Full disclosure. Ever since Audrey, owner and operator of Tasty Tours, invited me out to her Canada Day Sweets Tour in 2012, we have become good friends. Going on five years strong, Tasty Tours has a stellar reputation and runs affordable and intimate food tours in the city (Tasty Tours has earned over 200 reviews with a perfect 5-star rating on TripAdvisor). And if you think food tours are only for tourists, think again. After being out and about in Toronto for much longer that I would like to admit, I still managed to learn something new about the city and hit up places that I've never been to while on Tasty Tours' Kensington Market Sweet & Savoury Food Tour last week. It was a real shocker for me (in a good way) which is exactly why I think Tasty Tours is a great way to explore the city for locals.
Anyhow, I would recommend Tasty Tours (Instagram: @tasty_tours, Facebook: Tasty Tours Toronto) to anyone because Audrey and I are pretty much on the same page when it comes to food and restaurants, so I fully trust all her tour spots :) I have to admit that her Kensington Market Sweet & Savoury Food Tour is my favourite tour so far out of all the Tasty Tours I've been to because: 1) Despite having a sweet tooth, I still prefer food tours that introduce both savoury and sweet stops, which is why I enjoyed this tour more than an all-sweets tour, 2) Audrey always does a terrific job balancing history with fun facts, which is why her tours are both educational and entertaining, 3) Sometimes we would get to meet the shop owner(s) too, so the experience is a very special and intimate one, 4) The tour was well paced with just the right amount of walking in between stops, and 5) I was actually full after the tour! I'm not sure about you, but these points are all very important to me when it comes to deciding whether a food tour is a good one or a bad one.
On this post you'll find some of my favourite spots from Tasty Tours' Kensington Market Sweet & Savoury Food Tour. I purposely left some places out because what's the fun if I told you everything?!
After travelling through Brussels and Bruges, Ambrose Lee instantly fell in love with the Belgian fries. After his trip, Ambrose decided to open Moo Frites in Kensington Market, which offers Belgian frites with a wide range of dipping sauces. Ambrose perfects his fries by first cutting them into thick strips, blanching them, then deep-fries and freezes them overnight before deep-frying them again to order. Finally, the fries are tossed with salt before serving.
We each got a Moo Frites poutine in beef gravy drizzled with maple mayo (the maple mayo was special for the tour). I can honestly say that Moo Frites probably serves the best fries I've ever had. Beautifully golden in colour, each fry was very sturdy, not limp nor soft. There's a slight crunch on the first bite, with the inside all light and fluffy. Every bite after the first still retains that satisfying crunch, and each bite just as potato-y as the first. They are just damn good fries. As for the poutine aspect of it, the curds were good but I wasn't too crazy about the maple mayo - it was a tad sweet for me. I actually just want to taste the frites on their own, which is why I'll be heading to Moo Frites (Instagram: @moofrites, Facebook: Moo Frites) tonight after work!
TORONTO POPCORN COMPANY
The Toronto Popcorn Company (Instagram: @topopcornco, Facebook: Toronto Popcorn Company) is a family business started by Joseph and Caramhel Villegas, a young family who immigrated to Canada in 2011 from the Philippines. The Villegas started introducing their popcorn in 2013, travelling to festivals around Ontario offering homemade popcorn from an old-fashioned popcorn maker. They now operate a store in Kensington Market, featuring close to 100 unique and gourmet popcorn flavours.
I had a lot of fun sampling a bunch of different popcorn flavours. Some flavours we didn't know could exist with popcorn (i.e. grape, watermelon, lemon, etc.) We ended up buying a bag of "Cheesy Caramel" which, according to Toronto Popcorn Company's website, is one of their most popular flavour. Their "Cheesy Caramel" popcorn is dangerous; the combination of savoury cheese and sweet caramel is so addictive. We've since finished the entire bag, which just means I have to get more tomorrow after Moo Frites.
In 2009, Violeta Correa and Adalberto Aguilar arrived in Canada to open the very first Pancho’s Bakery (Twitter: @panchosbakery, Facebook: Pancho's Bakery) in Toronto. Pancho’s Bakery, which has been passed down through generations, is a well-established bakery in Mexico ever since 1927. The Mexican Bakery currently has three locations in Ontario: Kensington Market, Little Italy and on Dufferin St. at Bloor.
Served piping hot, I picked chocolate and caramel for our churros filling (condensed milk was also an option) and boy, what a treat! Rolled in cinnamon and sugar, the churros were crunchy on the outside, and the thick, sweet filling was so tasty with it.
I'm really proud of Audrey and all that she has accomplished over the years with Tasty Tours, and I really think her tours are fantastic. I'm very happy that this Kensington Market Sweet & Savoury Food Tour has introduced me to two new spots which I see myself visiting again and again :D