Sunday, September 12, 2010

Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair

This weekend is the weekend of the 26th Annual Vegetarian Food Fair here in Toronto. Wow, that means that there's actually been one almost every year of my life!! That's crazy when you think about it that way!

It's held down at Harbourfront Centre and is free, free, free! It's put on by the Toronto Vegetarian Association, which also produces the free Vegetarian Directory. There are tons of vendors all selling their delicious wares at wonderful prices. And non-food vendors too but you all know how my mind works...There is live entertainment, and if you're at all involved even in a minor way in the Toronto veg*n scene, you'll see tons of people that you know! In fact, I even bumped into my neighbour from first and second year university, how's that for craziness!!

Anyway, it was my first time going (!!!) and it's an important event as for me it always marks the end of summer. I went with my friend Kristyna, who I'm happy to say had the same priority as I of making ourselves sick by eating more delicious food than we should. I had three things I had to do, get a nanaimo bar from LPK Culinary Groove, buy Daiya Cheese, and get some kung pao chicken from King's Cafe. Sadly, there were no exhibitors selling any cheese, LPK was out of everything but non-vegan brownies and King's Cafe only had some curry chicken, though that was pretty amazing. BUT! That's ok! Because it was still awesome.

Kristyna at the Food Fair

I introduced Kristyna to tofu from Ying Ying Soy Foods, which I feel is my duty to people unsure about tofu everywhere. They offer only Nigari Tofu that is processed like cheese curds, a 2,000-year-old method using sea water and natural salts. My fave flavour is the sweet and spicy one, but we discovered the curry flavour is also delicious. You can get their tofu year round at the St. Lawrence Market or at Essence of Life Organics in Kensington Market, or a bunch of other stores according to their website. We also tried the gardenin "beef tips". It tasted a little too much like actual beef to us, so I'm not the hugest fan. And it's like pure gluten, but if you're ok with gluten and miss the flavour and texture of actual meat, then I highly recommend!

Kristyna shared an amazing double chocolate chocolate chip cookie from Sweets From The Earth with me. WOW. I later got a brownie from them, which despite it`s smaller size absolutely slayed me with its richness. Like, I actually had to leave after eating it, it was that intense. Luckily I waited until late in the day to have it. It was delicious, don`t get me wrong, and I highly recommend it, but it's definitely to be shared with a friend! Or maybe just enjoyed when you haven't already eaten everything in sight...

We rocked out to lightsweetcrude, an awesome jam band. It was here that we really saw that the fair attracted a very eclectic crowd. There was everyone from elderly people in scooters to a woman dancing using a hula hoop.

We found a mexican place that sold vegan food, such as mushroom tacos!! I feel like they're called El Cinto...?? They're not in the programme so unfortunately I can't be sure. I'll try and track down the name. I also tried a vegan jamaican patty. Even though there was so so much gluten, I had to try it! I was obsessed with Jamaican patties when I was younger. While it was was a bit of a disappointment as it wasn't anything like the Jamaican patty I remember. I think that they could have pulled it off better with TVP and lots of spiciness! It was instead made of beans. Even that would have been fine, but it wasn't spicy at all. Became very delicious though when i put some of the super spicy Pav Bhaji Kristyna got from an Indian booth on it.

We laughed at this. If you know Toronto, you'll know that this is a tiny enclosed cement wading pool type of thing. And that the water isn't more than a foot deep. And that ten feet or so away is the lake. And that another little while off are the islands, with a huge beach. So, lots of places nearby to actually paddle. Yet these people chose to paddle here. So so very much a Toronto thing to do. Just like the fake grass everywhere! The grass at harbourfront is synthetic, and we got very nervous when we saw someone smoking on it. Such a Toronto thing. Sigh.

We ran into my friends Peter and Sarah and their friend, whose name I've forgotten...sorry guy!

And, perhaps most importantly, I got to hug a giant chicken man!!! If there's one thing I LOVE, it's mascots. With big cartoon faces. And they always give the best hugs! Now the exception are mascots like the giant pod of peas we saw. But that's because it had no cartoon face, it was just a guy dressed up like a pod of peas! Cool...but also a little unsettling. Though we did get to witness him hitting on a girl, which was stunning.

There's still time to go and experience the fun! And and and (!!) today they're having vegan iron chef!! And LPK Culinary Groove promised more nanaimo bars. exciting! Hope to see you there next year!!


SESSY UPDATE!! fixed the link to lightsweetcrude. sigh myspace is way too confusing for me. i feel old...


Blogger Courtney Erin said...

Looks like a fun time! I recently went vegan from vegetarian and I'm really loving all the experimental eating I've been doing lately but I so wish I could hit up a food fair and do some serious sampling.

xoxo ~ Courtney

September 12, 2010 at 12:26 PM  
Anonymous lightsweetcrude said...

Hey there! Thanks for the shout-out! So glad you dug our set. Great 'blog you have here! :+) Only thing... You've linked to the 'wrong' lightsweetcrude.
We're at Come by and say 'hi' on FaceBook, too! ;+)
Did you check Uduppi Palace's booth? Awesome Sth Indian veg goodness! Peace, js

September 13, 2010 at 11:29 AM  
Blogger Selene said...

eep I did have the wrong link! Fixed now! Uduppi Palace...I believe we did eat their food, and it was amazing.

Courtney - it was really quite good sampling wise. I bought this amazing shitake mushroom "meat" that we're now obSESSED with, but I forgot to get a card or see the name of the booth!

September 15, 2010 at 11:13 PM  
Blogger Daddy said...

Hi, Selene!

The Mexican Restaurant you ate from was called El Cilantro Catering. I'm glad you had a great time!

September 22, 2011 at 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Gavin McDonald said...

Hi, Selene!

I can answer some of your questions!

The Mexican food you ate at the World Cafe was from a company called El Cilantro Catering.

The fake pond is there because it's a safe place for kids to try canoeing in the Summer in water that's only waist deep and they can't accidentally drift off in. Because it's so contained, it tends to draw lots of people who have never tried canoeing before, which is really awesome.

It's also a skating rink in the Winter. People can rent skates there, and they have (bi?)weekly DJ Skate Nights as well.

Harbourfront used to have nothing but real grass, but when it rained and had our usual several thousand people every weekend, (we get about 100,000 for Canada Day) it always turned into a muddy swamp and became a no-go zone. They hated to do it, but switched to that artificial turf so people could still enjoy sitting on the "lawn" even if it only rained a little while ago, and is durable enough that everyone can run and play on it without wear and tear.

Don't get me started about the smokers, but the lawn can take it.

I'm glad you had such a great time! It was great to meet you and have a drink. Take care/

September 22, 2011 at 8:27 PM  

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