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Postcards from the World Cup

Postcard: St. Lawrence Market

Food choices are endless at Toronto open-air emporium

by Shawn P. Roarke @sroarke_nhl / Director of Editorial

TORONTO -- Part of the allure of travelling is finding new places.

Thursday, I stumbled upon the St. Lawrence Market, a food emporium located on Front Street in downtown. What a find it was!

I was walking back from an assignment at Scotiabank Fan Village in the afternoon and was enjoying the sights along The Esplanade, one of the main thoroughfares in the city. Suddenly, I came upon an old brick building that looked a lot like a train terminal and I saw the St. Lawrence Market sign.

I knew I had to check it out as I thought it might be like other famous food markets I have found in previous travels: Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Fulton Fish Market in New York City, and the open-air food market in downtown Helsinki earlier in this trip.

It was exactly that -- and more.

As Editor-in-Chief Bill Price mentioned in an earlier postcard, we have eaten almost every day for the past week from concession stands at Air Canada Centre. The food at the ACC is top-notch, but two meals a day for seven days straight is a bit of a hardship.

Suddenly, I was in a food superstore.

There was everything anyone could want: fresh fruit and vegetables, cheeses from around the world, fresh shellfish, freshly butchered meats, just-made breads, and prepared foods representing too many countries to count.

It was complete sensory overload as I walked around aimlessly for more than 30 minutes, taking in the exotic smells, the bright colors and the sounds of farm-to-table commerce at its best.

I honestly didn't know what to do. Was I going to order the homemade pierogies from the Ukrainian food stand? Or the famous pan meal bacon sandwich from the Carousel Bakery? Perhaps, the mahimahi special from Buster's Sea Cove. I was almost paralyzed by the number of possibilities.

But work had to be done and stories needed to be written. It was either make a decision then and there or leave and subject myself to another meal at the rink. In the end, I picked a carnitas burrito from Carnicero's Prime Meats. It was the perfect choice, loaded with fresh guacamole, cheese, sour cream and tender braised pork.

I savored the meal as I ate, lost in my own thoughts during a few minutes away from hockey. I thought about desert when I finished, but passed, showing a restraint which surprised me, considering all the options.

I can't promise I will show the same restraint when I return -- and I will return soon!

Until next time.

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