[Recap] Winterlicious 2016 – The Chase Fish & Oyster

The Chase F&O was a newcomer to licious during the Winterlicious 2016 event, and a rather new restaurant in Toronto as well. It was a bit confusing at first because there’s two parts to this restaurant. The Chase itself is actually located upstairs in the same building. However, winterlicious was only running for The Chase Fish & Oyster – the seafood specialized restaurant that’s on the bottom floor. The two restaurants actually have entirely different menus too. So I think a lot of people were confused about where they were eating when booking for licious, including myself, thinking I was going to The Chase and not knowing this one was a little different! However, the menu looked just as good and there’s a lack of seafood specialty restaurants on the licious list anyway, so was very excited about trying this place out.

The problem with being new to anything, is that sometimes you aren’t prepared for what’s to come. I definitely think they overbooked themselves during this event and didn’t realize the sheer amount of people who show up to licious events. We made and confirmed our reservations for our group long before our licious dining date, but they were clearly running behind that night. There was a lot of people waiting, and we ended up waiting a full 30 minutes (at least) before we could be seated. That’s unfortunately the worst situation you could put in front of a bunch of hungry foodies after they get off work. To make matters worse, their kitchen was likely backed up too, and everyone was busy… so it was a slow night of dining… a lot of waiting… and food coming out slowly. However, being the professional restaurant that they are, we were kindly offered complimentary cold dishes to help ease our wait a bit. And let’s have the full food review:

♦♦♦♦♦
Love the vibe and decor – perfect for a seafood restaurant while still keeping it classy.
img_20160211_202500

img_20160211_202433
img_20160211_202252

♦♦♦♦♦

Drinks - Powder Monkey (left), Tropical Mint Punch (right)
Drinks – Powder Monkey (left), Tropical Mint Punch (right)

Our drinks were the typical cocktails served at restaurants. A little refresher to start off the long night of waiting xD

Complimentary (probably for the long wait) - Seafood Platter
Complimentary (probably for the long wait) – Seafood Platter

Because they knew the food was taking forever, we were offered a complimentary seafood dish of cold items that we would gladly accept! These don’t require much prep and no cooking so they were a good idea to keep diners happy while waiting! Some nice BC and PEI oysters, with some snow crab legs too! What a nice freebie!

Extra Menu Order - Tuna Nachos
Extra Menu Order – Tuna Nachos

I can’t remember if we ordered these due to hunger or if they provided more food for us while we waited. But these seafood nachos had aioli on half, and something else on the other half because we had an egg allergy in the group. Tasty nachos! I think of it as a high class version of nachos because of the ingredients XDDD Very asian inspired version of nachos too with the taro chips which are some of my fave!

Extra Menu Order - Oyster Po Boy Slider
Extra Menu Order – Oyster Po Boy Slider

Another extra food item which was a seafood version of a classic pub dish. Again taking the cheap dishes loved by all and making it classier and “fishier”! Thoroughly enjoyed their rendition of the slider! Bite size (a couple of bites for me) of crunchy and tasty deep fried oyster in a baby burger!

♦♦♦♦♦

Appetizer - Lobster & Tomato Bisque
Appetizer – Lobster & Tomato Bisque

The soup was quite tasty, but also spicy! It was a bit on the more oily side, but very flavourful and nice and warm.

Appetizer - Salmon Tartare
Appetizer – Salmon Tartare

The salmon tartare was super delicious! Can’t go wrong with cold raw salmon right? The bread was a bit too thick and hard for this dish’s accompaniment though! Would have liked something thinner so it doesn’t take away from the tartare main affair.

♦♦♦♦♦

Entree - Pan Seared Arctic Char
Entree – Pan Seared Arctic Char

The char was a tad bit overcooked, but still a tasty cut of fish with a strong buttery flavour on it. The vegetables accompaniment was light and went well with the fish by adding something a little different.

Entree - Braised Beef Brisket
Entree – Braised Beef Brisket

The brisket was very soft and tender, and I especially enjoyed the crispy stuff! Very happy that this restaurant doesn’t only do seafood, but does their meats well too!

