things with other foodies. Almost always the same group, some come, some go, etc. It's more fun than looking for events since you are simply making your own.
Although I'm not a vegetarian, I always enjoy going down the the Vegetarian Food Fest at Harbourfront. I believe it's in August? Lots of great veggie treats, delicious vegan baked goods. Reasonably priced. Low key, but a little busy. Delicious roasted seasoned corn, lots of Asian and East Indian options, a great burrito guy and vegan pizza just to start. Lots of art, info and products available. There is usually a big booth wth fresh cut fruit. A giant rip off, but hey, it's good (and they usually have fresh coconuts!)
This post got me thinking about looking at food experiences outside the box. Thanks Mila for starting this post. I got obsessed with the idea of a fish fry. Sure enough I found a great one! St. Georges Anglican Church 15 minutes from Collingwood in the town of Clarksburg hosts one annually. It’s a major even for the church and Christian or not they welcome everyone. The church is in Clarksburg and the event this year was on Saturday June 19th 2010. $15 get’s you in. You can buy advanced tickets in Collingwood and in Meaford too or pay at the gate. The town is picture perfect and very pretty. The church is also quite charming with lots of property and greenery and gardens. The do a great job of setting up tents with lovely wood tables. There was even live old timer Christian tunes for senior listening pleasure.
So let’s get to the food. They had a standard spread of salads (pasta, potato and coleslaw). The pasta salad was really nice with lots of vegetables and a good variety of them too. It was also great because there was no dreadful mayo in it. I was wondering where all the fish was being prepared. I glanced towards the back of the property and saw 2 white vans with the back doors swung open. I walked to them to find a full on fish fry operation in full swing. Each van housed a massive square double vat of bubbling oil and golden portions of fish. They where deep frying battered Georgian Bay White fish and Trout. The prepared fish would be brought to a senior citizen church volunteer to be doled out at the buffet. The lady at the buffet was surly and wouldn’t tell me which was trout and which was whitefish. I’m not sure what I had first but it had a “fishy” taste to it. I thought it must be white fish. So for my next piece I decided to go to the source- the Fry Van. They knew exactly which fish was which and he gave me a piece of Trout. I though it also tasted a little fishy. Don’t get me wrong, it tasted good just fishy if that makes sense? Perhaps I’m not used to eating Georgian Bay fish??? The pieces where huge and unlike fish and chips. They had been deboned but not deskinned. The batter was golden, light, crispy and not at all greasy.
The best part of the experience was the pie. Spanning 2 fold out tables where trays upon trays of every kind of homemade pie you could ever imagine! Grandma baking. Literally! I was in church food heaven. Being rhubarb and strawberry season I had one of each. My piece of strawberry pie had whipped cream on it too. Albeit cool whip but it was a nice touch and looked pretty. It was killer. Fresh strawberries and perfect flaky crust. The rhubarb pie was just as good. They also had pecan, pumpkin, pumpkin custard, apple, blueberry, cherry, lemon meringue, key lime and on and on. All washed down with some lemonade. They also had a tea/coffee station. The best part was I made some friends too! The folks I sat with were welcoming as were most of the people at the event. Many people seemed to get a kick out of the fact that I was from Toronto and learned about the Fish Fry from the internet.
St. Georges Anglican Church Website:
re: food face
Hey food face -- fyi, Jamie Kennedy does an annual fish fry outdoors in the field next to the community hall in Hillier, a tiny town in Prince Edward County - it is great. Coleslaw, beet salad, good desserts. It's on Saturday night (June 26th). You have to have tickets but I am not sure how they are sold. We have been every year (not this year sadly).
9 Church St, Toronto, ON M5E1M2, CA
Harbourfront Centre has a different festival every weekend in the summer called WORLD ROUTES, usually with a very strong food element (some are specifically called "food festivals"). This weekend is "The Hot Spot", upcoming is "Fortune Cooking", "Hot & Spicy", "Island Soul", Love, Saskatchewan", etc. There are food events that are present at every festival including the Greenbelt Tasting Market (free samples and opportunity to chat with the Greenbelt farmers who are on-site), the World Cafe Tent where you can buy meals from around the world, etc. There are a series of "Iron Chef" competitions throughout the summer as well, themed on local Canadian cuisine, different styles of dumplings, etc. - If you follow the most popular TO foodies on Twitter, most have been Tweeting live results from today's competition!
All info and listings at http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/wor...
Also - the free film series (Wednesday nights on the Sirius Stage outside) is food-themed in 2010. More details at http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/fre...
