TASTE OF THE DANFORTH 2013

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2013 marked the 20th birthday of Taste of the Danforth, an annual street festival celebrating Greek cuisine in Toronto. It seems like every year the festival is growing with more restaurants and inspiring similar events throughout Toronto’s many cultural neighbourhoods.

Tents line both sides of the street in front of each restaurant transforming blocks of Danforth Ave with smoky lamb chops, spits of quail and delicious grilled souvlaki.

Atmosphere: It gets crowded. Bring a water bottle, wet wipes and good cheer. Special sponsor tents are set up in the middle of the street and around the performance stage, but for the most part there’s little shade and lots of standing in line. Personally, I’m much more purposeful now when I attend with a checklist in mind of foods and vendors I want to visit. The festival gets a little boozy at night, all in good fun. If you’re visiting with family, I’d try to beat the rush by starting early and walking the street at a leisurely pace.

Service: Every stall I visited was efficient and friendly. Like most street festivals though, it can be hard to find napkins and food is served on a variety of options from paper plates to wax paper. Be prepared to get your hands a little greasy, the food’s worth it.

Food: This year, the BF and I only had a couple of hours to satiate our appetite for Greek cuisine so we had a gameplan. We were focused on lamb chops, souvlaki, crab gratin (a yearly favourite of the BF’s) and quail.

I don’t remember where we grabbed our quail and the first set of lamb chops from (bad blogger right?) but we chose one with a short line and best value. 2 fatty chops for $5. They were greasy as the picture shows and therefore full of flavour. I liked the quail but there were a lot of bones and it was a bit hard to eat, walk and not choke.

At Ocean Treasure’s Fish Market’s stall, they grill the most amazing crab shell gratin. Usually the line will span the block. Luckily we were early enough and didn’t have to wait long for our cheesy seafood goodness, served with two pieces of bread to soak up all the sauce. This dish is a stand out for me and the first stall I’ll run to. We finishing this year’s Taste of the Danforth with two more lamb chops and souvlaki from Ella’s Meat Market. I didn’t have any room left for a gyro from Messini, that’ll have to wait for next year.

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