Now that summer is just around the corner (literally, it’s tomorrow…yay!), the abundance of outdoor festivals in the city is about to begin! My first summer event of this year was The Stop’s Night Market that took place over the last two days in Honest Ed’s Alley. I didn’t know much about the Night Market prior to purchasing tickets, but you can’t really go wrong with paying $50 for an all you can eat and drink festival in Toronto (well I am sure you can go wrong, but I was optimistic about this one).
After purchasing the tickets, I learned that the money raised from the event goes towards supporting anti-hunger programs in the city. Various restaurants, bars and wineries all donated their time, food and drink, to help raise money and awareness for the program. Fortunate people like myself (there was a bit of a glitch with the online ticketing system and many people were not able to get tickets) got to taste little samplings from various local restaurants and breweries on a perfect evening in Toronto.
When entering the Night Market, I was overwhelmed by all the selection in front of me. My eyes (and stomach) didn’t know where to go first. Being a vegetarian, I knew I would be limited in food options (I was planning on getting my money’s worth by drinking beer and wine anyway), but was actually surprised when one of the first booths I came across was The Beet Organic Restaurant. Obviously I lined up (and was the first in line as I am not sure how many other vegetarians were at this event) and was treated with a lovely, bite size tempeh sloppy joe sandwich. I was actually slightly terrified to eat this thing as I had no idea how messy it was going to be. As one hand was already full holding my drink mug (’cause you gotta have a drink mug), I tried to eat this thing as carefully as possible without it all falling apart (or on my lap). Luckily there were some tables scattered around that I was able to rest my mug on so I could enjoy my tasty little treat. After that experience, I was ready to try more and started venturing off through the crowds on a mission to try and eat everything vegetarian that was available.
Surprisingly enough, there were quite a few veggie options for me at the event (enough to get me full at least), however, I kept getting drawn back to the dessert booths. Seriously, mini-donuts? Who doesn’t want to eat frosted mini-donuts? I only learned after wolfing down the bite-sized goodies that these donuts were actually vegan and gluten free. Could it be? Kudos Tori’s Bakeshop. They were AMAZING. The donut display by Paulette’s Chicken and Donuts was also fantastic. A tower of donuts is a piece of art in my books (and tasty edible art is even better!).
Other than the food and drink, the Night Market actually had entertainment. Large chalk boards were available at the entrance where you could sketch your favourite vegetable or share your thoughts on what it means to eat well (my favourite comment was the person that wrote ‘poutine’). A live band also busted out some awesome tunes to dance along to as they performed on the rooftop of a neighbouring building. However, the most random entertainment at the event was the French delivery man, AKA “Martin de la Rue” (and yes he has a website..). I made eyes across the alley way with Martin and he came over and handed me a folded up piece of paper addressed to “La Belle Femme”. Inside was a message that read “After a full belly STOP all is poetry END”. Those words definitely summed up my night! All was poetry!