In my previous years on Friday the 13th, I’ve had the worst possible luck. One year I got into my first car accident and in another while driving to work on the 401 my car did a complete 360 on the highway from the snow and black ice (luckily I hit nothing and nothing hit me). Lets just say you do not want to be in my car on Friday the 13th. Three brave souls however last night took a risk and accompanied me to my media event at Friday Night Live at the ROM or in hashtag lingo #FNLROM!
A few weeks ago, John T. Stevenson (the Founder of Electric City Events) found me on my Instagram page and invited me to come down on one of the Friday nights this summer at the ROM. For anyone who has ever been to Friday Night Live already, you have then already taken part in of the premier events that Electric City has planned and organized. For two months in May and June, the Royal Ontario Museum opens up its doors after hours to this weekly event where drinks, food, dancing, live performances, and interactive exhibits are to be had. You also get late night access to the museum and exhibits itself and are free to roam around literally anywhere you would like on each and every floor. It is definitely a more sophisticated crowd and ambiance than your typical “club-like” atmosphere and as there is alcohol served here you do need to be 19 years or older to get in.
You’re able to get the early bird online tickets off of the ROM website or you can line up when the doors open at 7PM to get the tickets. I would recommend to arrive early as space is limited and you will need to bring photo ID at the door to prove your age.
When I arrived after work at around 8:45PM, I was told by JT to enter through the main doors on Bloor and ask for the Media Check - In. Fortunately enough I was able to bypass the line and the security guard escorted me and my three friends on my guest list to the Media/VIP check - in to grab our tickets that were free of charge!
The atmosphere is literally electric when you walk in and the museum really comes alive with the live music, dancing, and food in just around every corner. The big focal point of the giant dinosaur skeleton near the entrance puts it all in perspective that this is not just your ordinary event and that yes, you really are partying it up inside a full scale museum. Every Friday night is focused on a theme and on Friday the 13th, the theme was Indigenous Now celebrating contemporary Indigenous Arts in partnership with the Association For Native Development In The Performing And Visual Arts (ANDPVA). But of course as The Everyday Foodie, a lot of my focus were turned to the many, many food stations that were served up by a variety of food vendors there.
The event is so unique that it has its own currency, ROM Bucks! The Canadian dollar is not accepted here when you want to buy a beer or some food. You will have to exchange your Canadian dollar at one of the ROM Buck stands where 1 ROM Buck is equivalent to 6 dollars. Most vendors will charge you 1 ROM Buck for their food or drink, however some may charge 2 ROM Bucks depending on what you get with them. These ROM Bucks are non-refundable so make sure you use them all or you will have to just come back again!
After me and my friends got our ROM Bucks we went straight for the food considering it was around 9PM and we still did not have dinner yet. My first stop was The Saucy Pierogi. The vendor suggested I try their FNL Special - Roasted Chicken with Chicken Gravy and Pickle. I loved the chicken gravy over the pierogies as the sauce was definitely a stand out in the dish. People don’t normally have gravy with their pierogies but after eating it you will soon realize how well they actually go together. Though the filling was chicken so gravy did make complete sense in this case.
The next vendor I went off to was Kanto by Tita Fl!ps that specializes in Filipino cuisine. This became my favourite food vendor of the night as it offered me the best dish that I tried there (and also one of the most filling). The Sisig Fries definitely won me over and was great comfort food. Offal meat (pig’s ears and snout… ok to be honest I didn’t even realize I ate pig’s ears and snout last night until I researched it just now to write this, but it tasted damn good!), has been boiled, grilled and chopped into fine pieces, and then topped with Lechon Kawali (pork belly) on a bed of crispy fries. Delicious!
Below is the Lumpia Shanghai. Ground meat and vegetables are rolled into tiny spring rolls with sweet chilli sauce. Great finger food to be eating at this kind of event when you don’t want to be eating something too messy.
We went up to the second floor and saw a huge line up for Roti so we thought it should be something we should try if everyone seems to like it. The vendor was Randy’s Roti Food Truck and the dish that I got was their Chicken Roti. The line up to get our food in all the other vendors I went to was about 3 minutes or less. We waited in line for over 30 minutes here and it was by far the worst tasting dish here we had. The roti was too soggy and they wrapped too many layers of roti with the amount of filling they had inside. There was a little spice to it but overall it was also quite tasteless and just the overall presentation of it was not appealing. It is also extremely hard to eat this in this kind of atmosphere where you most likely will be standing so for anyone thinking of getting this one, I strongly suggest to save your ROM buck and use it somewhere else.
Even at an event like this you can’t end the night off with no dessert. My final station I went to was Sweet Sammies Ice Cream Sandwich Company. By the time we got here it was almost 11PM so most of the food vendors and exhibits were closing down. There were three options available here but two of them were all sold out so we got what was remaining which was The Classic (two rich fudge brownie cookies aka. “crownies” with vanilla bean ice cream). It was the perfect, savoury dessert to end off a fun-filled, exhausting night.
I had such a great experience at Friday Night Live at the ROM and Electric City Events pulled off a great night. With the sheer volume of people there from party goers to the vendors, everything ran like clock work and there was ample space to move around without feeling anyone invading your personal bubble. Not every event of this magnitude can be run so smoothly (Joylister I’m looking at you) so for anyone interested in attending this event later on, I would strongly recommend it.
For this year there are only 2 more Friday nights remaining so grab your tickets quickly! Click here to order them online!
Adult (19+) - $12
Student (19 to 25) - $10
Senior (65+) - $10
June 20th, 2014 - Sun Burn themed
June 27th, 2014 - ROM Proud (An evening of celebration in honour of World Pride, 2014 taking place in Toronto)
John T. Stevenson
Electric City Events
Royal Ontario Museum
My three amigos who accompanied me to the event (Vithiya; Andrew & Clayton of Honey We’re Homme)