Toronto Underground Market - starting in September
The previous thread on this was here:
It was locked by mods until details about the first event were unveiled.
I just read on Blogto that the first day will be September 24th. There will be a $5 access fee.
Toronto Underground website (you can buy the tickets online too):
Says there will be limited number of tickets available the day of for $10.
Not sure if it will be worth going or not. I guess if I am free that day it is worth the $5 risk to check it out.
Basic details :
Location - Evergreen Brickworks
Time - 6pm to 11pm
Date - Saturday September 24, 2011
Cost - entrance - $5 in advance, $10 at door (if available
)food sampling $2 to $8 each.
Wonder how much vendors paid? As long as it's inspected and supervised for food safety compliance, what's wrong with a culinary Etsy? At worst, it just might not be that great.
I checked out the online purchase of tickets - it's $5.00 dollars per ticket plus a $2.00 service fee, taxes included, so it's really $7.00 per head if you buy tickets online.
trust me - it ain't gonna be a wash. if executed properly - and I'm fully confident that it will be - this will be better than the last food truck toronto event.
first, you have control over the # of people attending. so they won't run out of food.
second, there are lots of vendors. so line-ups shouldn't be an issue.
third, its a big space. so unless they oversell, it won't be insanely packed.
all vendors had to apply to be considered. their food was sampled. so no surprises.
all signs point to it being incredibly awesome. we bought our tickets at 9 AM.
Vendors will still run out of food, not every single person walking thru the door will buy one product from each vendor. It's virtually impossible. You also can't expect all these small vendors to have enough food to feed everyone, if they did they would go home with an incredible amount of waste and end up losing vast sums of money.
There is absolutely no way to control this, none, and anyone who thinks they can is delusional. The only way would be for only one vendor to be there, with 1 product, that everyone had to buy.
So expect line ups, expect delays, expect sell outs of food, expect bad food, expect awesome food... just don't be surprised. These events are harder than the average person realizes to put together as a site (Brick Works) and harder on the new vendor who has no idea what they are doing.
Just an update. Tickets sold out at least a few weeks ago. I hope some CHers will report back after the event this weekend.
Went and had a great time! It was pretty well run but a lot of bad vendors as well, unfortunately. A friend of mine actually busted Flying Monkeys beer vendor for charging $5 ticketed beers the size of sample glasses when other beer vendors got full sized beers. He complained to the Yum Tum people and they forced the guy to serve regular glasses. What a shocking rip.
Had an array of things - deep fried quail eggs (good, but one was enough), deep fried breakfast dumplings ($3 each was outrageous), Po Boys (good but $4 for that tiny bite?), pork belly sandwich (freshly sliced, amazing), pulled pork quesadillas (this was one of the best! crisp shell, only $3), and an array of other things. The Kale pesto pasta was actually fantastic as well and I bought a pkg of the pesto to go.
Desserts were slow going and so so.
Overall it was fantastic but I was surprised to find some of the food very ho-hum. Spring rolls? Pulled pork x 4 vendors?
The event started on time and it was pretty well organized.
I'd go again but for me, I ended up spending $60. That's a lot!
Thanks for the reports people. My Argos game was fun but still wish I could have made it out to this :) I read that the next event is October 22nd and tickets go on sale on Monday. I think that is the same weekend as The Delicious Food show at Exhibition place.
I thought that the organizers did a "sampling" thing before hand before selecting vendors. Too bad a lot of vendors are doing the "pulled pork" thing. I see that so much at these type of events. I read somewhere that Paese restaurant was there. So, it wasn't all home cooks and a lot of normal restaurants too? Were they at least serving something different?
Surprised about Flying Monkeys, usually these beer places don't cheap out with beer samples. At the Beer Fest even a single token got you closer to a double token serving size that it was never worth it to use double . I am glad they got told to serve a full glass if that is what other vendors were doing. Looking forward to more reviews, especially jlunar's which I know will be indepth with lots of pics :)
333 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V, CA
My wife and I went. Expectations were kept in check.
We decided to go before the 6 PM opening to avoid parking headaches and potential line-ups. we were pretty smart to do that. No lines at 6. I foolishly dropped by La Carnita to say hi and thought I'd wait until later to get their tacos. Um, dumb move.
We stayed from 6-7:30 and had our fill, both of food and crowd. Man, it got packed really quickly! The line-ups for most stands was pretty crazy, with la Carnita winning the award for Craziest Line-up (i'd say it was 25-30 people deep).
Going with a spouse/friend was definitely the best option. We kept spending to a "minimum" and we were able to try all sorts of tasty eatings.
The highlight, for me, was Comida del Pueblo. They had two very interesting offerings: a bahn mi with home-made chorizo, and jalapeno corn bread grilled cheese sandwiches. From my wife's blog:
"Also from Comida del Pueblo, we got this grilled cheese sandwich. Like the bánh mì, it wasn’t your average grilled cheese. It was made with homemade jalapeno cornbread. Sharing space in between the slices of cornbread was the cheese and some refried beans, and on top of the sandwich was some very exceptional guacamole. I would have eaten a bowl of that guacamole on its own. "
I loved how this tasted. The only complaint was the fragility of the cornbread. Otherwise, it was amazingly executed. I've attached a picture.
The cons and pros:
-line-ups after 7 were crazy
-only 20-something vendors (which made the line-ups too big)
-poor signeage at each vendor - sometimes you had no clue what was being served. It also meant that we missed out on some food (e.g. thought it was a coffee vendor, but they were also serving pork belly)
-6 PM opening and maybe half the vendors were ready to serve at 6.
-Bread - too many vendors had bread as part of their food (made you really full)
-let's be honest: this event should be applauded and not picked apart. Everything about the concept was amazing. Average people had a chance to serve their food to hungry crowds.
