March 31, 2012

Food Truck Eats at the University of Toronto

Since having my first taste of food truck cuisine recently I have been hooked on following Toronto food trucks and seeing what they are doing. I am now following some on Twitter and reading about them (check out the 10 top food trucks in the GTA) and I have become a little food truck obsessed actually. When I heard about Food Truck Eats event last week at the University of Toronto I knew I had to devote my lunch break to tracking them down.

If you want to know where most Toronto food trucks will be on a daily basis, I recommend checking out the Ontario Food Trucks website. They put together Thursday's event at U of T which saw 10 trucks in total --5 at the downtown location and 5 in Scarborough-- gather on the campus to feed hungry students and those who made the trek out there for lunch like me!

The trucks gathered on the Wilcocks Common downtown were:
El Gastronomo Vagabundo
Gorilla Cheese
Blue Donkey Streatery
Smoke's Poutinerie
The Portobello Burger
Tiny Tom's Donuts
Beavertails Toronto

And some of my favourites (from Queen and Jarvis) were at the U of T Scarborough campus:
Cupcake Diner
Toasted Tangerine
Bonfire Catering

After getting lost a few times trying to navigate the campus, I finally arrived to a mass of people and numerous lines around 12:30 p.m. The campus isn't exactly close to where I work, so my lunch break was a a lot longer than I anticipated after getting there, finding where it was, waiting in line and getting back. If you ever see one of those people holding out their phone with a GPS map trying to find where they are, that is probably me.

My next obstacle was trying to decide which truck to try. Blue Donkey Streatery's menu offered some delicious sounding greek classics, like souvlaki, gyros, a fried calamari pita and greek salad:

Gorilla Cheese offered gourmet grilled cheeses and even some dessert variations with nutella, bananas and peanut butter (yum):

The Portobello Burger offered vegan and vegetarian options like grilled vegetable and tofu sandwiches and even kale salad! I was super impressed at how popular it was even with a poutine truck and beavertails right beside it.

After perusing the menus I decided on Gastronomo Vagabundo. I couldn't really tell what type of cuisine they offered from their menu, but according to their website they are a "new take on international street food."

The "Spanish Inquisition Salad" sounded too good to pass up with Israeli couscous, chorizo, peppers, roasted corn, zucchini, smoked paprika and tzatziki.

I grabbed my food and headed back to the office and was so excited to try Israeli couscous (a first for me). I sat down to eat it and opened the box and realized there was no chorizo. I don't know if I accidentally got a vegetarian salad by mistake or they ran out, but I was a little disappointed.

However, all was forgiven when I started to eat the salad. The creamy tzatziki with spicy paprika and vegetables and tangy dressing were refreshing, but surprisingly hearty with the thick couscous. Some spicy sausage would have really elevated the salad, but I enjoyed it immensely as a vegetarian dish.

I wish I had more time to wait in the other lines and try a few other dishes plus dessert, but I was happy with my pick and look forward to more Toronto food truck events. This one was obviously a success with the amount of people and enthusiasm from the crowd and the trucks.

The Toronto Street Food Project launched recently to advocate for more diverse street food in Toronto, so if you're a food truck fan like me, sign the petition and spread the word.

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