Taste of Toronto is officially underway, so get your eating pants on and head down to Garrison Common at Fort York.
The much-anticipated collection of tasty tents is up all weekend long with both afternoon (noon to 4 pm) and evening sessions (5:30 to 10 pm) available. (Sunday is only noon to 5 pm).
You’ll find some of the city’s top chefs (Mark McEwan and Chuck Hughes, for instance) hanging out together. It’s the best time of year to try some of Toronto’s best nosh all in one place.
Luckily there’s a range of prices to suit any budget. Most dishes hover around the $6-10 range while a select few (two to be exact) reach triple digits. The Drake won first place dish this year for an outrageous “Chinatown Platter” at $150 with lobster, duck and pork belly on noodles. So far nobody has ordered it. Whoever does, please call us — we’re available for dinner dates any time.
For the rest of us 99 percenters here are our top picks for what to order at Taste of Toronto this weekend:
1. Carver’s Porchetta Sandwich ($8)
Okay, so technically it was the porchetta pizza that won 3rd place of all the dishes at the festival this year, but that same juicy porchetta appears in Carver’s sandwich alongside red pepper pesto and salsa verde aioli. It showcases what Carver does best in a no-nonsense, easy-to-eat-while-standing sort of way. It’s enough to make vegetarians reconsider.
Address: 101 Peter Street, #103, Toronto
2. Miku Restaurant’s Aburi Oshi Sushi ($10)
We don’t know what we like better about this dish, how it tastes or the fact that you get to watch a guy take a blow torch to the little rectangular pieces. I’ve always enjoyed sushi, but this technique takes it to another level. Crispy melt-in-your-mouth sushi. It’s basically perfect. The Vancouver import seems to have struck the right tone so far in Toronto’s competitive foodscape.
Address: 10 Bay Street, #105
3. The Drake’s True North Salmon Fried Rice ($6)
If your heart sank at the price of this year’s winning dish, all hope is not lost. The Drake is doing a satisfyingly delicious rice dish loaded with salmon, salmon roe, and Drake’s XO sauce, that went far beyond our expectations (in both flavour and portion size) for the amazing price tag. If you eat one thing at the festival this weekend, this should be it.
Address: 1150 Queen Street West
4. The McEwan Group’s Crispy Calamari Po-Boy ($8)
We weren’t surprised to encounter this crowd pleaser from food tycoon Mark McEwan. The Ace Bakery charcoal bun obviously steals the show, but the fresh and crispy calamari and lemon caper aioli really brings it all together. It’s one of the biggest fan favourites though so come early or be prepared to wait in line — it’s worth it.
Address: Various restaurants
5. Maille’s “Que ca Maille” mustard cocktail ($0)
Yes, you read that right. Mustard cocktail. This inventive creation (and the beautifully designed tent you’ll find it in) totally stole the show, and it’s free! The Maille tent is, in our opinion, the best place to spend your time at the festival. You can sample fresh mustards with flavours like blue cheese and honey balsamic, and you can even crush herbs and spices to create and name your own blend to take home.
Make sure to tag all your Taste of Toronto photos with #dhtofood for your chance to be featured. Tell us what your favourite dish is!