A Lot on Our Plates: President's Choice® 1000 Tastes of Toronto™

10 June, 2012

The Event
Picture courtesy TorontoLife.com
The President's Choice® 1000 Tastes of Toronto™ is, I hear, one of the most eagerly awaited events at the Toronto Luminato Festival. At the festival’s opening weekend, around 36 participating restaurants, most of which even I’d heard about though I was all of 6 days old in the city (I’m such a foodie!), offered their wares for $5 a plate. There’s a deal you can’t refuse.

Set up in a long alley along Toronto’s historic Distillery District, the smells in the air were pretty incredible. Many of the vendors seemed to have reinvented street food, making it look almost gourmet. Poutini’s House of Poutine, Amaya and Chippy’s Fish & Chips Inc were names that I recognized, among others.

Me at the Event
I actually went to this two times! The first time, I went with a couple of new-found friends I’d made while we made Austrian Potato Soup (read about it here). We took a leisurely stroll, exploring our options, and picking up all the free samples in our path. It was interesting trying to figure out which Canadian staple had made it into the food the vendors were offering.

I went back the next day with my husband, to show him some of the spirit and enthusiasm I’d come across on the previous day. Both times, the event seemed full of happy well-fed people and there was ample moving space despite the crowds.

The Plates!
What I loved: Hands-down, my favorite part of the event was the display of white plates which visitors signed with their messages. They were encouraged to put down their favorite eating place/dish in Toronto, and I had a good time reading through it all (I did make notes for future reference!)

What I didn’t love: While some of the food options available seemed like hearty portions, there were others that I’d resent paying $5 for. One lump of cheese and two basil leaves vs. a full plate of rice with an Indian curry… and both for $5? It seemed like some customers were getting the raw end of the deal. I’d love to see options for entrée and main the next time, priced differently.

Overall: When in the company of foodies, you feel ten times happier. I’d definitely go back next year… and try to influence which vendors they call back too! :)

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