Best of Fests
The Toronto Ukrainian Festival: I would not know a Ukrainian if I saw one, but this weekend I saw many folk dance, sing, drink beer and eat. And so I joined them and lost my Sauerkraut virginity. Verdict: I enjoyed the cooked cabbage texture, but not the taste. I’m very tempted to curry-itize it and add some South Asian carbs with naan.
Still, the best part of the Ukrainian festival was stuffing my face. A breaded crêpe with mushroom and Sauerkraut stuffing was delish. But I really fell in crumbling, melt-in-my-mouth love with a Snicker Bar, Chocolate Ganache cookie from Sweet Flour.
Founder Kim Gans and her staff put a new twist on an old classic, offering fresh, baked-on-the-spot cookies and muffin tops in just minutes. Yes, muffin tops! I’m taking my Elaine Bennes self back to Sweet Flour.
Customize your cookie:
Step # 1: Choose one of three doughs – Original (plain), oatmeal or peanut butter
Step # 2: Choose 2 mix-ins (standard) or more for .25 each – From dried cranberries to dark chocolate chunks and toffee, even potato chips
Step # 3: Watch your cookie creation go into the oven and bake for a few minutes
Step # 4: Go cookie monster crazy – “C is for cookie and cookie is for me!”
Roncesvalles Polish Festival: Perogies, sausages and cabbage rolls aside, my introduction to Polish culture was calorie-free but rock-on-f***’ing-tastic. Anna Cyzon and band dropped one rock-pop-infused track after another until several crowd’sters broke into arm-locked line dancing. All songs were delivered with an honest energy that can only be described as unforgiving enrapture. Head bang kudos to the WHOLE group, especially the guitarist (2nd video clip). My top picks: Reputation, Skank, Wasted Love (1st video clip) and Necessary. Watch for the Polski babe’s video on Much Music in a few weeks. (TBD)
Queen West Art Crawl: Passing what felt like hundreds of mini-tent exhibits, Toronto-based artist Matt Durant won my vote of favour. He uses wood as his canvas to create mixed media works with a drip-and-splatter technique. Drawing inspiration from his horticultural background, Matt uses objects and materials that would otherwise go to waste. Ecological in his focus, Matt demonstrates that there is beauty in what already exists. And that beauty can be magnified with a smart interplay of elements, resulting in urban pieces that are suited for any environment – home, café or gallery. Nature is nurtured.
Samba on Dundas: I expected to feel Latin fever heat and dance Bachata – for the first time – with an el-rando Brazilian dude. Capoeira? Salsa? Anyone on Dundas West? Apparently, the festival was not happening on the streets but only in venues, which appeared next to empty and sounded pin drop quiet. The best part of this non-festival was leaving and taking a detour to Kensington Market for Taquitos (Mexican Salsas) and strawberry-rhubarb pie (Wanda’s Pie in the Sky).
I do not recommend eating all of this food in one day.
My feasting was split into two days with a minimum 11-15 kilometres of fast-paced walking on each day.