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Jun 15, 2010 07:14 PM

Luminato - 1000 Tastes (June 19th and 20th 2010) - Queens Park

Once again Luminato is having the 1000 Tastes event. This year it will be at Queens Park (well, I believe on the roads surrounding Queens Park). I went the last 2 years and I usually find something interesting so figured I would post a heads up here

It is $5 per sample plate:

The restaurants participating are listing in the comments section.

The "value" is arguable by some, but, I enjoy the experience.

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  1. This sounds very interesting! How were the crowds? Nothing worse than being taunted by great food and smells and having to wait in line for upwards of 30 minutes per line like at some of the ribfests I've been to!

    6 Replies
    1. re: Chocolatemama

      The lines at this event have been very reasonable in past years, mainly due to the fact that there are so many booths/vendors. Aside from especially well-known chefs, I don't recall seeing more than one or two people in line at any of the booths at any point.

      1. re: gregclow

        i thought this event only had 1.. maybe 2 years at most in its history? the first year i wouldn't necessarily count just because it was very different... only 10 vendors with a big emphasis on the communal table which was annexed to the far end of the line in the second year. i think the pc product plate thing was much more prominent.

        also, i'm not sure how things will be run this year (3rd year, 3rd event company organizing it) but last year the line-up for purchasing the tickets was ridiculous whereas it was no more than a few minutes for each booth, if at all.

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          Yes, third year. Although I'd argue against them being "very different" - aside from the change of venue and layout, they've been pretty much the same concept.

          Not sure what you mean by "only 10 vendors" for the first year (at the Distillery) - there were many more than that. Almost 50 if this article from the time is correct:

          Last year (at Harbourfront), the PC thing was in one particular area, but easily avoided. Otherwise, it was pretty close in style to the previous year, except with more booths.

          You're right about the ticket line-ups last year, though (and even the first year, to an extent) - I'd forgotten about that. Hopefully, they'll do a better job of it this year.

          1. re: gregclow

            hrm.. my memory is faulty on that then. by the time i got there only about 5 tables were left the first year and that coloured my impression about what was available.

          2. re: pinstripeprincess

            Actually there were 58 chefs the first year and something like 40 booths - the table was in the middle of the road facing the chefs - just saying

        2. re: Chocolatemama

          I'm wondering about the crowds, too, as Luminato will be hosting other events at Queen's Park North at the same time. And, of course, this is the official G20 protest area--albeit the following weekend. Still, the "People's Summit" will be going on (at Ryerson? U of T? Other locations, too, I think) so it may be a hectic weekend downtown.

          Thursday to Sunday: Wish Come True

          Saturday: World Divas and Global Blues

          Sunday: World Music Celebration

        3. I agree that the ticket buyers line was REALLY disorganized last year. They had no big signage to make it clear to people that they needed cash only, how the ticket thing worked, etc. so instead of people being ready with money at the front it kind of turned into a disaster. I was helping out as a volunteer last year and tried to keep things moving as quickly as possible but they were pretty slow at the cash.

          Hopefully this year the kinks will be worked out. If you want to avoid lines I suggest going on off-peak times or go as early as you can. I recall last year some place selling BBQed chicken having a HUGE line. I think some people were just going for value for their money too since some vendors were selling something worth 50cents for $5....

          Besides Luminato, there is also stuff for NXNE on at YD Square.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ylsf

            I took a photo of some of the food vendors at YD Square for NXNE (North by Northeast):

            I read that Yonge St. between Dundas and Queen will be closed Saturday night. Iggy Pop is the headliner.

            I agree that the ticketing procedure at 100 Tastes last year at Harbourfront was confusing.

          2. Just went to this on Saturday at around 2:30pm - no lines, except at the free PC Ice Cream Truck (which is understandable). We got a venison meatball sandwich from The Stop CFC and a poutine from Poutini's (their normal small version - they had veg and beef gravy available). Both were tasty and a good size - the venison meatballs were seasoned perfectly and the poutine wasn't too salty. It looked like a couple of vendors had already run out of food at this time and were packing up, so go early!

            1112 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

            7 Replies
            1. re: klf

              I know last year they switched vendors/restaurants part way through as they had more restaurants than spots. So, it might have been what you were seeing (as last night it was suppose to run until 9pm... today only until 6).

              I was down there yesterday too. My plan was to avoid things that were "usual" but I ended up getting oysters from Rodney's (3 of them) because I was in the mood. My friend had the fried clams/fries from there too (fries were over salted.. I would recommend the oysters). I got the lamb dish from Saltan's tent (tasty, I got a big chunk of lamb with mine, was stewed with some apricots, served on coucous). I also got the hamburger spring roll from the Susur Lee section and had a bit of the Lee Slaw salad as my friend tasted cilantro and she isn't a fan of it.

              The venue is MUCH better than harbourfront for something like this. They had picnic tables set up in the shade. They had 4 or 5 ticket selling places (no line up).

              A LOT of places selling pulled pork. I kind of felt bad for the places where it seemed no one was buying anything.

              I will be back today to check out some of the concerts (Mr. something something at 3pm is good for anyone looking for something to see).

              1. re: ylsf

                There was supposed to be a switch at 3pm, but I only saw two new vendors getting set up at that time - Dufflet and Starfish.

                787 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                1. re: ylsf

                  Ah, wish I knew about the switch earlier! Thanks for the tip. I asked some volunteers about a listing of vendors for both days but they didn't have this info. We were trying to find JK Kitchens, so this might explain why they weren't around. Might go back today to see what's new and to have some of the slaw.

                  1. re: klf

                    I am running out quickly so I don't have time to post the link but someone on Redflagdeals posted a photo of a sheet listing all the restaurants, what time they were on, etc.