♦♦♦♦♦

Dessert - Caramelized Banana Sundae
Dessert – Caramelized Banana Sundae

The bananas drenched in toffee caramel is very tasty of course! The ice cream is just regular vanilla scoops of plain normal “peasant” ice cream though. lol.

Dessert (vegan) - Fruit Bowl
Dessert (vegan) – Fruit Bowl

What can I say? This is a bowl of fruit… rather berries… for the vegans :D

It appears that I’m missing a photo for a Chocolate Cake dessert on the menu, but I have notes that the cake was very dry and dense… more like eating a stale-ish cupcake. But the peanut butter ice cream that went with it was delicious!!! I guess the cake wasn’t good enough to deserve to make it into my photos… haha whoops.

Dessert - Donuts
Dessert – Donuts

The donut was kinda like a regular Tim Horton’s donut, but with an apple filling! Another incredibly filling dessert item!

♦♦♦♦♦
Missing attire pic again :( Was too dark and cold after the long table wait.
Attire: Business Casual

♦♦♦♦♦

Although this restaurant seemed to have a bit of trouble with their first licious event, their food was still very tasty and kept up to the standards. They made up for their issues by providing complimentary dishes to keep everyone happy which is an extra plus for them for incredible service! The seafood is at a high quality and I would definitely come back to enjoy their food again. There’s a good portion of food and the environment is so nice and modern. I would love to try their sister restaurant upstairs which is well known too. They are quite pricey but it doesn’t seem like they’ll be joining the licious scene. In the meantime, The Chase F&O have figured out their overbooking issues in licious events since then, and the novelty seems to have worn off so you can dine more comfortably without such a long wait now! Highly recommend this place for a good seafood pick!

Fishy Out,
Dreamz*

http://www.thechasefo.com/
Restaurant: The Chase Fish & Oyster
Winterlicious: $23 Lunch // $38 Dinner
Reservations: Seemed like they were overbooked at their first licious run. Definitely put your’s in early as they are popular.
Recommended Attire: Business Casual

[Recap] Winterlicious 2016 – Fred’s Not Here

Considering the disappointment I had with their service at a previous licious event, this restaurant would normally not be on my list to return to. However, sometimes the family has plans of their own and you just kinda get dragged into it =_=”. At least I figured, it can’t be any worse and I already know what to expect of their food, which was pretty decent even with the poor service. They’ve been around for a while and know what they’re popular for – their lobster bisque and their steaks. Their menu during this licious review period was quite something though. There were over 5 – 6+ different options for each course, when most places usually just provide 3 – 4 to keep things simple. Let’s see how everything went this time around:

♦♦♦♦♦

Previous review of this place has better restaurant photos :P
img_20160207_181200

♦♦♦♦♦

Basket of Mixed Bread
Basket of Mixed Bread

Where’s the butter…… I think they gave us those pre-packaged butters, but it was like that last time too.

♦♦♦♦♦

Appetizer - Baked Lobster & Crab Soup
Appetizer – Baked Lobster & Crab Soup

Soup inside the Puff Pastry
Soup inside the Puff Pastry

Their famous soup but I feel like they changed the contents a bit. Hmmm. The pastry puff on top could be a bit more burnt for that browning crust that makes it much crispier and tastier. The soup had lots of pepper, but the seafood flavours were still strong and came through. Wish they had a bit more seafood chunks in there though.

Appetizer - Chopped Kale Salad w/ Miso Tahini Dressing
Appetizer – Chopped Kale Salad w/ Miso Tahini Dressing

This salad was a typical plate of kale, but the sauce was quite nice and refreshing. It was more on the tart side, so the sauce held the dish together… otherwise just lots of kale!!!

♦♦♦♦♦

Entree - Seafood Cioppino
Entree – Seafood Cioppino

A ciopinno is actually a fish stew that originated in San Francisco as an Italian-American dish. The seafood in here, particularly the fish, was a little too dry for my liking from being boiled for too long. It was a bit too watery to be able to dip the toast in and get anything out of it. The soup base was full of good seafood flavours, although the stew felt over-peppered again like the soups :(

Entree - Steak Frites
Entree – Steak Frites

As expected from this steakhouse – their steak was once again perfectly cooked. It was a solid cut of meat, except there was just no sauce to go with it!!! Sometimes it’s nice to have a little bit of sauce accompaniment especially if the steak is not the juicy kinds. The fries were pretty standard frites with a nice crispiness to them.

