Eating Toronto

There is something about food that calls to me.  Nothing evokes the sense of a city like the smell, the feel, the sight, and taste of its food, all mingling together into a potpourri for the senses.  Some of my earliest travel memories are of food: my relatives feeding me spicy pickle and rice as a child in India; that giant double scoop ice cream cone at Yellowstone National Park that I just had to have but didn’t even come close to finishing; the ubiquitous lemon rice and yogurt rice that always came with us on family road trips; the samosas I made in a Chilean hostel; the list could go on for pages.

Although my family considered me a picky eater as a child, much of my adult life revolves around food.  I love to cook, and what I love even more is eating.  When I plan trips, I often build itineraries around food that I want to eat.  The food is as important to me as the location itself.  It comes as no surprise then that I recently booked a trip with no plans other than eating.

I initially decided to go to Toronto for Memorial Day weekend because I had never been to Canada, the flight prices were cheap, and I knew there was good Indian food.  I recruited a friend to come along and eat with me for a weekend, and she readily agreed.  So we bought our tickets, booked a room through Airbnb, and then proceeded to make zero plans.

The week before we left, I realized that I knew absolutely nothing about what there was to do in Toronto.  I did a couple of Internet searches and browsed some options, then decided that we could figure out what to do once we got there.  I also called my dad in India to ask him where to find the best Indian food in Toronto.  It turns out I was calling late enough that he was already asleep, but even in his half-awake state, he was able to tell me to head to Gerrard Street.

Once we arrived in Toronto, we got a couple of eating recommendations from our Airbnb host.  We then proceeded to spend the entire three-day weekend walking around the city and eating whatever caught our eyes.  I briefly contemplated doing a calorie count for the trip, just as a matter of scientific curiosity, but I quickly decided that it would be way too shameful to share.  So, you’ll just have to take my word for it that I ate way more than I should have.

There were temptations everywhere: delicious all-you-can-eat Indian buffets; passion fruit cream cheese macarons; churros and empanadas in a market where I heard more Spanish than English; even hot dog stands advertising veggie hot dogs!

We started the weekend off with this waffle-themed brunch at Starving Artist, near where we were staying.

Waffle brunch

Waffle brunch

And here is a sampling of some of the other things I had to stop to eat as we explored the city for three days.

I know I must have missed out on some of the “must-see” attractions in Toronto, but the copious amounts of delicious food I ate more than make up for it.  I experienced Toronto in a much more immersive way than if I had just stood in line to go to the top of the CN Tower.  I wandered the various neighborhoods and explored the many nooks and crannies of the city.  And I have to say, I’d definitely go back, just to eat.

Is food an important part of your travels? What is your favorite food-related travel memory?

Packing my Suitcase
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17 responses to “Eating Toronto

  1. I am so glad you enjoyed eating Toronto. It is a fabulous city with so many options available. One of my fav travelling/eating memories is actually a breakfast/lunch place in San Francisco called Dottie’s Blue Cafe… my husband and I dream of it today. Also we had an amazing meal outside in an Italian cafe across from the Parthenon in Rome. The square was lit up at night and the food did the setting justice. Food and travel go wonderfully together.

    • San Francisco is another great city for eating! What did Dottie’s Blue Cafe serve? (And does it still exist? 🙂 ) I’ve heard great things about food in Rome. I still haven’t been to Italy, but I’m sure I’d gain a lot of weight there! I love the combination of good food and a picturesque setting. Eating outdoors seems to make things taste better somehow.

      • Dottie’s still exists and it serves amazing breakfast food and lunches… your typical home cooked meals done with some extra flair! It apparently has moved to a new location as there were always long lines to get into it but worth the wait.

  2. Ohhh this post reminded me of when I went to Toronto! I also had great food there 😀 and yes food in my travels are something very very important to me!!

    Thank you for linking up to #MondayEscapes 😀

    • Food is one of the best parts of going somewhere new! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Toronto as much as I did! And I’m excited to keep participating in #MondayEscapes – it provides some much needed motivation for actually doing some writing 🙂

      • Yess… I have great memories of Toronto 😀 I miss Canada!
        Yaaay I am so happy to know that! I’m excited to see your upcoming link ups to Monday Escapes 😀

  3. I’d love to plan more travel around food but most of the time, I don’t find it the easiest to do outside India (wrote about my struggles and victories here. I sometimes wonder if my travels would be more ‘immersive’ if I wasn’t a vegetarian.

    • Yeah, traveling as a vegetarian can be difficult. I’ve been very fortunate to usually be able to find vegetarian food wherever I go. Traveling in parts of Chile was very hard – lots of meat and seafood everywhere and I mostly got by with french fries and ice cream. I wonder about what I’m missing by being vegetarian occasionally, but it’s such an ingrained way of life that I don’t usually remember that there is another option!

  4. Pingback: May Adventure Summary | The Unfinished Travel Project·

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