The Food District: Part 1
Mississauga’s Square One shopping centre has a new food area opened. In addition to two other food spaces, The Food District is the new hot spot for the shopping centre. The Food District is not your typical “food court”. Stated on their website, the focus of this new food space is to focus on offering local, handmade, and high-quality foods in a setting that embraces both new- and old-world food emporiums.
The Food District unofficially opened on April 1st but it’s official grand opening was on April 4th. For the first week of its opening, The Food District was offering free classes in their Food District Kitchen. Such classes include cooking/making pasta, knife skills, and craft beer sampling. Classes now are paid ones but they have a wide variety of different ones throughout.
I visited the new food area on April 2nd. There was also a free Ravioli Making class, so my friends and I decided to sign up for it. The class was instructed by chef Julian Pancer. Since it was free, we weren’t making the raviolis straight from scratch. We were assembling them and cooking them.
Even though it was short (about fifteen minutes), my friends and I still had a fun time. Plus, you get to eat the raviolis you got to make.
To maximize our eating options, my friends and I decided to split everything we ordered. That way we won’t get as full and we can try foods from as many places as possible. Also, just a heads up, not every place takes cash, so please bring your debit and your credit cards with you. And not all places advertise this, by the way.
For our appetizer, ordered by my friend Anila, we started with Hummus a la Plancha (~$14) from Mediterranean restaurant Plancha. It’s a hummus dish with chicken.
The hummus was very good. It was smooth and creamy. On its own, it is kind of boring, but in the parts that had the spices, chickpeas, or chicken, it really elevated its taste. I’m not sure what kind of bread is included with it but it seems like they also make the bread their. It was soft and warm. Signs of a freshly made bread.
We quite enjoyed this dish and do recommend it, especially if you’re sharing with friends.
Dal Moro’s Fresh Pasta To Go
I wanted to love Dal Moro’s, I really did but this was the most disappointing out of all the places we tried in the Food District. It was also one of the top places my friends and I were excited to try. Especially since I had seen all the Toronto/local food bloggers post about, it seemed like it was really good, even though I know some of their posts were ads. (This is why SO many food bloggers on social media need to explicitly disclose posts as gifted/ads/sponsored/tasting events because it is so misleading. I can tell which ones are but not everyone can. It also goes against the Canadian Code of Advertising Standards if they don’t.) However, when both I and my friend Susan picked up our orders to try, we knew that straight away, it wasn’t going to be as good as we thought it’d be.
Prior to ordering and looking at the menu online, we thought we get to pick the kind of pasta and then our choice of sauce and toppings. When we went to order, they didn’t ask what kind of pasta we wanted, we just told them the sauce and the toppings. We thought that was weird and thought maybe they would know, based on the photos given on the menu there.
Susan ordered the Al Formaggi ($11) sauce with chicken (extra $1) and extra parmesan (free). The Al Formaggi sauce consists of white cream and a selection of cheeses.
When Susan received the pasta, it looked like the Chicken Alfredo, so she asked to confirm. Not going to lie, it didn’t look that appetizing when I first saw it. The pasta came with rigatoni noodles. In the photo on the menu there, it’s served with fettuccine. If we had a choice, we would have asked for the spaghetti, fettuccine, or linguine options. The sauce was alright. It did kind of taste like Alfredo sauce though, a mild version, hence the confusion we had. You could taste that there was cheese in it but it didn’t blow my mind. It needed something, like garlic to give it that extra punch. The chicken was dry and not really seasoned. It seemed like frozen chicken that was reheated to be frank. It was not worth the extra dollar.
For our second pasta order, I got us the Pesto ($11) sauce with extra parmesan (free). The Pesto sauce consisted of basil, pine nuts, garlic powder, parmesan, and extra virgin oil. It looked more appetizing than the Al Formaggi but I wasn’t convinced just yet. The photo on the menu showed it being served with linguine. Our order had fusilli. The Pesto tasted quite raw. It was like we were eating raw garlic with basil. Plus, it originally came with parmesan and I asked for extra parmesan but it didn’t have one single hint of parmesan. This was so bad that none of us wanted to finish it. In the end, we mixed both pasta orders together. It helped a tiny bit but we all didn’t want to finish the rest.
I don’t like writing bad reviews but this was a terrible experience, especially for a place that is supposed to serve fresh pasta. The pasta itself was good but fresh, good pasta has to be accompanied with good tasting sauce and this did not achieve that combination. It was not worth the $11, especially with the portion size too.
I understand that the day I visited wasn’t the official opening date, but if you do plan to open prior to the official opening date, I do expect the food to be good enough to be opened prior to the date. If it isn’t, I wouldn’t open before and take the time ensure it is. After that experience, I don’t even know if I want to go back to try it again, to be honest.
Also, I overheard this at Dal Moro’s and also during our ravioli making class this was echoed, but fresh pasta should be eaten right away because it will start to stick together and become clumps. This did happen by the way, so just a tip if you do decide to order from here.
Tao Tea Leaf
We were all getting thirsty from the pasta and since we were sitting close to Tao Tea Leaf, we took turns grabbing a drink there.
The place has tea that you can buy to bring home and steep yourself, or you can get a drink made, cold or hot. They had a variety of steeped tea for you to choose from that could be made hot or cold. Or, they had pre-selected Iced Teas for you to choose from. You could also add toppings like tapioca and select the amount of sugar you want.
When it was my turn, I ordered the Organic Peach Blossom White Tea ($4.95) with tapioca (extra cost) and 100% sugar, cold. After tax, it was close to $7. I also don’t remember if they had different drink sizes but I don’t think they did.
While making my drink, the lady that was making it was telling me about the machine they used to make the drinks. She was telling me that Chinese tea relies on two factors: time and temperature. The machine they used helps in those areas. It steeps the tea at the accurate temperature needed and it dispenses the tea in intervals, to ensure it is properly steeped to the best quality.
This was a good tea but my mistake was getting tapioca. It really took away from the flavour of the tea. Plus, they added WAY too much tapioca. I think about ¼ of my drink was tapioca. The tapioca was very sweet, which I like, but I know most people probably won’t. The tapioca did get a bit hard a little bit after I got the drink. I think it’s because the drink went straight from hot to cold.
The tea itself was light but you could taste the peach in it. Though it was light, it was refreshing. I think it would have tasted better hot but I really wanted a cold drink at the time.
I don’t usually buy tea but most of the prices I saw there were between $14-$20 for like 50g of tea. To me, that seems pricey but I do recommend getting the drinks there. And for the size, it’s pretty good. Just don’t add tapioca like me.
Since this post is already so long, I am going to save the rest of places I tried in a second post:
- The Box Donut
- Ma’s Best Quality Soup
- The Pie Commission
- The Wine Shop and Tasting Room
So, stay tuned for those!