Entree - Duck "A L'Orange" with Coconut Rice
Entree – Duck “A L’Orange” with Coconut Rice

We got a very good quality cut of duck. Each slice had a bit of the duck skin, then a small layer of fat, then the duck meat. The skin was quite salty, and unfortunately the duck itself was a bit dry. It probably needed a bit more plum sauce or their “l’orange”. The rice was actually a bit hard so it needed to be cooked a tad longer.

♦♦♦♦♦

Dessert - Daily Fresh Fruit Ice
Dessert – Daily Fresh Fruit Ice

The sorbets were pretty regular – more on the sour side.

Dessert - Berry & Mango Cheesecake
Dessert – Berry & Mango Cheesecake

The cheesecake was a soft and creamy one. The standard kind of cheesecakes you’d pick up at a store.

Dessert - Baked Banana Chocolate Bread Pudding with Caramel Rum Sauce
Dessert – Baked Banana Chocolate Bread Pudding with Caramel Rum Sauce

Unlike the last time I had this, they really did it right this time! The bread pudding was the star of the desserts. Super tasty with perfectly melted chocolate in a proper consistency for bread pudding. Just the right softness with a bit of spongey give. The sauce was a delicious one too!

♦♦♦♦♦

No outfit pic – too dark and late :P
Attire – Casual

♦♦♦♦♦

Overall, I didn’t mind dining at this restaurant again this time. The service was definitely MUCH better than last time… felt more like a normal dining experience at the restaurant. A little bummed about the overly peppered food, but their meat dishes continue to be stellar. They’ve kept up their name as a steakhouse that can deliver good steaks. The seafood I’m still not so sure about (many other better dining choices for good seafood dishes elsewhere), but it is catered to a more western way of seafood dining and it’s not really their specialty here. The restaurant itself seems to be pretty consistent of what you can expect with their food, so it is definitely predictable. A great dining choice for having good steak if you don’t feel like splurging a bunch for the quality higher end steakhouses in area.

Thanks for rEATding,
Dreamz*

http://www.fredsnothere.com/
Restaurant: Fred’s Not Here
Winterlicious: $23 Lunch // $38 Dinner
Reservations: Call a couple days ahead of time and you should be able to get something.
Attire: Casual

[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:

♦♦♦♦♦

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.
img_20160206_124607

♦♦♦♦♦

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 :)

♦♦♦♦♦

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!

♦♦♦♦♦

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.

♦♦♦♦♦

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!

♦♦♦♦♦

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.

♦♦♦♦♦

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

[Recap] Winterlicious 2016 – Rosewater

Rosewater has been hovering on my licious list to try for a while since it was so close to work, had gorgeous photos of tall booth seating, and seemed to have a pretty good review for their food menu. So we booked a lunch outing to try this place with some foodie work friends! To our surprise, the place was empty when we got there for lunch, and didn’t really fill up completely even though it was in a core business area. For some reason, the place also didn’t seem as grand as I had pictured it to be from their website and online galleries. Not sure if it was a due to the fact that it was a lunch service, but it definitely felt quite casual from the decor placement to the wait staff attire and attitude, as opposed to the very fancy vibe you get from their marketing material. An interesting first impression, but here goes the review:

♦♦♦♦♦

img_20160204_115149
We sat right behind this interesting rose glass panel.

img_20160204_115213
Snuck a quick shot of those super tall booths I was excited about. But it didn’t seem as grand in person – seemed a bit old and fading compared to the fancy looking photos online! Also… we didn’t get to sit in one since we were a large group… we just got regular chairs at a regular black wooden table in the center :'(

img_20160204_115200
I think I expected something fancier for menus and placement sets too… I think I was just deceived on my expectations the whole time.

♦♦♦♦♦

Basket of Mixed Bread & Lots of Butter Balls
Basket of Mixed Bread & Lots of Butter Balls

Everything came out really hot – which is nice because cold bread is always a bummer. Enjoyed their interesting pointy crunchy crisps things that you don’t normally get at restaurants!

