Let the marathon eating begin!!
To our surprise, not everything offered on Danforth Ave. was Greek food. That was totally fine by us actually, because we must admit that we thoroughly enjoying having variety and sampling different types of cuisine (if you’ve seen our last couple of posts you’ll know).
We were first-timers to TOD and were motivated to go by word-of-mouth, advertisements online and reminders all over the city. According to Toronto Travel Guide.com, TOD is the biggest street festival in Canada and is renown for having hundreds of food vendors that are Greek-influenced or fusion cuisine for 3 delectable days.
The festival spans approximately 4 TTC subway stations long on Danforth Ave (Broadview, Chester, Pape and Danforth). Our game plan was to start at Broadview station and trek the whole festival street, or see how far we could walk without going mad in the crowd. There’s always a strategy when you go to these food festivals, which is to not “…put all your eggs in one basket”. We definitely had a strategy to ‘shop’ all the vendors and make mental notes before standing in a half an hour line-up! Our FOODIE ‘Street Smarts’ told us that we might get too full too fast (I wish I could put that on my resume one day under ‘Other Skills’).
Asian-inspired Pulled Pork Sandwich with Radish
My favourite of the day. I wanted to go back and buy another one, but the vendor wasn’t there anymore 😦 . Both of us enjoyed it because the meat wasn’t over-marinated (which it usually is at other fast-food places) or overly salty. The white bun that was used was slightly buttery, but it wasn’t too filling. There was a good balance of crunchiness from the radishes and the softness of the slowed-cooked pulled pork.
Go Greek or go home? Am I right? We were looking to try something more authentic while at TOD. We were so looking forward to it, but we were both disappointed in the overbearing sweetness. While we’re both fans of phyllo-based pastries, Ricelessasian described the baklava as “melting in your mouth instead of being chewy”. I thought the major downfall was that most of the chopped nuts and sugary syrup got stuck to my teeth by the end.
Beetroot Brownie (purchased from Healthy Planet Grocery vendor)
How dare you call this a brownie!!!! lol. It was very very moist (in a negative way), cold and did not taste like a brownie at all. For the flavour, we were expecting a subtle beetroot taste, and a more robust cocoa flavour; meanwhile thinking it would possess a crumbly texture. We shouldn’t have second-guessed the first part of its name though. It was full-on concentrated beetroot flavour.
Gyros vendor (one of many…)
It’s one of those instances where you just had to be there to get a whiff of the aroma of caramelized onions and stir-fry beef. All that mouth-watering goodness wrapped up in a pita!
We vividly remember ordering beef, and they apparently gave us lamb instead. We never confirmed this with the vendors, but I could detect the slight gamey-ness of the meat. Out of the booths that served gyros, this booth had the longest line, so we were curious and lined up for it too. Ricelessasian was left to eat most of the gyros. She thought it was good, but nothing too special. It was a little bit too carb-y for me and I felt that the temperature of it wasn’t as hot as I would have liked.
Loukoumades from Athens Pastries
Deep fried dough puffs dipped in honey. It tastes similar to Jalebi, the popular sweet dessert in India. I didn’t like it so much because it was doused in honey and wasn’t as chewy as she expected, but Ricelessasian liked it, as she’s tried it before.
Greek Cheese Pie (Tiropita) from Athens Pastries
We both loved this! Ricelessasian’s recommendation to try this was ‘spot-on’! The warm crust had multiple flaky layers and inside there is a creamy cheese filling. We were both surprised at how unbelievably light the texture of this was. I thought that the cheese filling tasted similar to homemade mac and cheese (no disappointments here!).
Deep fried Squid
The line up for this was long, so Ricelessasian thought that the squid must’ve been really good. It was served with a thai vinegar sauce. We both enjoyed it and this was Ricelessasian’s favourite of all the things she ate that day. I was really scared that the squid would be too tough, or that it would have an overly battered coating, but it wasn’t at all. The natural flavour and texture of the squid won our hearts…and our stomachs!
We were glued to this baked goods vendor for a while because of all the amazing-looking treats. This little piece costs $3, which to some degree is rather expensive. It was moist, rich and chocolately (in a very good way). Since this vendor has a permanent store, we will definitely go back for that lemon square we wanted to try!
After strolling the festival for a few hours, we even managed to bring a few treats home. If you’re not too discouraged by large crowds, this is a great place to celebrate the Greek culture and cuisine on a beautiful summer weekend.
360 days until the next TOD!
Taste of the Danforth: http://www.tasteofthedanforth.com/tasteofthedanforth.php