The Stop Night Market: Sloppy meatballs, cronuts and a whole lot of pork at the two-night foodie fest
For the second year, The Stop Community Food Centre transformed the grungy laneway behind Honest Ed’s into an all-you-can-drink, all-you-can-eat night market packed with 85 top Toronto chefs, 2,000 ardent foodies, a marching band and a temperamental hot air balloon. The event was so popular last summer that The Stop extended the tasting feast to a second night this year, selling out tickets for both evenings in under two hours and leaving passersby to gaze longingly at all the revelry. Here, a collection of the best food stalls, most noteworthy happenings and 42 mouth-watering photos from the two-night bash.
Most Popular Ingredient: Pork
The city’s favourite meat showed up in hot dogs, pogos, pigs in blankets, belly and jowl sliders, meatballs, smoked ham sandwiches and chorizo soup. Pig is still big.
Trendiest Dessert: Cronuts
Splendido’s Victor Barry and Top Chef contestant Jonathan Goodyear served a Canadian take on the New York croissant-doughnut hybrid that took over the Internet last month.
Slopppiest Dish to Devour in Public: Meatball Sliders
Pizzeria Libretto packed mini hamburger buns with golf ball-sized servings of pork, ricotta and spicy caper salmoriglio sauce creating stacks twice as tall as they were wide. Many put more meatball on their faces than in their mouths.
Longest Lines: Wiggle Room and Pizzeria Libretto
On the first night, the line up for The Wiggle Room’s “Newfie poutine,” an unholy trifecta of fries, beef gravy and crispy baked stuffing, snaked halfway across the parking lot. On the second, Libretto created a giant jam in the southwest corner.
Shortest Lines: Booze Stalls
This may be the first time ever that an all-you-can-drink beer line was trumped by, well, pretty much anything.
Most Commonly Overheard: “Is this the line for…?”
The parking lot turned market was a confounding obstacle course of amorphous queues, clusters of foodies and vendor stalls. Everybody was too busy stuffing their faces to mind.
Handiest Utensil: Chopsticks
One set lasted the entire night, enabling a swift transfer of bite-sized snacks from food stall to plate to mouth. They also helped circumvent chatty foodies standing in the way of the next tiny treat with the added few inches of reach.
Most Ingenious Accessory: A Tray
Another simple yet highly effective tool. A few seasoned festivalgoers brought their own trays while the majority were stuck fumbling snacks and drinks between two hands. One woman even brought an extra-large Tupperware container. Bonus points.
Most Ambitious Prop: Hot Air Balloon
The massive white orb was tethered to a floating wooden table and manned by a team of young beards, who spent all evening struggling to keep it afloat.
Best Rooftop Performance: Heavyweights Brass Band
The Toronto drum-and-horn ensemble played an instrumental rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” (or maybe it was Weird Al Yankovich’s “Eat It”) from Honest Ed’s roof, inspiring a rowdy dance circle.
Most Joyful Street Parade: Lemon Bucket Orkestra
A marching band, consisting of a flute, trombone, fiddle, accordion, clarinet and one woman singing into a mini loudspeaker, did laps (or at least they tried) around the crowded parking lot.
Best Reason to Stuff Your Face Off: $115,000
That’s nearly twice as much money as last year’s event and enough to provide three days of healthy food for 9,000.