After nearly two months satiating the appetites of office workers and hungry, dedicted foodies, I finally made it out to the Toronto Lunchtime Office Market at the Soft Choice building in Liberty Village! Yesterday was one of the most glorious, beautiful days so far this year and after missing out on so many great Soft Choice lunchtime markets since its launch back in April, I wasn’t about to pass up the golden opportunity to catch some sunshine and mouthwatering eats. I had such a fun time snapping photos of the gorgeous outdoor courtyard behind the building where the food market was being held, eating fantastic food, and enjoying a hidden gem of a space for the very first time.
I couldn’t believe how amazing this outdoor courtyard was. I was floored. I felt like I was walking into some secret paradise, separated from the rest of the world and surrounded by food! The courtyard is beautiful and I’ll be the first to admit that I was completely taken aback by it. We’re talking about Liberty Village here, an up and coming neighbourhood that continues to grow and thrive as a community, but still very much industrial. The courtyard is lovely and peaceful, perfect for an outdoor lunch and party and just as perfect for some quiet reading in the shade. All I could think of was, “boy, this place would look like something out of a fairy tale with some lit up lanterns and tea lights at night!” Beautiful brick walls surround the space, making it very private and cozy and while much of the space is ”open concept”, there are pockets here and there that make the space fun to weave in and out of – it is so much more than just a slab of concrete!
In attendance at the food market: Sara’s Nice Buns (fresh baked bread, buns, and sweet baked goods), The Nut Bakery (gluten-free nut cookies and granola bars), Cookie Martinez (sweets and fruity thirst quenchers), Yorktown Pie Company, Cheesewerks grilled cheese and artisan food shop, and finally, in association with ChocoSol, Gabriela’s Maizal fresh corn tortillas and quesadillas!
First, let’s do a rundown of some of the baked goods on site. Sara had her famous herb and onion fougasse on hand as well as her tasty cacao sourdough, white loaf, herb focaccia, and giant apple cinnamon buns; The Nut Bakery with tons of gluten-free samples and cookie jars filled with pecan walnut chocolate macaroons, dark chocolate nut chunk, almond almond, and chocolate pecan macadamia brownie cookies, among others; Cookie Martinez with giant chocolate an dulche de leche brownies and refreshing blended fruit juice made with passionfruit and local Ontario strawberries; and Yorktown Pies with a truckload of sweet and savoury pies including their collard greens and mushroom, chili beef, chicken, apple sour cream, and plenty of turnovers and flaky tarts.
Cheesewerks was firing up their grill with their special Charleston (brie cheese, caramelized onions, and apricot chutney on walnut raisin) and Beijing (asiago cheese, BBQ pork, hoisin sauce, and slivered green onions) grilled cheese varieties hot, buttered, and gooey right off the grill with a selection of cheeses and condiments on hand to purchase and take home. Finally, Gabriela’s tortilla project gone full-blown quesadilla cafe (her new cafe, Maizal, is now open for business at 133 Jefferson Ave. in Liberty Village!) was bursting with fresh ground corn quesadillas stuffed with mushrooms, spicy guacamole, mashed black beans, shredded, stringy, mouthwatering and to-die-for Oaxaca cheese, and more.
After picking up a coconut butter tart from Yorktown Pies and
inhaling savouring one of Gabriela’s best-in-the-city, fresh ground corn mushroom quesadillas for lunch (and I mean FRESH – her and her team ground the corn in the morning!), I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my lunch time. I grabbed a copy of Maizal’s menu and I can’t wait to visit her quesadilla cafe and report back to you all with more goods. It was so exciting for me to finally get to come to this office market (and of course, eat!) and soak in the atmosphere, great company, and beautiful space on such a picture-perfect day.
The Office Markets currently serve 2 locations in Toronto: CSI Annex at 720 Bathurst Street (just south of Bloor Street) on Tuesdays from 11:30am-1:30pm, and Soft Choice IT Soultions at 173 Dufferin Street (south of King Street) in Liberty Village on Wednesdays from 11:30am-1:30pm. The outdoor local food market is held behind the Soft Choice office in the beautiful outdoor courtyard with patio tables, chairs, and umbrellas. Perfect for enjoying that lunch in the warm sunshine (or shade) and fresh air!