Hope this helps!
Pedestrian Sundays @ Kensington Market! It's a lot of fun, and lots of restaurants sell food on the streets - some new & usual fare. Great way to introduce yourself to the area.
I saw this thread while looking up food fests, so I made a post about it!
It changes up every Sunday, but here's a quick run down of my last experience:
Platanos with pulled pork and sauce
Intrigued by the plantain patty, this was immediately ordered. Covered in spicy mayo, I liked the plantain but (as expected) the pulled pork wasn't that great. I would love to see plantain patties used for other sandwiches though! Their hot sauce was perfect for giving it a good kick.
Beef, chicken, chorizo, ricotta with mozzarella, & humita empanadas
Their empanadas were good - I especially liked adding chimichurri - one spoonful was not enough! I tried their chorizo empanada, which was tasty and not too filling...perfect because I wanted to try lots of different food that day! I would like to go back to try their traditional beef empanada, to compare it with Jumbo's version. Definitely my favourite empanada so far.
Yum!!!. Stuffed with mozerella and Mexican cheese, this deep fried pepper is topped with a marinara-like sauce which I mixed with some more of their hot sauce. The owner kindly gave me a second helping of the tomato sauce upon request =
Filled with beans and cheese, I was lucky enough to grab one right when it came out of the oven so the pastry was very flaky and fresh. While very tasty, I think I wouldve preferred the beef as I found it was a bit of a cheese-overload by the time I finished it. If you like cheesy food, go for it!
Next to Segovia, there was a stand with freshly-made churros filled with you choice of caramel, strawberry, or chocolate syrup. Despite my friend's utter disgust with the squishy dough slithering out from the machine, a chocolate-filled churro was ordered. Mmm, fresh and crispy.
Fresco's Cuisine Inc. Fish & Chips
Also tried were a trio of fried seafood skewers from Fresca. As they weren't fresh, the battered pieces were not crispy or particularly tasty. Not the best advertisement for their fish & chips - I won't be trying anything from them in the future.
Other vendors were selling Indian cuisine, pastries, jewellery, and sandwiches. As we munched away, we wandered the streets and enjoyed the fun vibe. In the spirit of Pedestrian Sunday, some locals were playing music and there were children selling some fun treats.
An oyster-loving friend was happy to discover these on sale outside of New Seaway Fish Market. Shucked to order, there were 4 varieties: French Kiss, Lucky Lime (PEI), and Kumamoto (2 for $5) as well as a BC variety (3 for $5).
I really like going to this, I mean I hit it once a week for fruit & veggies anyways...might as well make a fun day out of it! There are 2 more left!
Fish Market Restaurant
54 St York, Ottawa, ON K1N5T1, CA
Here are a few upcoming food-related events in Toronto.
Toronto Ukrainian Festival 2010
Bloor West Village, between Jane St. and Runnymede Rd
Friday, September 17, 2010 5pm - 1am
Saturday, September 18, 2010 9am - 1am
Sunday, September 19, 2010 11am - 7pm
Good Food for All Festival
The Stop Community Food Centre, 1884 Davenport Road
September 18, 2010 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Applicious 3rd Annual Fall Festival
Woodbine Park, Coxwell Ave & Lake Shore Blvd E
September 18, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Iron Cupcake Toronto
For the Love of Cake, 171 East Liberty Street
Sunday, September 19, 1:00 pm
Make It Ontario Beef Tailgate Event
Rogers Centre, Gate 11
Sunday, September 19, 2010, 11:30 am - 1:30 pm
3rd Annual Totally Fabulous Vegan Bake-Off
Gymnasium at Harbourfront Community Centre
Saturday, October 2, 2 - 4:30 pm
4th Annual Picnic at the Brick Works
Evergreen Brick Works, 550 Bayview Avenue
Sunday, October 3, 2010, 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Chilean Wine and Food Festival
Tuesday, October 5, 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
A few more...
Vibrant Columbia Diaspora Festival
Fri, Sep 17, 2010 -- Sun, Sep 19, 2010
Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay West
Sat, Sep 18, 2010
Cheese Boutique Fall 2010 Tasting Series
Cheese Boutique, 45 Ripley Avenue
12:00 noon to 4:00 PM
Sat, Sep 18, 2010 -- Sun, Sep 19, 2010
Korean Harvest Festival
Mel Lastman Square, 5100 Yonge Street
9:00 AM to 10:00 PM
45 Ripley Ave, Toronto, ON M6S, CA
Not a secret food festival, but definitely a foodie event (for a good cause).