♦♦♦♦♦

Appetizer - Sesame Prawn Toast
Appetizer – Sesame Prawn Toast

The food also all came out really hot. A little too hot I’d say to be ready to enjoy. Got a warning from a fellow diner at the table to be careful not to burn yourself by being too excited to eat your food! The toast here was a bit hard, but the dish had the right flavours of what you would expect to get. The sauce was an Asian style sweet and sour sauce that kinda reminded me of cheap spring roll dipping sauce. The fanciness is really going out the window at this point.

Appetizer - Butternut Squash Purée
Appetizer – Butternut Squash Purée

Also came out a bit too hot for people. The soup was not very dense nor heavy as butternut squash purée normally is expected to be. The flavour wasn’t very strong either so this is preferable for those looking for a lighter butternut squash soup.

♦♦♦♦♦

Entree - House Made Papardelle
Entree – House Made Papardelle

A nice solid plate of pasta here, although a little too peppery for the guests that had it. Good al dente texture and a good balanced mixture of sauce.

Entree - Duck Confit Shepherd's Pie
Entree – Duck Confit Shepherd’s Pie

The pie was quite tasty but a bit too greasy. There was a good amount of filling to be sure to make you full. The salad was pretty normal.

Entree - Line-Caught Pacific Cod
Entree – Line-Caught Pacific Cod

Unfortunately the fish was a bit bland, but the artichoke purée was very tasty! The fish was cooked well too, but just wished there was more seasoning to accompany all of it!

♦♦♦♦♦

Dessert - White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie
Dessert – White Chocolate Banana Cream Pie

The pie was VERY MUCH banana cream flavoured above anything else. For once I think it overpowered the white chocolate component completely. It felt more like a buffet-style cloned dessert to me so it wasn’t anything special in experience, but just a regular dessert of sorts with heavy banana.

Dessert - Cranberry Apple Bread Pudding
Dessert – Cranberry Apple Bread Pudding

This dessert was my favourite of them all. It was a great bread pudding consistency for me, and had a yummy mix of fruity flavours. Everything was a complement and nothing overpowered in this one. Yum! Except the extra random fruits thrown in on the side… those can go in terms of being useless for plating and for accompaniments. lol

Dessert - Trio of House Spun Sorbets
Dessert – Trio of House Spun Sorbets

The only thing anyone could really say about this one was the sorbets were just… really really hard. I mean they look a bit iced over even in the photo, so maybe they needed some more time for them to sit so that it’s actually edible and not teeth breaking. Otherwise… it also felt like they threw together a random mix of things to make a “dessert” dish.

♦♦♦♦♦

Missing wardrobe photo as it was a work lunch
Attire – Casual

♦♦♦♦♦

Overall consensus with the group was that this place’s food was good enough, but it wasn’t amazingly great at the usual licious level. For the price, it might make more sense to just drop in for a regular meal on any day or night and just order the things that interest you for a cheaper price rather than a full set course. And definitely the place is not as fancy as you perceive it to be. Mind you, the environment is still pretty nice, and I think maybe at night everything looks a bit grander, but it’s also a fine casual dining place as well. The desserts were subpar for me. Would I come back? Probably not for licous and not that interested in returning for the food after this time. But by all means, it’s not a bad restaurant at all! I would just put them more on the average level given my expectations (which may have started a bit higher than expected unfortunately). I think they would need to keep up a bit with the more modern food palate and better presentations that restaurants are focusing on nowadays, in order to stay relevant and fancy.

We Dine On,
Dreamz*

http://www.rosewaterroom.com/
Restaurant: Rosewater
Winterlicious: $23 Lunch // $38 Dinner
Reservations: A known but not a very popular restaurant for licious, so they still had openings especially during a weekday lunch.
Recommended Attire: Casual / Business Casual

[Recap] Winterlicious 2016 – Cluny Bistro

It looks like Cluny continues to be a crowd favourite every licious event! There’s always more people who want to come and try it out, and as a place with consistently good food and just such a unique beautiful environment, I just couldn’t turn down another Cluny outing to introduce more people to this place! And here we have another lunch review from 2016:

♦♦♦♦♦

Trying to shoot some different environment shots every time since I’ve reviewed this place so often in the past!

img_20160131_121955

img_20160131_123530

img_20160131_122448

♦♦♦♦♦

Drinks - Pomegranate Blueberry Juice (left), Guava Strawberry Orange Juice (right)
Drinks – Pomegranate Blueberry Juice (left), Guava Strawberry Orange Juice (right)

Always fresh and delicious!

