This past Saturday I checked out the Toronto Underground Market (aka TUM) at it’s new home: 99 Sudbury. Previously, this sort-of-monthly (between May and October) food-sampling event resided at the Brickworks. I’d been to a Brickworks TUM event over a year ago and while I loved the vendors and the dishes they were selling, I hated the hassle of getting out to the Brickworks so much that I never went to another TUM event until it moved to a location I can walk to.
It turns out that an easier commute isn’t the only area that the move improved. Spread across three spaces at 99 Sudbury, including one outdoor area, the new set-up is much more spacious than the previous one. There are also more seating and table options and best of all, shorter lines!
That last change likely has little to do with the change in venue and more to do with the fact that Toronto is now brimming with food events (both the Junction Night Market and the Markham night market were taking place on Saturday, July 12). This means that people have more options when they want a foodie night out and don’t have all squeeze into the same event.
Well, how about a bit more variety? The July edition of TUM featured 25 vendors and while that sounds like a lot, there were a lot of repeat ingredients: pork, chicken, variations on tacos and at least five vendors who focused on sweets. Besides a bigger variety of food, I also wish that there was a better variety of alcoholic drinks. Available was a few selections of beers from Beau’s Brewery, your usual cocktail offerings from 99 Sudbury’s summer-only oyster bar and a delicious tequila/grapefruit/lime/agave syrup drink made by Tromba Tequila. While I really, really liked that last drink, I do wish I had had a few more options.
Something I can’t complain about are the prices. Often times this food events give you just a nibble or a sip for $5 or more dollars. Not at TUM. All drinks were priced at a flat $5 and for that price you got a proper drink. Food prices varied but Husband I always felt that what we paid was appropriate for what we got. For example, those chicken satays (by Recipieces) that are featured in this entry were only $5. And yep, they tasted pretty good (though the peanut sauce was a bit lacking).
Prior to the satays, I tried the rice balls and chicken taco from M.e.n.u Food Truck. While the rice balls were a touch bland, even though they were packed with cheese, the chicken in the taco was perfectly seasoned and surrounded by a soft, warn and just tasty taco shell. It was also generously sized, and for $10, I ended up with a meal that left me full.
Well, not completely full. I still found space for the chicken satays and of course dessert. For that, I tried some of Husband’s New York cheesecake-inspired bubble cake, made by Penny Lou Lou Sweets & Treats as well as my favourite item of the night: a chili chocolate cream brulé that was topped with sweet cream and cookie crumbles. It was made by Petit Crème Brûlée and it was amazing; I was sad when it ended.
Husband and I paid $14 for our advance tickets though I later saw discounted tickets available for just $10. The door price also dropped after 7:30 to $10 though in the past, heading to a TUM event after 7:30 meant missing out on some of the more popular dishes as those items often sold-out.
But that was the old TUM, the jam-packed and pricier (entry used to be $20) TUM that was poorly located (for me anyway). The current TUM is better on so many levels, including the one that involves food not selling out within the first two-and-a-half hours. Because of that, I completely recommend that you check out an upcoming TUM event.