And when I write that I’ll be eating in Toronto during World Fantasy Con, I mean, yes, I’ll be eating in Toronto during World Fantasy Con … which though it bills itself as a Toronto convention, is actually off in Richmond Hill. But I’ve rented a car so I can head off on foodie expeditions, bringing along with me as many other victims volunteers as I can stuff in the car.
Assuming, of course, that the coming Frankenstorm doesn’t mess with my plans.
All six of these buzzworthy destinations are in Toronto, about a half an hour away from the hotel, and some have asked—how can I dare to tread so far from the convention itself? Won’t I be missing out? Nope! When I go, with four or five others in the car, it’ll be like I’m taking the con with me!
So … what’s on the menu?
Thursday’s lunch: The Burger’s Priest
When I asked for advice on which Toronto burger joint was the best, the responses got so heated you’d think I was in a conversation about the presidential election. But a consensus soon formed around The Burger’s Priest, which has a secret menu not posted at the restaurant. Which means you can only order something like The Vatican City—”a double cheeseburger squeezed between two grilled cheese buns”—if you find out about it online.
Thursday’s dinner: The Black Hoof
This was the first restaurant on my Toronto wish list, because of its offal—not awful—reputation. Can’t wait to get a taste (along with a few daring friends) of The Black Hoof‘s smoked sweetbreads, roasted bone marrow, and spicy horse tartare. If you’re up for a late-night adventure with me (they’re open until 1:00 a.m., and I plan to head over at the end of my 9:00 p.m. panel), give a shout.
Friday’s lunch: Lai Wah Heen
Lai Wah Heen has a reputation for high-end dim sum. For example—”Wonton of lamb loin flavored with cumin seeds & garlic” and “Steamed dumpling of Australian Wagyu beef topped with thinly sliced Wagyu beef, in chili oil.” Definitely not your usual dim sum. In fact, one Yelp reviewer actually slammed the neighborhood of the World Fantasy Con hotel in his review: “If your idea of dim sum is $2 steamers and old ladies yelling from carts, then go back to Richmond Hill.” And apparently, they even have durian cream pastries! How could you go wrong?
Friday’s dinner: Barque
Apparently, there’s no better BBQ in Toronto than Barque. Need I say more?
Saturday’s dinner: Momofuku Shoto
Once I heard that David Chang had just opened a Toronto branch of his tasting menu restaurant Momofuku Shoto, I was determined to get in. As with Alinea and Next, I had to watch the clock so I could jump on an online reservations system, checking in precisely at 10:00 a.m. exactly 13 days before the night I wanted. But for a chance to sit at the U-shaped table that wraps around the kitchen and watch the chefs at work, creating dishes such as Spaghetti with nori, sardine and lumpfish roe, it was worth it.
Sunday’s dinner: Cafe Boulud
Chef Daniel Boulud just opened his new Toronto restaurant Cafe Boulud, and as with the new Momofuku Shoto, I want to see it while everything is still all shiny and new. The only question will be—how will I decide between the “Country Terrine of Duck & Foie Gras Black Fig, Pistachio, Spelt levain” and the “Roasted Veal Loin Cheeks and Sweet Breads, Oyster Mushrooms Carrot Confit, Garlic-Parmesan Grit?”
Fingers crossed that the weather cooperates with my planned pre-dawn flight Thursday, and I make it to all six of these foodie temples.