Basket of Mixed Bread & Butter (a bit hard)
Basket of Mixed Bread & Butter (a bit hard)

There was lots to choose from in this bread basket – one of them had a slight chili taste, another was multigrain. The bread seemed to be left out and was a bit hard and cold this time around, but the insides were still soft and fresh.

♦♦♦♦♦

Appetizer - Barley & Red Lentil Soup
Appetizer – Barley & Red Lentil Soup

This soup had lots of ingredients, so much that it was almost stew-like! The base had an unexpected sourness to it, maybe there’s some sauerkraut in there somewhere? It came kinda lukewarm though, not hot.

Appetizer - White Truffle Brulée
Appetizer – White Truffle Brulée

I wasn’t sure what to expect for this dish, but when this showed up I was pleasantly surprised! The focaccia bread was absolutely amazing. It had some garlic inside and tasted sooo good even on its own. The brulée was very hummus-like in texture and looks. Super creamy and tasty. The pear was sweet and cold and everything just went together nicely for a perfect summer appetizer! Top pick!

Appetizer - Escarole, Goat Cheese & Pear Salad
Appetizer – Escarole, Goat Cheese & Pear Salad

A standard salad – the leafs were a bit bitter and peppery to me. The brittle was sweet and added a nice crunch to everything.

♦♦♦♦♦

Entree - Chili Marinated Grilled Head on Prawns
Entree – Chili Marinated Grilled Head on Prawns

The veggies and the grits in the sauce were very flavourful and tasty. The very large prawns were not too spicy. There was a good balance of sauce and flavours on this plate for sure.

Entree - Beef Tongue Pastrami Tartine
Entree – Beef Tongue Pastrami Tartine

The beef tongue was very chewy and tender (maybe a bit too chewy in some parts). The mustard sauce that went with everything had a sweetness to it that made it extra tasty. The bread was nicely toasted. And of course their fries are perfect every time I have a dish with that on it :D

Entree - Baked French Cassoulet
Entree – Baked French Cassoulet

Inside the Cassoulet
Inside the Cassoulet

So there were lots of beans on the bottom of this. The breading on top was crunchy like bread crumbs. The duck meat inside was soft and shredded easily, being kept warm and soft inside the pot. This was full of very strong flavours of all the different ingredients mixing together. Something a little different on the licious menu! Definitely a good dish for people that enjoy the heavier stuff!

♦♦♦♦♦

Dessert - Bittersweet Chocolate Macaron
Dessert – Bittersweet Chocolate Macaron

This was definitely a very dark chocolate macaron and was made very well. The sauce was very sour in contrast. Definitely a dessert to please the palette of those who are not fans of the sweets!

Dessert - Raspberry Profiterole
Dessert – Raspberry Profiterole

I like that they brought back their signature profiterole dessert on their licious menu, but it’s also a different flavour than before. The raspberry one this time was very light and fluffy and not too sour like the real fruit. The chantilly and chocolate and crunchy topped it all off nicely! Loved it just as much as the first time I had it a year prior!

Dessert - Poire William Sorbet
Dessert – Poire William Sorbet

This sorbet was just as if you took a very very sweet pear and mushed it into yummy ice form! The pear flavour was super strong and tasty. The sorbet was not too cold nor too icy – just the perfect mixture. You also get a very very large scoop!

Take Home Goodies from Cluny's Bakery
Take Home Goodies from Cluny’s Bakery

Highly suggest stopping by the bakery on your way out and grabbing some delicious French goodies to enjoy at home later on!

♦♦♦♦♦

Attire - Casual
Attire – Casual

A weekend lunch is pretty easy going and comfy with attire, but think of a pretty french bistro kind of decor that you’ll be dining at.

