For the past 10 days (August 12-21), Estrella Damm Tapas Journey was in full swing for the its second year in a row with 38 participating restaurants. The Estrella Damm Tapas Journey features original tapas inspired by the diverse culture in Toronto and prepared by the city’s Top Chefs.

Each tapas menu is distinct and showcases the chefs’ creativity by pushing their culinary boundaries. For $20.00, guests were able to enjoy 3 tapas, paired with an Estrella Damm at any of the 38 participating restaurants. Andrea and I visited Barsa Taberna over lunch on Friday for their Tapas Journey! Special thanks to Sandi (Foodaholic Blog) for kindly passing along the gift certificates to me so I can enjoy more Tapas! =)

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Led by Chef Andres Salomon & Chef Damon Ha, Barsa Taberna is a restaurant serving modern tapas that include flavours and ingredients from around the world. The dining room houses Barcelona-style art by local artists.

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Paella Croqueta

  • Duck Croquette with Romesco & Escargot Puree

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Melon & Cucumber Gazpacho

  • Topped with Yogurt, Mint & Espelette Pepper

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Octopus “Carpaccio”

  • Prepared with Chorizo, Fingerling Potatoes, Potato Chips, Roasted Black Olive & Piquillo Pepper
  • I’ve actually enjoyed this dish exactly a week ago at the Feast of St. Lawrence {blog post here} and absolutely loved it. When Sandi suggested I check out Barsa Taberna, I was ecstatic to see the exact same dish offered for their Tapas Journey.
  • The spicy chorizo paired with the thinly sliced chewy Octopus topped off with chips to give the dish a bit of crunch – was the best combination ever. I will definitely be back just to savour this dish over and over again.

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All 3 tapas paired with a cold, clean and crisp Estrella Damm for $20.00 – what a steal! The Tapas Journey is organized by Estrella Damm brewed in Barcelona with Mediterranean ingredients since 1876.

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Andrea and myself decided to order a dish off their regular menu (not part of the Tapas Journey).

Patatas Bravas ($7.00)

  • with Alioli and Brava Sauce
  • I love potatoes made any way so this dish automatically caught my attention the second I saw it on the menu.
  • The flavourful brava sauce had a very subtle kick to it. The ratio between the sauce & patatas were on spot so the sauce was in no way overwhelming or filling.

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The verdict? The Octopus Carpaccio & Patatas Bravas seriously left us wanting more. Thankfully, Barsa Taberna is only a few steps away from my workplace so I will definitely be making my way back soon – realistically, the revisit will probably occur this week.

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For the past 10 days (August 12-21), Estrella Damm Tapas Journey was in full swing for the its second year in a row with 38 participating restaurants. The Estrella Damm Tapas Journey features original tapas inspired by the diverse culture in Toronto and prepared by the city’s Top Chefs.

Each tapas menu is distinct and showcases the chefs’ creativity by pushing their culinary boundaries. For $20.00, guests were able to enjoy 3 tapas, paired with an Estrella Damm at any of the 38 participating restaurants. Sandi (Foodaholic Blog) and myself visited Provo Food Bar to check out their Tapas Journey!

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Led by Chef Daniel Duckett, Provo Food Bar is a casual, loft-like space serving international inspired tapas plus craft brews & signature cocktails.

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3 Cheese Pintxos ($6.00)

  • Gorgonzola, Brie & Oka topped with Olive Dirt
  • This tapa dish screams out to all cheese lovers. My favourite type of cheese is Brie – melted on a perfectly toasted slice of bread was oh so good!

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Seafood Salad

  • Octopus, Squid, Scallops & Shrimp with Sesame Yuzu Dressing
  • Another highlight of the evening, salads are always better with yuzu dressing and this one did not disappoint. Sweet, citrusy and refreshing is how I would describe this tapa.

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Olives

  • Stuffed with Hdjua & Duck Confit

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All 3 tapas paired with a cold, clean and crisp Estrella Damm for $20.00 – what a steal! The Tapas Journey is organized by Estrella Damm brewed in Barcelona with Mediterranean ingredients since 1876.

