[Recap] Winterlicious 2016 – America

I know… it appears I’ve gone to this restaurant for every single licious event… but their food is just spectacular, consistently tasty, and different every time. There’s always something on their menu that I want to try and it’s always different than all the other menus out there. What’s more, there’s always somebody that wants to try the good food at this restaurant together as well. So it all works out that I get to go here again! However, with the latest crazy politics that’s been going on south of the border, I think I’ll give them a bit of a rest this year haha! But here’s their 2016 winterlicious lunch review:

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There really isn’t anymore new restaurant pics that I can take that I haven’t already taken in my 749583745 other reviews lol. I always love their gorgeous menus.
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Drinks - Lychee Paradise (left), Mimosa (back center), Vanilla Orchid (right)
Drinks – Lychee Paradise (left), Mimosa (back center), Vanilla Orchid (right)

All these drinks were very tasty. The special cocktails were very candy-like. One was like a sweet candy drink, while the other was more of a sour candy drink!

Sourdough & Cornbread & Soft Butter
Sourdough & Cornbread & Soft Butter

As always, their cornbread is still my favourite cornbread EVER EVER EVER. Their butter is also so super soft and warm too :)

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First of all, I need to give them major props for actually waiting for me to return to my seat before serving my food when I had gone to the bathroom. Instead of making the other guests wait, or leaving my food sitting out, they actually kept my food warm in the back and brought it out for me when I had gotten back to my seat. What impeccable service and that’s why I love coming to this place again and again!

Appetizer - Whitefish Doughnuts
Appetizer – Whitefish Doughnuts

This was a super interesting dish and we all couldn’t wait to see how it would come out! The dish was absolutely delicious and everything went together very well!

Appetizer - Baked Potato & Raclette Soup
Appetizer – Baked Potato & Raclette Soup

The soup was tasty and had some sour veggies, but it didn’t take away from the potato soup itself. It actually literally tastes like a baked potato but in soup form! All the flavours in a deliciously filled baked potato were all there!

Appetizer - Crispy Beef Andouille
Appetizer – Crispy Beef Andouille

Inside the Crispy Beef
Inside the Crispy Beef

The crispy beef was very interesting as well! The meat inside was nice and soft and not dry at all. The crispy parts were just enough to add texture to the meat to create a unique meat appetizer. All the fine details in every little accompaniment was just right and made for a fun experience pairing it altogether! The accompaniments are another thing that America consistently does a lot of and does it well!

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Entree - Smoked Chicken Pappardelle
Entree – Smoked Chicken Pappardelle

The pasta dish was the most normal out of all the dishes in the entree section, but nonetheless it was a very tasty dish with a delicious sauce and well cooked meats. The pasta was a good al dente level. Absolutely nothing to complain about!

Entree - Grandview Farms Meatloaf & Hunter Sauce
Entree – Grandview Farms Meatloaf & Hunter Sauce

The meatloaf dish was also done very well. Again the sauce and accompaniments were all done right and the meat was cooked deliciously! A huge filling meal!

Entree - Northern Woods Mushroom Potato Bake
Entree – Northern Woods Mushroom Potato Bake

I have to say this is probably one of THE BEST licious dishes on my list. First of all, I don’t like mushrooms, but I do love potatoes. This glorious block was created with thin, smooth, creamy layers of potatoes stacked atop one another. If I had to describe it, this would be the perfect softness and tenderness of a delicious cake except in savoury form! The sauce was also so tasty and perfect. I think I wanted another one of this already after taking one bite. Perfection.

Entree - Spicy Salmon Tartare & Wild Rice Cake
Entree – Spicy Salmon Tartare & Wild Rice Cake

This dish was very interesting and unique indeed, but not my favourite. Only due to personal preference of not being a spicy food person, and also not being a wild rice kinda person either. Also maybe because the ingredients reminded me a lot of the asian cuisine I commonly have, but not made in the same way. Mind you, the tartare was still tasty, and the wild rice cake was crunchy and airy as you’d expect, but a little on the hard side). The combination didn’t come together as perfectly as the others for me though.

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Another one of my favourite sections to look forward to at this restaurant as they always come up with new and tasty desserts every time! And their presentations are always top notch, just like all their food presentations too though.