♦♦♦♦♦

I remember how Cluny rose to the top of the recommendations list the first time, but didn’t wow me as much the second time during dinner. So this third lunch test was a real test of consistency and to see how their food has changed over the year. I’m happy to report that they are still doing a fabulous job at keeping true to their quality. This is still definitely a restaurant at the top of my recommendations list for anyone going to licious! Just have to make the trek over to distillery district, but you should definitely take the time to enjoy the historical area and unique shops while you’re there!

Sweetest Fooding,
Dreamz*

http://www.clunybistro.com/
Restaurant: Cluny Bistro
Winterlicious: $23 Lunch // $38 Dinner
Reservations: It’s pretty big so they can seat a lot, but they’re always full of people for this event!
Recommended Attire: Casual / Business Casual

[Recap] Summerlicious 2015 – Harlem

This is the last review I have here for my Summerlicious recaps, and as we end here, we’ll be beginning with Winterlicious 2016 very soon! I hope you all have your restaurants planned out for the next 2 weeks, and if not, don’t worry there’s still time to review, research, and pick your favourite ones :)

***

Harlem is a cute little gem of a restaurant located a little further out from the usual fancy financial district line of restaurants. It sits in an intersection that’s not very populated (Richmond & Church), but with a name that’s rising in popularity due to its unique style and tastes, people definitely know where to find it. Harlem does soul food and they do it authentically well. The restaurant itself is super cozy, and has their menu on a vinyl record on regular nights (I hope they still do this because it was a while ago since I last went). This was the first time for me visiting the restaurant during the summer, and I’m super happy that I discovered their amazing patio on a beautiful sunny day when I dined there for Summerlicious! The whole restaurant is perfect where it is because it provides the right chillin’ and jammin’ kinda vibe to go with their culture of food. So let’s check out their licious run~

♦♦♦

IMG_20150722_115240

IMG_20150722_115340

Outdoor patio seating to the side of the restaurant in an alleyway area between two buildings. Closed off with a bit of roofing to block out some sun.
Outdoor patio seating to the side of the restaurant in an alleyway area between two buildings. Closed off with a bit of roofing to block out some sun.

Gorgeous artwork all over the walls of the buildings where the patio seating was.
Gorgeous artwork all over the walls of the buildings where the patio seating was.

The restaurant probably has one of my favourite unique summer patios in downtown Toronto. Because it’s not located in a busy area of the city, sitting on the streets between 2 buildings outdoors on a nice day really gives you the perfect chilling spot for lunch. You would be surrounded by all the graffiti and artworks everywhere you looked, and it was just so cultural and fun to eat in such an environment. You almost expect a Jamaican band to appear and start drummin’ on the corner of the patio under the sun! And yes, they do have overhead covering so you’re not burning your head off while enjoying your meal :)

♦♦♦

Appetizer - Cornbread
Appetizer – Cornbread

Unfortunately, after having the cornbread from America Restaurant (which I keep raving about in all my reviews that you’re prob sick of it now), this was somewhat underwhelming. I’m not even sure if I can find cornbread as delicious as that anywhere else… even if that wasn’t fully authentic *cries* This cornbread felt a little too dry and the taste wasn’t really there for me.

Appetizer - Pear Salad
Appetizer – Pear Salad

This salad was exactly what you’d expect. A salad – refreshing, crunchy, healthy :) Freshly sliced pears :9

Appetizer - Fried Okra
Appetizer – Fried Okra

Personally, I’m not a fan of okra so I can’t give you an accurate rating of how good or bad this was. But I’m pretty sure this tastes exactly like what it is haha. Deep fried vegetable – not too oily, not too hard. A good balance but I just don’t know what it is about okra that I just don’t really enjoy… its texture or flavour? Deep frying it still doesn’t make me like it =P

♦♦♦

Entree - Roasted Jerk in Coconut Bread
Entree – Roasted Jerk in Coconut Bread

I thought this dish was quite enjoyable. However, it was noted by those who can handle spicier foods that they felt the jerk chicken could use more jerk. For me, it was good enough because I can’t handle foods that are too spicy, but I understand that normally jerk foods are expected to give quite a kick! The coconut bread was super soft and yummy, and the meat was extremely tender. A perfect lunch meal sandwich!

