Smelly Tofu at TNT Annual Night Market

Bring a big appetite and an empty stomach–you will want to try a bit of everything at this fantastic night market put on by TNT Supermarket every summer!

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Taste and Tour the Distillery District’s New Sunday Market!

You will hear me write this over and over but it truly is one of my most favorite  aspects of getting out to the markets and that is meeting the folks behind the stalls and hearing their stories on how they got their start and why they enjoy what they do best.   I recently toured the new farmers’ market at the Distillery District…the Sunday Market and what a nice addition to the Distillery District!

Make it a to do on your list this summer from now until September 28th.   A special thanks to a few folks…firstly, our lovely tour guide Audrey Ooi from Tasty Tours who hosted my very first sweet tasting tour this past Father’s Day weekend.  You have got to do this at least one if not all of their delectable tours;)  We were also greeted by the Distillery’s very own Candace Shaw who gave us a bit of background on the start of the market and what criteria they work with when making their vendor selections.  Our first stop was with Adam and Blythe  from Spade and Spoon who allowed us to sample their fine maple syrups, and jarred preserves.  I now know feel a bit more enlightened about the different shades of syrup and their best attributes and have a new appreciation for ketchup, tried their Hot’n Spicy version and what better timing to discover than during bbq season.  Next stop in was with Shane from  Haute Goat who shared his story on how he and his wife combined their two passions to become what was meant to be.  Find out why you will be glad that they did!  I’ll give you a clue, think goat’s milk.   Lastly but not least, we were introduced to Karen McKenna from Hi Honey whose passion for bees and their honey of a cause is not afraid to take a stand when it matters most.  Did not realize how much variety honey had to offer.  Karen also showed us how versatile honey is for cooking by allowing us to sample her delicious Rhubarb Compote.   Read this interesting article which Karen penned for edible Toronto.

Toronto has many fantastic tour companies that will help you get up close and personal and show you the hidden gems behind some of our cities amazing markets.  (yes and still made it to my dad’s on time–thanks Audrey;).  I was 20 minutes late for my father’s big day but the saving grace was the Whiskey Chocolate Cake exclusively made by Jill Lawrence at the Canadian Whiskey Cake Company (also known for her Apple Crumble Company)that I brought back with me–I owe you one Jill!

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UrbanSpace Presents Broadway Bites 2014!

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Nothing is more authentic about New York than this fantastic culinary summer pop-up market, Broadway Bites.  With well over 30 different tasty vendors on-site, what better way to taste what the Big Apple has to offer and it’s all in one place.  Head over to Greeley Square Park at 33rd Street and Broadway.  Better yet bike it over and work up an appetite!  You have until August 1st, plenty of time to go back again and again.  For more information on this tantalizing event visit http://urbanspacenyc.com/broadway-bites/.

 

OTTM SPOTLIGHT: JULIE FELTMAN, MARKET DIRECTOR AT URBANSPACE

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If you live or visit New York often, the chances are that you have visited one of UrbanSpace‘s  markets; Mad. Sq. Eats, Broadway Bites, Columbus Circle Holiday Market and Union Square Holiday Market.  Here to tell us a bit about her experience with markets and UrbanSpace itself is Julie Feltman, the Market Director at UrbanSpace.

1. How did you get involved with markets and UrbanSpace? 

I feel super fortunate that the universe just pushed me towards this job – it’s my dream job. I grew up in the market circuit working with my Mother, jewelry designer Angela Feltman of Heart Of Stone, who would do pop-up markets and street fairs all over New England. Some of my earliest memories are running around those fairs, learning how to make change and putting beads on string. As an adult, I’ve done a lot of production management for theater and events, as well as going to school for Economics. A few years ago, I worked with UrbanSpace as an assistant and slowly moved up the ranks to become the Market Director.

2. What do you want visitors to your markets to walk away with?

The neat thing about our markets is that it’s an immersive, unique experience every single time you step through it, and appeals to every sense you have. I think the most satisfied customer doesn’t walk away with food selfies or instagrammed crowd shots, but with distinct tactile memories of the sound of rice noodles sizzling on a hot grill, how the spices smelt both foreign and familiar, how the salt rub felt against your hands. I want people to put down their phones and ear buds and take in the experience!

3. What is the oddest or funniest or most interesting market story you can remember? 

So many! Sometimes vendors send the office samples of their products, and someone last year sent me a fig tree. He wasn’t intending on selling trees, he just though I’d like it. It was pretty cool. Right now there is a gelato vendor at Broadway Bites by UrbanSpace, and his Italian mother works the booth. She doesn’t speak any English, and customers actually enjoy struggling with correspondence, it’s like for that one moment you’re in Italy. Every time I go over she hugs and kisses me and speaks to me in Italian as if I get every word. She then gives me an affagato (a scoop of gelato with espresso poured on top) even when I say no. It’s a work hazard :).

