Summer Cravings: A Delicious Welcome to Pan Am Games

Authentic Ecuadorean potato pancakes from La Fiesta at Toronto's Front Street Foods open-air food market. Photo by Jayne MacAuley

Tempt your taste buds with red carpet cuisine at Toronto’s Transportation Hub.

When vendors at an outdoor food market are touted as artisans, you know the bar has been raised when it comes to mouth-watering fare. The Front Street Foods pop-up market is a delicious welcome-to-Toronto for commuters, tourists and even Pan Am athletes and their fans as they emerge from Union Station – and a delectable destination for nearby office and retail workers. Incidentally, the long-under-construction area has become an elegant, people-friendly plaza renamed, somewhat controversially, Sir John A. Macdonald Square.

food-3Here food feeds the sense of sight as well as taste. There’s a colourful shrimp and soba noodle salad ($13) from Little Fin; Cava Sur’s paella con polla with chick peas and asparagus ($12) or their wheatberry salad with pistachio, pomegranate, argan oil and lemon vinaigrette; and Toben Food By Design’s focaccia with a barbeque Monterey sauce, sautéed kale, smoked sausage, fresh ricotta cheese and radish-fennel salad.

food-6Carnivores can chow down on Bacon Nation’s bacon burgers or sandwiches (substitute with chicken bacon if desired) or hunker down with Holy Chuck’s signature burger (the Holy Chuck, of course) or their Raging Bull, Smokey Cow – or one dubbed You Fat Pig. Not that you are.

With Pan-Am-zania about to electrify the city, we can all catch the South American spirit with some authentic Ecuadorean potato pancakes from La Fiesta (pictured above) or Mad Mexican’s house-made nachos and salsas, including a chunky guacamole dip made with premium Michoacán avocados from Mexico.

food-1Less than a year ago, pastry chef Michelle Rose started Miche Bakery & Patisserie. Homer Simpson would love the donut named for him. It’s outrageously large and features sprinkles and bright pink icing (doh!). Line-ups can be expected at Uncle Tetsu’s Cheesecake booth. The light, delicately sweet Japanese dessert made with Hokkaido-sourced Yotsuba butter is rockin’ the city.

With summer on us, who wants hot drinks? Pekoe Kombucha Bar offers kombucha, a fermented cold tea that has natural carbonation and probiotics. Blended with cold-pressed juices, it’s a light, refreshing alternative to bubbly big-corp soft drinks. Coffee lovers can get their hit of java with cold coffee created by Station Cold Brew Coffee Co. Beans are infused with cold water for 18 hours, which produces less acidic, non-bitter coffee.

food-4With more than 25 tents offering such a variety of flavours, you’ll want to return frequently all summer. You’ll find me at Yolo T.O. There’s an Oyster Po’ Bao made with Fanny Bay oysters from B.C. that I simply can’t resist – or maybe I’ll try a classic lobster roll at Fresh Off the Boat.

Front Street Foods open-air food market (www.frontstreetfoods.com) runs from July 6 to August 30, 2015, at 65 Front St. West. Monday to Friday: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sunday: 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.