Dessert - Bourbon Chocolate Tart
Dessert – Bourbon Chocolate Tart

A delicious tart…err…block for the chocolate lovers! What else to say but tasty, tasty, tasty! Full of smooth chocolatey-ness!

Dessert - Jasper Hill Cheddar Whiz
Dessert – Jasper Hill Cheddar Whiz

When you think of cheese, this is definitely not what you would think of! First time having cheese in this form and type I think! It was super light, almost like having whipped cream but it was cheese! I thoroughly enjoyed it and it wasn’t too stinky for me!

Dessert - Mulled Pear Upside-Down Cake
Dessert – Mulled Pear Upside-Down Cake

I was expecting this cake to look much crazier for some reason, but it definitely delivered on the taste in terms of the expectations. A solid cake that wasn’t too hard nor too soft, with a yummy pear flavour that came through without being too strong. A very well-made upside-down cake! Wish I had a bigger slice :P

Complimentary - Coffee Chocolate Medallions
Complimentary – Coffee Chocolate Medallions

As always, America provides complimentary chocolate at the end of each meal when you pay for the bill. This time they were coffee flavoured chocolates for everyone! A sweet and happy way to end the meal!

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Attire - Business / Cocktail
Attire – Business / Cocktail

This place is so elegant in a trendy way, and the service is so high class that I would feel disrespectful wearing anything too casual.

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As always, America restaurant delivered to the high standards that I’ve always held them at for licious events again and again! The licious price tag is definitely worth every bit of the excellent food experience you get here. This restaurant continues to be at the top of my recommendation list, and continues to impress me with its unique and delicious food. There’s always something great to come back to and they haven’t skimped on anything over the years. I hope they will continue to provide this great service and amazing menus at such a high quality. Silly enough, its name and location is a bit of a laugh right now, but hey, good food is good food and if they consistently deliver that, then they deserve the praise as an excellent restaurant in Toronto.

My food does not represent my political opinions,
Dreamz*

http://americarestaurant.ca/
Restaurant: America Restaurant
Winterlicious: $28 Lunch // $45 Dinner
Reservations: Definitely do so since they are not a super large restaurant. Dinner services are always full. However, I’m not sure if they are still as popular right now due to its location and politics… hehe.
Recommended Attire: Business / Cocktail

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[Recap] Summerlicious 2015 – America

As promised, I’ll be running my Summerlicious 2015 reviews while we wait for Winterlicious to start serving! Don’t forget that reservations have already opened up for all the restaurants, and some of the popular timeslots for well-known restaurants have been quickly filling up. So take the time to read these reviews if you haven’t decided what you want yet, but don’t take too long :)

As we roll back to last summer, we start off with one of my favourite repeat restaurants – America. Situated on the 31st floor of the fancy Trump Tower in Toronto, we came back expecting no less of the great food we’ve always had at this place, back from since it began as STOCK. Since we came for lunch this time around, the natural lighting really helped with the photo quality! The last time I reviewed this place, all my photos were dark and purple-y, but now you can actually see all their food with the much better lighting! Let’s begin – but first I must apologize for the captions. Because it has been so long, I no longer have the original names of the dishes, so I tried my best to just explain what they are, but I’m sure the original naming was MUCH MUCH MUCH more appetizing and way more creative… totally my fault for not snapping a photo of all the menu items IN the menu!

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Artistic ceiling and wall decor all around
Artistic ceiling and wall decor all around

Yes, the restaurant is actually really nice when it doesn’t come out all dark in photographs :D

Very stylish menus
Very stylish menus

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Drinks (left to right) - African Berry Boat, Alice Mystery
Drinks (left to right) – African Berry Boat, Alice Mystery

Some very delightfully fruity and refreshing non-alcoholic beverages to start.