-crowds - sure, it was crowded. But it speaks volumes about Toronto's appetite for food trucks and food events
-some of the food options were really cool and creative. I dug the grilled cheese and bahn mi, but also really liked the bacon and egg dumplings (yes, 2 for $5, but they were carefully crafted and you're paying for it). My wife dug the meat sliders (I thought they were ok). The macarons were really well done and the creme brule I had was very nice
And please, don't complain about dropping $$ for food. My wife and I spent around $40 total. for a night out and to sample all sorts of food, that's really not bad.
We'll likely go to the next event, since its a nice celebration of food. And considering this was the first event and there were lots of wrinkles to iron out, I thought that the vendors and organizers did really well.
What was in the bahn mi? The line up was long so I didn't wait for it but I really wanted to try it out.
My friends spent about half of what I did for food so when I gripe about it, it's really about my inability to do these events properly ;) A sharing idea is better as you end up not too full and trying everything...
Next one will be good, I hope there's less pulled pork!
My wife said chicken but i'm pretty certain it was home-made chorizo.
Had a really nice sauce in it as well along with the typical bahn mi shredded carrots and cuke. For those who are Jewish, the home-made bun tasted a lot like Passover buns but without the density.
The other problem with the grilled cheese sandwich was the execution. they should have been making them in advance instead of to order. So there was a 10 minute wait for a sandwich, which created a further log-jam and line.
Yes, it was home-made chorizo and I agree it was right at the top of our top 5! The bread was actually a shoe pastry (used for eclairs) that worked amazingly well. We also tried their chocolate tamales and they were exceptional!! We weren't going to wait in their line up for grilled cheese so I can't comment.
Pork Belly and their coffee both in my top 5. Pork sandwich could have included some crisp pork rind for that extra crunch but it was delicious and complete when compared to the other vendors. The coffee tasted great and amazingly smooth!
The Lemon Marscapone and the Salted Caramel Macarons were insane, out of the 6 or 8 flavours we tried. The big downside was how inconsistent the meringues were from flavour to flavour. The Vanilla Bean had a great taste but it was too hard to enjoy. I shared feedback to the vendor as she wanted to know my top choice, so I mentioned this inconsistency, and the woman told me all batches come out different. She would give my feedback to Katrina who makes them. I was then disappointed about the known inconsistency but more so with the fact that Katrina wasn't even at the event!
La Carnita was lined up and I have already eaten them twice in the past so we skipped that line. I am sure they would have been in my top 5 but they are certainly far from novice!
1. Bahn Mi
2. Chocolate Tamale
3. Pork Belly
(6. Rillette / Sauerkraut - it was just not my thing but it was well done!)
Beyond those top treats, there were terrible items not worth mentioning and there were some near-hits. Some foods I suspect were great at home but weren't exectuted properly given the limitations of the environment.
Had the scotch egg been served room temperature instead of cold, more flavours would have come through and it possibly would have rated in my top 5 bumping the macaron. The seasoned potato chips could have rated had they not been so inconsistent from chip to chip - some had seasoning while some lacked and others were just plain soggy rather than crisped. The Popovers were a great idea, poorly executed. We bought 3 figuring that each would be so unique but instead we found that the base was the same for all with a bit of bacon or feta sprinkled on top. As well, they were not warmed all the way through. I am not sure there is a way to serve awesome popovers, except right out of the oven!! And the flavours should have been incorporated throughout the dough!
Unless I forgot something, there was nothing else worth mentioning out of our samplings. We tried maybe 7 or 8 additional items.
From the blog: http://www.foodpr0n.com/2011/09/25/to...
Though TUM touts itself as “not a food festival,” it wasn’t unlike a food festival either. Vendors lined the walls of one of the large spaces at The Evergreen Brickworks and people shuffled around from station to station trying to eat all they can. Perpetually long lines streamed from the tables of La Carnita and the guys with cornbread grilled-cheeses (what’s with the grilled-cheese fascination!?). Everyone else seemed to have an ebb and flow of line ups over the three hours we stayed.
I can’t imagine the terror novice vendors must have felt seeing the genteel stampede of foodies rush at them. After my sister and I quickly got our bearings, we started the initial pass of the vendors, trying to take a shot of everyone’s tables before it got busier. Some were at the ready, some didn’t have any signs, and yet others didn’t have any food on the table. Now, we didn’t quite make a full second pass, because by the time we hit the bend in the L-shaped layout of the venue, we gave up and I decided that we’d better hit La Carnita’s table sooner than later.
Tons of flavours, both sweet and savoury, were on offer from Popover Girl and one of the first things we snagged while the line-up was only 2-people deep. In the end, we settled on the onion popover with guacamole filling. Smelled really great. The popover was moist; the filling was tasty – fun to have tried. Reminded me of puff pastry type things, especially when they filled them with a squeeze bottle. Armed with a first item, I made my sister go and stand in the line for La Carnita while I ran off to take more shots and snag a couple more items while the lines were short enough.
I wasn’t sure about the bacon & egg dumplings at first – $5 for two was pricey, I thought – but the line was non-existent when I passed by and they looked interesting enough. I couldn’t find a name for these guys – anyone know who they were?
The Scotch egg from Hackney Fine Foods. Super-cute hat sported by the lady manning the tables.
Another random pick due to a not-long line up, was the Adventurefood table and their Frikandeller sandwich.
And with that, I made my rendez-vous with my sister in the La Carnita line at the very end of the venue. Here, we opted to get one of each taco on offer. The Mexican chorizo taco with lime crema, Ontario peach salsa, pickled onions, and red cabbage sprout is on the left. On the right, taco de lengua; crunchy beef tongue, avocado crema, radish, Ontario grapes, Rossy’s diablo de fuego, green onion, and cilantro pesto.
There were a bunch of tables running down two of the dead-end aisles that gave us the opportunity to unburden our plate-laden arms. With plenty of turn-over, we never had to wait for a seat, though we did share tables. With a slight pause, we dug in.