Entree - Caribbean Curried Vegetable Stew
Entree – Caribbean Curried Vegetable Stew

The curry here was very flavourful, but everything else was mediocre in the sense that it was quite average and exactly what you see on the plate in terms of tastes. A solid curry and that’s about it.

Entree - Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles
Entree – Southern Fried Chicken and Waffles

Ahh, the chicken and waffles, a popular dish all around for this event. The deep fried chicken was very tasty. Crunchy on the outside with nice soft chicken meat on the inside. The waffles were also soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside – meaning they were freshly made! A good sweet and sour dipping sauce for the chicken, and of course the sweet syrup for the waffles! Everything delivered to expectations here!

♦♦♦

Dessert - Candied Plantain
Dessert – Candied Plantain

These are my favourite things that they serve here. Their plantains are warm, sweet, soft, and absolutely delicious! This would be the item that brings me back to this restaurant for a craving of this dessert :D

Dessert - Bread Pudding
Dessert – Bread Pudding

I didn’t really enjoy the bread pudding. The raisins were overpowering here, and the textures were not quite soft enough for a good bread pudding. The accompanying ice cream scoop was however very good. Soft and melty, kinda like having vanilla soft serve instead.

♦♦♦

Attire - Casual
Attire – Casual

Very casual and relaxing environment. Look at that young high school girl attire that I’m even sporting there… =_=”

♦♦♦

This restaurant is a great place to dine. It’s such a good deal because they’re on the cheaper spectrum for licious, and totally worth it! You come here to have a great time enjoying good food for a good cheap price, and that’s exactly what they give ya. I think coming here in the summer is a much better choice because you’ll get to sit at the awesome patio that takes you to another place entirely. If you’re looking for some real soul home-cooked kinda southern style dishes, this is the place to be no doubt!

Let the licious continue on,
Dreamz*

http://www.harlemrestaurant.com/
Restaurant: Harlem Restaurant
Summerlicious: $18 Lunch // $25 Dinner
Reservations: Quite a small and cozy restaurant, so not a lot of seats. A couple more seats open up in the summer due to the patio seating. Reservations recommended during busy hours, walk-ins might be acceptable. Restaurant is getting pretty popular lately though :)
Attire: Casual

[Recap] Summerlicious 2015 – Copacabana

So this restaurant is pretty well known for being around Toronto for a while now, serving a Brazilian Rodizio experience to diners. For those that have not heard of this before, it’s basically an all-you-can-eat meat festival. Waiters walk around and slice you different kinds of meat, alllll nightttt longggg, until you tell them to stop because you’re so stuffed with meats. So if you’re a vegetarian, just turn the other way now and skip this review!

Copacabana has multiple locations throughout Toronto, but the Yonge & Eglinton location is the only one that joins in for the licious events. Because it’s already a buffet style restaurant, nothing really changes for them during licious, except you get to experience it at a cheaper licious rate. So you’ll find that this particular review will be a little different. I’ll just be throwing you a bunch of photos that won’t be as pretty as your usual licious restaurant reviews. Because really, all you’re gonna get is plates of meat and their famous grilled pineapples! I didn’t really go into the details of noting down every piece of meat that came my way, so if you want the full meat menu, you’re best just taking a look at what they have listed on their site – menu here. And here, I’ll be throwing you a casual review of the experience in general, so enjoy! Warning – pictures of messily sliced meat are probably not going to be super appetizing to everyone… :D

♦♦♦

IMG_20150719_195506

Blue side of the sign for SERVE ME
Blue side of the sign for SERVE ME

Incredibly casual and chill environment. They had some live musicians playing at the front of the restaurant earlier on before we got seated. As expected of this type of restaurant, you get no menu. Just a sign to tell them you want food to come to your table or not. Blue side = you’re READY TO DEVOUR.

♦♦♦

Drink - Blue Curacao?
Drink – Blue Curacao?

I’m sorry I didn’t write down nor do I remember what this drink I got was. It’s definitely some sort of Blue Curacao sweet liquids, with some cinnamon rimmed on the side there. Very summery and thirst-quenching. Definitely need some cold liquids to wash down the meats!

