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Jul 13, 2009 07:00 AM

Report: 2nd Annual Toronto Chowhound Picnic

This past Saturday found 27 Toronto 'hounds (and hound partners) gathered to share some of their favourite foods. Saturday morning's thunderstorms had us a bit worried, but by our gathering time of 4pm, the skies were blue and the sun was shining.

Some of the amazing foods made by our local hounds, in no particular order:

- coffee rubbed flank steak drizzled with chimichurri sauce
- homemade pastrami, from none other than our local deli guru, embee
- a *real* Caesar salad -- raw eggs, garlic, anchovies, the works!
- Cook's Illustrated decadent mushroom lasagna
- a Polish stew of sauerkraut and sausage, served with new potatoes and fresh dill
- 10-spice grilled pork tenderloin, served on Silverstein's mini egg buns with a garlic mayo and avocados
- pork carnitas tacos with pico de gallo, on tortillas from La Tortilleria
- shrimp, jicama and mango salad
- chickpea salad
- local mixed berries drowning (in the best possible way) in limoncello
- local strawberries served with a raw sugar from Barbados
- home smoked salmon with a sweet and spicy rub from one of our local BBQ hounds, davwud
- ridiculous espresso brownies
- super moist carrot cake with a maple icing
- sago gula maleka with coconut cream and palm sugar syrup
- Anna Olson's lemon squares
- 4 different types of homemade soda pops, each flavour more interesting than the last
- grapefruit and anise
- wolfberry
- cinnamon, ginger cola
- lemon and basil
- maple bacon (not for the faint of heart)

And some of the foods purchased by our fearless chow hunters:

- grilled Nathan's hot dogs, brought all the way from Alabama by davwud
- a very spicy chicken curry from Maroil, with their super yummy roti
- sticky toffee cake from McEwan
- several fruit flans/tarts from a bakery whose name escapes me (Chester Elegante, help!)
- a fantastic selection of cheeses and artisan breads
- quebec hard cider

I'm sure I'm missing a few items, so if anyone who was there can help, please chime in.

All in all, it was an amazing 6 hours of eating, drinking and merrymaking. We have some seriously talented home cooks in Toronto. Did I mention that embee's pastrami lasted all of 2 minutes?

If you are interested in next year's picnic, just sign up for the Toronto Chowhound google group at

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  1. There was also a spicy mussel thing (I'm sure that's the technical term).

    I actually gained 2.5 lbs in 24 hours. And it was 100% worth it.

    1. Where was this advertised? This is the first I heard of this picnic.

      2 Replies
      1. re: foodyDudey

        Same here. Wonder if this was another ModGod initiative to relocate any notice to some dark corner of the site? Baffles me how something this obviously Chow-oriented got moved/nuked.

        1. re: Kagemusha

          all chowmeets are organized offline and through the googlegroup.

          chowmeets have been advertised for quite a while now (i think the googlegroup itself is already 2 yrs+ old) though not as aggressively as in the past with a sticky post every month. as a default, we've chosen first fridays of the month for meetups and this past month was the picnic. there was actually a post last year also recapping the picnic (which is only in its second year).

          the intro to the ontario board post also lists the googlegroup as a place to go for ch meetups... the mods are actually quite helpful with all of this.

      2. Sounds awesome!! I am going to sign up for next years picnic now

        1. What?! No photos???
          And you people call yourselves Chowhounders. Feh.

          2 Replies
            1. re: phoenikia

              There are usually photos of all the food at chowmeets, but for the picnic, I think we got so excited about the bounty of delicious food that we just dove in. My husband had our camera and he was really good about taking a bunch of photos through the course of the day, which he sent to me this morning. Well, I laughed hysterically because, not being a true chowhound himself, he only took photos of the people, not the food. Not one single shot of the food. Oops.

          1. It was a great event, I'm curious where the fruit for the limoncello fruit salad came from. I'm currently eating my way through half a basket of the worst cherries I've ever bought, after having given up on some pretty terrible strawberries yesterday.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jacquilynne

              The strawberries were from Culinarium; $8 for two large quarts . The rest of the berries were from a small grocer on the east side of Yonge just north of Davisville.