Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Stop's Night Market

(A-OK's Shumai Dumplings & Salt Cod Inari)
With so many food events taking place in our ever-growing foodie city, it's easy to grow tired of the same format, general tastes, venues, and vendors participating at each tasting event. When you've attended so many, they all start to seem the same after a while, so when one event has the ability to knock my socks off, I can't help but want to write about it right away. With my mind still buzzing with thoughts of all the delicious tastes I got to experience last night, not to mention the great time I had, there is no better time to share my experience of The Stop's Night Market with you.

(Forna Lola's Carne Asada Tacos)
Held in Toronto's famous Honest Ed's Alley, The Stop's Night Market is a $50 all-inclusive charity event, with funds raised to support The Stop's innovative anti-hunger programs. The event runs for two days, with each day requiring a ticket purchase and featuring different vendors, many of which are from some of Toronto's current hottest restaurants. It was the insanely impressive lineup that had me rushing to secure my ticket for day-one of the event, which sold out in a matter of hours. Despite my worries of over-crowding, bad weather, and long lineups, I was so incredibly excited to be able to experience tastes from so many restaurants that I have not yet had the privilege to try. 
(Lake Of Bays Brewing Rock Cut)
(Rose & Son's Smoked Ham & Cheese Sandwich)
As my boyfriend Chris and I walked up to the alley, our stomachs growling and our mouths begging for a beer, we simultaneously let out a groan as the long line to get into the event came into view. Immediately we both feared that this was an indication of the trouble we may experience throughout the event. We were delighted to find that the line moved super fast and we were skipping (alright, maybe I was the only one skipping) up to the first vendor in no time. In a matter of minutes we were already walking up to our second vendor, with a Lake Of Bays Brewing Rock Cut Beer in one hand and Nyood's Dry Rubbed Lamb Ribs with Chimichurri sauce in the other. Most of the lineups moved fairly quickly, with only a select few that took a few minutes longer, but on such a beautiful night, with live music playing, a fantastic atmosphere, and great company, there was really nothing to complain about. Another trick to getting through the lines minus any frustration is getting your event buddy to sneak off into another, shorter line to grab another snack or beverage to work on as you make your way through the longer line. 
(Luxardo Cocktail Bar's Basil & Strawberry Cocktail, featuring Dillon's Gin)
(Mad Maple Cottage Inn's Ice cream Sandwich)
Although there were a whopping 44 vendors at the event, Chris and I got to taste a good portion of them, and minus one less-than-stellar taco, we were very impressed and ooh-ing and ahh-ing over all of them.  What I was most impressed with was the variation of different tastes at the event. Unlike at TUM, which we had attended a few months ago, where it seemed like almost every vendor was featuring pork, each vendor at The Stop's featured a variety of unique and innovative items that excited the taste buds. Mirroring the variation of tastes at the event were the beautiful food carts at each station, each one striking and inventive, representing the feel of each restaurant. The best accessory at every food cart? The smiling chefs behind every one! You couldn't deny the overwhelmingly positive vibe that was felt throughout the space, as it was clear that everyone involved was truly enjoying themselves and proud of what they were taking part in. 
(Chantecler's Beef Tartare On Shrimp Chip)
After trying enough tastes to make me feel as though my belly was about to burst, of course I had a few standouts that I spent all night dreaming about. My top three tastes of The Stop's Night Market were:
Acadia served up their famous grits, but this time with a twist. Anson Mills grits and pimento cheese are deep fried and served with microgreens and a delicious dip to compliment the subtle flavours of the creamy and cheesy grits. The flavours were spot on, as were the contrasts in textures. 
Former Top Chef competitor Rob Rossi of Bestellen was in top form serving up N'duja and Mozzarella Sandwiches with Fried Eggplant and Basil Pesto. The sandwich, which was served on a fresh country bun, was humble yet mouth-wateringly delicious. The creamy mozzarella did not distract from the slightly smokey flavours from the eggplant and the basil pesto gave a hit of freshness to the sandwich, which lingered on the tongue after each bite. 
As I had just mentioned in my post on Le Petit Popelin yesterday, the new sensation in French pastry is choux a la creme. The Tempered Chef did a stand-out job of representing this sweet French confection, with a crisp exterior and and oozing vanilla orange custard that was the perfect consistency. To make it even better, each sweet treat was topped with a drizzle of caramel and a light dusting of icing sugar. 

Listening To:
Indians - Magic kids

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