It wasn’t until I bit into one of the bacon & egg dumplings with its still-liquid yolk that I had no issue with the price. These were interesting and tasty. I would get another one of these had I had more room. Must admit, Scotch eggs aren’t my thing. The meat was cold and dense and not as flavourful as I wanted it to be. I probably should have squirted it with one of the sauces on offer or something. On the other hand, the Danish pork meatball in the frikandeller sandwich was very flavourful and tasty. Topped with duck fat braised red cabbage, remoulade, and crispy onions and homemade pickles. All the parts were almost better than the sum. And finally, the tacos for La Carnita. Of the two, I favoured the taco de lengua.
Our initial lot finished, we moved on.
The big winner of the night for me was Big Smoke Coffee‘s pork belly sandwich. Really flavourful meat and great toppings. Was quite fond of the pickled onions. My sister enjoyed the pineapple and jalapeno relish. Also a great deal at $3.
While waiting for the sandwiches, my sister went and took a look around and came back with the lavender peach dessert from Colin Tooke‘s table. We enjoyed it so much that my sis ended up buying a jar of lavender peaches from him. I really regret not getting the rillette and sauerkraut thing.
In our search for the next plate, we ran into Bonita (of boneats) and we thankfully added another stomach to the mix.
The Black and Tan sandwich (blood pudding, mixed mushrooms, sage butter) and the very last order of Fish ‘n’ Chips from The Beech Tree. Thought the blood pudding was decent. The texture and taste reminded me of the Korean sundae at Cho Sun Ok.
Desserts from The Lunch Room. Brown butter almond financiers with blue agave orange glaze and Maldon sea salt. And a goat-cheese clafouti with black mission figs, toasted walnuts, and thyme honey. The financiers were decent, but the clafouti didn’t work at all, as it was really too hard and cold.
The last thing I had on the way out: the smoked salmon ice cream sandwich. I love trying crazy things like this – it’s a total gamble. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised at how the flavours actually worked. Though a bit too sweet as an appetizer, the smoked salmon flavour was pretty light, and the salt was a nice foil for the sweetness of the ice cream. Definitely glad I tried this one.
Coming up to 9pm, we decided we were done. By then, the crowds had thinned out from earlier, though lines were still long here and there. But it wasn’t a wall-to-wall swath of bodies. We said our good-byes to Bonita in the parking lot and slowly made our way to the car.
My sister had snagged some of Katrina‘s macarons earlier and pulled it out only to discover that some of them had been crushed over the course of the evening. Of course, we had to eat them. After snarfing down three of them, we decided that we should go back in and get some more. They were out of two flavours (salted caramel one one – sob) and I cleaned them out of the lemon. The meringue was airy and crisp, the fillings were quite good as well. We were happy to buy a dozen more between the two of us.
Given the amount of sugar coursing through my system, I needed some coffee to counterbalance it all. Went all the way down the hall and opted for a coffee from Brazil from the Big Smoke Coffee kids. The guy serving my coffee gave me a fist-punch for taking it black.
The Tita Flips table had samples of their spring rolls (crispy!) and garlic roasted peanuts. I opted to get the shrimp fritatta and though greasy, thought it was tasty enough. My sister bought a small tub of the peanuts, as it reminded her of the peanuts we would get as a snack on the dinner table in Malaysia. I think my parents will like it.
We passed by Wheelie Sweet‘s table and I spied a salted caramel square. Couldn’t resist. I had an initial “meh” reaction, but after finishing a couple bites, I changed to “decent.” The base was quite good and the square was a pretty light bite – important when you’ve crammed yourself full of food already.
And though there was more food to be had (photos of stuff I missed later), but I was done – for real this time. Overall, I wish the focus was less on eating a meal per vendor and more on tasting. It seemed like vendors were worried about people being “full” and provided bread-based sandwiches galore. I could have done with smaller portions for less money. I also had imagined more vendors selling things to take home. Though there were quite a few who did this, it felt like only 50% where I had thought it would be closer to the majority. Still, it was good fun to see what people were dreaming up and putting on our plates.
Cho Sun Ok
7353 Yonge St, Markham, ON L3T, CA
Hmn... don't know if I'd agree with the "supposed to be for amateur home cooks" - the impression I had was that this was for people (both novice and pro) who wanted to take a low-risk chance on possible future food ventures. I think maybe 1/3 at most were very new to the whole circuit, another 3rd seemed to be caterers, and the last seemed to be known quantities.
For example, both La Carnita and The Beech Tree are two restaurants without a real locations. I think gauging the interest of people (who aren't your friends!) is an important step and TUM gave the chefs a real opportunity to do that. I think one of the Filipino places falls in this category as well.
My first mistake was going by myself. This is clearly a group activity.
My overall impression was that it was a lot of small, home-based businesses and weekend caterers -- semi-professionals rather than the talented amateurs I had expected. I also expected more products to take home and less to eat on-site, which is one of the reasons I thought i could get away with going alone.
Overall, I felt like the food was a mixed bag in terms of quality. Some of it was really good, and some of it was only so-so. They were all independent vendors, which may be part of the reason why the pricing was so wonky -- like, at one table, get a small, but still reasonably sized sandwich for $3 and at the next table, get a glass of lemonade for $4.
I tried, in approximate order:
The pork sandwich from the coffee shop with the interesting condiments. Excellent -- great bun, great flavors, great job on the pork.
Pulled pork sandwich and curried chicken from the booth just inside the entrance. I thought the curry was bland, both in terms of heat (which I didn't mind) and in terms of actual flavor (which I did mind) and I didn't bother eating it. The pulled pork was good, but only if you keep in mind the caveat that I don't mind overly sweet savory dishes. Most people would probably find their sauce excessively sweet. Also, they should be serving the slaw on the sandwich, rather than beside it.
The bacon and egg dumpling. Really nicely cooked with still running egg in the middle. I didn't overly love this dish, as a matter of personal preference, but there was some really strong technique here, and I think they might do well to do either more traditional or more interesting flavors. That said, $3 for 1 dumpling -- not 1 order of dumplings, 1 dumpling, is ridiculously heinous.
