Friday, June 28, 2013

TO Food Fest

Summer Sundays! Last weekend, Howard and I were invited to the TO Food Fest as media to check out the festival an hour before it was advertised to start. We weren't able to make the inaugural event last year, so I was glad we had the chance to attend this time. And it was a very nice Sunday afternoon with clear skies and scorching heat (it only poured in the evening when the festival wrapped up).

From instagram photos of last year's event, I had thought it would be indoors, but as we approached, Howard pointed out that there were vendors outside as well! We arrive and sussed out where to check-in for our badges. Taking the whole room in, I noticed a lot of cameras. There must have been so many bloggers here - some I recognized from profile photos and some I didn't.
Howard and I did our first round inside and tried samples from Gala's Pepper Sauce. The spiciness was to Howard's liking so I avoided trying some to keep myself from looking like a blubbering mess. Which made me all the more impressed when this kid, maybe seven or eight, kept coming back to sneak samples into his mouth. Howard eventually passed him another one before we left.
Model cakes from Bakin' Bits Bakery.
More treats and cupcakes from Bakin' Bits Bakery.
Nearby, Francesca Bakery was selling cookies, macarons, and biscotti. For some reason, we have not visited their shop yet, but Howard's parents have brought birthday cakes from them before.
Caramel popcorn from All Mine Caramel.
Hot milk tea, from Marathon Donuts and Coffee Shop, boasts to be the “Milk Tea King” after winning an annual International Milk Tea Competition held in Hong Kong. We didn't know there was such a competition!
Some vendors were there to put on a visual display. Ice Volcano demonstrating their liquid nitrogen ice cream.

Sadly, most of the vendors were not present, set up, or ready for the media hour. We don't know if they were not informed by the organizers or if they knew, but just happened to be late. Regardless, we thought it was a missed opportunity. It was kind of disheartening to approach a vendor with their backs toward you as they were still unpacking or prepping. It wasn't like we only did one round, we went back twice to see if some vendors were ready yet, but they weren't.
So let's take a look outside. I was charmed by the facade and then later found out that the lady in pink is fellow blogger, Stephanie, from Kitchen Frolic!
Our first purchase of the day was a traditional Aussie meat pie from Eat Kanga. Minced beef in a beef, tomato, and Vegemite gravy. We were asked if we wanted ketchup with it, Howard was hesitant until she explained that they eat it with ketchup in Australia. It's more or less like the hamburger in North America, you add sauce! So we gave her the go-ahead and she stabbed the pie with the bottle, squeezed ketchup into the pie, pulled it out, and drew a heart on top.
Next stop, Bricks and Mortar where we ordered a Steak 'n Bacon 'wich and stepped aside to watch them prepare it.
Marinated steak topped with crisp pork belly, pickled pepperoncini peppers, and garlic jam. Delicious!
Next stop was SOPSOP.
Never heard of rice dogs before. So we tried one with pork sausage, rice sausage, cucumber, garlic chips, cilantro, and shrimp sauce. Think hot dog but instead of the bun, they use glutinous rice to wrap the fillings.
Gushilla pork skewers from Gushi Japanese Street Food. Pretty decent, but this was probably the one dish that didn't give us any "wow" in flavours.
Finally, when Howard went to pick up a cold milk tea, he also came back with fish tacos from Buster's Sea Cove. What a nice surprise!

So this may have been our first food festival! Some tips for the next: bring a tray (bonus points if it's a collapsible one) for some sort of surface to eat on, unless you're fine with the floor. We were lucky enough to find a unused table inside where we could set everything down. Bring antibacterial hand wipes or moist towelettes, chopsticks, napkins, a hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses if you're outside. And lots of loonies, toonies, and small bills - maybe a fanny pack to help with all of the cash purchases. ;)

Disclaimer: All foods were paid for by us, there was no compensation. All opinions are our own.

2 comments:

  1. Haha! Sylvia - I can't believe you snapped a photo of us and we never met up! :)

    Loved your review of TO Food Fest. I agree that the media hour was a total bust - we were there as well and had the same experience - almost all of the vendors weren't ready and by the time they were, the public was already lining up so it was difficult to get any good food shots or taste the food during the "media preview".

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    1. Unbelievable! BUT at least I got to "see" you, even if it was after when I looked through the photos and thought she looked like you! I like how we kind of passed each other via camera. Hopefully they'll improve media hour in the future!

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