photos by yuli scheidt
Foodies in the know have been salivating over The Stop Community Food Centre two day Night Market and for good reason too. With the Stop transforming the alleyway behind Honest Ed’s into a magical food and wine (beer/spirits) getaway, it’s no wonder tickets sold out in 2 hours pre-show! At the $50/all you can eat and drink price point, it raised $80,000 before foodies even stepped up to some of the 60 vendors who were on hand over the two days.
On the warm Wednesday eve I attended the Night Market, a record 1,000 + people packed their way into the Market, zigging and zagging their way through beautifully crafted food carts (hand-made by design students all throughout Toronto such as Ryerson and OCAD). Although some lineups were bigger than others (Richmond Station, Valdez, Hawker Bar and Stockyards – just to name a few!) everyone was kept comfortable and entertained with lots of drink stations & a beautiful brass marching band.
But let’s get down to the nitty gritty details of best of food highlights, because I know that is all what you’re waiting to hear about.
BIGGEST WOW FACTOR – Chef Rocco from Pizzeria Libretto knows how to impress! His Meatball sandwich with Ricotta & Salmoriglio was not only big but it was beautiful and delicious. You may have ended up wearing half of it on your face, but isn’t that half the fun?
BEST SERVING DISH – The boys from Cote De Boeuf really know their meat. So clearly this Mini Corned Beef Sandwich stacked high (and I mean HIGGGGH) really got everyone in the crowd motor running. Best of all: it was served on a LED wooden light plank! Neat.
VEGAN KNOWS BEST – I have always been a huge fan of Tori Vaccher and Tori’s Bakeshop, but she took it up another notch with her Donut servings at the Night Market. Apparently these Strawberry Cream donuts (all vegan) were just a trial, but something she decided to try because they were a favourite of her dads. Well, that taste was irresistible and I am hoping she will introduce them in-store.
MOST DISAPPOINTING – So I hate calling them out like this, as I love their restaurant but Ursa’s Tofu (which was suppose to be smoked and have some earthy mushrooms) was not that great. I remember eating their tofu in the restaurant and just loving it up. But this tasted too bland and too raw. Perhaps not a good Night Market choice?
FORTUNE INCLUDED – Nick Liu from Gwailo not only served up a badass dish of Hakka Style Wontons, which were quick and easy to eat. He included a cute little fortune cookie on the side that mentioned how he had yet to have a home. No worries, Nick! Your food speaks volumes and your fortune speaks to my heart.
BEST CHILDHOOD THROWBACK – Thanks to the boys at Richmond Station., I was able to live it up like a kid (a big one) with their Hot Dog with Beet Relish. While the bun was a bit flimsy, the dog and beet relish was all flavor. Working the grill: Top Chef Canada alum Dennis Tay (formerly of Keriwa Cafe)! Holla.
CAN I HAVE SECONDS PLEASE? Whoa, the Grove had me falling in love with their Lemon Verbena Cream, Olive Caramel, Strawberry Gelee and Basil Granita. Just between you and me, I may have licked the bottom of the serving dish. But don’t tell any of the other more serious food bloggers, ok?
WORTH THE WAIT – Man, Farmhouse Tavern knows how to make a burger. Because this stacked slider with goat cheese was so thick, juicy and mmm mmm good. It had a bit too much bun. But hey, the meat was perfectly seasoned. So worth the wait.
CULTURAL CROSSING Paulette’s is always doing it up proper. So when we saw them rolling out these Garam Masal and Cinnamon Sugar Donuts, you know I was all over that. Verdict: dope as hell.
In the end The Stop’s Night Market raised $115,000! That is double the amount of 2012! Congrats to the Stop and all the vendors involved but also, congrats to all those who attended and help make the Night Market a HUGE success.
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