Taste of Toronto

Taste of Toronto, an action packed foodie festival, was back for it’s second year showcasing over 50 of the city’s top chefs and restaurants. Some recurring restaurants from last year took part as well as new additions like Morimoto Toronto and Masterchef Canada collaboration, R+D. Along with these culinary heavyweights were a slew of sampling stations from over 70 artisan producers and premium brands which made for a spectacular day of eating.

With the opportunity to try dishes from some of Toronto’s most talked about restaurants, demonstrations from critically claimed chefs, and plenty of wine and beer tastings, this four day outdoor extravaganza located at the historic Fort York site could said to be the foodie event of the summer.

Eating my way through the day, these were some of my favourite dishes:

Restaurant: Barque

Dish: Competition chicken thigh with Cuban corn

Thoughts: Barque knows barbecue and this knowledge definitely shined through with a perfected cooked chicken thigh that brought amazing levels of smoky bbq flavour from their expert sweet and savory rub/sauce.

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Restaurant: The Drake

Dish: East coast lobster roll with avocado and jalapeno

Thoughts: A delicious fluffy roll, hearty chunks of fresh lobster mixed with light and creamy avocado and topped with a spicy kick from the jalapeno- basically everything one hopes for from a good lobster roll.

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Restaurant: The Harbord Room

Dish: Grilled summer squash with Za’atar, pumpkin seeds, pomegranate, Macedonian Feta, fresh herbs and picked red onions

Thoughts: This was right up there as one of my favourite dishes of the day, squashing anyone’s idea that salads are boring. Despite the lengthly list of ingredients, they all married together perfectly for one cohesive bite of bold summer flavours.

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Restaurant: Patria

Dish: Paella Patria with Bay scallops, shrimp, muscles, local pickerel, snap peas and saffron

Thoughts: This is a dish that you can tell was made with love and hours of flavours built into it. In every bite you got delicious chunks of fresh seafood with a bed of rice that took on the aroma of saffron, garlic and tomatoes. The giant steal pan they prepare it in is also pretty impressive.

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Restaurant: Richmond Station

Dish: Funnel cake with vanilla ice cream and stewed fruit

Thoughts: What you would normally think of as a carnival treat, Chef Carl Heinrich and his team at Richmond station elevated to Top Chef level. The crispy, doughy funnel cake, with sweet vanilla ice cream and bursts of cooked fruit worked as an amazing bite to end our eating for the day!

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Until next year Taste of Toronto!

The Delicious Food Show

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The Delicious Food Show took place this past weekend in Toronto at the Direct Energy Centre, running from Friday Oct 17th to Sunday October 19th.

This event was a haven for foodies and pretty much anyone who likes eating or discovering new products. With a convention centre filled with food vendors, presentations and even a celebrity food network stage, there was a lot of ground to cover.. and eat.

We ventured to the show not anticipating the vastness of options and diverse activities to take part in. Needless to say we were a little overwhelmed, in the best foodie way possible.

Working our way through the convention center, we tried several delicious dishes and eternities of samples from a wide range of food vendors. We also got a chance to listen to a presentation from Food Network`s hilarious Nadia G.

First up is Arielle’s favourite dishes of the day!

Tablue Toronto

Tablue is a well established Middle Eastern restaurant with two locations in Toronto. At the food show we heard people raving about their hummus from across the convention centre so went over and joined the crowds of people eager to try samples of their famous pita and hummus and hearty lentil soup. The hummus was most definitely rave worthy.

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After tasting these delicious bites we knew we had to get the falafel dish they were serving up. The crunchy chickpea balls were accompanied by a fresh tablue salad (served with hand chopped parsley, whole wheat bulgur, tomatoes, onions and a hint of mint tossed in a light lemon & olive oil dressing), and some extremely flavorful flash fried cauliflower with tahini- to quote Robin when he took a bite “Cauliflower, is that you?”

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Head to one of their Toronto restaurant locations to try these dishes for yourself!                                                                                           http://tabule.ca/                                                                                                                                                                                                         @TabuleToronto

Me.n.u

With a slogan like “You gotta taste our balls” this was a stop that we couldn’t ignore. Me.n.u is a food truck that I have seen at pretty much every single foodie event that I’ve attended, always a lineup surrounding their station and mouthwatering aroma’s wafting from their location.

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At this event we finally got a chance to try some of their delicious balls. We got one of  their signature fried rice balls, the Angry Bird with Singaporean Chicken, Shitaki Mushrooms, Roasted Red Peppers and Caramelized Onions and one of their new creations The Viet-Nom.Nom.Nom with lemongrass beef, caramelized onions, mushrooms, fish sauce and garlic rice.

