Despite being stuck in traffic for nearly an hour and a half on Thursday evening with an empty stomach and thirsty liver, alas I've managed to arrive in VIP style with priority line entrance and a complimentary cocktail upon arrival at the Taste of Toronto, courtesy of American Express.
Opening night couldn't have been more perfect — the skies were clear, the sun was warm and slowly setting, the crowd was mix and mingling, food and cocktails were being served by the second, the aroma of modern cultured dishes filled the air, and music played from multiple tents. The energy within the festival was enticing to say the least. Feasting never looked so good!
Considered "The World's Greatest Restaurant Festival," Taste of Toronto arrives for the first time in North America in the city's Fort York National Historic Site, in sponsorship with Amex from July 24-27, and will be comprised of six half-day sessions (12-4 in the afternoons, and 5:30-9:30 in the evenings).
As a proud supporter of Canada’s dining industry, Amex has brought on unique dining experiences to Cardmembers. With that being said, I was granted a VIP pass and a pre-loaded dining card upon check-in, which basically gave me magic powers to hop, skip and jump to the front of the line at various restaurant tents and when parched, I was able to access refreshing cocktails at the exclusive Amex lounge.
Walking around the festival and observing the many restaurants involved in this year's Taste of Toronto made me have a deeper appreciation for the diverse and cultured city of Toronto that birthed and continues to raise me. For instance, I walked passed the jammed packed Momofuku tent which serves asian inspired dishes, and just a few steps after I landed at Shocka Coconut Hub which serves authentic caribbean cocktails and snacks. Although I'm surrounded by this on a daily basis, It was a beautiful site to witness. Being that this year marks the first year American Express is sponsoring The Taste of Toronto, it's evident that they have contributed in bringing Toronto's diverse cultures together. After all, food brings family together.
With the help of my trusty VIP access card, I was able to take the express line with American Express and scored big at Khao San Road's booth at Taste of Toronto! I tried the Crispy Rice Salad and Spicy Shrimp Salad. Yum!
To cool down the spice, I took a relaxing cooler at "Metro's Taste Summer Lounge" where I was served a refreshing glass of lemon and mint water, accompanied by fresh watermelon and strawberry slices; all naturally grown in Ontario, of course.
After roaming around the festival and snacking at various tents, I was overly stuffed and could no longer breathe, hence my pitstop at Amex's exclusive lounge where I was able to view a few Honda Indy race cars, sit back and enjoy the sun set, sip on my Pinot Grigio and chat with the friendly bartender, Omar.
Before officially calling it a night, I knew there was something missing... I had the evening coffee crave so I swung by the classy and chic NESPRESSO bar to enjoy a late night latte before heading home and pulling an all-nighter with work. The NESPRESSO bar legitimately felt like I was in a lounge surrounded by hardwood floors, leather bar stools and couches; lounge-like music filled the space, and women in cocktail dresses and men in suits fit the description. If this wasn't some sort of instant VIP transformation space treatment, then I don't know what it was! Nonetheless I was astonished! Thank you American Express and I bow down to you, Taste of Toronto. Thank you for having me.