Monday, November 28, 2011

Food trend: Pop up food events

Fidel Gastro sammies on the go

So I've been doing a lot of eating instead of cooking since Sean's mom got here. I've been meaning to tell you about a curious trend that has been keeping Toronto foodies busy the past couple months - pop-up food events. You pretty much have to be tuned to the Twitter and Facebook grapevine to get in on the action. Over the summer it was all about the food trucks, but now, it's nice to see other creative home cooks get their chance to shine. So here's a bit of a round-up of what we've been lucky to sample. 

Fidel Gastro - The Sandwich Maestro
I met Matthew Basile (a.k.a El Presidente/creator and founder) through mutual friend, Christine Cooper (a.k.a @coopspeak) at the Toronto Underground Market (TUM). When he invited us to the pop up Opposites Attract to sample some of his sandwiches (I was intrigued by the Cuban mac 'n' cheese) it was hard to refuse thanks to the passion he displayed talking about his journey from the corporate world to sandwich artist. What started as a quiet evening with Basile's sandwiches and vegan delicacies from The Feel Good Guru turned into a raucous party with Basile selling 250 sandwiches in just two hours. Of course, his Havana Club was excellent and the Cuban Mac spiked with chorizo did not disappoint.  Sean's fave was the Toronto Cheesteak. Basile has since sold sandwiches at TUM and 99 Sudbury.

Havana Club (left); Cuban Mac
Kale Salad and Falafel (left); Toronto Cheeseteak

La Carnita - Taco Specialists
If you ever see that skull graphic (a.k.a Meathead) around the city, there's a chance the La Carnita team are dishing out their tacos nearby. The brainchild of three creative gentlemen from
OneMethod Digital and Design, the team has held a whole stack of pop up events across the city - including TUM and Food Truck Eats - often featuring a guest chef. Curious about a Twitter thread that was going, I joined the masses and stood in line one Thursday evening in the summer to get a taste of their crisp Voltron fish taco complete with a sprinkle of crunchy purple cabbage that had everyone salivating virtually. That evening they had paired up with Steve Gonzalez (contestant of Top Chef Canada) who served a delicious adobo spiced pork taco with corn salsa. The deal? You pay for limited edition art work and get a taco goody bag. Read more about the unique concept online in Toronto Life.

Hello Meathead; Steve Gonzalez at work
Order to go; Voltron taco (left) and pork loin taco

Toronto Underground Market - Eclectic Flavours
This little gathering is hard to get into, as it takes place just once every month and charges a $10 entry fee. Run by Hassel Aviles at the
Evergreen Brickworks, it provides home and professional cooks a platform to sell their edible wares to the ever voracious public. Inspired by a similar event in San Francisco, this market has become a much anticipated gathering for food lovers in the GTA. We were lucky to get tickets through @coopspeak and we hung out with her and her hubby Dennis munching our way through samosas, arancini and ramen and mingling with fellow foodies. Make no mistake, the lines do get long but as long as you have some company and a glass of wine in hand it's all good.

Romanian meatball soup; arancini
Dennis, Christine and Sean; Shinaki-Co ramen

1 comment:

  1. We would gladly much our way through an evening with you guys!