Winterlicious 2015 – Canoe

Ahhh yes, and we’re back to Canoe again! I thought I was going to give this place a break having been here almost every licious event, but I have never tried this place for dinner and we decided to give it a go if there was still room left. Definitely didn’t want to try to dial their reservation number for a whole day, so I actually waited several days before giving them a call, near the end of their phone pick-up hours. Not surprisingly, they literally had nothing left on weekends, but I was interested in a weekday evening. Even then, everything that was left was super late, like past 9:30 pm, but I decided I could take it anyway since I can easily get there after work with some shopping in between. Goes to show how famous and hyped this place still is for licious events!

Luckily, the night we went was cold but clear, and we were seated in a nice booth that was facing out to the windows as well. It’s quite nice dining fancily and being able to look out into the lights of the city below. They definitely have their location and settings right for a fancy / romantic dinner, with dimly lit lights and high end comfortable furniture. Usually, their lunch licious meals are a hit/miss with me, either being very good, or mediocre for their pricing and expectations. However, their service is always on par and top notch formal! Let’s see how this dinner came out~

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Hard to get a good interior shot with the low lighting, and getting some glare from the windows, but definitely very nice to look out into during dinner. Only when there’s no table dining there, otherwise you’d be staring awkwardly at the people hehe.

Night view overlooking the city
Night view overlooking the city

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My favourite Winterlicious cocktail, and probably the best warm cocktail I’ve had! I’m becoming a big apple cider fan and this drink really made everything come together for the winter. Hot and sweet and smoooooth~ Could use another couple of these drinks!

Warm Cocktail - Winter Warmup (apple cider, rum, fruits)
Warm Cocktail – Winter Warmup (apple cider, rum, fruits)

As always, they come up with new dips for breads! This one was very good and hummus-like (duhhhh~). Goes well with the sourdough!

Bread with Lime and Hummus Dip
Bread with Lime and Hummus Dip

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A very what-you-would-expect kind of appetizer. It’s literally small chunks of smoked salmon on a plate! Very nice plating and many accompaniments to add all sorts of texture to the palette though. Nothing else too special here.

Appetizer - Smoked Salmon
Appetizer – Smoked Salmon

The thought of rabbits in my food makes me cringe >___< But but this appetizer was too unique to pass off without trying it out. Soooo, we got it :O And it was made very beautifully. The pastry was soft and light and chewy. The meat was not what I had expected, it was a bit tougher because there was actually pieces of meat rather than it being minced – which is how most other pot pies are served! I have to say I quite enjoyed this appetizer and it was quite filling too for the small size! Included a shot of the inside of the pie below – it was almost like a puff pastry with gamey meat!
Appetizer - Rabbit + Fowl Mini Pot Pie

Inside of the Pot Pie
Inside of the Pot Pie

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Mmm, this chicken was made at top quality, exactly what you’d want to expect from Canoe. Very tender, sliced to perfection. The sauce was genious, and that fezzoletti pasta combined with the green parsley puree sauce was probably my favourite part. Never had that type of pasta before, and it was like eating thin slices of al dente pasta paper. Soft, chewy, and heavenly with the sauce. The roasted squash was just as good as everything else! Definitely had me scraping the plate clean with this one.

Entree - Aurora Chicken
Entree – Aurora Chicken

Nicely cooked and nicely seasoned. The meat was a little on the dryer side for this one, but taste-wise it hit the spot. Combined with everything else, creates your typical fancy meat dish. I think venison is supposed to be little rougher than your usual beef steak, and I could see that in this dish. Although, I can’t say whether I’d prefer this over a perfectly cooked steak… hmmm……

Entree - Wild Rubbed Venison Roast
Entree – Wild Rubbed Venison Roast

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For some reason, I had managed to order a combination of the most filling of the dish choices it seems (pastry pie + pasta + cake?!), with this heavy dense dessert included. I really liked their ganache cream on the sides, as I always do for Canoe’s desserts. Pecans were tolerable for a nut-hater, but I would’ve preferred them to be candied instead. The apple cake itself wasn’t as moist / soft as I had expected. It’s more on a dryer bready loaf cake side, with light hints of apple chunks within. Not too sweet nor sour either. A very delicate simple tasting cake/loaf thing.

Dessert - Niagara Apple Cake
Dessert – Niagara Apple Cake

If I knew their allergy accommodating dessert was going to be a mere plate of “fresh fruits”…. I would’ve just ordered 2 desserts myself and ate them both. LOLLLL. Come on, I at least expected some sort of sorbet or cheese plate or something more creative with a restaurant so fancy. Never has a dessert been this disappointing at a nice place!!! LOL. They sure saved money on THIS one =_=”

Dessert - Fresh Fruits (not on menu for allergy accommodation)
Dessert – Fresh Fruits (not on menu for allergy accommodation)

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Dress Style - Business Formal (Dinner)
Dress Style – Business Formal (Dinner)

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And so, my first dinner at Canoe was very nice and delicious tasting. It wasn’t a perfect out of this world kind of dinner, and it definitely wouldn’t have been a place of choice if I were paying for everything at its original price. But quality-wise and service-wise, they are always up there and hence why they have always been so popular. They aren’t as creative as some of the other restaurants I find, but I can always trust them to use the highest quality of ingredients for their dishes, and have outstanding plating presentation. And finally, now that I’ve had all the Canoe experiences, it won’t be my personal choice to re-visit for a future licious event until a while later (give everyone else a chance at securing a seat!). But maybe if I was invited by others =P (which then I will not be the one furiously trying to make the reservations). If you’ve never dined at this restaurant though, I would highly recommend you at least try it once. And if you have a date to impress for a lovely quiet evening, you can definitely bring them here :)

And so the fooding continues on (halfway through Winterlicious 2015 reviews… only),
Dreamz*

http://www.oliverbonacini.com/Canoe.aspx
Restaurant: Canoe
Winterlicious: $28 Lunch // $45 Dinner
Reservations: Call early on and be prepared to wait a while to get through if you want the popular weekend times. Otherwise, try a bit later and you’ll get through but will only have really late weekday times to choose from.
Attire: Business Formal (Dinner)

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