As seen on Girls of TO
Last week, I was lucky enough to attend Taste of Toronto‘s Taste Safari, a media preview of the fantastic annual food festival that takes place July 2-5th, 2015. For those of you on Periscope, you may have joined me for some of the tastings- We had fun.
This year’s festival includes delicious offerings from the O&B group, the Drake properties, Rasa, Montecito, Little Sister, The Harbord Room and THR&Co., Splendido, Richmond Station, Barque Smokehouse, Bosk and Los Colibris/ El Caballito. On this #TasteSafari, we visited 6 of these venues enjoyed a unique cocktail and appetizer at each.
I can tell you that the dishes at each restaurant were inspired, creative and delicious. From lamb ribs to bacon and scalloped flavoured popcorn, salmon sashimi to polenta with meatballs, we sampled some of the city’s best dishes. But as this is a ‘Wine of the Week’ column, let’s focus on the good stuff: the booze.
We started at THR & Co, an inviting eatery with weekly gravy specials (yummy), where were were served an Oliver Sacks, an exquisite blend of Beefeater gin, Cocchi Americano, lemon and thyme served on crushed ice.
Across the street at Splendido, executive chef Victor Barry served us an Apple Spritz with orange zest. This was paired with a spectacular bacon and scallop popcorn, reminding us that behind what seems a big price tag, Splendido is creating honest, authentic and delicious food.
The famous Food Dudes served us a fantastic cocktail called Viola at their resto, Rasa. Starting with some simple syrups and orange water, this cocktail included butterfly peaflower infused gin, processco, hibiscus water and lemon. Not only did it resemble a violet, it tasted as one would assume a violet would taste.
Next we went to Ivan Reitman’s California inspired restaurant, Montecito, where I actually touched a signed copy of the original Ghostbusters script. With images of Montecito, California surrounding us, we sipped on the house cocktail, Cosmocito, a blend of Ketel One Vodka, Grand Marnier, cranberry sauce, lime and bitters served on the rocks.
Drake 150 served us Beets by Drake: a cocktail created by Cheynelle Fraser (head bartender at Drake Devonshire) for the Absolut cocktail competition. This drink obviously uses beet juice to create a spring flavoured cocktail that in our ‘juice everything’ world, both sounds and tastes like it should probably be good for you. This, mixed with the deliciousness of the drink, absolves all guilt that may arise when ordering a second.
We ended our night at America atop the Trump Hotel. Before enjoying a glass of Italians red, we were served a sweet version of an Old Fashioned with pineapple, macadamia nuts, coffee and coconut.
If this #TasteSafari was any indication of what Taste of Toronto 2015 will be offering, then I can guarantee this event will be a massive success. With so many passionate, creative and diverse chefs, bar tenders and sommeliers in this city, we should make the most of celebrating their talent as often as we can. If you haven’t been to any of the above venues, get there- You are in for a treat.
You could also go to Taste of Toronto and try them all there. Yes- Do that.