Eat to the Beat
Roy Thomson Hall
Tue., October 05, From: 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Hosted by Willow Breast Cancer Support, Eat to the Beat features more than 60 female chefs who provide patrons with sweet and savoury delights. This year marks the 15th anniversary of Eat to the Beat, which includes Food Network's chef Anna Olson, Dufflet Rosenberg of Dufflet Pastries and Fiona Lim from George. All the support from Eat to the Beat goes to improving the lives of breast cancer patients.
1917 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4L, CA
More? If you follow the event listings on sites like Taste TO you'll notice that there is something like this at least a couple of times a month. At various times of the year I gets up to multiple in a week. Frankly I've reached a point where I just toss invites to 100+ dollar fundraising food events in the bin unless I know the event is superb (ala Brickworks Picnic)
I've mentioned this once before on another thread and I'm surprised no one else mentioned it here, but my wife and I used to attend the annual Feast Of Fields which is usually held mid September. What I recall is that it was/is(?) a great festival that's been going on for over 20+ years. We haven't been back due to scheduling, but it was an excellent one day festival. It's always held outdoors either in a conservation area or farm close to or within the GTA. It supports local organic farmers and all the food is cooked by up and coming or well known chefs in and around Toronto. I remember getting served by a youngish looking Jamie Kennedy at the first Feast I went to (I think it was smoked trout). The cost has always been around $100 per person, but it's all you can eat. Each stall is always something different and even the "plates" are organic (usually a leaf or hollowed out gourd, etc.) . Great selection for both carnivore and vegetarian.
9 Church St, Toronto, ON M5E1M2, CA
I went for the first time this year and was quite disappointed. There was nothing that was really outstanding, and most of the dishes were rather blah. The best parts for me were the wineries and a new cidery, Spirit Tree, which is unfortunately only available at the cidery in Caledon (that's a long way from Scarborough).
One of the participants said that there was a major chef's conference that same weekend in Vancouver, so that may explain the lack of great food. For the money, it certainly wasn't worth it this year. I wish we'd gone to the Brickworks instead.
re: Ted Richards
That's a shame, conference or no conference it's still not a valid excuse for blah food if they're going to charge that much money. As I mentioned it's been awhile since I last attended and trust me it was worth the money back then. We always looked forward to this festival and now it looks like it may have "jumped the shark". Also back then there weren't that many food festivals going on around Toronto. Now it seems there's some festival or function happening every month and maybe the chefs around here are just too busy.
Chef’s Challenge: The Ultimate Battle for a Cure
Canada’s hottest all-star culinary lineup, featuring Food Network Canada chefs David Rocco, Jamie Kennedy, Lynn Crawford, Mark McEwan, and Massimo Capra, will join Chef Gordon Ramsay for the inaugural Chef’s Challenge: The Ultimate Battle for a Cure, presented by World MasterCard to benefit breast and ovarian cancer education and research at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Chef Ramsay is challenging local foodies to join in the battle against cancer on Saturday, November 20, 2010 at The Carlu in Toronto.
Royal Agricultural Winter Fair
Exhibition Place, Toronto
November 5 - 14, 2010
Ice, Wine & Dine
Saturday, November 13, 2010 from 4:00pm to 10:00pm.
Elm Street comes alive on Saturday, November 13th from 4-10pm for a dynamic feast for the senses, with delicious treats from participating restaurants, mouth-watering wine pairings, live music and incredible visual spectacles. Fire performers and stilt walkers from Zero Gravity Circus, magic shows, fortune-tellers and the uplifting sounds of a capella barbershop quartet, Nitro, make this a free event not to be missed.
Queen's Quay Chef Cooking Events
1-3pm in the South Atrium
Saturday, November 13 • Gus Sawh, Mariposa Cruises Chef
Saturday, November 20 • Hiro Hasegawa, Ki Modern Japanese + Bar, Master Sushi Chef
Saturday, November 27 • Robert Jackson, Watermark Pub’s Executive Chef
Gourmet Food and Wine Expo
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Nov 18 2010 - Nov 21 2010
The 16th annual Gourmet Food & Wine Expo offers 36,000 guests the opportunity to sample over 1,500 fine wines, spirits and beers from all around the world. Visitors can also sample gourmet foods and signature dishes from Toronto's top restaurants. The expo also has educational opportunities and feature areas.
Tequila and More
Sample tequila and enjoy authentic Latin foods, music, dance and art!
Metro Toronto Convention Centre
Friday, December 3, 2010