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Since this was my first visit to Provo Food Bar, Sandi & I decided to order a few more items off their regular menu.

Oysters

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Duck Confit Rillette Crostini ($6.00)

  • 2 pieces – all on house-made baguette

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Calamari Pomodoro ($9.00)

  • san marzano tomato + bazil
  • Sandi suggested this dish and I loved it! It was like indulging in a seafood pasta but without the pasta! Huge fan of the tomato sauce used

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Wild Mushroom Linguine ($9.00)

  • mushroom ragout + rosemary
  • This pasta was subtle in taste which I like – but would have preferred if they had use less oil.

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Panna Cotta

  • Their desserts were written up on a chalkboard and I forgot to make note of the price. This panna cotta was a jello type texture with a sweet and citrusy taste.

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I’m glad to be able to participate in this year’s Estrella Damm Tapas Journey. The 3 tapas & a Estrella Damm for $20.00 is such a steal – can’t wait to see whats in store for the coming year!

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Provo FoodBar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Last Friday I attended one of the most memorable dinners I’ve ever had. What made this dinner so memorable? Well, a hundred guests were seated in 1 long beautifully decorated continuous table situated in the middle of Front Street. There was a bigger meaning behind all the glamour to this dinner, which was to support Canada’s largest food security organization. A portion of the ticket sales went to FoodShare. Dinner was priced at $200 per person.

This dinner – “Dinner Under the Stars” kicked off the Feast of St. Lawrence in true fine dining style. All a hundred of us were seated together on Front Street (between Scott and Church Street) and were served a 5 course dinner prepared by Chefs from different restaurants within St. Lawrence Market. Wine pairings came from Niagara’s Somewhereness wine consortium along with added ambiance from JAZZ.FM91 Youth Big Band.

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We were one of the first guests to arrive which gave us a clean & clear view of  the entire dinner table set up. Throughout the entire evening, as each course progressed, the atmosphere was absolutely breathtaking. Unfortunately due to the unpredictable weather forecasts, they had to set up a tent above the table to avoid the thunderstorms. No storms end up happening.

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HORS D’OEUVRES

Oyster Station 

  • By Pearl Diver

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Chicken Liver Parfait

  • Biff’s Moutarde, Cornichon, Petite Salade, Croutons
  • By Biff’s Bistro

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House Cured Salmon Gralax

  • Mustard Creme Fraiche, Belgium Endive, Radish
  • By Biff’s Bistro

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Pear Vichyssoise

  • with a hint of Stilton
  • By Hot House Restaurant
  • This soup served chilled, was one of my favourites of the evening. This delicious pear and potato soup was enriched with fresh cream.

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Wine Pairing

  • Tawse 2014 Limestone Ridge Sparkling Riesling 
  • Cave Spring Brut ‘Dolomite’ Norman Hardie 2015 Riesling 

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APPETIZER

Roasted Beet Salad

  • Shaved Fennel, Mixed Lettuce and Goat Cheese with Citrus Vinaigrette
  • By Woods Restaurant & Bar

Wine Pairing

  • Charles Baker 2013 ‘Picone Vineyard’ Riesling
  • Hidden Bench 2014 Bistro Rose
  • Malivoire 2015 Small Lot Gamay VQA Beamsville Bench

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ENTRE METIER

Grilled Octopus with Fingerling Potatoes

  • Spicy Chorizo and a Preserved Lemon Vinaigrette
  • By Barsa Taberna
  • Another one of my favourite dishes of the evening. The spicy chorizo paired with the thinly sliced chewy Octopus topped off with chips to give the dish a bit of crunch – was the best combination ever. I savoured this dish – infact, I enjoyed this dish so much I went back to the restaurant exactly a week later to order it again and I completely inhaled it.

