By Amy Sanderson
It was a little tough to find, but when we entered the Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, we were warmly greeted by the organizer and hosts of the Toronto Catering Showcase held on Sunday, October 16, 2016 in the Toronto Reference Library (I didn’t even know they did this). I think they got a few library denizens to purchase tickets since the savoury smells from the event wafted around the library stacks, creating watering mouths.
The venue was well organized with a three-piece string band playing on the dais, a bar with wine and beer companies serving, and twelve of Toronto’s best caterers doing what they do best, serving samples of their specialties for those in attendance to consider hiring for their next event.
Encore Catering offered the following food samples for tasting: A veggie taco with mango, chili, papaya, tofu, cashews, tomatoes, coriander and onion. It was citrusy and flavourful.
Ahi poke with tuna, avocado, scallions, sesame seed & oi8l, pea leaves, tahi chili, wakame, potato noodle, soy sauce & rice vinegar. My guest tasted this one and was his favourite. Enjoyed the fresh tuna taste.
Crips wonton bolso with Dungeness crab, old cheddar, corn, chili corn mayo served in a crisp wonton purse. I liked the creative packaging and full crab flavour.
We sampled a generous portion of gnudi with lamb neck ragu and peperonata. The dish featured a slight cumin spice, with very satisfying fall flavours.
Hors d’oeuvres featured a vegetarian wild mushroom risotto cake. This was tasty since I was expecting a crab cake and got the lighter taste of mushroom. Meat – artisan house-smoked chicken sausage on a Fuji apple crisp. Light and savoury. Seafood – Garam masala jumbo shrimp with maple-curry house bacon and pineapple mint relish. A burst of citrus on the shrimp was satisfying.
The Veggie Taco came with fried goat halloumi, Greek yogurt, hot sauce, beet pickled jicama, feta, min gremolata, tortilla strips on a tortilla. Just wow! A taste explosion.
The Shawarma Taco had the same ingredients as the veggie taco except with braised lamb neck. I confess that I snuck one of these out with me. This was simply delicious.
Roasted butternut squash and arugula salad with brussels sprout leaves with figs, candied pecans and apple cider vinaigrette.
Chicken cobbler with kale, aged cheddar, goat cheese, mozzarella cheese and sweet potato biscuits.
Apple pie apple glee, elderflower ice cream, pi crust ganache, quinoa barla granola. I loved the theatre of how they made this placing it on a board, the using a putty knife to shave it onto the pie crust. Ingenious!
Loved the apple pie macaroons with a coated chocolate (I also took one for home).
Shrimp taco was my favourite sample in the show.
Lemony panelle with romesco sauce, grilled octopus salad with olives, peppers, frisee, arugula & chorizo crumble.
Handmade Yukon gold gnocchi with San Marzano tomato sauce, homemade ricotta cheese, basil, basil oil and fried tomato skins. I couldn’t get enough of this. So delicious.
Sticky toffee pudding with bourbon butterscotch liquid nitro cinnamon ice cream, homemade caramel corn – I was getting pretty full, but still had dessert stomach to taste this. What a treat!
Had tasting spoons and a dish of delicious looking samples.
The energy of these guys was contagious. They seemed to really be enjoying making samples for everyone.
Miso carbonara Lamian (Chinese hand pulled noodles) had a nutty flavour. The noodles were so fresh almost sweet.
Chinese pesto Lamian with lemon ricotta also a winner, but getting so full only had a small bite.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup – this was decadently delicious. If you like chocolate, you are going to love this.
21 ingredient calabrese coleslaw. I’m not going to list all the ingredients here but suffice it to say, this was one delicious coleslaw.
Branzino crudo – kimchi, avocado and pickled ramps. I am not a big kimchee fan, but my guest tried this one and really enjoyed it.
Fried chicken and waffles – you can’t lose if you serve this to me. I am a huge fan of these. There was a tasty dollop of an aioli mayo and a sprig of coriander – delicious
Graham cracker cups with chocolate and toasted marshmallow s’mores. Mmmmmm.
My guest sampled a beer from the Brew Box offered. He said it was great if you like a hoppy taste.
If you have a catering event or holiday party coming up, I highly recommend these caterers.