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Two of the most delicious bites that I’ve eaten.

Visit their website for more details http://menutdot.com/                                                                                                                                                              And follow their truck at @meNuFoodTruck

Milagro Cantinas

This traditional Mexican eatery located in downtown Toronto was serving up some of their classic dishes at the show.

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We got to try their guacamole bowl. Yes that’s right, this was a bowl made out of tortilla chips filled with fresh creamy guacamole.

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http://milagrorestaurant.com/                                                                                                                                                                                                               @Milagro_Cantina

Holy Cannoli

Before we even got to the show I had heard buzz about these homemade authentic Italian cannolis so when we spotted their booth we knew it was a must try. Made with fresh, creamy ricotta filling piped into a perfectly crunchy shell, you can tell this is a product that was created with love.

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http://www.holycannolis.com/

@HolyCannoliTO

Next up is Robin, who actually became overwhelmed by all the food available.

Fidel Gastros

I’m normally not the type of person to be attracted to a vendor because of their name, but this time, we made an exception.

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What choice did I have? They’re called “Fidel Gastros”, that’s just brilliant in so many ways.

To add to their genius brand name, is one of the most tender pork sandwiches I have ever had in my life.

Let’s just take a moment to appreciate these delicious beauties pictured below. The best part? They tasted a few hundred times better than they looked.

With succulent pork pieces falling out as you took your first bite, the saddest part of the experience was when we took our last.

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If you want to check out their extensive menu as well as their extended dining experience through their second restaurant “Lisa Marie”, check them out: http://fidelgastro.ca/

They also have Twitter in case you want to carry around a picture of their food on your phone (don’t be shy, we all do): @fidelgastros

Penny Lou Lou 

“Bubble cake with Nutella, Lou Lou sauce (ducle de leche with citrus), fresh berries and vanilla ice cream.”

If that sentence didn’t make you jump out of your chair (or whatever you’re sitting on) screaming out dramatically “where? where?!” then I really don’t think you like dessert.

The charming duo bring the unique Hong Kong style dessert to the Greater Toronto Area, and because of these delicious bubble cake’s, our area sure does seem a lot greater.

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Just look at that picture below, how insanely delicious does this look? The best part is, it’s even better tasting than it’s beautiful presentation.

This was easily one of the highlights of the show for me. The amount of regret I have for no grabbing another one, or six.

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Don’t believe us? Check out our reactions on their instagram!

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A few of our customers digging into their Bubble cakes at the Delicious Food Show! @deliciousfoodshow #dfs14 #dfs2014 #delicioushotspot #hotspot #to #toronto #tdot #theex #directenergycentre #yyz #delicious #food #foodie #foodporn #foodgasm #customers #yummy #dessert

View on Instagram

You can check out more of their quirky desserts on their main website. They even have a dessert called “A Penny for your Thoughts”.

It was our destiny to eat there.

Santo Pecado Catering 

In my experience, you really can’t go to a food expo of any sort without trying some tacos.

Not that you have to, for me anyway it just seems like tradition (also because taco’s are the equivalent of true love).

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Santo Pecado catering brought out a variety of tacos, including the two we tried.

The first was the mexican adabe brisket taco, and then the cod in mexican oregano and tomatillo sauce.

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We only had one each, which was unfortunate since they had a three for $10 deal.

We were this close to have six. Oh well.

For more on their delicious catering, check out their main website.

VON Doughnuts 

What’s circular, covered in sugary goodness and horrible for you but you don’t care because they’re impossible to say no to?

The answer is doughnuts of course!

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With our greatest weakness in mind, VON doughnuts brought out their finest gourmet doughnuts for people to try, including the butter tart doughnut.

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The delicious raised doughnut, butter tart filling, browned butter frosting, caramelized walnut all comes together to form their most popular item. Just look at that picture below, it’s easy to tell why it’s a favourite.

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I gave Arielle a larger piece because my stomach was exploding by this point. I regret it greatly since it was ridiculously delicious.

For more of their wonderful doughnuts, check out their main site.

The only way to describe how badly I wanted another doughnut, is through a video on a doughnut expert.

This was our first time at the delicious food show both as bloggers, and as regular foodies.

We have to give our highest recommendations for this: you have to go next year.

Even if you didn’t end up buying any food, the samples alone as one patron told us would be “enough to fill you up for a while”.

And boy was he right.

