I can’t say this summer has been the most comfortable for me. My favourite season growing up was always summer, but I have to say, I must be getting wussier in my “old” age when it comes to the heat because over the course of the last few months I have been constantly ducking under trees, storefront awnings, and every cool, shady spot imaginable. I have only gone hatless one day this summer and I have come home in a gross, sticky mess almost every day.
Even though my body is begging for the cooler fall temperatures, I have to admit that this has been one very fun foodie summer. I’ve been able to tuck away over 10 farmers’ markets under my belt, I’ve been able to take some beautiful photos around the city sans the snow slush, and I’m really proud that I took advantage of my time post-graduation to make this summer mine. I haven’t had a summer to myself in the last seven years and it has felt amazing doing so many of the things I set out to do before the summer started.
With the temperatures as sizzling as they are, summer is far from over but it’s worth taking note that Nathan Phillips Square’s Tasty Thursday outdoor food fests are coming to a close on September 1st. This leaves us with two more weeks of hot-off-the-grill food for lunch in the heart of the downtown core. We have two more weeks to savour the flavours of seafood ceviche, jerk chicken, Peruvian rice, vegetarian pad thai, Indian dishes bursting with chickpeas, and plenty of others.
Last week Tasty Thursdays switched things up a little and we saw the introduction of Big Daddy’s Bourbon Street Bistro and Oyster Bar, Lone Star Texas Grill, and several others. You know what that means – new photos! My mum took advantage of the Southern cajun style catfish and creole rice with her fish and rice dish, and I ogled the cornbread for what seemed like eons before deciding that I would pass solely based on price. The cornbread looked fantastic, but since I wanted more than just the cornbread without wanting to go over the $5 budget threshold, I sadly walked away last week. Trust that if it comes back this week I just might cave and get me some! What my brother and I ordered for lunch that day came from La Fiesta Catering: pulled pork with mashed potatoes, rice, and salad.
If you’ve read my Tequila Sunrise post, you know that pulled pork is a bit of a weakness of mine. So as I soon as I saw the $5 meal posted on the menu board at Tasty Thursday last week, I was all over it. The slow-cooked shredded tenderness of the pulled pork drove that weakness of mine crazy, and they had this great sauce to go along with the meal as well. And you all know how I feel about sauce! Cue Homer Simpson-like drooling here. Even though I love the pulled pork at Tequila Sunrise best, the pulled pork I had last week was great too, and the salad that came with the meal had this nice sweet tang from some of the pickled vegetables.
If you can believe it, the mashed potatoes were FABULOUS! This is not your typical lump of mashed potatoes. For one thing, they have this pretty light yellow colour. And for another they have this ultra smooth, melt-in-your-mouth texture that can only be described as the love child between potatoes and corn meal. These mashed potatoes were scooped into large round domes and placed on a super hot grill to get that warm golden brown colour on the underside, as well as that little bit of crispiness. Looking at these photos now, I would seriously go back and grab a whole box full of scooped cornmeal-like potatoes and have myself a field day.
Nathan Phillips Square is located at 100 Queen St. West at the intersection of Queen and Bay St. Tasty Thursdays takes place every Thursday from 11am-2pm from July 14th-September 1st, 2011. All food items are $7 or less. For more information on which restaurants and vendors are participating this summer, click here.