The $4 lemonade. Good, not super fantastic. Certainly on par with -- and vastly more real than -- $4 lemonades from, say, Second Cup, though.
Two of Popovers, one savory, one sweet with filling. I thought the savory one was a little dry -- but I also think there was an order cock-up happening while I was there, which resulted in it getting reheated for longer than it should have. The filling helped on the sweet one, but I would have liked a little more. I loved the presentation on these, and I love the concept, though. I'm just not sure if I happened to get mine a little overdone based on the circumstances or if they were generally a touch dry.
Coconut Cream mini-pie. Really not much flavor in either the cream or the pastry, and the pastry was also significantly undercooked.
A bag of macarons. Pretty, but about half of mine were basically hollow. Centers had great texture, though some of them had no real flavor. The ones that were good, were great, but the ones that weren't were eh. Some real promise, but some consistency issues.
The homemade potato chips and brownie. The brownie was a brownie, and very moist. The potato chips needed more salt. I suspect they're not salting soon enough after they get them out of the fat, and it's not sticking. Good texture, though.
The smoked salmon ice cream sandwich. This was interesting, and good, and sort of different and fun, but I felt like it needed more salmon, or perhaps less ice cream. If it had been salmony-er (more salmony? salmonier? additionally salmon-containing?) it would have been better, I think.
I also had some desserts from the Lunch Room, but their chef's sister was one of my closest friends in University, so I'm not really in a position to comment on them in an unbiased manner.
I avoided the longer lines, and ran out of stomach room quickly, but would have liked to try the chicken dish from the Filipino place, as well as chorizo and grilled cheese thing. I was super tempted to take home a box from the first sweet shop as you came in the door, but I already had a few things to take home and all of the items they were offering were things I baked a lot as a child, so while I wanted to try them, I didn't really want to pay for them.
I'd like to see a little more line control happening -- it was a bit chaotic in spots, with the lines intersecting and blocking out other vendors. I also think they'd benefit from suggesting that more booths, particularly the dessert ones, offer things in packaging that was appropriate to take home.
As is always the case with these things, there was a lack of places to sit, or even put stuff down for a moment. They did have some tables up one of the lanes, but those were pretty quickly scoped out, near as I can tell.
If I were to go again, I'd go in a group of at least four people, and first establish a position at one of the tables, then send individuals off to grab samples from various booths and bring them back to the group to split up.
I am really curious about the Salmon ice cream sandwich. jlunar has a pic of it on her Blog. I made a wasabi ice cream on the weekend for a friends engagement party and I was joking about making a salmon ice cream and even was doing some thinking about it but never attempted it. Wonder what their process was to make it. Since the salmon flavour wasn't strong I wonder if they infused the flavour in or not?
the ice cream wasn't all salmony. I spied chunks of it, which made for hits of salmon, vs salmon flavour all the way through. If you got a strongly-smoked salmon, chopped it up, and then mixed it in with the custard, this would likely work. There were also crystals of salt in there too.
p.s. Just eating some of the macarons I bought in my second sweep:
- raspberry - too sweet, not loving it
- maple pecan - nice flavour, though not super mapley. Thought it was hazelnut at first, you know?
- lemon - still good, but lots of air in this shell. I also feel like I had some zest in the one I ate yesterday, which added to my enjoyment.
They're also super delicate today. One bite and they sort of crumple in on itself. I also want a bit more density to the shell if I'm going to be super picky. :)
Went with three friends. We had a great time and will check it out again, likely in Nov. I echo some of the other comments; too many bread based products, food quality was really hit and miss, could have used some better crowd control which lay alone could help. However, all of that being said, it is was a cheap and cheerful evening out with friends and I would welcome more of these sorts of events in our city.
JBeans - this is a pretty old post but I'm glad you mentioned them cuz these two items were by far my favourite as well, esp coming from such unheralded booths. Went back for seconds without a thought.
The pork belly sandwiches from Big Smoke Coffee were unbelievable, and they had this creative assortment of toppings that you were free to add yourself - avocado mayo, pineapple salsa, queso fresco, pickled mangoes, pickled onions. Also, best deal going at $3 each. These guys seriously need to make this on the regular.
And the almond financiers from The Lunch Room had a great moistness and flavour, with just the right touch of sea salt to tie everything together. Would really like to get my hands on these again too.
found da pork pic from jlunar:
The post of stuff I ate over the weekend at Toronto Underground Market was already too long, so here are the remaining photos I had of vendors I didn’t manage to get to. At the end of the post is the list of all vendors (29/30) that I could identify with sites and twitter handles that I could find.
L-Eat Catering had some house ketchup to take home along side their food offerings.
Lemonade – looked tasty. Logo, but no name found. Liked their table setup.
Thyme chips and brownies from Nice Bake Shop.
Clockwise from top left: Bistro Filipino, Vijaya’s & Krishna’s Pure South-Indian Vegetarian Cuisine, Comida Del Pueblo, Shi-Naki, Tartina, and West Side Beef. The line up for Bistro Filipino and Comida Del Pueblo were too long, though I was interested in trying their stuff. Next time! Shi-Naki I overheard had some awesome quesadillas. By the time the line was short enough to have a go, I was too full.
Along with some beer & wine vendors: Beau’s, Amsterdam, Flying Monkeys, Stone Hammer (didn’t see these guys, but they’re on the TUM site), and Lailey Vineyards.
I couldn’t find a vendor list, official or not. So I had too much time on my hands and cobbled one together of vendor websites, their twitter handles, and what they sold. I may be missing one, as there were supposed to be: 25 vendors + 4 breweries + winery = 30, but I have only 29 on my list. There were also a few without names (top of the list). Can anyone fill-in the gaps?