There were literally samples everywhere! Think Costco, times a hundred.

 

Bonus Round! Check out some of the sights from the show!

Taste of Toronto

Taste of Toronto is a four day foodie event that takes place at the spacious outdoor location of Fork York.

This event was definitely the height of my foodie festival experience with a plethora of restaurant exhibitors, pop-up food vendors, cooking demonstrations, classes, and top tier chefs.

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With so much amazing food to choose from it was difficult to select just a few dishes to try but I narrowed it down to 6, which just happened to be from some of the hottest and buzz-worthy restaurants in Toronto.

Hudson Kitchen 

First up was a light and fresh salad that blew my taste buds out of the water.

Hudson Kitchen is a full-service dining restaurant at Dundas and Palmerstone that serves up Progressive American dishes that showcase classic foods kicked up a notch with whimsy and adventure.

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The Dish: Zucchini Salad with Buffalo ricotta, mint, and almond

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Fresh ribbons of yellow and green zucchini, combined with the rich creamy texture of the buffalo ricotta and the crunch from the almonds made for one of the most well balanced salads I’ve even eaten!

Find out more about Hudson Kitchen and their exciting menu : http://www.hudsonkitchen.com/

Fat Pasha 

Next up was Mediterranean hot spot Fat Pasha that showcases Israeli and Sephardic cuisines. Their booth at the festival was lively and friendly with lots of interaction between kitchen and guests.

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The Dish: Fat Pasha’s Falafel Pita with cabbage slaw, sour pickles and tahini

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Now, I wouldn’t consider myself a Falafel connoisseur but I have tried a fair amount of falafel in my time and this was right up there with with some of the best  authentic Israeli falafel.

The slightly warmed pita was filled with the delicious chickpea balls that were perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and topped with a bright acidic cabbage slaw and creamy tahini sauce.

I knew this was a good dish when others came up to me while I was eating it and asked where I’d gotten it from.

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Check them out: http://www.fatpasha.com/

JaBistro 

Showcasing carefully crafted modern Japanese cuisine, JaBistro is the younger cousin of the Guu Restaurant family, owned by James HyunSoo Kim.

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The Dish: Blowtorched & Pressed Sushi with Shrimp, Mackerel, and Salmon

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This tasted pretty much as exciting as it sounds. It took regular old sushi up a level with expertly prepared bites highlighed by  concentrated, pressed  flavours

Find out more at: http://www.jabistro.com/

Barque Smokehouse 

Labeled as some of the best barbeque in Toronto, Barque is definitely a must try on my list of restaurants to visit. This was the station with the longest lineup by far but for good reasoning.

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The Dish: Barque Rack O’ Bama: Baby Back Ribs (rubbed, smoked, and basted). Served with a potato, corn, and candied smoked bacon salad.

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I got a glimpse into their expert smoke work and BBQ flavouring with the  these delicious ribs. I could taste the time and effort that was put into the smoking and basting process which resulted in a falloff the bone flavour bursting bite.

Visit their Roncesvalles location: barque.ca/

Bymark 

Part of Mark McEwan’s group of popular  restaurants, Bymark  is a fine dining spot located in the Toronto financial district.

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At Taste of TO they were serving up rich and succulent lobster poutine.

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Chunks of butter braised lobster  served with perfectly crispy fries and a classic bearnaise sauce.. what could be bad?!

See more of their delicious dishes here: bymark.mcewangroup.ca/

Richmond Station 

This is a Toronto gem which I`ve had the chance to try ( new post to come soon on that!). They have a contemporary menu that exemplifies seasonal, well thought out dishes with bold, harmonic flavours.

The Dish: Station Ice Cream Sundae

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A delicious sweat treat to end off an amazing foodie festival!

Find out more here: richmondstation.ca/

Taste of Toronto was an expertly run event with a jam packed schedule and list of activities that exposed guests to a wide range of foodie adventures. Can`t wait for next years event!

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Toronto Wine and Spirit Festival

Combining an afternoon of delicious food and drinks, spectacular weather, a great view and some live music made for an awesome time at this weekend’s Toronto Wine and Spirit Festival.

Hosted at Sugar Beach just steps away from Toronto’s waterfront, this weekend-long festival was a great way to kick off the official start of summer.

Our food-centric tendencies drew us to some pretty sweet eats.

First up is our barbecue lover,  Arielle!

Del Fico Catering 

A vendor that first caught my attention was Del Fico who was serving up some mouth watering BBQ classics. Del Fico is a full service catering and events company that specializes in everything from hors d’oeuvres to corporate catering to BBQ and much more!

