There are few things in life I love more than a good food event.
Having grown up in a small town with no real diversity in its few restaurants, and with parents whose idea of ethnic cuisine was pasta - I was slow to enter the foodie world. When I first moved to Toronto for school I was not willing to eat all the different, interesting things I saw my peers eating. I grew up with such a basic diet that everything looked strange to me. "What's a falafel?" I asked my roommates as they ordered it. They laughed at how sheltered my palate was.
Finally, a date forced me to try sushi - and with that one bite of gloriousness, I realized just how much I had missed out on, and a food obsession was born.
Events like The Stops Night Market feed into that obsession very, very well.
The event is put on every year to benefit the The Stop's food programs that help feed homeless. For $65 you get access to an all you can eat buffet of glorious food from the best chefs and restaurants this city has to offer, and all the booze you can drink.
I somehow lacked foresight that day and ordered a burrito for lunch, meaning, by the time I arrived at the market I was not as ravenous as one should be when attending an all you can eat situation, but I still managed to try a variety of the options available.
This was my first plate. Gourmet pizza, chicken wings, nachos, chili and cornbread, cookies and white wine - all of it gloriously tasty. The pacman shaped plates were also a nice touch, and could be taken home and used as a paint palette for any artists attending. A palette for our palates - cute.
My second plate included a fried mac and cheese ball, authentic chicken taco, a doughnut, cotton candy (delicious!), and one of my favourite drinks of them all - Spirit Tree cider. I only wish I had room for a third and fourth plate, so I could have tried everything the night had to offer.
The one suggestion I might make for next year would be to ensure participating vendors have enough food ready to last all night. By 8pm, food carts had already started to sell out of items. By 9pm many vendors were closing up shop, but the event was slated to run until 11pm.
Overall though, the food was delicious, the vibe was excellent, the jazz band walking around definitely brightened spirits after the downpour, and you can easily get your monies worth while supporting a great cause even if you come too late to enjoy all that the market has to offer!