Jalapeno Cornbread with Butter
Jalapeno Cornbread with Butter

This was the first thing I asked about after ordering. If you’ve read my Winterlicious review for America, you would’ve known how hard I raved about this cornbread. I’m still raving about them. They are the most delicious cornbread I’ve ever had. The end. (Check out my other review if you want more actual info about them… lol)

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Appetizer - Fried Chicken & Matcha Waffle
Appetizer – Fried Chicken & Matcha Waffle

Insides of the Matcha Waffle
Insides of the Matcha Waffle

I knew I was getting this item when I saw the words “Fried Chicken” and “Matcha Waffles” listed under one dish. They’ve put an interesting twist on a very popular soul dish – adding some japanese matcha flavouring into an already well-known dish. It’s like putting two popular foods together and creating a fusion of popularity that people love to eat! I certainly loved eating this! The dish tickled all my taste buds. I could feel the sweet, salty, sour, and spicy all in there. The matcha in the waffle was very subtle. Overall a stellar idea for a fusion dish.

Appetizer - Soup with a side of Pork Belly
Appetizer – Soup with a side of Pork Belly

I know, my fault but I have completely forgotten what kind of soup this was, and my eyes cannot tell from this photo… and I don’t want to just guess and give the wrong info! But we know it’s soup at least! The soup was very very creamy and refreshingly cold. The pork belly was super chewy and salty, which added some contrast to the soup. The vegetables added a nice crunch to the dish. Yum cold creamy smoothness!

Appetizer - Fish Salad with Pickled Vegetables
Appetizer – Fish Salad with Pickled Vegetables

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try this dish for myself, but I heard that it was a good standard salad. What you would expect it to taste like by looking at it.

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Entree - Pork Chop
Entree – Pork Chop

The pork chop turned out to be a bit dry since it was a very very large chunk of meat. But it was salty and had a strong good meaty flavour to it. The skin was very crunchy and crispy. All that it needed was maybe a bit of sauce to even out all that meats!

Entree - Pasta Nettle
Entree – Pasta Nettle

So the nettle part tasted (and looked) like a spinach purée to me, but I then found out that nettle is actually a very interesting type of plant (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urtica_dioica). The pasta broth was really really oily, but tasty with the large garlic pieces soaking in it. The pasta felt a tad undercooked to me, but wasn’t to the point that made it inedible. I guess I wasn’t quite expecting this kinda pasta and broth, so the dish was a little surprising. Taste was there, but didn’t really love it.

Entree - Steak with Beans and Rice
Entree – Steak with Beans and Rice

This steak was perfectly cooked – nice and tender. Probably the best made main item of the whole lunch. The sides gave it a Mexican taste and feel – with the spicy beans and rice. Not sure I love these accompaniments with a well cooked steak, but I think I just prefer to have the usual american staples like potatoes and veggies with it.

Entree - Salmon with Grape Sauce
Entree – Salmon with Grape Sauce

I liked that the salmon was topped with preserved grapes, but I didn’t like that the salmon was overcooked :( But as you know if you’ve read my reviews, I have a very specific expectation for fish cooking that most western restaurants do not meet. So I wasn’t surprised, but I very much enjoyed the presentation here that most restaurants do not do with fish dishes, and also the grape sauce was actually super duper tasty! Very interesting and unique sauce choice indeed!

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Dessert - Cheese and Chocolate and Accompaniments
Dessert – Cheese and Chocolate and Accompaniments

This plate was a great choice of sweet and salty for a dessert. The lavender crisp had a nice flavour when eaten by itself, but was sometimes overpowered by the other item’s flavours when eaten altogether. The dark chocolate with pistachios on top was a nice balance of sweet and bitter. The preserved apricot added an intense sweetness to the mix. The American cheese was of medium strength. The honey topping was what added depth to the other flavours in the plate’s combinations. [Courtesy of K2]

Dessert - Keylime Gelatin
Dessert – Keylime Gelatin

Didn’t get to try this one either :(

Dessert - Black Forest Cake
Dessert – Black Forest Cake

The cake was pretty standard. The cherries used were really fresh tasting, and the icing wasn’t too sweet. So I give it an “above average” rating for my cake standards in all black forest cakes :)

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Attire - Business Casual
Attire – Business Casual

It’s a fancy building and they certainly make you feel fancy in there. So feel free to fancy it up when you go here.

