¡Holy Guacamole! May was a busy month for my beloved 86’d Mondays. As we all shed the winter layers and venture out in search of fun times with friends, I started the month off with a Cinco de Mayo celebration featuring the 5th Annual Guacamole Smackdown. We had the pleasure of tasting delicious guacamole creations from La Carnita, Ryerson University, Gwai Lo, the Drake Hotel, and returning 2 time champ Steve Gonzalez from Valdez. Dios mio, did they ever blow us away!
I love them all too much myself to judge, so I brought in a panel of Toronto’s finest: Jessie Rae Allen from the Social, MTV's Krista Hessey, and Depict Magazine's Emily Burke. Everyone in the crowd dove into the guacamole- smearing it on blue corn tortilla chips supplied by Neal Brothers while sipping on Tequila Tromba. While the judges deliberated, the crowd cast their ballots and the winner was chosen. 3-time champ Steve Gonzalez took home not only the judge’s choice but the people’s choice too! As the lucky winner, he walked away with a 2 page advertising spread in Depict Magazine+ a gift basket from Neal Brothers. Way to go Steve!
On the 12th, I had the honour of hosting the annual Terroir Symposium's after party… and boy, what a party it was! Wes Galloway from Byblos mixed tempting cocktails while Danny Smiles and his pal Vito offered up a shellfish buffet. A huge spread was laid out featuring delicious peel n' eat Matane shrimp and fresh shucked oysters from the Gaspesie. Meanwhile, world famous chef Albert Adria and Cook It Raw founder Alessandro Porcelli joked by the bar with Gord Hannah and Terroir founder Arlene Stein. I spotted David Chang with his Momofuku crew while I chatted with up-and-coming chef Brendan Baltzley. We were surrounded by the royalty of the foodie world! Our own Bill Simpson was fashionably late but warmly received by all. Chefs from Newfoundland to Pittsburgh and Minneapolis to Montreal filled the room along with winemakers, journalists, cheesemakers and brewmasters. I couldn’t be happier at how successful the night was- thanks to everyone who came out!
May was stellar, but I’m already gearing up for an even more exciting June program.
On June 2nd, we’ll dive into summer with a watermelon eating contest sponsored by Absolut Elyx. The winner will be awarded two tickets to this summer's must see music festival - Field Trip. Anyone can enter, all you gotta do is show up by 8pm and sign up… just save room in your belly for some of the refreshing watermelon cocktails that’ll be featured!
On the 9th I'll be hosting Peter Hunt, master distiller at BC's Victoria Gin. He'll serve up some delicious (and complimentary I might add) gin cocktails while the Drake kitchen sends out an array of culinary delights that incorporate Victoria Gin and bitters. Cooking with bitters, who knew?
The 5th Annual Ocean Wise Ceviche Battle is on the 16th and all the winning chefs from previous years will come back to compete against each other. Among them the Chase, Fat Pasha, Valdez (that Steve Gonzalez wins a lot!) and more.
The final 86'd of the month will be on the 23rd (we're going on hiatus for Canada Day on June 30th) and will be a delicious and complimentary (are you noticing a pattern here? I use that word a lot at 86'd!) East Coast oyster tasting sponsored by the very generous Adam Colquhon and his Oyster Boy crew. Bring a bib!
For all you downtowners, I also host 86'd Mondays at Drake One Fifty where I'm joined by some of the best bartenders, wine makers + distillers sampling their wares.