(???) Fried bacon & egg dumplings
(???) Smoked salmon ice cream sandwich
(???) Cherry amaretto, brown sugar vanilla, and watermelon basil lemonades
Adventurefood Frikandeller sandwich, Coco bun sandwich
Amsterdam Brewery Beer
Beech Tree, The Fish ‘n’ Chips, Sunday roast sandwich, auld spot sandwich, black and tan sandwich
Big Smoke Coffee Co. Pork belly sandwiches, coffee, papaya egg-bread pudding
Bistro Filipino Deep fried quail eggs, (more items I couldn’t figure out)
Colin Tooke Kombucha, Peach & Lavander (crumble), Mustard, Rillette & Saurkraut
Comida Del Pueblo Cornbread grilled cheese, Chorizo bahn mi, Chocolate tamale w/hibiscus cream, Hibiscus Agua Fresca
Flying Monkeys Beer
Hackney Fine Foods Scotch egg
L-Eat Catering House-made ketchup, (more that I didn’t manage to capture)
La Carnita Mexican chorizo taco and Taco de lengua
Lailey Vineyards Wine
Lunch Room, The Chocolate bouchon, goat cheese clafouti, almond financiers, macaroons, creme brulee
Nice Bake Shop Thyme chips, brownies
Popover Girl Sweet & savoury popovers
Shi-Naki Tomato & melon gazpacho, pulled pork quesedilla, toasted spiced corn nuts
Stone Hammer Beer
Tartina Coconut cream and Dutch apple caramel cupcakes
Tita Fl!ps Ukoy, garlic peanuts, lumpia shanghai
Tricia’s Tasty Treats Organic kale pesto with whole wheat pasta
Vijaya’s & Krishna’s Pure South-Indian Vegetarian Cuisine Lemon-lime rice, green mango rice, vanghibhath, papads
Wes Allen Bottled spices, tomato rasam soup
West Side Beef Co. Po’ Boys
Wheelie Sweet Salted caramel bars, pina colada square, (1 more chocolate bar I don’t remember exactly)
2nd blog-post on TUM: http://www.foodpr0n.com/2011/09/25/to...
21 Bathurst St, Toronto, ON M5V, CA
I would have hoped for more unusual regional / ethnic dishes as opposed to they everyday food festival pulled pork / pork belly / macarons... Along with more of a market atmosphere where you could have purchased more to take home.
I wonder for the next one if they will give preferance to new vendors or re-admit the ones that attended the first?
Tickets are SOLD OUT now. Wow, that was quick. Looks like there is a potential gold mine in these type of events. Definitely interest out there based on Food Truck fest/ this/etc. I didn't get a chance to buy a ticket so I guess I will be waiting till November to go unless I decided to buy from someone who can't make it last minute.
The bacon/egg dumplings were from Les Amis D'Oeuf, or something similar.
Highlights for me were the smoked salmon/cream cheese ice cream sandwich, the thyme potato chips, and macarons from Katrina’s Macarons.
Even though it was only rice, I REALLY enjoyed the rice from the South Indian vegetarian place. So many beautiful flavours in combination.
Bistro Filipino was meh. I could see they were intent and into customer service. But either good Filipino cuisine doesn't thrill me, or their rendition of it wasn't thrilling. However, top marks for how they took care of people. Unlike some other vendors.
Next time I hope my date doesn't bail on me.
MUCH more efficient and less manic event this time around! I had a great time. We missed the La Carnita line again, didn't realize it was back. Maybe next time. The Comida Del Pueblo stand was my favorite - the grilled cheese was so decadent, the buffalo empanada with a perfectly crisp shell, and banana/lemon beignets - delish.
The samosas - veggie, chicken and beef, had an amazing shell on them, so crisp. The veggie filling was weird though, Green Giant frozen veggies. they were also selling samosa chips which looked interesting, but I didn't get a closer look.
The braised oxtail with rice was so tender and flavourful.
the butter chicken with naan was good but steep at $8 a plate.
We also had a sausage wrapped in a pancake - it was bland, flavourless and dry :( Also bland was the meat tourtiere - nice crust but filling was unseasoned.
I'm surprised West Side Beef was back with the Po Boys - this time, Yum Tummers from Round 1 skipped this stand as sliders are so passe. It was great to see less 'sandwiches" and bread type of things.
Elle Cuisine - I had a major problem with this stand, which is unfortunate as I was so stoked to come to this one. Three tiny lobster churros for $4 and ONE beef 'perogie' for $4. I didn't taste any truffle in the perogie at all and it was more like a dumpling than a perogie. The portions were ridiculously small, which is fine if they had actually tasted amazing but I found it just OK. Her branding was a bit much too - I hadn't seen a poster sized photo of a chef at one of these events before. I saw that she tweeted "bigger portions next time in Nov" - aren't they all supposed to go to tasting next round? Or do some vendors get an automatic pass?
The agnolotti from the cooking school was really good and I heard the Aranacini was excellent as well. Hope those kids get to Italy!
Also tried the Ramen Noodles - with pork belly and a tiny egg. Delish. Was he the same guy doing tacos last time? Shinaki?
Anyway, I had a great time and I can't wait till the next one!
TUM #2 - October review
Here's my top 5.
1. La Carnita - beautiful to look at and equally tasty. Such fresh flavours and perfect combinations. Love my art work too!
2. Braised Ox Tail with rice and peas. The ox tail was right up there with the best I have ever had. Deeply seasoned and tender. The perfectly cooked rice and peas held their own. The serving was short on value but the whole plate packed so much punch we went back for seconds.
3. Thistletown students made fantastic Aranacini accompanied with two delicious sauces. The agnolotti was a bit greasy but super flavourful and al dente.
4. Bacon Caramel Popcorn. The bacon flavour was absent, even when chewing on it, but the popcorn itself, the caramel and the heat, made for a super addictive treat!
5. Buffalo empanada from Comida del Pueblo was super good. The pastry was exceptional and although the meat was generic, it had nice moisture and seasoning. We skipped the line to grab these quickly on the side so we missed their other items.
