HoHoTO 2014 Recap: $35,000 Raised for the Daily Bread Food Bank!

Raddy Health donated a gift basket full of healthy goodies to the raffle prizes. We hope the winner enjoyed it! Like every year, the raffle brought in a lot of money for the Daily Bread Food Bank,

Raddy Health donated a gift basket full of healthy goodies to the raffle prizes. We hope the winner enjoyed it! Like every year, the raffle brought in a lot of money for the Daily Bread Food Bank.

First off, we hope everyone had a great holiday! Now that the holidays are over, we have time to blog regularly again. Let’s kick off our 2015 blogging year with a recap of HoHoTO, which is an annual fundraising event to help raise money for the Daily Bread Food Bank. The seventh annual HoHoTO took place on December 11th, 2014 at The Mod Club and we raised about $35,000 that night! Congratulations to all the organizers (one of which was Raj) for putting together this successful event! Also, shout out to Panago Pizza for feeding all the guests free pizzas (even gluten-free ones) for the second year! Here’s a picture-laden recap of my night:

Not only was a lot of money raised, but a lot of non-perishable food items were collected at the door.

In addition to raising a lot of money, a lot of non-perishable food items were also collected at the door for the food bank.

There were a lot of AMAZING raffle prizes this year at $20 for 20 tickets or $100 for 150 tickets. Some of the raffle prizes were our awesome gift basket of health goodies (of course), Samsung GALAXY Tab S, Nokia Lumia 635, 4 tickets to any iYellow Ontario wine tour, iPad Mini, and a one-week stay at the Torre Fiore Hotel in Pisticci, Italy!

There were a lot of AMAZING raffle prizes this year at $20 for 20 tickets or $100 for 150 tickets. Some of the raffle prizes were our awesome gift basket of health goodies (of course), a Samsung GALAXY Tab S, a Nokia Lumia 635, 4 tickets to any iYellow Ontario wine tour, an iPad Mini, and a one-week stay at the Torre Fiore Hotel in Pisticci, Italy!

Me and one of the photo-booth volunteers, Ava Blade, in the raffle room upstairs.

Me and one of the photo-booth volunteers, Ava Blade, in the raffle room upstairs.

Me and one of Toronto's best Criminal Defense Lawyers, Raymond Motee.

Me and one of Toronto’s best Criminal Defense Lawyers, Raymond Motee.

The HoHoTO crowd mixing and mingling on the dance floor!

The HoHoTO crowd mixing and mingling on the dance floor!

Me and a second-year attendee, Alana Viau.

Me and a second-year attendee, Alana Viau.

Raj and I enjoying a bit of wine in between his moments of running around and making sure the event was running smoothly.

Raj and I enjoying a bit of wine in between his moments of running around and making sure the event was running smoothly.

Me and one of last year's organizers and volunteers, Jaemeel Robinson.

Me and one of last year’s organizers and volunteers, Jaemeel Robinson.

About $35,000 was raised for the Daily Bread Food Bank that night! Bravo, HoHoTO! (This photo was taken from HoHoTO's Facebook page.)

About $35,000 was raised for the Daily Bread Food Bank that night! Bravo, HoHoTO! (This photo was taken from HoHoTO’s Facebook page.)

We were exhausted by the end of the night, but Panago's free pizzas kept us fueled until the very end! (Psssttt, Panago offers a gluten-free crust and a Daiya cheese alternative, which is dairy-free and soy-free.)

We were exhausted by the end of the night, but Panago‘s free pizzas kept us fueled until the very end! (Psssttt, Panago offers a gluten-free crust and a Daiya cheese alternative, which is both dairy-free and soy-free.)

XOXO,

Addy

The 2014 Gourmet Food and Wine Expo Recap

Group 1

Getting ready to explore the annual Gourmet Food and Wine Expo for the first time!

