Last summer Front Street Foods launched outside of Union Station. It was a giant food market with various vendors that served all the tastes of Toronto conveniently in the Financial District. But it was not so convenient for me who spent part of last summer in exile at Eglinton and Mount Pleasant *shudder* and the remainder of the summer at Yonge and Bloor. I was so excited to hear that the market was back this summer but in a new location: a courtyard at Adelaide and York. Last week Giancarlo and I had a lunch date and went over to the market to check it out.
The market is not in the greatest spot and you won’t randomly stumble across. It is up a flight of stairs and tucked in between two office towers and a hotel. But once you arrive at the market, healing it is like stepping into a city oasis. You are greeted with a large sign encouraging you to eat in large marquee letters. There are dozens of picnic tables, high tables for standing and trees to provide ample shade. We did a quick circle around the market and decided on two options: Hot Bunzz Street Cuisine and Fish’d by Edo.
Left: The Seoul City Beef Short Rib bun with slow braised beef short rib Kobi style with caramelized onion; topped with kimchi puree, sesame soy sauce and garlic aioli.
Right: The Texas BBQ Pulled Pork bun with pulled slow roasted pork with caramelized onion, herbs and spices; topped with chef’s Pork BBQ sauce and coleslaw aioli.
Oh. My. God. I was expecting a decent bun topped with the delicious toppings that I could clearly see on top. But no. This bun is STUFFED. The Seoul City is filled with an amazingly tender and juicy braised beef. The beef flakes away with each bite, melting in your mouth and allowing you to taste the rich sauce and caramelized juices it is filled with. The toppings add a bit of spice and umami flavouring to the bun, balancing out the richness of the meat inside.
The Texas BBQ Pulled Pork is very similar to the Seoul City in that the meat inside the bun was incredibly tender, moist and juicy. The toppings add a sweeter spice, the BBQ sauce being tart and tangy, with the subtle taste of sweet brown sugar. The coleslaw aioli was like a mayo on steroids: tangy and zippy without feeling heavy or like it was weighing the bun down. The crispy onions give the bun some crunch which was needed with all the softness found on top and inside.
I love these buns and can’t wait to try different flavours (Surf and Turf bun anyone?) all summer long. At 2 for $7 these buns are a great deal and one order would definitely be enough to fill you up for lunch.
From Fish’d by Edo we ordered the Salmon Burrito.
Sushi in various forms are exploding all over the Instagram feeds of anyone who lives in Toronto and pays attention to food. There is a sushi burrito food truck which is expanding into a restaurant and everyone is obsessed with different ways to eat sushi (burgers and donuts to name a few). When I saw that one of my favourite foods was available in the form of one of my other favourite foods, I was obviously all over it.
I love a burrito as a way to eat sushi. This is what I imagine a hand roll should be. It is a way to eat sushi while walking, and we are always looking for food we can eat while walking, right? The seaweed shell iss salty, crunchy and somehow has the strength to hold all the deliciousness inside in a tight package. The rice ratio is good – the rice provides external support to the burrito but doesn’t overpower the other ingredients that are neatly tucked inside as if they are in a sleeping bag. The salmon is high quality with beautiful ribbons of fat throughout the meat. The burrito has the right amount of spice to it from the various sauces inside.
We probably didn’t need more food but Giancarlo and I are ridiculous and eat too much too often. We headed over to Tacos 101 and both tried a carnitas tacos.
This taco was tasty, but the best part was the salsa. While waiting for my taco to be made I sampled the various salsas with the complimentary chips available. The mild and medium were spot on: a balance of heat and flavor. The hot salsa burned my face off in a good way but I was not brave enough to smoother my taco with its heat.
I love, love, love this market. It is affordable and has quality food. We did not have to wait in any lines (we went to the market just after one in the afternoon) and our food was prepared quickly: under 5 minutes at each vendor. There is ample seating in both shade and sun, depending on your preferences and there is even alcohol. It is my goal to try every vendor this summer and my first visit made a good dent in 3 out of 21 vendors. My next visit will have to include Raclette Swiss because who am I to say no to melty, stinky cheese?