The highlights of my trip to the Toronto Underground Market were my companions whom were all people I’m glad to share my time with. The craft brewers like Beaus, Flying Monkeys and it was also great to finally to meet some of the guys from Hogtown Brewers and try their Kolsh style beer.As well as getting to see the Sassy Lamb and try another of their amazing little cupcakes.
Generally though I wasn’t all that enthused about he market itself. None of he food sellers really jumped out at me as being very interesting or inviting. Though that may have been coloured by the uncomfortable cold and that I wasn’t feeling incredibly well in general.
On the other hand there is the Brickworks cafe, Cafe Belong. I will start by saying that the hostess and our waiter were both excellent and that I was very fond of the atmosphere and was comfortable there. As well I applaud the Muskoka beer on tap. The brickworks mission statement along with my companions explanations of who Brad Long was, may have raised my expectations for the food. The mac and cheese and mushroom soup we shared were both utterly uninspired. If they were any indication of the rest of the menu I guarantee I could definitively deliver much better food. Where as my reworking of each selection would be worlds apart in how much more interesting and flavourful they would be. Perhaps it says something that in the history of Chaos in Moderation they are the first venue that I’ve said anything negative about. From my experience there I Assume Chef Long has no love of food and caters to peoples cowed by hype rather than those of us who celebrate quality and the myriad of wonderful places we have found it.
I would not say anything critical without a solution or at least advice. I personally, armed only with my love of food would rework each menu item to be something joyous. In fact I offer that service.
In lieu of that I offer advice.
Embrace flavour, don’t fear texture. Love your ingredients. Watch old tapes of Julia Child and see that food is what you are meant for. My opinion is that I was served high end cafeteria food. Which was a terrible disservice to the staff the clientele and the idea of using and promoting local food. Local food is and can be glorious, from our Ontario meats and dairy to our phenomenal vegetation. I implore people to explore and try new things and eat great local food. (paired with our outstanding local wine and beer).
I’ll try and get out to TUM again and imagine a nicer climate will greatly improve my experience. I may also try Cafe Belong again, maybe we ordered two things they were not good at.
Either way, don’t take my word for it. Try for yourself never stop exploring.