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Toronto Street Treats Us With Fairer Foods


I forgot my lunch today, but fortunate for me (and about 5 billion other people... ok, not that many, but there were LOTS of people there), councilor John Filion and some of Toronto's best chefs treated us to some finer fair than the norm at Toronto Street Treats Main Course Event. Now, I've got nothing against a nice juicy sausage from one of the many, many street food vendors scattered throughout downtown, but there's something to be said for variety.

Today at Nathan Phillips Square, the city introduced us to some of the proposed dishes that could be available on the street, once McGuinty's new law governing what street food vendors can sell takes affect August 1st. Dishes as simple as chili lime corn on the cob ($1), and as complex (to me anyways) as Gruyere cheese, fresh dill and cracked black pepper crepes ($6) were served up hot and fresh to anyone who wandered into the Square.

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Unfortunately, by the time I was able to sneak away for lunch at 1pm, the lines were long and the goods were sparse. Many of the vendors, like Food Share and the Indian Rice Factory, ran clean out of food (which is too bad, I was looking forward to trying some of their Dosa- $6).

I was able to score some very yummy chicken souvlaki on a pita ($5) from Pappas Grill, accompanied by a San Pellegrino orange soda ($2). Pappas Grill had also run out of food, but were able to call in for back up. By the time I made it to the front of the line and paid for my food, the new shipment had arrived and was sizzling on the grill. I had to wait to get my chicken, but I was happy to do so. Everyone serving was very nice, and appreciated our patience.

My vegetarian friend didn't have quite as much luck. The corn (his all-time fave) was sold out, as were the dosas, the empanadas from Jumbo ($3), the fried and fresh spring rolls ($4 each) from Golden Turtle, and the grilled tofu ($4) from Izakaya. He got a fresh sugar cane jasmine iced tea from Rain for a dollar though, a pre-cursor to the Eaton Centre lunch he had to resort to.

I was surprised at the amount of people there, and I wasn't expecting there to be so many media representatives milling about. Every time I turned around, there was a microphone being stuffed in someone's face. Everyone looked happy to share their opinion, though, and from what I could hear (amid the munches and mumblings)- it was mostly positive.

I couldn't help thinking how feasible some of these food choices would be for street vendor purposes, though. Would you be able to handle a strawberry, sour cream and brown sugar crepe at 2:30am, while stumbling drunk? The beauty of street meat is its affordability, its convenience, its ease of consumption. I'm afraid that these new offerings may be lost on the street food vendor's actual target market, but like I said, it's always nice to have a choice (and healthier ones, at that)!

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