One part of the all you can eat salad bar
One part of the all you can eat salad bar

So you’re not JUST eating one part of the food group, they do have an open salad bar that you can walk to at the back of the restaurant. This is maybe half of it (didn’t want to jump in there and disturb all the diners piling up their plates with food), but you get the idea of it! There’s also an area serving some breads, cold cuts, and grapes. So there, you get a little bit of everything if you want. The salad was… pretty ordinary take out salad stuff. They had some delicious cheesy coconut breads but don’t get too much because you don’t want to get full before your real meal – the meats! Also apologies, I’m not sure why I didn’t take any pics of my salad bar plate :(

♦♦♦

Meat Plate #1
Meat Plate #1

So it begins. This is basically what happens if you’re a slow eater. You get all sorts of meats piling up on your plate as you race the servers to eat as much as you can before they drop the next set of meats on ya @___@ That night, they were walking around with 15 different types of meats.

Beef Ribs
Beef Ribs

These were one of their specialties of the night. They were soft but very bland. And they also got really dry if you let them sit out for a bit.

Meat Slicing
Meat Slicing

Here’s how the meats come out. And how the servers slice dangerously quickly right in front of you! It’s all very safe and cool though :) Nothing to be scared of at all, except for all the meat you’re going to be trying to eat all night x_x

Meat Plate #2
Meat Plate #2

And another plate of random meats. All of the meats were properly cooked and pretty well seasoned, but some were a tad too salty for me. I found I liked the cheesy meats more. There’s just so much meat that near the end it gets to a point where you’re just like… it’s all meat. Just so.. much… chewing.. and… similar meat taste… ahhhh…

Grilled Pineapple Slicing and Serving
Grilled Pineapple Slicing and Serving

And that’s when the grilled pineapples come in! If there was a dessert section, this would be it! Definitely what this place is known for, and definitely a relief and savior from all those meats. I probably had a little too much of these because I just kept telling them to come back and slice me more. More warm sweet fruit for me!

Grilled Pineapples
Grilled Pineapples

Look at ’em juicy thick strips of pineapples topped with a bit of cinnamon which gives them their deliciousness. Mmmm, yes they deserved a plate of their own <3

Garlic Top Sirloin & Grilled Pineapples. Followed by the NO STOP SERVING red sign.
Garlic Top Sirloin & Grilled Pineapples. Followed by the NO STOP SERVING red sign.

So my favourites of the night were these pieces of Garlic Top Sirloin, and the GRILLED PINEAPPLES (could you have guessed that?). So this is my final plate of goodies before flipping the sign over to the red side… and letting them know that I’m about to roll out full of meats.

♦♦♦

Attire – No photo :( But super casual at this location, just come in t-shirt and jeans/shorts. Flip flops would be welcome at this place xD

♦♦♦

This is definitely a fun experience to have with a group of friends. The more the better because then you can pawn your meats off to others when you realize you’re way too full to handle anymore. For sure, a more popular choice amongst boys because they love to have a lot of meat, and they can definitely handle all that meat way better than I ever could. At the end of the dining experience though, you’ll definitely expect to get the meat sweats (being realistic here ok), and you probably want to be eating salad the next day. So if you’ve got friends that love love love to eat meat? Well make sure to take them here! Make use of the licious event to dine cheaper, because otherwise it’s normally $50 – $60 for these things. In terms of the restaurant as it pertains to licous, I would come and try this place if you haven’t or if you’re really craving a meat buffet. But otherwise, it’s not really super fancy or anything too special that you can’t go to on a regular evening (you’re just paying less during licious). I would suggest the downtown Toronto location on a regular night for a party group, because it’s much nicer and classier at that one. Plus, they’ve opened a seafood style buffet in the same downtown Toronto location called Copa by the Sea that you could check out if you’re more into the ocean foods.

Once again, I apologize for my lack of detail and missing pieces for this particular review. I hope I was still able to get the dining experience across though, and that you weren’t too grossed out by my plates full of meat pictures that aren’t as pretty looking as the other reviews D: Have a meat-loving day!

Tchau (goodbye in portuguese according to google),
Dreamz*

http://www.thecopa.ca/
Restaurant: Copacabana Brazilian Rodizio
Summerlicious: $35 Dinner
Reservations: There’s a lot of people during licious, but they will probably take walk-ins if you don’t mind waiting for a table during busy hours.
Attire: Casual