A Dosa Street Food That May Never Be
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A Dosa Street Food That May Never Be

2007_07_19streettreats.jpg
Photos by Vanessa Toye.
Only three more people are ahead and the potent curry aromas are teasing everyone to keep waiting it out. The entire event has been spent standing in this line, two hours for a dosa, to try one of the foods at the Toronto Street Treats Event. Thankfully, satellite foodies circled around to other lines and snapped up a variety of dishes for Torontoist to eat that were quickly disappearing into the stomaches of the swelling crowd.


No one expected and few were prepared for the masses that showed up (unofficial participant Sunshine Shakes did and set up a booth in the corner). Colborne Lane ran out of cereal and packed up before the official start time. Forty pounds of tripe couldn’t satiate the crowd. Chris McDonald from Cava was found apologetically tearing up buns and wiping down the sides of his Le Creuset pots to stave off the hungry. All this at only 12:20 p.m. Lines easily surpassed one hundred people and few were deterred. News of a stall selling out of food would trickle down and lines scattered as people went in search of the shortest wait. However, many still left hungry and resorted to nearby food trucks.
Not a scrap of food was left at the event. Torontoist never even got that dosa. Running out of the spiced potato filling with only two people ahead, an empty dosa shell just would not do. Throughout, spirits ran high and as the lines were culled to a handful of people there were a few who remarked jokingly (maybe only half jokingly) that they would normally complain if any restaurant took two hours to serve them food.
The immense popularity of the event is proof enough that Torontonians are demanding variety along our sidewalks, but that’s not enough. With the city consistently using the excuse of the public’s health for selling anything other than the ubiquitous hot dog, the nature of the event showed that there are many types of foods that can be made safely on other premises for quick heating or final construction on the street. And for all the professed low-risk that hot dogs are supposed to offer, an inspection report released just days after the event has shown that you cannot avoid risk with food.
Some may complain that many of the offerings weren’t practical, but at least they were an attempt to give us something more unique and healthy. Salad won’t cut it and the hamburgers and samosas set to arrive later this summer likely won’t work for a culture concerned about how much trans-fat they’re consuming. Maybe we’ll see the doors widen even more by August 1 or at the very least soon afterwards.
If you’re wondering what we finally did get our hands on and how it was, street treats were rated from a range of 1 to 5 in several categories with 5 representing top marks and effort.

Proposed Street Food
Palate Pleaser
One-Handed Feat / Stainability
Quantity to Price Ratio
Final Say and Total Points (Max 15)
2007_07_18tripe.jpg
Florentine Tripe Stew
CAVA
$2
Spooned into a fluffy sourdough-style bun, the warm tripe was perfectly tender. The rich tomato sauce was well spiced and let the offal shine.
5
Stuffing the tripe into a bun made it a one-hander, but it soaked through very easily and was a stain waiting to happen.
2
High. The thick sauce makes up most of the stew but the bun provides good filler. A couple will do the trick.
5
Among the more adventurous dishes, it was well received and the best dish created for the street food challenge.
12
2007_07_18flamishe.jpg
Onion and Asparagus Flamishe
DIDIER
$2
Offered cold, the quiche-like item had a thick crust and an eggy but dull filling. A little heat and we’ve got potential.
3
With everything contained by a tight tart crust, it’s easy to walk around with and eat using only one hand.
5
Medium. Protein from the eggs may fill you up, but just a few bites will leave you with nothing in hand.
3
Different but not really different at all. It is easy and quick but seems more like a snack or a very brief breakfast.
11
2007_07_18tsukune.jpg
Tsukune
IZAKAYA
$5
The meatballs were a dense and salty chicken mix served chilled. A bit dry, except for the thick sauce drizzled on top, you’ll want a drink.
3
A skewer makes it easy to hold and the thick sauce clings to the meat. Be careful of that last few bites though, it may fall.
4
Medium. Just two of the miniature meatballs sit on each skewer and we could use many more than that.
3
Taken from the bars in Japan, it could make a move to the outdoors. If they ever serve beer from carts, this food is our pick.
10
2007_07_18lemonginger.jpg
Ginger Lemonade
THE LOCAL CAFÉ
$2
A perfect blend of sweet, tart and spicy, it was absolutely refreshing with a natural slight creaminess.
5
Add a lid and it’s relatively mess free.
5
Low. Surprisingly filling for a liquid, it would be best as a refreshing snack or a good afternoon pick-me-up.
2
Easy to drink but a little bit more unique. Much healthier than a pop.
12
2007_07_18summerroll.jpg
Summer Salad Rolls
THE LOCAL CAFÉ
$3
Radish, lettuce, onion, cucumber, tofu, and tomato covered in a spicy ginger peanut sauce wrapped in rice paper had a good crunch with mild spice.
4
Rolled tight enough, all the elements stay under control and easy to eat. Keep it upright in case of falling bits.
4
Low. A bit too light, needs a lot more stuffing to get a good fill from it.
2
Familiar but not, it’s an Asian twist with Ontario flavours. As the day continues, freshness could be an issue.
10
2007_07_18soup.jpg
5 Spiced Chinese Melon Soup with Curried Shellfish
RAIN
$5
Smoking dry ice in the serving bowls couldn’t fix the overcooked seafood. The soup was bland and faintly tasted of melon, five spice what?
1
Juggling a melon bowl, pointy skewer and spoon does not an easy street food make. The clear soup does give it a low stain potential.
2
Low. Too bad the flesh from the bowl was tough to spoon out, otherwise we could have been a bit more stuffed.
2
Pretty but ignores practicality. We also wonder if the possibility of spoiled seafood would scare the Health Board.
5

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