4. If you could visit any market in the world, which one would it be? 

Ooooh! I’ve been lucky to travel, and I’ve loved the markets in India and Morocco. In India, there are such an assault of sights smells and sounds, especially as a foreigner, it’s pretty great, and each region specializes in something different. In Morocco, they have snake charmers and fiddle players as entertainment, and all types of animals for sale. It’s pretty great. I think my next stop for markets is the Parisian Bird Market, or some of the market places in the Andulusia region of Spain.

5. Who would you take with you?

Someone with a big pocketbook and a strong back for hauling my knickknacks 🙂

A Big Thanks to Julie for sharing and to UrbanSpace for keeping us connected as a community!

Off To Ryerson University’s Farmer’s Market!

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There’s a new criteria for choosing the right university–does it have a farmer’s market?  Stopped in on the regular farmer’ s market held on campus at Ryerson University today.  Brought back some fond memories.  I remember when you were hungry for a quick bite Ernie’s hotdog stand on Gould street was pretty much your only option and it was a good one too.  Well, Ernie’s no longer there but Apple Trees Farmer’s Market is a welcome addition.  What was really cool to see as a Ryerson University Alumni was Rye’s Home Grown stall.  Everything looked so amazingly fresh!  Another bonus was the new Balzac’s gourmet coffee shop located on the same street.  Walking down the closed Gould Street reminded me of Bryant Street in New York.

A Wonderful Day in Withrow Park!

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It only took me 9 months to get out to this sweet farmers market located in the beautiful Withrow Park in the east end of town and it was worth it!  It was hard to decide where to start ie. with the fresh breads from St. John’s Bakery or delicious Coconut Pineapple Ice Pops from Sweet Sammies.   Spoke with some of the vendors and learned a couple of new things.  For instance, did you know that Saskatchewan is a huge producer of lentils?  Seema from Tiffinday was kind enough to take time out to share this interesting fact with me.   Her company is responsible for keeping us well fed with a delicious lunch program.   All you need to do is have your order in the day before by 3pm and they do the rest.  Murray the “egg seller”  as I like to call him (from Heritage Hen Eggs) was also an interesting chap.  Inspiring story from him on how he found his new calling producing Non-GMO eggs.  Come to the Withrow Farmers Market and find out more about what he can tell you about his eggs and what makes them so special.  See what you learn when you get out and meet the people who know their stuff!!!

 

 

Off To The Market with Chef Tom Phuong!

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Looking for a new way to explore the market?  What better way than to have one of Toronto’s top chefs from the Royal York Hotel lead the way.  Chef Tom Phuong-Luu personally hosted one of my most enjoyable and intimate visits to the St. Lawrence Market.  Joining me on this fun field trip were husband and wife, Scott and Pam who were in town for a nice getaway and fellow Chef Jordan, also from the prestigious culinary team.

Our tour started at 8:30am sharp and we covered the entire market in good time while stopping and sampling a few of Chef Tom’s favorites.   Each stop we were treated to some of his insights as to what to look for when visiting a food market.   We sipped on gourmet coffee from Pasta Mia on the lower level while partnering it up with the world-reknowned morning Peameal Bacon Sandwich from Carousel Bakery on the second floor.  A quick stop into Kozlik’s Mustard stand to complete our Sandwich was also a must try.   We strolled through the various meat and fish markets to see their latest offerings.  One of the stops at Whitehouse Meats was a fun one where Chef Tom pointed out a some of the exotic meats one could sample…Crocodile and Ostrich to name a few.

The highlight of the tour was definitely when we were introduced to Murray, a good friend of Chef Tom’s, and also the owner of Golden Orchard Fine Foods located on the upper level.  He shared a few personal stories with the group on his store’s origins.   He told us of the times his mother would bake pies and leave them in the freezer to share with her customers as they visited.  Here’s another interesting tidbit, we also learned that the organic movement that is so popular today actually started in his store 20 years ago.   Ending our visit on a sweet note, Murray treated the ladies to a bottle of home-grown Toronto Island Airport Honey.

A big thank you to Chef Tom for the wonderful experience.  It was lovely meeting Tom and Pam and Chef Jordan who made the excursion an even more enjoyable one to take part in together.

The next time you are in Toronto, check out the “Shop with Chef” package at the Royal York  Hotel, this will be one of the most authentic Toronto and market experiences you have.