Wine Pairing

  • 13th Street 2014 June’s Vineyard Chardonnay 
  • Bachelder 2013 Niagara Chardonnay
  • Flatrock 2013 Pinot Noir

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MAIN

King’s Al Fresco Beef Wellington

  • with Peppered Horseradish Cream
  • By Omni King Edward Hotel

Wine Pairing

  • Stratus 2011 Stratus Tollgate Voignier 
  • Queylus 2013 Tradition Cabernet Franc
  • Southbrook 2014 Troimphe Cabernet Sauvignon

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SWEET

Baklava

  • Phyllo Pastry, Walnut, Pistachio, Honey, Orange Blossom Water
  • By Sultan’s Tent

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This was the first annual Feast of St. Lawrence that spread over the August 12th-14th weekend. I can’t wait to see what St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood BIA does next year to show Torontonians the rich, authentic delicious history of Old Town Toronto.

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That’s right! It’s that time of the year again! Be prepared to be bombarded with a whole lot of food porn that will be happening at the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) this year! CNE is taking place this Friday August 19th and running until September 5th. There’s a bunch of new (and old) items happening this year that are worth noting – NEW culinary creations, Waterfront Shows, Aerial Acrobatics and Ice Skating Show, Bandshell Concert Series, Craft Beer Fest and NEW rides!

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Our media preview kicked off with welcome remarks by CNE General Manager Virginia Ludy.

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… along with some opening performances.

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Meet Eddy Eighty. He is probably one of the most high energy acrobatic entertainers I’ve ever met.

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The group then proceeded to board the Ex-press trains towards the revitalised waterfront. The CNE returns to the waterfront for the first time in decades. They have prepared a big splash with The Great Canadian Water Ski Caper – an adrenaline packed water skiing stunt show that will be performed daily, and two extreme watersport competitions.

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Now that moment you’ve been waiting for…NEW foods at the CNE

Deep Fried Cookie Dough Balls (Red Velvet)

  • Everything tastes better deep fried, including cookie dough!
  • (By Cookie Dough me, Food Building)

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Spam Double Down 

  • Two thick cut pieces of Spam serve as the bun for the centre filled with bacon, tomato, cheese and chipotle
  • (By Miami Press, Food Building)

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Crazy For Caramel

  • Classic White Sugar Stax Rolled in Caramel Corn
  • Froyo + Caramel Chocolate Turtles + Salted Caramel Brizzle
  • (By Chimney Stax made with Yogurty’s Froyo)

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Fish n’ Chips

  • Wonton Chips, Fish Poke Mix, Avocado Corn, Jalapeno, Massago, Green Onion, Nori Strips, Cheese Sauce, Sriracha Aioli
  • (By Su&Bu)

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Sushi Burritos – Samurachi

  • Ahi Tuna, Salmon, Avocado, Cucumber, Red Cabbage, Su&Bu Chips, Massago, Chili Pepper Vinaigrette

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Jolly Rancher Dip

  • By Tim Hortons

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Tim Cereal Donut

  • By Tim Hortons

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Roast Beef in an Edible Bowl

  • By Eat My Bowls

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Cartoon Dogs

  • Bacon wrapped hot dog with peanut butter and jam, topped off with some Captn’ Crunch
  • (By Find Maggie, Food Building)

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The Sloppy Redneck

  • Sandwich with pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw  and pineapples.

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Sexy Surf n Turf

  • By Hot Bunzz Street Cuisine

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The Big Pickle Dog

  • Presenting the deep-fried 2.0
  • A cored giant pickel with a hot dog centre, smothered in corn dog batter and deep fried to perfection
  • (By Pickle Peter’s, Midway)

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Canadian Bacon Taco 

  • FYI – the shell is made of bacon as well….
  • By Bacon Nation

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Dessert Nachos

  • Tortilla Chips topped with nutella & strawberry sauce and bananas

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Churros Cheeseburger

  • By Panchos Bakery

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Philly Steaklair

  • Philly Cheesesteak, bacon, whipped cream wrapped in an eclair

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Mega Sandwich 

  • Topped with a meatball, this sandwich consists of crispy chicken, veal, eggplant and mozzarella, fries, mayo, red sauce
  • By Francesco

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Raclette

  • If you’ve missed the opportunity to grab some Raclette at Front Street Foods, here’s your chance to grab it at the CNE!

