This afternoon, the Distillery District in Toronto was transformed into a wonderland of foodie fun. 13 food trucks and 13 vendors set themselves up along the cobblestone streets and served their delightful dishes to thousands of Torontonians. Word on the street is that 10,000 people came out to the event today. It goes without saying (but I’m saying it anyway) that this city of ours is starving for a food truck culture of our own.
We got to the Distillery at around 10:30, even though the trucks weren’t supposed to start serving til 11. Second Harvest was collecting donations, and for a $10 donation you could get a wristband that would allow you “VIP access” to the trucks and vendors before the official 11am start. Second Harvest is a great charity and I had no problems giving them a bit of money so that they could help hungry people while we stuffed our faces at 10:30am.
While I was lined up at El Gastrónomo Vagabundo (one of the longest line-ups), Richard wandered off and found a truck with a short line (I think it was Big Grill Catering) and came back with a roast beef sandwich. It was a good warm-up. Nothing overly exciting, but it was great comfort food and it was really moist and saucy.
El Gastronomo Vagabundo’s truck had a huge line-up, even at 10:30am when the only people in line were the VIPs. They’re very active on Twitter, they were at the last Food Truck Eats event, and they’re at Flat Rock Cellars in wine country on the weekends. They get around! I’d heard great things about them and I was eager to try what they were offering today: Chili Corn Fritters and the “Bangkok Dangerous” Taco. The corn fritters were amazing. The outside was lightly crispy, the inside was fluffy and slightly sweet, and the cucumber with the basil and hot&sour sauce gave them a nice light crunch and a punch of flavour. I wasn’t as big of a fan of the taco. It was supposed to have green curry coconut cream and pickled lotus root, but I didn’t really taste any of those things. There wasn’t any bite from the curry, the coconut was very subtle and I didn’t taste anything pickled. I was expecting a bit more from them, but the taco didn’t blow me away.
Our next stop was at Po’Nuts (aka Beast Restaurant) for a maple bacon donut. I’ve had their donuts before, and Richard couldn’t resist their sweet & salty goodness so we got one to share. It was actually even better than the one that we had at the restaurant! I think that they were being made fresh right there, because they still felt warm. Can you really go wrong with maple, bacon and a donut? I don’t think so.
The next thing I tried was a wasabi lobster wrap from Simple Fish & Chips. This was one of the larger portions that I found today, and it was soooo filling! I would have preferred to pay $3 or $3.50 and get half as much. At an event that’s centered around eating, you want small portions so that you can sample a lot of different things and this wrap was so huge that I wrapped 75% of it up in newspaper to save for later (and now I’m craving it!). It tasted really good, with a bit of lettuce to give it some crunch and the right amount of wasabi to give it a bit of a bite without being overpowering, but it was also quite heavy. I hadn’t even eaten that much at this point, but after biting into this wrap I felt like this (and Richard caught me off guard, by the way. This is not a pose. This is actually how I was feeling):
But I’m not the kind of girl who stops eating when her stomach starts to hurt! Oh, no! I’m a trooper. I paid good money for that wristband and I was going to get my money’s worth out of it! I told that stomach ache to shut up and then I went to visit La Carnita.
Yay, I finally got to try the tacos from La Carnita! These guys have been the talk of the town since they started doing their “pop-up taco stand” in random locations in the city. I’m always busy on the days that they’re popping up, so I hadn’t had a chance to try their tacos… Until now! And wow, these tacos really live up to the hype. First of all, look how pretty they are! I love the bright, fresh colours. Second, they are just crazy-amazing. The “Voltron” fish taco was lightly crispy and the “Voltron” sauce had the most amazing little zing of heat and cinnamon. The chorizo taco had what I first thought was mango, but it was actually Ontario peaches! Although mango is what you’d expect, using local peaches, which are in season and delicious right now, was a really great idea. The mix of sweet and spicy was really nice and kept the taco from feeling too heavy. I really both of loved these! We also got a peppermint iced tea, which was really nice and perfectly refreshing.
Our last stop was at our friend Chef Rossy Earle’s booth to get some of her Panamanian food. We had a chorizo & queso empanada and got a bottle of her amazing “salsa de fuego” hot sauce, which is quite possibly the best hot sauce I’ve ever tasted in my life. It’s super spicy but not overly vinegary and it has the best smoky taste. I want to eat this stuff on everything! Also, how cute is she with her son? The two of them were having a blast together!
It’s safe to say that Food Truck Eats 2 was a huge success. Most of the vendors sold out close to the end and I heard lots of positive feedback from everyone I talked to. The man behind the event was Suresh Doss, who deserves a huge pat on the back or a high five or something for all of the hard work that he put into this event, the one before it, and the final event that is rumored to be happening in October, as well as his efforts to try to bring awareness to all of the awesome food trucks that are in Ontario. Thanks for a fantastic day, Suresh!
Oh, wait! Our last stop wasn’t TRULY our last stop. After leaving the Distillery, biking up to the Evergreen Brickworks Farmers’ Market and coming home to shower, we went back to the Distillery to buy a Growler of the German Weissbier at Mill Street Brewery. Food Truck Eats was winding down and it was technically over but Thundering Thelma, the Caplansky’s truck, was still there and I just couldn’t resist. I got a deep fried pickle on a stick:
If you love food trucks and you want to see them in Toronto on public property, please sign the petition! http://www.gopetition.com/petition/38953.html
You can also show your support by like-ing Ontario Food Trucks on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ontariofoodtrucks
And you can find out about the next Food Truck Eats event as soon as it’s announced by RSVPing to the event here: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=154590901289307