Returning for its third year, The Stop’s Night Market took place June 16 and 17 at a new, larger venue in Toronto. The spacious Junction Triangle lot at 181 Sterling Road was the perfect fit for the event’s 70 local chefs and 39 designer food carts.
Though dilapidated warehouses surrounded us, the outdoor space was transformed with strands of twinkly lights, art installations, hundreds of hungry Torontonians and the tantalizing smells of international street food.
Deciding where to start was near impossible, so we took to taking laps of the inner and outer vendor circles so as not to miss anything. The portions, each of two to three bites, were the perfect way to sample the myriad of dishes available.
The Whippoorwill’s falafel was simple and surprisingly elegant, accompanied by pea shoots, red onion and preserved lemon. Another favourite, with big points for creativity, was The White Brick Kitchen’s spicy Korean fried chicken with lime Jello salad (it really worked). Hawthorne Food & Drink’s crispy chicken skin tacos delivered an incredible crunchy texture with a hit of sriracha-based heat. Kanpai Snack Bar’s fried rice and Taiwanese sausage with lotus root chip and chicken poprocks won my heart for the novelty aspect. And finally, for those of us really not counting calories, there was even a cheeseburger fritter and pickled devilled egg from Me & Mine. Our laps of the vendor carts got considerably slower as we took more of the diverse tastes in.
Options to quench our thirst were never in short supply. Among our favourites, Dillon’s Distillers had handcrafted zingy cocktails with lemon and gin, West Avenue Cider served their Ontario Cherry-osity cider to an unending line of patrons and Malivoire Winery poured a great rose that suited the mild night.
It’s not hard to enjoy yourself at a outdoor soiree like The Stop’s Night Market, especially when it’s for all for an important cause. Raising funds for anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs, The Stop Community Food Centre is committed to increasing access to healthy food while building community. Let’s all raise a fork to that and hope for an even bigger Night Market next year!