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Blueberry Pie Milkshake

  • Blueberry pie blended into vanilla ice cream, topped with whipped cream, blue and whipe sprinkles, cotton candy, Smarties®, a chocolate wafer stick & a slice of blueberry pie
  • (By Fran’s – Fran’s Milkshake Stand, Midway)

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Bacon Croissundae

  • Maple bacon, vanilla ice cream, topped with strawberry, caramel and chocolate sauces, dusted with icing sugar, croissant
  • (By Fran’s, Food Building)

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Pulled Pork Cinnamon Rolls

  • A marriage of tender pulled pork rolled into a soft warm cinnamon bun and drizzled with frosting
  • (By Howie’s Cinnamon Rolls, Midway)

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Sweet Potato Pie

  • Canadian Maple Marshmallow, Sweet Potato with crispy bacon
  • (By Farm to Fryer, Food Building)

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Fried Pig Ear Sandwich

  • Crispy coated pig ears, coleslaw, maple bacon, cheddar cheese with spicy chipotle aioli
  • (By Farm to Fryer, Food Building)

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Bacon Blast Cone

  • Vanilla ice cream in a chocolate chip cone with some crispy bacon, pop rocks and cotton candy

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The Threesome Burger

  • This internationally inspired burger creation combines Italian meatballs, Canadian mac n’ cheese, and Greek fries topped with feta cheese, coleslaw and bacon
  • (By Corrado’s Authentic Italian, Midway)

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Bug Dog

  • A hormone free beef frank seasoned with crispy mustard crickets
  • Bug Bistro is ready to present it’s “bug-worthy” menu
  • (By Bug Bistro, Food Building)

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The Canadian National Exhibition runs from August 19th – September 5th. Please do let me know in the comments what you’re most excited to try at this annual event!

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I’m so excited that this month’s food alert item is Ontario Peaches! This sweet and juicy fruit is a great way to start off the mornings. I use Ontario Peaches purchased from Loblaws to top off my Oat & Chia Seeds Pot. Can’t imagine a better way to start off the morning with something so delicious & healthy! #ShareTheFoodLove

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You will need:

  • 1/4  Cup of Large Flake Oats
  • 1 Table Spoon of Chia Seeds
  • 1 Peach
  • 1 Handful of Raspberries
  • 1 Cup of Unsweetened organic soy milk OR unsweetened organic almond milk

After washing all the fruits, take the raspberries and smash them with a fork. In the same container as the raspberries, add the chia seeds, oats, almond milk. Leave it in the fridge for 20 mins or overnight depending on when you’re eating this oats pot. Add the fresh sliced pieces of Ontario Peaches on top when ready to indulge!

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✔️ CONTEST by @LoblawsON – Simply share an original photo on Instagram that showcases Ontario Peaches
✔️ Those who participate in this contest will have a chance to win their next grocery shop (up to $250)
✔️ To enter the contest, you need to:
1. Follow @LoblawsON on Instagram;
2. Make sure your Instagram account is public;
3. Tag your photo with#ShareTheFoodLove ;
✔️ Details of Contest: http://izea.it/aHbtXZW
✔️ GOOD LUCK GUYS!#ShareTheFoodLove @LoblawsON #ad

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Since today is #NationalRumDay, what better what to get into the spirit then to make a Jamaican Mule Cocktail with Appleton Estate’s Signature Blend. Their signature blend is a full-bodied, medium-sweet rum. It is a delicious blend of 15 aged rums with a warm honey colour, a lush fruity aroma and a rich taste.

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Appleton Estate’s Signature Blend adds a great depth of flavour to the variation on the mule and is best enjoyed with a fiery ginger beer. The dash of bitters provides extra complexity, if preferred. Signature Blend is perfectly balanced – citrus, fruity and sweet notes, with subtle orange peel, dried apricot and fresh peach and a hint of molasses and woody notes.

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To make the Jamaican Mule, you will need:

  • 1 part Appleton Estate Signature Blend
  • 3 lime wedges
  • Two parts spicy ginger beer
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters (optional)

Hope everyone enjoyed this Jamaican Mule cocktail recipe from Appleton Estate. Please let me know how you guys celebrated National Rum Day!