The Dish: Barbecued Beef Ribs with Molasses-Bourbon Sauce

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These ribs were the perfect combination of sweet, spicy and tangy with a fall off the bone texture  that made them quite irresistible. Definitely the messiest of the food we ate but 100% worth it! Not to mention the boisterous and entertaining staff who were working at the booth that drew in crowds from a mile away.

Check them out.

The Saucy  Pierogi

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We just can’t get enough of these guys! This inventive pierogi pop up vendor never ceases to amaze us with their unique twists on this classic food item.

At this event we tried their Jerk Chicken  pierogi.

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Yes that’s right, Jerk Chicken and  Pierogi were just used in the same sentence. A seemingly unlikely combination but one that definitely worked. The spicy filling, tangy jerk sauce and crisp apple cabbage slaw hit all the right notes.

Find out what event they’ll be at next. 

Mill Street Brewery

This micro-brewery has been cranking out craft beer in East Toronto’s historic Distillery District.

The Drink: Lemon tea Beer.

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This refreshing belgian style beer is made with a unique blend of wheat, corriander, orange peel and a special yeast that gives it complexity and depth of fruity flavour.

Visit their location in Toronto and find out for yourself! 

1800 Tequila

1800 tequila is an original super-premium tequila, renowned for being expertly aged and consistently smooth

The Drink: Gold Mango

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Smooth sweet gold tequila mixed with fresh mango and lemon juice made for a refreshing cocktail.

Now, it’s time for our resident food inhaler, Robin!

First of all, can we all just point out how beautiful this weekend was?

The great city of Toronto was alive with people and events, and of course, the smell of food and drinks in the air.

Speaking of food and drinks, lets kick off my first pick of the weekend!

Our Lobster Shack

For me personally, nothing says summer more than some really good seafood.

No wonder that Our Lobster Shack was the first place to catch my attention, and the resulting growls of my stomach.

Featuring a variety of menu item’s including the Lobster poutine which I now gravely regret not getting for the road home, I decided to try out their signature dish, the Lobster roll.

The Dish: Lobster Roll

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To answer a question you’re probably thinking by looking at this picture: yes, it does taste as good as it looks.

Not only did the sandwich look fresh and full of colours, the taste of the lobster itself was so fresh and as Arielle pointed out, the bread was so good you could taste the butter.

It was literally a premium lobster meal in the form of a sandwich, and as we all know, sandwiches are the corner stones of humanity.

Well, probably not but this sandwich was damn good either way.

Portobello Burger

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Here’s a fun fact: I REALLY like meat.

When I first laid my eyes upon the portobello food truck, I was hesitant at their vegetarian choices because, well, see the sentence above.

For our readers however I thought it would be nice to add a vegetarian meal, so I decided to go with their signature portobello burger.

To all our vegetarian readers out there, thank you, because this was one of the best burgers I’ve had in my life.

And I’ve eaten a lot of burgers in my 22 years of existence.

The Dish: Portobello Burger

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Never could I have imagined preferring a portobello mushroom slice over a beef burger patty, but it happened.

This fresh tasting burger came with your usual burger fixings, with the addition of the portobello mushroom slice, melted goat cheese and a spicy chipotle mayo sauce.

The best part of this burger has to be the fact there was no “burger fallout”, which is basically that feeling of dread after having something that rich.

Fresh, healthy and relatively light, this is the perfect burger of the summer if you’re looking to eat light.

Find out more about their healthy eats ! 

Monetto Il Prosecco, via the iYellow Wine Club

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Recently this summer, literally a month ago, i spent two weeks in France especially in the south where I learned about wine.

I wouldn’t call myself a wine snob or one of those people who spit out wine after tasting it, but I would say I’ve picked up a few tricks here and there.

The Drink: Enter the Mionetto Il Prosecco, a medium intensity citrus with hints of melons and pear with a refreshing taste. This is something that would have gone perfectly with a nice seared salmon or a avocado salad.

I suppose I’m not much of a drinker, but I do love my wine and this was a great refreshing wine for summer days like this weekend.

Find out more about this wine and others at iYellow! 

Brugal Anejo

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The Dominican Republic based rum manufacture also made an appearance, handing out a refreshing rum, strawberry blend drink that was a bit strong, but I did not mind one bit.

It wasn’t my favourite drink of the day (my favourite being Arielle’s Gold Mango drink which I got a sip of), but the refreshing blend of the strawberry helped balance the strong taste of the rum.

