Oh, what a night!
When Samsung Canada invited @ShopwithRobin and me to The Toronto Zoo’s Seafood for Thought, let’s just say I shimmied into a happy dance. You see, I had seriously considered buying a pair of tickets to the fundraising event, but one of the awesome perks of being a blogger is that once in a while, a press invite comes at the perfect time.
(Seafood? Check. Lena? Check. Lena staking out the fish taco stand? Check.)
Now to pay homage to Samsung – and their very cool (pun intended) Twin Cooling System refrigerators, I’ll be publishing a separate post with a review of their amazing new home appliances and tips for eating fresh – straight from Kelly Anne Erdman, the Performance Dietitian for Team Canada at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
However, for the moment, I bring you Seafood for Thought.
What is it?
“The unique and elegant outdoor setting, delicious seafood tastings prepared by Toronto’s top chefs, chocolate fountain, wine pairings and of course some WILD animal encounters makes Seafood For Thought this year’s fundraising event you don’t want to miss!”
Hang on. Did they say “unique” outdoor setting? Because this was unique, alright.
To be fair, it wasn’t The Toronto Zoo’s fault. No one can predict Mother Nature’s temperament! Upon arriving at the OUTDOOR event, the sky clouded over something awful and the winds picked up exponentially. Before Robin and I had set one foot inside the venue, we were greeted by glasses crashing to the floor, screams of surprise, and tents hoisted 10 feet into the air.
(Not gonna lie; I thought I was going to die. And that would’ve been the ultimate embarrassment – being taken out by a flying tent at a fish event. Sheesh.)
Good news; although we were treated to a torrential downpour, that just meant extra huddling under shelters and a strong camaraderie (read: desire to stay dry) among the attendees.
Below: The star of the show: Samsung’s four-door fridge model, featuring a counter-height, Flex Zone Mid-Convertible Drawer with Smart Divider – at a perfect height for children to see food clearly and reach for healthy snacks.
During a brief break from the rain, attendees at the Seafood for Thought event feasted on tastings from some of Toronto’s finest culinary talent, including Crush Wine Bar, President’s Choice Cooking School, Scaramouche, The Ritz-Carlton Toronto, and more.
Below: Halibut Ceviche served with Fresh Plums and Fried Leeks from Tutti Matti. Would never have thought to pair fish and fruit – strangely, this combination worked very well.
Did I say we had a break from the rain? It was short lived. Robin and I took cover under Pelee Island Winery’s tent. Hey, if you’re going to seek shelter, might as well be where the wine is pouring freely. We downed two glasses (and a TO DIE FOR Yellow Perch Fish Taco from the stand next door) before we decided to just pop our umbrellas and move on. Before we did, I made a mental note to buy the Lucky Stones wine when it becomes available this fall. Divine.
Next, we made our way over to see Tom Fillipou at President’s Choice Cooking School. I didn’t quite grab the description of their appetizer, but I was nonetheless happy to oblige with a taste. Yummy, but not very memorable.
Below: This one should be a no-brainer, Luma Restaurant. When arriving at tasting event – one designed to showcase your originality, creativity and utter awesomeness – please do not serve salmon with dill sauce. The family-run greasy spoon around the corner serves salmon with dill sauce. Terribly predictable and just plain BLAH.
Next, a taco. Not as delicious as the first taco I had, and once again, I forgot to make note of the restaurant. Thinking that in my excitement to eat fish tacos I just blanked out on everything else. Yes, you can take away my “media” badge now (slaps myself on the wrist).
Think a little rain will scare off Torontonians? Never. The Toronto Zoo, always prepared, handed out zoo-themed plastic rain ponchos to all the guests. I was tempted to throw one on, but settled for poking people in the eye with my oversized umbrella instead.
Up next: The Cheese Boutique, or as I like to call it, Upset of the Night. I was genuinely pleased to see them, as I was a regular fixture at their store when I lived in Etobicoke. Unfortunately, the staff were not up for chit-chat and effectively halted any attempts at conversation. Plus, they were stingy with their logo shopping bags; Robin and I had to ask for one while the others were doled out indiscriminately. I think we may have even garnered a hairy eyeball (though we can’t be certain).
Finally, Robin and I made our way to the Chocolate Fountain, which at one point (thanks to the high winds) was drizzling chocolate rain over everyone’s garments. Luckily we arrived just in time to gorge on chocolate dipped strawberries and pineapple. And then we had seconds.
All in all, I truly feel that the near-death experience, demo of the coolest fridges ever, bucketfuls of rain and being snubbed by cheesemakers made for a colourful and vibrant event – not one we’ll soon forget! Since the proceeds from Seafood for Thought support the Toronto Zoo’s Conservation Fund, I encourage everyone to come out for this fantastic event. Hope to see you there next year! (Think I’ll start praying now for a sunny day.)