Having moved close to Greektown, it would’ve been extremely lazy and uninspiring of me if I didn’t attend the annual Krinos Taste of the Danforth. The festival showcases all the wonderful eats around Danforth road’s little Greek community and pulls over 1.6 million people each year.
In perspective, over ten years ago when I first attended this event, there was walking room. In succeeding years including this year, it’s become one of the most cramped events ever. But the weather was great, the event was lively and there were so much good food to be had. And that’s why you should go. That’s why I went.
BBQ QUAIL (ORTIKIA) AND OTHER EATS
I would’ve liked to showcase more food but the lineups were long and I could only eat so much.
Ortikia is BBQ Quail. It’s $5 for one and it tastes a lot like fried duck. If you haven’t had duck, it’s a bit tougher than chicken and has a pluckier taste for lack of a better word. It would be good to have a bit of salt and season the quail a bit to add a bit more taste. These things are rich in protein too.
Also there’s the more traditional Greek food like the chicken, pork and beef gyros ($3.50 a stick or two for $6 for the chicken and $5 for pork or beef). They’re delectable and really good to snack on especially if you’re diet conscious. The chicken gyros are pure protein but the pork and beef gyros are tastier. You can either have them just as is or in a (bread) for some extra carbs. They’re quite filling and at $5 each it’s a pretty good deal especially considering festivals tend to jack up their prices a bit more.
Sometimes I enjoy watching the meat cook a bit too much. There’s something soothing about it. And it always whets your appetite. There was a more traditional Greek style barbecue. That would explain all the napkins. Hey, it’s a festival. But seriously, that’s a lot of wasted paper… trees. But it was fun and they definitely did it the right Greek way.
There were lots of fresh fruits like pineapples and coconuts but dear God the lineup was so long it was as if a local celebrity was taking photographs while selling them. So I just had some $1 watermelon slices. This was a much better deal. No lineups. Oh, and some ice cream sandwiches from The Forth. Nom nomz.
FREEBIES AND OTHER ATTRACTIONS
Like most festivals here in Toronto, Taste of the Danforth had the parlour games and carnival attractions. There was live music and shops selling discounted goods like musical instruments, clothing and trinkets of all kinds – souvenirs.
There’s a ton of places to get free stuff in specifically sampling. Went to try some very flavourful beer from Goose Island. There was Danon Greek Yogurt and regular yogurt being given away but again, a ridiculously long lineup. People would do anything for free stuff. Various sporting stands like Toronto Argonauts, Toronto Raptors etc. had some contests and mini-events going on. You can get free fliers and be entered into raffles for free prizes. Or if you want to take photos with the cheerleaders. That I know some of them would only make it super awkward for me though.
I wish I could’ve explored more but living so close and it being super crowded and hot, I decided to head back. I spent a total of $21 and was so full I took a nice nap right after (side effect: lethargy). Will go back next year and try to cover it better.
But should you be super hungry, this is the place to go if you can bear the big crowds, summer heat and if you don’t mind a very lively festival :)