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One of the best parts of discovering a part of the city is tasting local delights. Tasty Tour comes in handy when you’re in dire need of that “best food experience in Toronto”. Tasty Tours  is an award winning food tour and chocolate tour company. Their mission is to enable guests to taste local delights whilst having a best food experience in Toronto. Whether its a popular place or even a hidden gem tucked away, Tasty Tour has got you covered.

Two weekends ago, Tasty Tour invited me to their #KensingtonMarket tour.  Their walking tours occur every Sunday (from 11:30AM – 2:00PM), features behind the scenes & exclusive samples. Upon booking the tour & receiving our electronic tickets, we were informed of our exact meeting location.

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{Stop #1} Ding Dong Pastries & Cafe

Ding Dong Pastries & Cafe is probably one of the longer standing establishments along Spadina. Everyday they produce a galore of fresh baked goods that could be smelled from shops away. Best of all, you can watch all the magic happen through their glass wall that divides the store and the kitchen.

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When we arrived at Ding Dong Pastries & Cafe, we were greeted by our tour guide Audrey. She was really personable and well informed providing us with the history of the neighbourhood, facts & the background on how each of the shops on our tour came to be.

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{Stop #2} TenRen’s Tea & Ginseng

Our second destination was a special stop as its not normally part of the tour. TenRen is a Taiwan-based company that specializes in tea and ginseng products. We were welcomed with different samples of tea, snacks & bubble-tea followed by a proper tea pouring ceremony.

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TenRen’s Tea is currently offering tea classes. Their tea school is dedicated to educate people on tea and the tea culture. Tea is more than an important part of people’s day-to-day ritual, but also is a form of art that brings people back to the origin of life and re-discovers the art of tea drinking in ancient China.

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{Stop #3} Moo Frites

Serving up Belgian Style Frites, Moo Frites is pretty much the only shop in Toronto specializing in Belgian Style Frites. Owner Ambrose Lee takes pride in every batch of frites served to patrons. He first fell in love with Belgian Frites when he discovered it while backpacking in Europe and came back home wanting to share the same experience with Torontonians.

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Poutine Frites ($5.95)

  • Canadian Cheese Curds, House-made Beef-fat Gravy

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{Stop #4} Toronto Popcorn Company

I walked into this small yet cozy establishment thinking I was in a candy shop. It’s any popcorn lover’s rejoice! This shop offers handcrafted gourmet popcorn with flavours ranging anywhere from Confetti, Dill Pickle, Nachos, Pina Colada to Strawberry Milkshake!

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{Stop #5} El Arepazo

I’ve never tried an arepa before this tour so I’m really glad we’ve made the stop. El Arepazo is all about that perfect arepa – a round and gluten-free cornbread sandwich that is stuffed with a variety of meats, cheeses, veggies, and salsas. Please note that the ones we’ve sampled on the tour were sample sizes and does not reflect the portion sizes normally served.

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La Reina

  • Chunky chicken and avocado salad

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{Stop #6} Pancho’s Bakery

Pancho’s Bakery in Kensington Market is only one of their three locations in Toronto. They are a Mexican company serving up authentic Mexican baked goods. With their brand being “I love Churros”, their menu offers 5 flavours to go with their Churro  (crunchy deep fried snack sprinkled with sugar & cinnamon)

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{Stop #7} Wanda’s Pie in the Sky

Our second last stop of the tour satisfied my cupcake cravings. Not only does Wanda serves pies but she also serves that daily dose of home cooked meals. The cafe serves up lunch options and brews up some of the best coffee in the city.

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{Stop #8} Blue Banana Market

Blue Banana Market offers an extensive and eclectic range of gifts that reflect the ethno-cultural history and diversity of the neighbourhood. Here we were able to sample bits and pieces of chocolate you wouldn’t normally find at your average shop.

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This #KensingtonMarket tour was really fun & informative. I definitely took a lot from this tour and glad I had the chance to participate. The best part  about this tour experience is definitely all the hidden gems / hole in the walls places we checked out that I’d overlooked during my countless visits to the Kensington Market.

If you want to check out Tasty Tours for yourself or even purchase them as a gift for family & friends, you can use my code foodinthecityto & book before September 30, 2016 to receive  20% off for all adult tickets for any tours including ones that occur after September 30th!

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