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If this weekend was not the perfect example of what the summer is supposed to be, please go to our contact page or tweet us to let us know what your idea of the perfect summer day is.

The Toronto Wine and Spirit festival was the best way to officially kick off the summer, and we really cannot wait to see what this city has in store for us for the rest of the summer.

BONUS ROUND, Here’s a ton of pictures from the event itself.

 

 

Behind the Scenes: Toronto Underground Market

With June’s Toronto Underground Market (TUM) event coming up I’d like to reminisce over May’s amazing event that I got a chance to volunteer at.

The Toronto Underground Market is a food market that acts as a platform for food entrepreneurs, chef’s and home cooks to gain exposure from an eager foodie community.

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May TUM showcased a wide variety of food vendors, food trucks and upcoming hot spots in the Toronto food scene, exposing attendees to a wide range of cuisines to try and new flavours to experience .

Here’s some of of the food I got to try:

Babi and Co

This Indonesian Street Food pop-up vendor puts a modern twist on some traditional Indonesian street food classics.

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Dishes from left to right:

‘Mami’s Sate Babi’ – Pork Satay with pickled cucumbers, ‘ Babi on a Bun’- Braised pork belly on a fried bun, ‘Tahu Goreng’- veggie stuffed fried tofu with Indonesian salsa, ‘Mie Udang’ – shrimp and pork noodles

All four of these dishes were mouthwatering but the stand out for me was the ‘Tahu Goreng’. This deep fried ball of goodness with an addictive peanut sauce to top it off was an item that everyone at the event was buzzing about, claiming it as a must try dish of the day.

Check out more of their delicious dishes.

Stoke Stack BBQ

This authentic BBQ joint has mastered true low and slow barbecue through their tours of the Texas barbecue belt. The line up for Stock Stack BBQ was one of the longest but the food that we got in return was most definitely worth the wait. The beef brisket that they served up was Beef Brisket melt in your mouth, fall off the bone delicious!

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Find out more from these BBQ guru’s. 

Tilde Taco 

Coming soon to a location on the Danforth, Tilde Taco serves up a contemporary take on taco’s with creative, bold and colourful flavour combinations.

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Check them out! 

TUM events are a haven for budding foodies and an exciting opportunity to get exposed to up and coming leaders in the Toronto food community.

UPDATE: Experience TUM for yourself on Saturday July 12 at their new home this year, 99 Sudbury.

Since the summer is here and looking all beautiful outside, this venue will allow for both an indoor & outdoor areas for you to enjoy the TUM experience.

For more on TUM, click this sentence! 

Dishing With DeMontis Launch Party

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A week or so ago, a friend came to me wondering if I was available to film a launch party to promote a new show.

As you get to know me over the next few months (and years hopefully), you will eventually figure out that I am a big videographer nut who just jumps at the chance to do anything related to film.

It also helps that this event was for the launch of a new show on Sirius XM radio, dedicated to foodies and newcomers everywhere.

“Dishing with DeMontis” is a new show that launched earlier in the year, but the weather this week was perfect enough to finally hold a proper launch party for it.

The host of the show, Rita DeMontis, is an award-winning writer who is a part of the Toronto SUN team as its resident food and lifestyle editor.

She is also the food editor as well as the National Food editor for Sun Media.

Marrying her love for journalism and food, each week her show brings listeners a mix of entertainment and food trends that will make your stomach grumble violently.

The beautifully crafted event was held at the modern and stylish 25 Liberty Restaurant located in Liberty village.

Sporting high-ceilings and 10ft windows, this venue was the perfect mixture of elegance and space to host such a party.

But really, what is the best part of any restaurant? The food! And you can take my stomachs word on this, the food was excellent.

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Chef Daniel and his staff crafted a beautifully presented and delicious menu with a diverse range of hors d’oeuvers, my personal favourite being the mini cheesecake bites.

I miss you, mini cheesecake bites.

Not only was the launch party a great success for a new show by a celebrated and successful foodie, the venue was the absolute perfect choice for such a launch.

A big thank you to both Rita DeMontis and the team behind “Dishing with DeMontis”, as well as 25 Liberty and Edana Integrated for having us there.

For more on DeMontis’s new show, check her out! – Dishing With DeMontis

On the amazing ambiance and menu, check out 25 Liberty – 25 Liberty

 

Support photography and videography by Nadia – @nadmaciel

Now, it’s time for a bunch of pictures of some really beautiful food!

Here’s a bonus! Some tweets from different people that night including the Toronto Sun!