Event: Ice, Wine and Dine
I love that you can wander around Toronto at any time of the year and find yourself in the middle of a street fair. If you happened to be wandering around Yonge & Dundas this past weekend, you would have come across the Ice, Wine & Dine, part of the Winter Magic series of events taking place in downtown Toronto over the next month.
Tourists, families, friends and couples flocked to Elm Street and sampled food from local restaurants, were entertained by strolling carolers, fire dancers and a stilt walker, and drank specially-crafted martinis from the Ice Lounge. All of Elm’s restaurants participated, showcasing delicious, house-made dishes. Bangkok Garden – a staple on Elm for nearly thirty years – prepared crispy, piping hot vegetarian spring rolls paired with a genuinely spicy hot sauce, as well as a red curry dish with jasmine rice. A seemingly endless crowd was parked around the two pubs represented: the Queen & Beaver Public House and the Duke of Somerset, both handing out delicious, warm fare, like pulled pork sandwiches and deep-fried Mars bars.
A little further down the street, people lined up for the fine folks from the Delta Chelsea, who were making fresh empanadas stuffed with marinated beef, sweet corn and mozzarella or vegetables. Served with a dollop of chipotle cream on the side, these little treats were a delicious addition to the street fair.
Not in the mood for Latin food? You might have headed over to the Sushi Queen Izakaya’s booth for a variety of both cold and hot dishes. Looking for something more upscale? You may have opted for the sous vide venison loin with cauliflower puree, grainy mustard spaetzle, juniper jus, Brussels sprouts and house-cured bacon over at Oro, Elm’s fine dining Italian restaurant. Certainly, those of us at the Ice, Wine and Dine were spoiled with choices!
But the Ice, Wine & Dine event was not just about food. While other restaurants like Barberian’s Steakhouse, Tasty’s Caribbean, Commensal, Donatello’s and the Wolf & Firkin doled out small, reasonably-priced plates, attendees were also encouraged to participate in wine tastings or to sample a martini from the Ice Lounge. From behind a beautifully carved ice bar, bartenders made several martinis, including the “Yongetini”, a creme de cacao-infused drink with two Hershey Kisses sitting in the bottom. Tables and comfortable couches were set up and many people could be found relaxing, comfortably watching the festival with a martini in hand.
It was not just participants who could be found strolling up and down Elm St.; various entertainers were happily engaging the crowd. Two fire dancers strutted their hot stuff to “oohs” and “aahs” from the impressed crowd. There was also a group of carolers, regaling the crowds with beautiful, traditional Christmas carols. To round out the fun, a stilt walker meandered up and down Elm St. delighting those of all ages.
The crowd clearly enjoyed themselves, basking in an unseasonably-warm November evening with well-thought-out food, yummy desserts, playful drinks and enjoyable performers. This was Ice, Wine & Dine’s fifth year, and it was great to see all the neighbourhood businesses participating. No doubt it will enjoy much success in the years to come.
Special thanks to @Jes_camp for hooking us up at the event!
Lead photo image credit to @LMPTORONTO