November 30, 2011

November TUM @ Evergreen Brickworks

After a wonderful experience at the October TUM, I jumped at the chance to attend the November installment with my friends Alexa and Mel. We bundled up and braved the cold for some great food and great fun! This time, I actually won two free tickets from Toronto Food Trucks, which was great because admission price went up from $5 to $10! Thanks a bunch!
Upon arrival, I made a beeline for Fidel Gastro, who was serving these amazing cuban sandwiches. The first kind was la senorita: 5-alarm turkey chilli with mozzarella stuffed deep-fried jalepeños and radicchio slaw.
And the second kind was called the Havana Club, featuring cayenne and beer pulled-pork with Virginia ham, caramelized onions, havarti and chilli aioli. Both sandwiches looked delicious even when sitting there cold on the wooden board.
The sandwiches were iron grilled to order, which slowed the line considerably. But I didn't mind, because the aroma from the grill was just tantalizing!
The sandwich was somewhat squished after being grilled, and it was unfortunately still a little cold in the centre. However, I understand that grilling each sandwich thoroughly would've slowed the line tenfold, so I can overlook that flaw. The jalapeños in la senorita certainly had a great kick and definitely lived up to the promised heat! I thought that the turkey chili and the radicchio slaw were overshadowed by the jalapeños, but I didn't really mind. Mel found the sandwich too spicy for her, but I thought the heat was just perfect for me.  
The Havana Club was my favourite of the two. The pulled pork was tender and the combination of the caramelized onion, cheese, and aioli packed a punch of flavours. Again, I wished that the sandwich was heated through, but it was nevertheless delicious!
After I got my sandwiches from Fidel Gastro, I met up with Mel, who was nearing the front of the line at La Carnita. This time around, I tried a new taco- Mexican chorizo with chicharrónes and topped with a mango salsa. I loved the brightness of that sweet mango salsa, which paired surprisingly well with the meat.  
La Carnita served the popular Voltron fish taco again, and this time I grabbed two!
In my excitement to get my tacos, I almost forgot my graphic art print! I liked this one even more than the October print, because it was so vibrant and whimsical.
After the tacos, we met with up Alexa at the long line for la Comida del Pueblo. I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into that delectable cornbread grilled cheese again! We got one of everything to try.
I've never sampled a tamle before, and I wasn't the greatest fan of the Asian-inspired green curry shrimp thai-male. I found the tamale to be mealy and unpleasant. Luckily, Mel really liked it, so I gave my portion to her.
Predictably, Mel and Alexa fell in love with the cornbread grilled cheese too. We actually lined up again for seconds, but unfortunately it was sold out just as we were about to reach the front of the line.
On the sweeter end, we shared a Panqueque de Manzana with green apple atole and chorizo toffee. This "pancake" dessert was also excellent, and that smokey chorizo toffee added an interesting dimension (I initially thought it was bacon). All in all, I really enjoyed the sweet and savoury combination.
Last time, I missed out on the arancini from Thistletown High School Chefs, so I was excited to see it offered again this time. The three wild mushroom risotto balls were stuffed with Mozzarella cheese, panko coated, drizzled with white truffle oil and Parmesan, and accompanied by an heirloom tomato and wine cream sauce. I thought it was pretty good and I can see why it was a crowd-pleaser. However, I'm not personally not a great fan of arancini, so I didn't find it amazing.
Elle cuisine was another returning vendor.
It was nice to see that they completely changed their menu from October. I saw people walking around with roast tomato soup, and it looked absolutely amazing. Sadly, my aversion to goat cheese prevented me from sampling this. 
Instead, we split a plate of duck confit hash with soft poached egg and smoked tomato ketchup. It was a hearty dish that you would expect from your local greasy spoon. The egg was nicely poached, though I would've preferred it to be just a tad runnier. The best part was undoubtedly the crispy bits of duck skin, which was a great surprise in your mouth.
Elle Cuisine also gave out these dark chocolate brownies with sea salt caramel drizzle for free. They were delicious and I happily munched on them while waiting for my food.
For a taste of Portugal, I wandered over to Oxalá, which offered three items: Caldo Verde, Bifana, and the Natercia.
I opted for the Bifana because it reminded me of my favourite Macanese pork chop bun- marinated Cumbrae's pork sirloin cutlet, sweet potato fries, caramelized onions, Piri Piri aioli and a runny egg on a freshly baked Portuguese bun. The sweet potato fires were delightful and provided a great textural contrast to the meat. Unfortunately, the pork cutlet was a little too tough. I still prefer my traditional pork chop bun.
The custard tarts also looked interesting, but I didn't try one.
Moving on to Tita Flips! Last time, I tried the fried shrimp fritter. This time, I was eyeing the desserts.  First up, the cassava cake, which initially reminded me of the Cantonese white sugar sponge cake (白糖糕). But this cake had a much creamier consistency. The coconut flavour really came through, and I loved how the cake also had actual pieces of coconut in it.
I also couldn't resist getting a order of turon, aka banana spring rolls! These were so addictive! I wanted a whole basketful of them!
Desserts always put a smile on people's faces.
Next up, Tuxedos and T-Shirts! We ended up trying both menu items.

For such a cold night, it was really comforting to have a hot bowl of soup. Unfortunately,  I didn't love the smoked haddock chowder because it was too fishy for me. I also expected the chowder to be creamier.
Luckily, their sticky toffee pudding was a definite winner. It was yummy, comforting, and made me really happy! I absolutely loved the toffee sauce, and the sponge cake was extremely moist. The portion was also very reasonable for $3 and I really regretted not buying an extra piece and bringing it home. In fact, I was still thinking about it on the drive home.
I tried an almond briwat from Merguez food. It reminded me of a type of Chinese pastry, and I wasn't entirely impressed.
Finally, I sampled a pumpkin cheesecake square from Wheelie sweet. It was good, but by this time, I was really too stuffed to fully appreciate it.
I was pretty sad that I didn't get to try any desserts from The Lunch Room. Some of the selection looked really enticing!
Before heading home, we checked out the chimney court outside where there was a large campfire. Unfortunately, it was raining at this time, so we didn't stay long. Looking back, I was appalled at the amount that I ate that night. Even though most of it was shared between the three of us, it was still a lot of food! I'm kind of glad that the next one won't happen for awhile, as I really need to take a break from all this crazy eating! A big, big thank you to my wonderful friends for sharing this experience with me and for enduring all those long lines! I look forward to our next foodie adventure!

9 comments:

  1. Thank you for dropping by at our booth and I'm glad you liked the cassava and turon. Next TUM, please make sure you drop by again and you have an "eat all you can" turon on us :) Or bring a basket?

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  2. wow. the duck confit hash looks AMAZING. good post :)

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  3. I want that cornbread grilled cheese right now...

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  4. Btw, had so much fun that night. Can't wait for the next one (even though I said I won't go again because it's too expensive for me but you know me, I have no self control).

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  5. I've seen Fidel Gastro at the 99 MRKT.

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