November 2, 2011

October TUM @ Evergreen Brickworks

I was so excited to attend the Toronto Underground Market for October at the Evergreen Brickworks. My friend Timmy and I arrived extra early and were amongst the hungry crowd that gathered eagerly for this foodie event.
As soon as the doors open, people flocked to line up at La Carnita, the talk of the town pop up taco stand. Admittedly, I was amongst those who sprinted towards their table. Even though I was the third in line, I still had to wait a good 15 minutes before they started serving the tacos. Customer also receive these fabulous graphic limited edition prints with their order of tacos. What a great souvenir!
Within minutes, the line grew into a monstrous size. People really do go nuts for these tacos, and I can see why. Each taco is almost an artistic creation, certainly not the product of a sloppy assembly line. Hence, the line moved very slowly. I believe some people had to wait over an hour to get their taco.
This was the Voltron fish taco, my favourite of the two. The sauce and vegetables worked well with the deep fried fish and it was a really satisfying bite.
I didn't really like the cochinita pibil (pork taco), but it was purely a personal preference. There was something in the spices that I found revolting. Timmy thought that this taco was decent, but definitely inferior to the Voltron fish.  
While I was waiting in line at La Carnita, Timmy popped over to Elle Cuisine for some braised beef shortrib perogies with rosemary and truffle infused sour cream, port-caramelized onions. I particularly enjoyed the sweet and tangy caramelized onions, which provided the dish with a great pop of flavour. However, there was just way too much sour cream on the plate. I generally love sour cream with perogies, but I would have gotten sick if I had eaten all of it.
After devouring our tacos from La Carnita, Timmy started lining up for La Comida del Pueblo, another long line that snaked around the open space. I returned to Elle Cuisine and got these lobster Churros with lime salt and lemon aioli. It sounded and looked appealing, but for $4, the serving was tiny! I couldn't taste a lot of lobster, but these deep fried churros were pretty tasty, albeit slightly too oily. Of the two items, I think I prefer the perogy more.
While Timmy was still in line for La Comida del Pueblo, I also bought two of these adorable mini beef po' boys from West Side Beef Co. I really liked the bright and bold flavours, though I wished I could've sat down and enjoyed it properly.
From Thistletown High School Chefs, there were three things on the menu. I opted for butternut squash agnolotti. Unfortunately, these looked better than they taste. Even though the filling was sweet and tasty, the pasta shell was too thick. The combination could've been delicious if the shell was more delicate. Thistletown also served these delectable-looking arancini, but sadly they were sold out by the time I returned.
Finally, we arrived at the front of the line at La Comida del Pueblo!
Jalapeño cornbread grilled cheese was, hands down, my favourite of the night! The crumbly, buttery cornbread was heavenly with the melted cheese, sour cream and guacamole- a perfect combination of sweet and savoury. It was simply fantastic! If the line wasn't so long, I'd go back for seconds.  The crumbly cornbread made it difficult to pick up the sandwich, so this was more of a knife and fork dish.  
Timmy did not love the cornbread grilled cheese like I did. He preferred the Ontario water buffalo empanada which I also found delicious. The pocket of meat was richy and flavourful, and I liked the crispy shell.  
For the sweeter side of things, their banana beignets and fried habanero cream were nothing short of amazing!
The beignets, hot off the fryers, were oozing with sweet, custardy goodness! Perfect for such a cold night! I intended to save one for later, but of course we couldn't resist gobbling all of it on the spot.
After a long, long wait at La Comida del Pueblo, we headed for a shorter line at Tita Flips. However, we were fooled. Although the order line was almost non-existent, there was a separate line for picking up the food, and that line moved as slow as a snail.
We ordered a plate of Ukoy (Filipino version of shrimp fritters) - a mixture of squash, pumpkin, bean sprouts and shrimp in batter deep fried until crispy, finished with a drizzle of spiced apple cider vinegar. It sounded like a wonderful combination of everything I love. Although the flavours were good, I found the fritters to be overly greasy, and I couldn't eat more than one piece. The apple cider vinegar was really nice and tangy, but even that wasn't enough to cut the fat. As well, they were churning these fritters out at an irritatingly slow speed. Next time, I hope they'll find a way to get them out faster.
At this point, we were freezing in the venue. So we gravitated towards something hearty and warm. We stopped by Hai Lai Masa's table, which offered traditional Romanian cuisine.
Timmy ordered a hot bowl of meatball soup. The soup didn't appeal to me, so I didn't try any. But it served its purpose and warmed him up considerably.
Next, we bought a toutière with coleslaw, because Timmy wanted something more filling. From the bite I tried, the meat pie wasn't very remarkable. There was something in the coleslaw that I didn't like (perhaps it was celery?)
From Thyme 2 Cater, we ordered a plate of braised ox tail, craftily marinated and served on a bed of hot steamed rice and peas, and a Mango cabbage coleslaw. We got annoyed with all the bones in the ox tail, as it was very difficult to eat with no place spit them out. Unfortunately, I didn't like this coleslaw either.
After all that eating, Timmy and I bought some macarons from Les Trois Macarons to take home. The first flavour I tried was lemon meringue, which turned out to be a really pleasant surprise. I was never a huge fan of lemon desserts, but the macaron reminded me of these lemon cream biscuits that I adore. Next up, I tried the maple bacon. The bacon was subtle, but added a lovely, smokey flavour. And last but not least, I finished off with the salted caramel brittle, which was delightfully intense. I loved the little pieces of caramel brittle to chew on. I would definitely buy these macarons again if I encounter this vendor in the future.
Near the end of the night, I also grabbed an adorable pumpkin whoopie pie from Morsel, and it was fantastic! The pumpkin flavour really came through, and the whoopie pie was moist and lovely with the creamy filling.
One of the vendors that we missed was Popover Girls. The popovers looked very tasty, but the line was just too long and we didn't have the energy to line up. Maybe next time.
I was intrigued by the beautiful cupcakes from Sullivan & Bleeker Baking Co, but didn't buy any. I figured that they probably look a lot better than they taste, and after all, I've had quite enough to eat for the day. All in all, I had a wonderful time at TUM, even though I ended up spending quite a lot of money on all that food. A big thank you to my dear friend Timmy who accompanied me to this foodie adventure and endured the cold with me. The night wouldn't have been the same without you!
You can check out TUM at their facebook page, or follow them on twitter.


  1. Great post! Waited forever for you to post this!

  2. Great pics. Too bad you didn't get to try my Popovers.

    Lora aka - Popover Girl

  3. Great photos - and that jalapeno cornbread grilled cheese looks incredible!
    Hoping to make it to the next edition of TUM, this all looks amazing.

    And btw you have to try those popovers, they're really good! I like the onion one with fresh guacomole inside...mmm...

  4. Thanks Precilla for this wonderful post and really amazing photos.
    Thank you for dropping by and your patience. We are doing something at the next TUM to speed things up and make it less greasy at the same.

  5. I can't wait to go to the November TUM!

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