Tuesday, 10 July 2012


Saturday, June 9th marked my first TUM experience and it was a fantastic one, to say the least. It was everything I had imagined it to be: foodies (and non-foodies) young and old(er) pouring out $5 bills for a taste of this and a mouthful of that. Held at the Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto, TUM is an opportunity for locals to come together and taste the food of aspiring chefs. 

I'm proud to say that I ate my weight in food and feel that my money was well-spent. I attended the event with my friend G, who managed to get us some last-minute tickets. We had a great evening, sampling everything from tacos and vegan baking to potstickers and typical Indonesian street fare. Here's a brief run down of everything I tasted, my thoughts, and whether or not I'd ever go back for seconds.

While waiting in line for ceviche and marinated shrimp tacos from Seven Lives Tacos, G and I nibbled on dark chocolate covered bacon from Leonard's Pig Candy. I'm glad that I had the chance to try this sweet and savoury treat, but would I eat it again? Probably not. I prefer my bacon sans chocolat. As for the tacos, they were delicious! I enjoyed the Gobernador Taco, made up of smoked marlin and shrimp, while G enjoyed a ceviche taco. Topping of our tacos, we piled on the delicious condiments, including pickled onions and extra hot sauce.

Our next stop was Babi&Co., where we enjoyed samples of common Indonesian street food. We ordered the shrimp and corn fritters and the charcoal grilled pork skewers. Both were delicious, particularly the pork. It was so tender and flavourful, and had just the right amount of spice. As for the fritters, I'm not usually one for deep fried foods, so I probably wouldn't order these again, but they were good nonetheless: sweet from the corn and crunchy from the batter and shrimp, they were tasty with a little hot sauce.

As we continued to explore the venue, long lines began to form at the different vendors. Afraid that we might not get the chance to try everything we wanted to, G and I decided to split up and line up for different samples. My line at Little Tomato Catering moved surprisingly quickly, so while G was still waiting to order jalapeño cornbread grilled cheese from Comida del Pueblo, I joined him in line with what I would rate the best/most delicious/original/amazing/incredible sample from that night. It was a perfectly cooked quail egg on top of peameal bacon and sandwiched between a freshly baked buttermilk biscuit with a sweet and savoury red onion marmalade, a zesty dijon mayonnaise, and an earthy pesto. With no knife, it was a mess trying to share this with G, but well worth it (I'm salivating just thinking about it). 

We finally made it to the head of the grilled cheese line, but not without G sneaking away to grab us a couple of gluten-free guava macaroons from Cookie Martinez. Made from almond flour and guava paste, the cookie was dense and chewy and had just the right amount of sweetness, a delicious way to break up all of the savoury foods we had been enjoying!

Then it came time to try the much anticipated grilled cheese. The  jalapeño cornbread was cut thick and was full of that sweet corn flavour with just the perfect amount of spice. I love spicy food, so I could've done with a bit more jalapeño, but I think this was just perfect for serving a large, diverse crowd. The sandwich was served with guacamole, crème fraîche, and cilantro, adding to its unique flavour and making this dish one to savour. In addition to the grilled cheese, we also enjoyed a duck empanada from Comida del Pueblo. I'm a big fan of duck, so I thought this was delicious. The duck was well-flavoured and plentiful--there definitely wasn't any skimping on the duck filling for these empanadas.

From here, we enjoyed samyozas from Nomad Food Creations (what I would call gourmet pot stickers served with sauce pairings), beef and vegetable samosas from Mama Nashi's, pulled pork pa-jun from Eat Here (whose homemade tortillas were to die for!), and finally, mini cupcakes from Kappukeki Fusion Cupcakes, which I was a little bit disappointed by (and I'm not just saying that because of my own cupcake creations).

So, what would I enjoy a second time? And what weren't we able to try that I wish we had? Well, you already know my love for the quail egg and peameal bacon sandwich. I should probably just try and re-create it at home (but you and I both know that it just wouldn't taste as good). I also really liked both the grilled cheese and empanada from Comida del Pueblo. The concept from Nomad Food Creations to have samyozas with paired sauces is creative. However, the flavours of both the samyoza fillings and the sauces weren't as pronounced or distinct as I would have liked. G and I tried the pulled pork pa-jun near the end of our food adventure, so I was very full, but I do remember having a bite of his order and finding the tortilla to be so incredibly fresh tasting and the pork just melting in my mouth. 

As for what I wish we had tried but didn't because a) the line up was outrageous, and b) I just ate way to much of everything else, it would have to be the mini lobster rolls and lobster poutine from Rock Lobster Food Co. Need I say more? 

Would I ever return to TUM? Absolutely.

Admission for the event is $10, plus each vendor charges a small price for different menu items. These items usually range between $3 and 6. 

Hungry yet? 

images via the passion-ate, my life is food, and google
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