NOTE: After the brutal wait for La Carnita we decided to not also wait for popovers and grilled cheese. We arrived right when the doors opened, beelined for La Carnita but they were not ready so we waited in their line for a good 15 minutes before the first taco was even served. We then waited another 30 minutes once they started. Awesome payoff but we couldn't face another huge line.
Samosas - really great, light, crispy wrapper that was a cross between an old school egg roll and a wonton, but the filling was so dull we didn't even finish them.
Tourtiere - great pastry crust but again the filling cried out for some seasoning. Unbelievably bland!
Butter chicken and garlic naan - overpriced and nothing special at all. The naan had too much raw garlic and the butter chicken, while moist, was just shallow. We were really hoping this would have been authentic rich butter chicken.
Shrimp fritter was so greasy we took one bite and had to toss them.
Elle Cuisine - we felt the exact way as freelance, in every way. (see review above)
We had a great time and next time we will spread out right from the start.
I don't like that they doubled the price! What was the reason for that? Unless they are using a different venue it feels like they are trying to profit off their success and it may backfire on them. I am not sure if I will buy a ticket anymore, I have to re-contact friends that said they wanted to come at $5 ...
I wonder if they ticket fee will still be the $2 or whaever it was before too per ticket.
Also, someone mentioned that the November one would not be at Brickworks because that space isn't heated... but, I don't see a new location on their website. If it is somewhere else than I would like to know before buying tickets if I do end up deciding too.
Lastly, a "membership" fee/flat rate system might be useful if they are planning on doing this on a regular basis. I don't see myself paying $10 each month to go to something like this but maybe a membership fee of $50 or something for the year.
i did the math. its quite simple. $5 x 1500 people = $7500.
now figure out how much it costs for:
The Brickworks rental
Liquor license (small fee)
Legal fees (this is huge, esp working with health inspector rules, etc). Legal fees are NEVER cheap.
The vendors pay a reasonable vendor fee (not sure what it is, but its not outrageous).
The amount of work that Hassel has put into it and even if she was making $7500 per event, that is not a lot of money considering the amount of work she's doing and the success of her event.
$10 per person to go to a food party? still one hell of a bargain.
I am not sure who you responded to atomeyes because your post said it is in response to "esarwan" but I didn't see a post by someone with that name.
Anyway, my friends agreed that they still wanted to go despite the price increase so I bought some tickets. I am glad they got the per ticket fee down. It is really funny if you want a ticket mailed to you the cost is like $22!! (at least for 3 tickets!). I hope the will call process goes smoothly.
Anyone been to Sudburry 99 for an event? In my mind it seems like it would be a smaller space but I have never been so just based on pictures of other events. Comments about the space and ability to handle the market?
I've been to several events here. It's definitely a smaller space, as well as being chopped into two rooms. Crowd-control is going to be an issue. Though I guess they'll just line the walls of the main room with vendors and leave the centre empty? And do the same in the smaller one.
I can't decide if having the vendors cluster in the centre vs hugging the walls would be better for traffic flow. In theory, the vendors in the middle would have people walking the perimeter of the room, and thus, a longer way around...
My belief is that 99 is ulitmately too small and they chose it out of desparation. They don't have an event in December and who knows, maybe a heated Brickworks will work out, otherwise they may be forced to skip Jan and Feb. Good thng they doubled the price to help pay for all the heating!!
So last night was my first time at The Toronto Underground Market. I have been to Brickworks before but haven't been to that space for an event of this type in that space (just was there for a winter solstice event last year). I thought the space was great. I think they added the "roll down" wind blockers since last time I was there are with the various portable heaters it was pretty warm (also it was an unusually warm night outside I guess for mid November).
Overall I enjoyed the night. A lot of great food, really pleasant guests as well (people respecting lines, being thoughtful when having to cut through, clearing tables by themselves - or so it seemed, etc). One person even offered a sample of their food to my friend (the corn bread grilled cheese) off her own dish. Did anyone line up at La Carnitas ? How long was the wait? If I knew in advance how long the line was going to be I might have done it... Originally we were planning on getting there before 6pm but I got stuck in bad traffic and then went to pick up my friends who had been waiting for a good 30 minutes for the shuttle and it hadn't come. I think the shuttle service was effected by the traffic and the fact that Pottery Rd. is still closed. I feel they should have added an extra shuttle (especially since they were encouraging shuttle use and the parking lot is limited). I saw people taking cabs and walking from the shuttle service down to Brickworks because they probably got frustrated with waiting. Also, it was tricky driving because I wasn't sure how to get to Brickworks with Pottery Rd. closed so end up doing a pretty sketchy u-turn to get to the northbound Bayview rd.
So, more about the actual food. I really enjoyed the Philipino place I tried (not the "flips" one.. the other one, forget the name). Had one of the deep fried quail eggs off my friends plate and it was perfectly down (nice yolk exploding in my mouth). Had the slider and chicken skewers from there too. Also enjoyed the cedar marshmallow outside, the pizza (although the porchetta one was REALLY spicey for me) , the arrancini rice balls and the flying monkey dark ale.
Final conclusion : although I enjoyed the night and had fun, I don't think I will be going again for a while. I don't see the value in the $10 admission fee (plus paying for parking) vs going to an event like the food truck festival where there is a lot more vendors and more food choices. I did like how they used the outside space (I think that is something new for TUM) and they could probably do more vendors outside with nicer weather. The event definitely had potential in the future but unless there was an "annual membership" option I don't see myself spending $10 every month to go to this. Seems like there is a lot of interest even at the $10 price point so I can see how this will help them grow and do other things in the future so I am not criticizing their choice to raise the price, just a personal decision.
That was a long post.. Anyone else go? Curious about the other places with long lines as well and highlights for others.
I too went for the first time last night. There were 3 of us in our group and I wish there had been more, I feel like I could have sampled more items if there had been more of us to divvy it up between.