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And that sums up my review for America for the past Summerlicious season. Definitely a place to be if you’ve never been. The food is always worth it in my opinion, and it’s always nice to go somewhere that I wouldn’t normally go to for a meal (you’d know what I mean if you look at their regular prices). I haven’t posted up my upcoming list yet for the next event, but it looks like America’s lunch will be back in the mix for me and some friends :) Keep you posted!

It’s bedtime,
Dreamz*

http://americarestaurant.ca/
Restaurant: America Restaurant
Winterlicious: $28 Lunch // $45 Dinner
Reservations: Maybe cuz it’s in Trump Tower, people will hesitate from now on ;) But I’d say reservations in advance is still best, especially for popular dining times.
Attire (Lunch): Business Casual (can get fancier for dinner)

The Summerlicious 2015 Lineup

Summerlicious has already started! Have you gotten your reservations in for this year’s restaurants yet? If not, it’s still early and the event is running from July 3 – 26 this time around, so you still have a chance! Don’t miss out! Feel free to check out my past restaurant reviews to make your pick! Here is my upcoming list of restaurants I will be reviewing this time:

– America
– Splendido
– Cluny
– Copa Cabana
– Harlem

This time around, I’ll be mostly sticking to returning to some new favourites from Winterlicious, in order to check out consistency in deliciousness! But there are some new ones in there that I will be trying with friends and family so I will let you know how they go!

Enjoy this round of Summerlicious all! <3

Dreamz*

Summerlicious Website:
http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=04deaf2c85006410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD

Winterlicious 2015 – America

America – sounds like a new restaurant to licious? But it’s not at all. This is the restaurant that is in the exact location and became the replacement of STOCK from last licious events. Still located on the 31st floor of Toronto’s Trump Tower and Hotel, the restaurant underwent a 1 week renovation last summer in order to transform from STOCK into America (read about it here). It completed just in time for Toronto’s International Film Festival (TIFF), so you can bet some celebrities (Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch) have already been here.

STOCK was definitely one of my faves for previous licious events, so I decided to try this new replacement as well. The pros – food is still amazing and of utmost highest quality. What would you expect when you’ve got some top tier chefs from around the city like Executive Chef Anthony Walsh, Chef Bill Osburne, and Executive Chef Markus Bestig. The cons – the lighting is the worst for photos! Hence you are going to be bombarded with a bunch of purple photos because they’re all #nofilter =) Sorry for my laziness in editing, but I hope you’ll get a true idea of how the food is like visually! And how even more upscale and hip they have made the new place!

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Yes, this place was very dark and purpley.
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Fancy booths for dining
Fancy booths for dining
America's modern take on their menus
America’s modern take on their menus

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Nicely made cocktails. A strong dose of alcohol and flavours as described!

Drinks (from left to right) - Hazelnut Fashioned, Cucumber Julep, Red Chilli Scotch
Drinks (from left to right) – Hazelnut Fashioned, Cucumber Julep, Red Chilli Scotch

I forgot about this bread because I was too busy with the cornbread below…

Regular Bread with Butter
Regular Bread with Butter

THIS CORNBREAD IS WHERE IT’S AT. It was soooo warm and delicious soft goodness I just wanted to have all of this as my meal. I was worried it would be too spicy for me, but instead it was the best cornbread I’ve tasted with a tiny kick and just a great blend of flavouring. With the butter melting on top the fresh hotness… it was absolutely a divine start!!!

Jalapeno Cornbread with Butter
Jalapeno Cornbread with Butter

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Hmmm… I just remember this to be very soft creamy cheesy. Very strong goat-like taste to it. Didn’t try too much because the flavour was too intense for my liking, but those cheesy fanatics will definitely find this rare and delightful!

Appetizer - Sheep's Milk Quark Cheese
Appetizer – Sheep’s Milk Quark Cheese

The soup was your typical bean soup. Tasted very good but nothing too special about it. There is absolutely no turtle in this soup. And this is how a turtle bean looks like: http://www.organicroad.com.au/media/images/content/detail/turtle_beans-text452.jpg

Appetizer - Black Turtle Bean Soup
Appetizer – Black Turtle Bean Soup

Hmmm, a good dish as well. Also what you would expect though with some nice cold salmon mixed with some veggies and crunchy texture bits and sauce. Not too incredibly memorable either of a dish of its sorts.

