Le brunch est servi au Toronto Underground Market – TUM tackles brunch

Photo montage of the Toronto Underground Market displaying a sign, two vendors, a doughnut and sandwiches.

Moments in TUM: snapshots of some TUM highlights over the years.

An English message will follow

À Toronto, la fin de semaine s’annonce riche en activités où la nourriture est en vedette. Il y a le traditionnel Taste of the Danforth. Il y a également le Roundhouse Craft Beer Festival, près du Centre Rogers. Et il y a également le Toronto Underground Market, (TUM) qui se déroule dimanche au 99 Sudbury.

L’édition du mois d’août de ce rendez-vous culinaire a comme particularité d’exploiter un sujet cher auprès bien des Torontois: le brunch. J’en ai parlé avec ma collègue Marjorie Murphy à l’émission Y’a pas deux matins pareils de Radio-CanadaL’intervention peut être écoutée ici.

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TUM… Or the thrill of discovery

 

Peameal perfection: the pea meal sandwich from Little Tomato Catering

Last Saturday marked my fourth time attending the Toronto Underground Market (TUM). Four times I have ventured to Evegreen Brick Works in search of unique and tasty finds. Each time, I’ve returned amazed by the wide variety of foods and the festive atmosphere of this culinary rendezvous.

Even though many of the vendors cook up a storm at TUM on a regular basis, each instalment of this event is unique. Vendors vary their menu, showcasing different dishes, ingredients and flavours. It’s thrill of discovery that makes TUM enthusiasts return for more month after month.

It’s also about sharing these discoveries… Last November, my friend Marie-Lynne introduced me to TUM. Ever since, we’ve both taken great pleasure in spreading the joy, encouraging more of our friends to attend this event. It’s always great to see them react with glee at the sight of a flavourful sandwich or indulge in the perfect earl grey cannelé. Satisfying curiosity by tasting someone’s culinary creations is quite possibly one of the best ways to discover what Toronto has to offer, one bite at a time.

Finding my way

In the spirit of discovery, I took TUM by storm, armed with my site map, fork and water bottle in order to share a couple of finds.

 

 

 

 

 

Savoury sensations

Lobster ceviche from Rock Lobster Food

This refreshing concoction of lobster with slices of orange, cilantro leaves and tomato served with blue corn tortilla chips was the perfect way to kick off our visit under the July heat.

Pork and Beans Grub style

If you were thinking about navy beans stewed with chunks of pork, think again! Grub served up Ontario grown edamame with home made bacon and bacon salt in hand crafted food containers. The result was tasty, but the large portions left many fingers quite greasy. A honourable mention goes out to their edamame with chillies that was quite hot (easy pun intended).

Baked beans and brisket with waffles from Royal Tree Beaver

I had tried Royal Tree Beaver’s butter chicken and waffles in March, so I was quite intrigued by the baked beans and brisket served on waffles. The verdict: wonderful. The baked beans and brisket smothered over the waffle was a satisfying snack.

Bajan beef brisket and oxtail and chicken mole dumpling from My Little Dumplings

 I must admit it; I have a soft spot for dumplings. TUM has fortunately helped indulge in them on a regular basis. Chef Bashir Munye impressed with his steamed dumplings. I sampled both the beef brisket and chicken mole. They were great, but with its tomato, parsley and pumpkin seed topping, the chicken mole dumplings had a slight edge.

Dumpling trio from Feast TO

More dumpling love, this time pan-fried! I couldn’t help but indulge in Feast TO’s dumpling trio. Tasty pork and bok choi, shiitake mushroom and duck and foie gras with cherry jus.

Peameal sandwich from Little Tomato Catering

Sheer sandwich perfection. There are no better words to describe how good this combination of maple glazed mustard peameal, Dijon mayo, red onion marmalade sunny side up quail egg on a biscuit really is.

Delicious desserts

 Mascarpone Whoopies from Tatum Pie

 Where one finds mascarpone, one is sure to find a rich, make that very rich dessert. Every striped yellow and white paper bag served four whoppie pies: fresh lemon, original classic, coconut and banana each with a creamy frosting and moist cakes.

Revisiting some faves…

I must admit that I reverted to some of my favourite dessert kiosks for my sweet tooth and packed up most of the dessert to go and share at home… I thoroughly enjoyed Dough Toronto’s Balsamic hazelnut and Bee’s Knees doughnuts. I also took advantage of TUM to stock up on a couple of cannelés from SnackeryTO.

A shot of espresso from Manual Labour Coffee

Matthew Taylor and his crew of Manual Labourers served up great coffee from Mad Cap Coffee aboard Frankie, the 1969 Bailey Travel Trailer. If you missed them at TUM, make sure you look them up at the Oakville Farmer’s Market every Saturday or at the next edition of Junction Flea on August 12th!