My favourites were banana beignets from Backyard Kitchen, pierogies don't know the name of the place but they were awesome and maple taffy with bacon from Big Smoke Coffee. We waited in the La Carnita line for about 40 minutes and I did not feel that it was worth it. I had the chorizo taco, and while tasty there was something in there the consistency of sand, my 2 companions tried the fish taco as well and much preferred it. But we all agreed that the best past of waiting in that line was the samples they were handing out of homemade tortilla chips with guacamole, wish I could have bought a serving of that.
We also tried the samosas - not as good as Sultan of Samosas, empanadas - very tasty, butter chicken - good but nothing special, mini cupcakes - tasty but on the chilly side, would have been better at a warmer room temp and cedar marshmallows which left me feeling like I had licked a pine tree.
I loved the venue and wish I had checked out the outside area by the fire before I got full, I would have liked to try the pizza. I will go again, maybe not in Feb when it will likely be very cold. The only thing I would try to get again is the pierogies if they are there the next time I go, otherwise I would try different stuff, like that grilled cheese that everyone was walking around with!
There were 4 of us there and we had a blast as well. I enjoyed the October event but this one was way better. It was busier, warmer (thank you heat lamps!), LOVED the Chimney Court little add-on and there were more vendors. I echo what you and others have said about the friendliness of this event - from the second you walk in, you can sense a super chill, fun and friendly vibe and it's echoed in one on one encounters throughout the evening - we gave someone a "kwek kwek" fried quail egg to try, we were always asking people or being asked what they/we were eating, everybody's chatting in line with each other and lots of smiles.
Food highlights - the Filipino place (the one you went to) was great this time. We liked the quail eggs ("kwek kwek") and the chicken "inaga" (?) with rice but the best was the angus slider with mango salad. Really nice people as well. I also LOVED the sandwich from Rebel Without A Kitchen - his griddled pulled pork sammie was good but the jalapeno sandwich was crazy tasty. He was a very funny character as well - read a bit online about him as well - goes by the handle "Fidel Gastro" and does various pop up events. Heading round to the back, there was a toasty campfire going on where people were toasting "cedar marshmallows". I was too full for one of those as our last bite of the night was a margherita pizza from the wood burning fires outside - beautiful charred crust, nice sauce, fresh mozzarella. A perfect digestif...
I liked the light ale from the Flying Monkeys brewery (out of Barrie, never heard of these guys). I also tried a few sips of the Proof whiskey cocktail - I think it was whiskey with pear juice and fresh thyme on ice - delicious!
And I have to give props to La Carnita - we waited in their line for at least a half-hour before they started letting us know that they were running low on quantity and they weren't feeling too optimistic about our spot in the line. Every 10 minutes or so, they'd come by with another update on how many tacos were left and as cheesymama said, they were passing around some fresh corn chips with guac to soften the blow. They were also tweeting how many tacos were left. As each person was served, they had to walk back down the line of hungry customers with their plate of tacos - the "haves" and the "have nots" in an unavoidable tango and it made for some very funny exchanges ("What, you bought 5 tacos? FIVE?? How could you? What would Jesus have done?"). They ultimately ran out and we left empty-handed but it was still fun.
I think they could still use more vendors to help with some of the lines and add even more variety. Also,as they start to understand the crowds better, it would be great if the popular vendors could add some more food so they don't run out at 8:30 or 9. But a couple of small quibbles in what was a really fun night. I'd definitely go again.
re: peppermint pate
two posts with 2 different perspectives.
if you go expecting gourmet food and mind-blowing dining experiences, then its not for you.
if you go to TUM and want a food party in a neat location with a great crowd, then its your type of event.
perhaps we're at the point where the spirit of the event is being overtaken by people's food expectations. but considering the event's restrictions, the size of the location and its popularity, I still think its an incredibly awesome addition to TOronto's food scene.
Rereading my post I realize it came off as a little negative. I loved the event and had a great time. The venue was fabulous and I love the outdoor area by the fire. And I agree about the vibe, all of my encounters were friendly. I will definitely return to another TUM event.
I was kind of hoping someone could shed some light on what the gritty texture in my taco from La Carnita was. Anyone? It didn't impart a bad flavour, just bad texture.
This was my second TUM - I also went to October's - and I will definitely be back. We knew from experience that the La Carnita line would get long fast so we started there, and I held a place in line while my husband went and grabbed some samosas to snack on in line. The samosas were good, although they didn't blow me away. I loved La Carnita, although I didn't like this month's chorizo taco as much as last month's cochinita pibil. Next we split an empanada which I was totally underwhelmed by - I found it too doughy and a little flavourless. I grabbed some of the bacon/banana/chocolate springrolls (I can't remember who made them) to snack on while we waited in line for Fidel Gastro. Springrolls were delicious. The cuban sandwich from Fidel Gastro was decent but would have benefitted from more time on the grill, both the ham and cheese were still cold. Next we had some caldo verde from the Portuguese people - very yummy, and very filling. Then a s'more from (I think) Elle Cuisine, which was pretty good but incredibly messy. Finished up with a jalapeno grilled cheese and the apple chorizo crepe from Comida del Pueblo, which was delicious. We then went to check out the Chimney Court but were too full for anything except coffee for him, hot chocolate for me from Big Smoke. The hot chocolate was pretty good but I was disappointed they hadn't reprised the cider from the previous event.
In fact the only thing I was really disappointed about with the event was the organization of the arrival - we arrived at 5:45 to try to be at the front of the crowd, picked up our tickets and then were directed to the end of the "line", at the far back corner of the room opposite the doors. As more and more people came in the line curled around on itself until organizers gave up on it, and at about 6:10 when they opened the door they didn't even make a mention of the line. Consequently even though we were probably among the first 100 people to arrive easily 200 people were let in ahead of us. Mildly annoying but certainly didn't sour the evening.