Appetizer - Heritage Salmon Poke Ceviche
Appetizer – Heritage Salmon Poke Ceviche

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Mmmm this meat was cooked perfectly. Just like how STOCK always had the best cooked meats, this dish at America also delivers at the same high quality level of cooking and seasoning! The steak was very tender and the cheek was so soft. An absolutely great plate of meat!

Entree - Wellington County Steak & Cheek
Entree – Wellington County Steak & Cheek

I honestly don’t remember too much about this dish other than the fact that it was deliciously cooked salmon as well. I’m not sure it was as perfectly cooked for fish as I’ve had at other places, but I know the flavouring came out very well overall. Nicely seared as well. An excellent seafood dish that would not leave you hungry.

Entree - Pan-Seared Salmon & Clams
Entree – Pan-Seared Salmon & Clams

I very much enjoyed the sauce used for this ravioli. It was very heavy indeed, but I was surprised how well the sweet-tangy lemon flavour was able to come out from this dish without overpowering anything. It also didn’t make the dish sour as you think lemon would in most cases. Definitely done exceptionally for a unique lemon-based ravioli, which would also be my first time trying such a flavour! Presentation-wise could be fancier from this place, but definitely a yummy dish!

Entree - Lemon Ricotta Ravioli
Entree – Lemon Ricotta Ravioli

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I was already pretty full from the very generous quantity of food served in this meal, but this was definitely not something to be missed. In all my fullness, I was still able to gulp down this dessert because it tasted amazing and it would be a waste to not finish every last bit of it! Incredible combination of ingredients and baked to perfection. A soft hot date-like pudding, with the cold ice cream melting atop, alongside a sweet caramel filled sauce and nice sweet soft apples!!! Oh and some candied pecans to add additional crunch! AHHHH *o* I want to eat it again right now! Definitely for those with a strong sweet tooth, but it’s not too sweet at all! Sticky though! The perfect dessert!

Dessert - Granny Apple Sticky Pudding
Dessert – Granny Apple Sticky Pudding

A very strongly flavoured panna cotta (and did I mention it was eggless for a dessert?!). I very much enjoyed it as a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, but replace the hard chocolate shell with soft jiggly pudding texture! Definitely a panna cotta to be remembered!

Dessert - Peanut Butter Panna Cotta
Dessert – Peanut Butter Panna Cotta

This was a plate of cheese dessert. I have to admit I’ve seen better plates of cheeses with better accompaniments. But this shall do as a plate of savoury cheese :)

Dessert - Cheese (Big Ed's Gouda)
Dessert – Cheese (Big Ed’s Gouda)

And with tradition, they’ve also kept the dessert-along-with-your-bill kind of thing going. This was a nice little marshmallow-ey chocolate bits. Continuing to add to the intense fullness that we were all feeling at this point!

Complimentary Dessert Chocolates
Complimentary Dessert Chocolates

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This place is in Trump! One of the fanciest and richest places! You can bet to be more upscale, especially since they’ve changed the environment to be this modern high end restaurant. Do dress it up rather than down if you don’t want to be frowned upon xD

Dress Style - Business / Formal
Dress Style – Business / Formal

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And with that, my foodies, I leave you with my America review. Very glad that I did end up trying out this place. I was skeptical at first because I loved STOCK and I was afraid this would change my fave licious place. But it has definitely become the second STOCK in terms of freshness and quality, so it will now stand in place of STOCK. Even though I really don’t like the name… could’ve been more creative there… and I’m Canadian… lolol. Definitely hit this place up. It’ll be so worth your time and money (especially during licious if you’re not a millionaire type).

Chowtown,
Dreamz*

P.S. One last review for Winterlicious coming then it’s all summed up finally! And we’ll quickly be on to Summerlicious soon ;D

http://americarestaurant.ca/
Restaurant: America Restaurant
Winterlicious: $28 Lunch // $45 Dinner
Reservations: Might be a little off the radar from your usual crowd, because it did sound like a newer unknown restaurant. But they definitely filled up for dinner regardless. I would suggest to book at least a week ahead on a weekday, and even earlier for weekend seatings.
Attire: Business / Formal (it’s Trump, get fancy)