Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Best of 2011: Food Trucks, Craft Beer and Other Random Bites

The past 7 months for me have been a whirlwind of travel, food trucks and the occasional pint of beer.  Beginning with a chance meeting with a member of the "Eat St" web team in Vancouver in June, I was encouraged to share my street food adventures with more than just my poor overburdened Facebook friends.  So, as the year has come to an end I have decided to sum up my calorie filled 2011 with a few "best of" lists.

1. Maximus Minimus - Seattle
2. Tacofino - Tofino
3. El Gastronomo Vagabundo - Niagara/Toronto
4. Wafels and Dinges - NYC
5. Stone Soup Foodworks - Ottawa

Special mention goes to taco pop-up La Carnita in Toronto.  Finding others so close to home that share my love for street tacos has been both heartwarming and inspirational!!  (...and their art is pretty cool too)

Buy art...receive tacos.

2011 also brought the beginning of the Food Truck Eats events as well as the Toronto Underground Market, a monthly food event featuring dishes from both home cooks and professional chefs.  I'm excited to see what 2012 will bring for both of these fantastic organizations.

1. King Heffy - Howe Sound Brewery (Squamish)
2. Rosee d'Hibiscus - Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! (Montreal)
3. Long Shot White - Broadhead Brewing Co. (Ottawa)
4. Nickel Brook Ale - Better Bitters Brewing Co. (Burlington)
5. Smoked Oatmeal Stout - Trafalgar Ales & Meads (Oakville)

My picks for favourite seasonal brews are; Muskoka Brewery's Summer Wiesse and my hometown favorite, The Clocktower Brewpub's Pumpkin Ale. 

3 of the many pumpkin ales I got my hands on this fall.

 RESTAURANT/MEAL OF THE YEAR - The Black Hoof (Toronto)

Just prior to eating at The Black Hoof, my friend asked me about my most memorable restaurant meals of all time.  I genuinely couldn't come up with a legitimate answer.  A couple minutes later we got a call that our table was ready. Well, wonder no more...  After consuming a selection of charcuterie, beef tongue on brioche, fried sweetbreads and a blood custard for dessert, I can honestly say that no other meal has ever had the same impact on me than this experience. 

So as 2012 revs up, I'm looking forward to the warmer months and the continuation of my street food adventures.  I'll be heading down to California in May for another west coast tour which will bring me back to the origins of my love for Latin American cuisine and gourmet food trucks.  Also, I'm hoping to work with friends to expand the food truck world here in Ottawa, where there is currently a very sad state of street food.

Halloween 2011

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