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Toronto foodie event that's worth the price?

So many foodie events that take place, most of them fundraisers, some of them private, all of them pricey. The one I really enjoyed was the Brickworks Picnic. There is an abundance of food and goodwill. The food/wine workshops I've been to as okay -- nothing memorable and not sure worth the cost.
What has been your experience?

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  1. I've also really enjoyed the Picnic at the Brickworks. Another great event if you can make it out there is Savour Stratford. It's a weekend of programming with the culmination being an event similar to the Picnic at the Brickworks. I went last year and had a great time.


    1 Reply
    1. re: wontonfm

      I went to the Savour Stratford event last year and took their farm tour. I would really recommend it. It was, if I recall correctly, $25 per person for an entire-day event with a simple sandwich lunch. I would say it was a screaming bargain when you consider how much planning goes into it and on a per-hour basis that's hard to beat entertainment and edification.

    2. Has anybody been to Toronto Taste lately?


      I went once, years ago (might have been 1997?) but it looks like the same setup just the venue and the participating restaurants change.

      3 Replies
      1. re: TexSquared

        Never been but the $250 price tag puts me off. I understand it's for a good cause, but it is still very steep.

        1. re: TexSquared

          I went the last couple of years to Toronto Taste and have to say that last year's was the one that finally seemed "worth it" to me. The location at the ROM was vastly improved, especially with most of University Avenue closed and food tables set up both inside and outside. Previous years in Yorkville park felt cramped but this was a huge change for the better and people really seemed to enjoy it. There were very few lines and all the chefs were talkative and in a good mood. There were lots of wine, beer and other beverage choices. My only quibble is that they apparently "ran out" of gift bags which for that ticket price just should not happen. Yes the price is steep but you do get a partial tax receipt.

          1. re: TexSquared

            I went to Toronto Taste last year as well and had a fantastic time. The food was good and the chefs were all very personable and seemed happy to talk. We also picked a few really good bottles of wine at the auction for amazing prices. Overall it was a very enjoyable night and my husband and I are really looking forward to it again this year..

          2. In the past I really enjoyed Feast of Fields, a long standing event similar to the much newer Brickworks Picnic, the pre-SARS versions were amazing, better than the picnic in fact but they had to cancel it in the SARS year and it's never fully recovered, I thought the 20th anniversary version in 2009 was pretty close though but then the 2010 version was pretty weak due to it being scheduled for the same weekend as the Canadian Chef's Congress so there were basically no name chefs participating.

            I'll give it another shot this year but if it's the same as 2010 this may be the last one for us.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bytepusher

              I stopped going to Feast of Fields around 2000. It had changed and not in a positive way. There were far fewer chefs attending, and not as much to eat. If you had been to the ones in the early 90's, you would notice it's decline.

            2. You might want to consider going to 1000 Tastes at Luminato:


              It is free to attend and although each item is $5, you can usually "see" what you are getting before you pay. No alcohol though. I would like to going to Taste Toronto at some point, seems like a good event.

              1. Picnic at the Brickworks and Eat to the Beat are my two favourites. Plenty of great food and wine at both.

                Eat to the Beat features all women chefs (Anna Olson and Lynn Crawford are the celebrity sponsors and they are always there), so there tends to be a strong lean towards desserts. Not to say that there aren't PLENTY of savoury items, but if you like desserts, then this is the one to go to. It's also kind of nice that people dress up for it, as it's held at Roy Thompson Hall.

                I would love to hit Toronto Taste, but the price is prohibitive. For the price of one ticket to Toronto Taste, I can go to both Brickworks AND Eat to the Beat.

                6 Replies
                1. re: TorontoJo

                  I like dessert but there is only so much a gal can eat at one sitting. Is it worth the $?

                  1. re: merlot143

                    I think it is (I also think Willow is a great organization). And there are plenty of savoury items, so my strategy is to go back and forth between savoury and sweet. :)

                    I've gone the last 3 years and have always enjoyed it. It's a very different vibe than the Brickworks, which I also enjoy.

                    1. re: TorontoJo

                      Do you mean, it's a swanky affair?

                      1. re: merlot143

                        More so than Brickworks yes. It is at Roy Thompson Hall. The venue in itself makes it feel swanky so to speak.

                  2. re: TorontoJo

                    The ticket to Toronto Taste includes a $125 donation which you get a tax receipt for.

                  3. I rather enjoy Kensington Market's Pedestrian Sundays. It's not a solely foodie event, but has a mixture of good times on the street. The vibe is always fun when I've gone, I really recommend it if you're the type that enjoys wandering and randomness.
                    I posted about one of my visits here: http://www.cookiesandtomatoes.com/201...

                    Pedestrian Sundays :: Kensington Market

                    On Pedestrian Sundays @ Kensington, Torontonians spill onto the car-free streets to enjoy a day of music, artsy performances, random shenanigans, and delicious face-stuffing. Held on the last Sunday of every month, it has a different atmosphere than some of the more widely advertised festivals.

                    Although my major draw was The Bellevue's fish tacos (which was a fail since they didn't end up serving them the day that I went), I stuck around and did what I do best: explore and eat. There's always something random going on on the streets!

                    Several restaurants were offering street-eats, both from their regular menu and PS-treats. Here's a run-down of what we tried:
                    Patacone (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.
                    Empanadas (Beef, chicken, chorizo, ricotta with mozzarella, & humita empanadas)
                    Chorizo Empanada - best filling!
                    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 [Click to Compare]. Definitely my favourite empanada so far.

                    Stuffed Pobleno - 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 =)

                    El Gordo - Right next door is empanada-competitor El Gordo, known for their kimchi-beef empanadas. Trying something new, he traded them for spicy-beef and a burrito version. My ears perked at the word "burrito" and I promptly ordered one.

                    Burrito Empanada
                    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!

                    Churros - 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

                    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).

                    So I find that these type of events the best - there's no fee of course, which is maybe the type of cost that you were really getting at, but it's really one of my favourite summer things to do!

                    Segovia Meats
                    218 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T, CA

                    Fish Market Restaurant
                    54 St York, Ottawa, ON K1N5T1, CA

                    El Gordo
                    214 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON , CA

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: ekim256

                      ekim, is this Pedestrian Sunday every Sunday during the summer? Or was it a one time annual event? If it's a weekly event, is there parking nearby? I rarely go downtown so I have no idea of the parking situation around there.

                          1. re: Midknight

                            To answer the parking question. If you look carefully you can find some free street parking but if you don't know the area well you are probably better off just parking at the paid parking on college street or the Green P parking off of Spadina

                            Definitely an event worth checking out.

                            1. re: Midknight

                              last sunday of each month :)
                              Last year they had a mid-August one to celebrate the blackout!