                    In the forum over there.

                      1. re: jlunar

                        Thank you ylsf and jlunar! I should start lurking around the RFD Food section more often.

                        Just got back from round two today. Had the pork belly and wild leek yogurt flatbread sandwich from Globe/Earth- the pork belly slice was huge and had just the right amount of fat and meat. The fried clams and fries from Rodney's looked good, but as was mentioned earlier, the fries were way too salty. Also had the tri-tip steak sandwich from Loic - good amount of flavourful steak, and it wasn't too dry. We ended up sharing a large plate from New Bilan - lightly spiced stewed beef, chicken, and vegetables on rice. I'm not doing this food any justice from my descriptions, but I'll definitely pay New Bilan a visit in the future.

                        New Bilan Restaurant
                        183 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5A1Z4, CA

                        1. re: klf

                          Love New Bilan despite the dodgy location in Crackland...lovely people...Marimba!

                          New Bilan Restaurant
                          183 Dundas St E, Toronto, ON M5A1Z4, CA

              2. If you go today, bring your own beverages. They ill-advisedly granted that concession to only one provider, who was charging 3$ a bottle for water or pop.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Snarf

                  Or you could pay one $5 ticket for lemonade!

                  1. re: jlunar

                    Yeah, we went yesterday and were kicking ourselves for not bringing our own drinks. $5 for lemonade is just crazy, so we got a smoothie instead which was really good, but not exactly thirst quenching. I refuse to pay $3 for water, dehydration be damned.
                    I tried the fish cakes and had a great watermelon and feta salad with a side of cornbread. My partner had a tri-tip steak sandwich with chipotle sauce, and we shared the strawberry shortcake (both from the same place). The only line we stood in was for the smoothie.
                    Overall we agreed that it was money well spent, everything was tasty and we didn't really have to wait for anything. Being that it was so hot, all the pulled pork and paella stations didn't look all that appetizing, oh well.

                    1. re: jlunar

                      There were acouple of rip-offs.. $5 for a cob of corn, $5 for lemonaide, $5 for 4 tiny lamb scewers and $5 for one spring roll from Susur.

                      I had Poutine from Poutinis but the fries had a very burnt taste to them. Paella from the southern vendor was really good, pulled prok was great again from the one on the south side... the roast pig on the north end was not good, typical canned beans and pork that looked and tasted like it had been boiled.. think they added water to the tray so that it would not dry out as they were not cutting direct;y from the pig.

                      I found the sinage terrible most vendors I could not see what they were serving as some kept everything hidden from view and in turn they tended to have no one lining up.

                      One bit of excitement happened when the Young Thailand tent caught on fire not sure how it happened but flames shot 3 feet up from teh chaffing dishes and set the tent above ablase.. the staff just backed away not knowing what to do and the customers ended up picking up teh tent poles and moving it away from the flame. None of the organizers seemed to notice and the keot serving the food that had burnt tent drop in it\!!!! attached is a photo of the burnt tent...

                      601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                      1112 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                      1. re: chowspotting

                        We just got back. We had the fried clams & frites from Rodneys (which I really enjoyed) and those big rice balls (I can`t remember the name - they were from an Italian place - $5 for 2 of them). Between the 2 of us, it was a nice lunch. The bottle of water was $2.

                        My only complaint was that we tried to get a seat in the area where you can buy beer - we thought we`d have a drink and listen to the music. No seats available - they just didn`t have enough. But it was still an enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.

                        1. re: SusanB

                          I got ripped off then, I paid $5.00 for 1 rice ball.

                          Damn you cafe nervosa, even if it was really good!!

                        2. re: chowspotting

                          Was there today with my family from 2 til 4. No lineups anywhere. Mom enjoyed the couscous and chicken from 93 Harbord, Dad was impressed with the juicy Caplansky sandwich (he asked for medium, not lean), and I was impressed with Cava's mussel, clam and chorizo stew, and Buca's arosticini skewers (yes, 4 lamb skewers for $5, but not at all a bad value considering they were delicious and very authentic in size and flavour). The big downfall was The Local Kitchen's pulled pork sandwich - dry, dry, dry.

                          I noticed corn on the cob was 2 for $5, and macarons 2 bags for $5. Maroli's chicken, rice and salad seemed good value, but ran out of money too quickly.

                          Standing in line forever for PC ice cream and Vichy face products didn't produce good enough results....but the Telus goat bags were a nice bonus.

                          93 Harbord
                          93 Harbord St, Toronto, ON M5S1G4, CA

                          1560 Yonge St., Toronto, ON M4T 2S9, CA

                          630 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6G1K7, CA

                          356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                          604 King St. West, Toronto, ON M5V 1M6, CA

                          1. re: Food Tourist

                            You got four skewers! I only had two....!

                            and two macaron bags for $5 was a great deal... but only if they were good. I passed given that they were baking in a plastic bag in the sun...

                    2. Went today. Didn't see the switch up though. Had Susur's cheeseburger springroll (first time really ever trying Susur's foods) and it wasn't bad, but the lettuce didn't look fresh. Poutini also my first time and the curds could not melt, will have to try at their restaurant. Kobe beef hotdog was very very very juicy, as it literally was squirting (Probably goes down as the most juiciest hotdog I've ever had). The Somali foods were pretty good actually. Also had oysters from Rodney's Oyster Bar and it was pretty decent deal (4 for $5).

                      601 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V1M5, CA

                      1112 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: MeXx

                        went right around 12pm on Saturday and there were no lineups for tix or for food. susur was actually there helping out and taking pictures. the standouts for me were from amuse bouche, they made fish cakes and burgers. it's too bad they closed 2 weeks ago, hopefully they'll pop up somewhere else soon.