Thanks to the super generous Jen of foodpr0n, Paul and I got to attend the nighttime Toronto Underground Market (TUM) this past Sunday. We were extra excited because not only was it our first time attending TUM, but it was their First Birthday Bash!
According to their site, “TUM is a social food market for the community to sample the food of Toronto home cooks. It is a venue for budding entrepreneurs to showcase their products. These vendors are not necessarily chefs, although some will be. This is a new kind of community market; not a farmer's market, or a food festival, but something completely unique and new to Toronto.”
I’ve been reading about this event and drooling over TUM photos from my fellow food bloggers for months, but every TUM seemed to fall on a date that we couldn’t make. But not this time!
Warning: Since this was my first TUM, I was so excited to attend as an “eater” that I forgot about approaching the event as a “food blogger” – hence I didn’t have my DSLR, only my iPhone. And of course, my iPhone had less than 30% battery life left before I even entered the building. So, I apologize in advance for the blurry photos – lesson learned for next time!
Taking useful tips from Jon of Chan's a Fan and Jen of foodpr0n’s blog posts, Paul and I arrived early and managed to snag a parking spot at the Evergreen Brickworks. We got into line and waited (impatiently) for the doors to open at 6pm. I was armed with a bottle of water (useful),Tupperware (not that useful) and moist toilettes (super useful).
Since we didn’t know we were going to TUM until the night before, we didn’t really have a plan, so we decided to just let our eyes and noses guide us in our choices. There were a few vendors that I recognized from all my time on Twitter, so I definitely made it a priority to give them a try.
Our first stop was HotBunzz (@HotBunzzTO), who I've been watching on Twitter for ages. They had three different buns to choose from, but the Basil Beef Thai bun caught my eye. It was great. It had a touch of spice, and the bun was soft and slightly sweet. Paul and I both loved it – it was a great way to start off our TUM experience!
Next up was The Slow Room (@theslowroom), which I had never heard of before, but attracted us because they had the word “Porchetta” on the menu. After Paul ordered the Spicy Porchetta ($6), we heard the server mention they had soft shell crab, so we made a mental note to return to try that (guess what? We left and didn't remember about the soft shell crab until we were in the car and driving away). The porchetta was served on a bun and was juicy, tender and spicy. I’m not a fan of hot foods, but Paul is, so he really enjoyed this one.
Across the aisle, I saw Leonard Pig Candy (@LeonardPigCandy) – hello? Bacon dipped in milk or dark chocolate, plus other bacon candy goodness?Yes please! I opted for the bacon dipped in milk chocolate (it comes on a stick for easy eating) ($3). The contrast of super sweet and super salty is one of my favourites, but the chocolate was really messy. I definitely did not have an easy time eating this since I was trying to balance the bacon stick, a bottle of water, my iPhone and some cash all in my hands at the same time. Let’s just say I ended up with a lot of chocolate on my face...
Paul turned down trying the chocolate-dipped bacon because he was already in line for Thanksgiving Pucks ($5) from Royal Tree Beaver (@RoyalTreeBeaver). Paul LOVES Thanksgiving and he’s the designated turkey cooker for both our extended families, so this product really caught his eye. It’s basically turkey stuffing and mashed potatoes, coated in breadcrumbs, pan-fried and topped with gravy and cranberries. YUM! This was really good. In fact, they're so good that we’re already planning on making our own Thanksgiving Pucks after this weekend (after a small nudge from Royal Tree Beaver themselves). I’ll let you know how that plan works out.
...continued in Part 2...read it here...