Got any other culinary discoveries to share? Feel free to do so!

 

Moments in TUM

Ladies and gents, please grab your bibs and let the tasting begin!

A monthly tradition for some, the latest edition of the Toronto Underground Market (TUM) proved yet again to quite the culinary adventure. Some 30 vendors set up shop at Evergreen Brickworks for one evening, all showcasing their creativity and passion for food.

Last Saturday’s TUM took place under a blue sky (My first two visits were under rainy and cool climes). Let’s just say that having Mother Nature on TUM’s side added to success of the event. It was great to see some of the action roll out of the building. The scene was perfect: visitors savouring their snacks outdoors, vendors teasing everyone with the aroma of grilled meats and other treats, folks grabbing a quick drink before plunging back into the TUM core.

This was my third time at TUM. Needless to say some lessons have been learned during my previous visits in order to make the most of this flavourful rendez-vous.

Some TUM video hijinks.

  • Arriving early ensures that you spend less time queuing and more time tasting.
  • Pace and teamwork: once you arrive it’s easy to excited by all the delicious possibilities. Think about one kiosk at a time. Also when going with friends, it’s easier to sample a vendor’s full menu by swapping dishes.
  • Water is a wonderful thing. Bring your own bottles to take advantage of the Water on Wheels refill stations.

With that in mind, I ventured into TUM. Here’s my take on some noteworthy dishes sampled.

Savoury finds

Lobster tacos from Rock Lobster Food Co.

Located in what was usually La Carnita’s spot, Rock Lobster Food Co. definitely delivered. People quickly lined up to get a taste of some of their lobster rolls, lobster poutine and lobster tacos. The tacos were delicious. The flaky lobster pieces combined with fresh cilantro, lime and guacamole made for a refreshing snack.

Oyster trio from Neptuno

More gifts from the sea, this time from New Brunswick in the form of oysters –  French Kiss oysters to be more precise. These delicate oysters were served with a variety of dressings. I opted for cucumber, red wine vinegar and banana pepper dressings. Omnomnom.

Fidel Gastro’s Sgt Slather

The Rebel without a kitchen serves up the most excellent sandwiches. I indulged in a Sgt Slather, a bun filled with pulled pork with tortilla with a sweet and smoky sauce. I also had a chance to taste El Capitan Belly, a sandwich with tomato juice braised pork belly with a tomato cabbage slaw. I want more!

Perkedel Jagung from Babi & Co.

Babi & Co.’s take on Indonesian street food packs loads of flavour in every bite! The perkedel jagung, a.k.a. corn and shrimp fritters with garlic and chilli sauce were warm and fluffy with just a bit of heat from the sauce. Simply delish. My friend tried the Indonesian popcorn that surprised with its spiciness. The grilled pork skewers and noodle salad were also attracting the masses.

Samyoza trio from Nomad Food Creations

It must be said, I have a soft spot for dumplings either steamed or fried. Needless to say Nomad Food Creations caught my attention. The samyoza trio including tofu and chai yogurt, scallops with coriander and mint chutney and finally duck and orange chutney were wonderful. The tofu and duck ones were especially packed with flavour.

Sweet surprises

Delicious doughnuts from Dough by Rachelle

Pastry chef Rachelle Cadwell impresses with her take on the doughnut. On display this time at TUM: maple bacon, apple fritter, double chocolate and my personal fave: the fluffernutter, a doughnut filled with peanut butter and topped with a roasted marshmallow, a perfect mix of sweet and savoury.

Fried serves up Divine diples

My stop at Fried was a completely impulsive one. I was drawn in by their logo and especially the cheery demeanour of Tracey Dye and then discovered the joys of the diples. These thin pieces of fried dough dipped in a honey citrus syrup were a sure hit. This simple dessert was one of my pleasant TUM surprises.

 Chocolate dipped bacon from Leonard Pig Candy

I probably anticipated this one the most. Bacon and dark chocolate… What is there not to love? But I must admit that, it fell a little short. It tasted great, it really did, but the chocolate covered bacon would have benefited from being chilled preventing a mess. With that being said, I was glad to also taste the candied bacon, which I thoroughly enjoyed and would indulge in much more.

 Cannelé from SnackeryTO

The Cannelé (also spelled canelé), is a specialty from the Bordeaux region. It is small pastry with a tender center and a dark, thick crust. SnackeryTO served them up in Earl Grey and Vanilla. Heavenly. The rediscovery of this pastry will perhaps soon prompt a baking session with one of my French friends. To be continued…

Who else was at TUM? What were your favourite dishes?