Just a heads up that the March TUM is this Saturday and the tickets haven't sold out as of yet. First time I think that they haven't sold out in a few hours:
But the price has gone up AGAIN unfortunately: Now $22.60 plus $2.50 service fee which is over $25 for admission. Big chance since my first post in this thread when it was $5 in advance.
Yep, even if they sell out this time, it will be to the newbies who don't even know what their good money is buying them. Once they find out, the whole thing will be in decline if she doesn't revert to lower prices.
On the other hand....higher prices could result in the sweet spot and win-win. TUM would be profitable with 25% fewer people. It will be less crowded with shorter lines. The vendors won't sell out so early as some do. Because of the above, it ends up being worth the extra cost for all who are interested.
Either way I wish her only the best.
So an update. I went tonight as I got in for free. 24 vendors, I think 18 were new. They just used the main area (not the outside part as it is still a skating rink). Because of that smaller area there were less tickets available for sale but regardless it wasn't that busy, plenty of heaters but it was still pretty cool out after the sun set.
Positives - Lines moved a lot quicker to get in. Pre scanning helped plus the start time was 5pm which probably helped spread out the loads of people.
still some tasty food. Everything a had was good. Tops go to the noodle soup at Babi and Co, pork skewers at Liko's (was thinking, they were just skewers but, they were actually really good. Best skewers I have ever had I would say, chicken was good too) . Merengue pies were tasty too, had the dulce de leche ones. Also really liked the short rib sandwich from Beretta farms catering division (The Kitchen I think it was called?)
Overall, I would have been happy if I paid $25 to get in but hopefully will be back to full size by next time around. Hope they reconsider the price too. They sold tickets at the door for $20. $5 cheaper than buying in advance... You would have thought it would have been the other way around..
Just to keep people updated on TUM news, tickets for the April 6th event just went on sale. Same price as last time (works out to just over $25 with all fees/etc)....
As I mentioned, the March one was quiet. Not sure if they are using the area where the skating rink is normally this time or not, but, hopefully it will be warmer this time around.
They were selling tickets at the door last time around... I find it hard to believe that they will sell out at these new higher prices but will be interesting to see what the "market" will pay (pretty sure they didn't sell out last time)
Anyone else there this time around? Tried some good food but was even colder than last time. No heaters (although, if you weren't directly under them it probably didn't help last time). Some interesting vendors but seemed like a pretty slowish night. Longest line was for Fidel Gastro as they were pretty much prepping each order as it was ordered. The deep fried mozzarella and marrow sandwich was good.
Friends really like the beef periogies at one vendor but then we ran into someone else and they said the did or like it at all.
The vibe is much better there when it is warm. Shame that it was so cold this time around as usually it has warmed up by April. May will be the last traditional TUM until the fall (September) but on their blog they said they have a lot of interesting things going on in the summer.
A few that we announced already. They are organizing the food at Field Trip, Arts and Crafts 10 year anniversary party - http://arts-crafts.ca/newsstory.php?s...
They are also doing a TUM kids On August 11th which I guess is like the early portion of the one year anniversary.
Sure hope they get their pricing sorted out though as definitely some annoyed vendors and patrons this time around.
Wonder what will be the "food" event thing for summer 2013. So far I am counting food trucks, then TUM...
Was anyone else at the 2nd year anniversary this past weekend? (jLunar, I think I saw your there early on but I wasn't 100% sure if it was you until I saw your tweet after and realized you were there).
I think TUM has definitely reached its "tipping" point. Become too expensive for vendors and too expensive for patrons and so many other options available now (I guess they help create their "competition" of various food events)..
Looking at my first post and tickets were $5 in advance things have come a long way (not positively) to the current state.
Food wise, Home of the Brave had some awesome ribs. It was $6 for 3 ribs but I guess that is a bargain compared to what Electric Mud charges :) I liked the burger at Westside but $5 for a half a burger isn't really "value" in any sense of the word.
Overall, the vibe just wasn't there this time around. Way less vendors and way less people (I know there was probably still over a 1000 people in the evening one but it was actually very easy to find parking this time and just a different vibe). So, the good thing was that the lines were short but it didn't really feel like a party and makes one question why they would spend $20+ to get in.
I was a bigger supported of TUM from the beginning and I don't like posting negative things but just being upfront in this thread that I probably would not recommend friends to go to this event in the future unless they really mix things up (find a cheaper venue, lower prices/etc).
That was me!
I arrived late for Day TUM and thought that 8 (I think that's what I counted) vendors was a little too few to make it worth anyone's while.
TUM PM had more vendors, but it did feel less packed than previous events. Mind you, the last time I went was last year for their 1st anniversary.
If I hadn't been someone's +1, I wouldn't have gone this year. Not at that ticket price ($15 and $20 for night and day portions, respectively) and especially not for both. I don't know if they've found their sweet spot in terms of ticket fee vs number of people, but if so, good for them and good for those who go. It just excludes me, but oh well! I mentioned this up-thread too.
I do really think they need to lower their ticket prices to get the number of people up again. It's detrimental to the vendors if they don't have enough of an audience to cook for!
A bit disappointed to be honest. Was there for the PM event and really felt it wasn't worth the ticket price.
Highlights were Home of the Brave's ribs and Hot Bunzz's chicken mole bun (a collab with La Carnita I believe).
Maybe it's because vendors don't bring enough stock as they want to sell out, but the vibe dies down so fast at about 8pm. For this money, I want a party. Bring more people. I don't mind waiting in line for a little bit longer if everyone seems to be having fun and food is in good supply.
My 3rd time now, likely my last especially if tickets stay this high or if more vendors don't show up.
The link I have above doesn't work anymore, here is the same link without the index.html part
Says there they are planning an October event but since it is October now and they still dont' have a date I imagine they are going to cancel the October one and try to put all of their energy in the November one. The thing is, November can be COLD and even with space heaters that Evergreen area is not ideal for events.