This saturday morning i woke up in absolute shambles only an hour before i was supposed to attend the pre- showing of the CraveTO foodie event. Taking place in Honest Ed’s alleyway as all good Toronto food events should, the CraveTO pop-up fabulously displayed local street food, craft beer and live music.
CraveTO popped up for one day only, but two separate showings. The day event was the one i attended, however the night event was the big one. The restaurant lineups basically stayed the same for both, however the latter’s was a bit more extensive.
I love the venue for these events. The alleyway between Honest Ed’s located at Bathurst and Bloor is a hidden space tucked gently away from the boisterous Bloor street bustle. The alleyway is large and quaint, with colorfully painted houses and tiny boutique shops and stores.
My favorite part are the rusty, windy staircases attached to the houses. If you get the chance to sneak up one of these you have a perfect birds eye view of the alleyway with nobody in your way.
This event was much smaller than the Stop Night Market which i attended earlier this summer at the same location. I don’t have a blog post for this event but all i can say is that it sold out in 2 hours for a reason. SO. MUCH. FUN.
Okay, back to CraveTO. What is the point of these pop-ups? Well, first off it is a celebration of Toronto food and drink culture. Great restaurants like La Carnita and Rock Lobster Company began at a pop-up event like on of these, only to move on to bigger and better things (aka their own very successful restaurants).
It is an opportunity for lovers of cooking and creation to display their creativity and hardwork. Just like an artist hosting an art exhibit, these events allow for the hard-working chefs and brewers to showcase their talent and skill in the art of cooking.
We as human beings live for recognition, and CraveTO is one of the few pop- up food events that provides Toronto with this opportunity.
The day was ridiculously hot so we instantly grabbed a drink. I had a water and a Pommies green apple cider. B had a wheat beer from Left Field Brewery, cleverly designed to mirror the baseball theme we all know and love.
We also checked out Hot Bunzz who makes gourmet pizza pops. They were divine!
We got the mushroom, spinach and goats cheese pop, however the other three options they had looked equally as delicioius. Hot Bunzz shares a buffet- style resto space with Urban Bistro at Yonge & St. Clair, as well as doubling as a catering company.
We made sure to get something from each booth we went to, as well as sparking up conversation with the hard working men and women who were there to provide us with this delicious gourmet feast.
Some of the highlights for me was the avocado chicken salad on a crispy thin bun from Arepas. It was essentially a heaping spoonful of guacamole with delicious chunks of chicken breast mixed in as well. Recipe to come !
I also thoroughly appreciated the artist that was set up beside the Hogtown Brewery booth.
This man was creating some impressive paintings on- site during the event. I badly wanted to go up and ask him how much i could purchase the painting of Toronto for, but i did not want to disrupt his vibe. I just wasn’t feeling cool enough.
Another showstopper was the Japanese street food fried chicken skewers, or Karaage in Japanese, from Gushi.
I love this booth a) because the two fresh faced Japanese boys couldn’t stop dancing and making me laugh, and
b) the pair of glasses that one of the chefs donned were beyond silly and i loved it He was my favourite.
They do catering too btw, check them out!
I don’t know what it is, but for some reason the Japanese make unbelievable fried chicken. I mean, have you ever been to Guu? It is ridiculously good.
Another unreal booth called Ice Volcano clevery concocted 5 different ice cream dishes using none other but liquid nitrogen!
You could choose from Mango, Strawberry, Oreo, Coffee or … wait for it…. frozen marshmallows!!
Yepp you read that right, frozen fu*king marshmallows!
Basically he pours liquid nitrogen on them. Shakes it around.
Frozen Marshmallows. Such a trip.
We walked around the event discussing our gluttonous adventure and snapping pics. The Buster’s Sea Cove truck was of course at the event to satisfy everyone’s fried food fix.
We got the fried shrimp taco.
And the octopus one. Don’t judge.
The truck is never as good as their location in the St. Lawrence Market but it is the all-time hangover cure. My shrimp was half the size of its fried shelter, but it was divine regardless. If you’re going to venture to Buster’s sea cove, either the booth or the truck, always get the lobster roll or the calamari. It is always so fresh and heavenly.
A few hours later, tummy’s full and slightly tipsy, we headed home to hide from the world before our nighttime activities.
A big shout out to CraveTO for pulling off an awesome daytime event.
You got me out of bed and looking fresh before 11am on a Saturday, and i wouldn’t have spent my day anywhere else.
Looking for the hangover cure? I found it. CraveTO, i praise you!
(I just had to show this again. Need. This. NOW.)