This year, Raj and I attended the “VIP Preview Evening” of the Gourmet Food and Wine Expo. Even though it may sound exclusive, this “VIP Night Admission” on Thursday, November 20, 2014 was open to anyone 19 years of age or older. It was just a chance to attend the event before the “General Admission”, which ran from Friday, November 21, 2014 to Sunday, November 23, 2014. To be honest, if our tickets were not comped, we would not have attended. Although the food and wine selections were great and extensive, it was really crowded and the $45 “VIP Night Admission” tickets did not include any sample tickets, which were an additional $20 minimum. The sample tickets costed and were worth $1 each and they were sold only in multiples of 20. According to their website, the “average spending to enjoy a wide variety of food and drinks is $40 per person”. For us, $20-$30 per person was more than enough.

It only took about one hour after arriving to find Ginny amid the chaos.

It only took about one hour after arriving to find Ginny amid the chaos.

While we found the admission costs high, the food and drinks were reasonably priced and we had a blast sampling food from various restaurants across the city and a few drinks here and there. There were lots of healthy food options for Raj and me too! Here is a recap…

Me and Doug McNish

I was so excited to see Vegan Chef Doug McNish there! He was serving a black bean slider (with roasted red pepper chipotle aioli and caramelized onions) and kale caesar salad (with smoked eggplant “bacon”) for $8. They were so good and you would never guess they were completely vegan!

Nutrafarms Chicken Salad

One of my favourite dishes from the event was the quinoa salad with chicken from Nutrafarms. It was such a simple dish, but I loved it! ($3)

Me and Almond Breeze Collage

Almond Breeze was sampling their different flavours and varieties of almond milk and their Vegan Berry Lemon Muffins recipe (featuring their sweetened Original almond milk). Their drink and muffin samples were complimentary. While the muffin recipe is not all that “clean”, the muffins were certainly delicious and my lactose-intolerant digestive system was just happy they were dairy-free.

Almond Milk and Butternut Squash Soup

Natur-a made butternut squash soup (one of my favourite soups) with their almond milk. It was creamy even without any dairy! The samples were complimentary.

Me and Brown Rice Triscuit

Triscuit was handing out free samples of their new Brown Rice Triscuits.

Nisos Importing Collage

The organic and herb-infused olive oils from Nisos Importing were so aromatic and flavourful! All their products are imported from the biggest Southern island of Greece, Crete.

Me and Rock Lobster Collage

Rock Lobster. Enough said.

Holy Crap Cereal

I finally got to try Holy Crap breakfast cereal! This high-fibre, gluten-free, vegan cereal contains only organic chia seeds, organic buckwheat, organic hulled hemp seeds, organic raisins, organic cranberries, organic apple bits, and organic cinnamon. It tasted better than any oatmeal breakfast I’ve had!

 

Me and Meow That's Hot Collage

If you’ve been following our blog, it’s no secret that Raj and I love hot sauces! The preservative-free and additive-free hot sauces from Ottawa by Meow! That’s Hot. were tasty and none were too spicy.

 

Japanese Dishes

There were some interesting Japanese dishes, none of which I was in the mood to try. From top left, clockwise: Seaweed Salad (the only one of the five dishes that Raj and I have tried before), Ankimo Mentai (steamed monkfish liver with spicy cod roe), Chuka Iidako (seasoned baby octopus), Tsubukko Tako Wasabi (seasoned octopus with wasabi), and Kimchee Wakame (spicy garlic seaweed salad).

 

Bartender in Action

To stay on the healthy track, I limited myself to a maximum of two drinks that night. One of my two drinks was an Orange-Creamsicle-like cocktail made with Pinnacle Vodka. The vodka was too strong, so it didn’t really taste much like an Orange Creamsicle. I wasn’t a fan. The bartender’s mixing skills were better than the drink.

 

Me and Muskoka Lakes Winery Collage

Raj and I attended the Niagara Food and Wine Expo earlier this year and one of our favourite wines there was the Muskoka Lakes Winery Cranberry Blueberry Wine. So when we spotted it here, I knew it HAD to be one of my two drinks for the night! So sweet, fruity, and festive! ($2)

Next year, if we decide to attend, we will most likely go on Friday before 5 PM or on Sunday when admission tickets are $25 each and $20 each, respectively. It will probably be less crowded then too. I am happy that we finally had a chance to attend this annual event and that there were healthy food options. We had a great time!

XOXO,

Addy