July 27, 2012

Pizzeria Libretto Danforth

I loved everything about my visit to the Ossington location of Pizzeria Libretto, except for the hour long wait. Enter the Danforth location which, to my delight, accepts reservations! The capacity is also a lot bigger. On this particular Saturday night, I managed to score a seat by the window at 8 pm without reservations!
For the two of us, we ordered two appetizers and one pizza. First off, we started with gnocchi fritti with lemon, chives and crema fresca ($5). I loved the crispiness of the fried exterior, and I thought this would be the perfect snack to go along with a pitcher of cold beer. The creamy lemon crema fresca was also super tasty, and I would definitely order this again next time.
Next up, we had spicy meatballs with tomato sauce, bomba, grana padano and crostino ($9). I haven't had a lot of Italian meatballs in my life, but I have to say that this was the best I've ever had! The meatballs were incredibly juicy and bursting with rich meaty flavours, and that tomato sauce was absolutely scrumptious! I really wished I had more bread to soak up all that delicious goodness! In the end, I used the leftover sauce as a dip for my pizza crust. Not a drop went to waste!

July 24, 2012

Summerlicious Dinner @ Centro

For my last Summerlicious, I was determined to try a new restaurant. After perusing through the menus, I decided on Centro. I've passed by this restaurant numerous times before and was always quite curious about it.
The interior was elegant and spacious with super high ceilings. In addition, large mirrors line the walls, making the dining room seem a lot bigger than it is. There is also additional dining space upstairs and in the basement, presumably for private functions.

July 20, 2012

Another exceptional Summerlicious lunch @ Canoe

All Summerlicious fans know that Canoe is arguably THE hardest place to book, and this year I was lucky again to be able to squeeze in a late lunch seating for 2:15 pm (big thanks to Sandy and your friend that bailed on you!) The key to scoring a reservation at Canoe is persistence! Just keep calling and they'll eventually pick up! In the past, I always had to come during the week for lunch, so I'm very thankful that they opened up lunch service for Sunday this year.
I was completely famished when we arrived at the 54th of the TD Bank Tower. Unfortunately, they were a little slow on turning over tables that day so there was a 30-min wait before we were finally seated. We started off with some drinks- Sandy and I opted for a Niagara peach sangria ($12)- peach lemonade, brandy and Niagara white wine. I was very happy with the fruitiness of this drink and I even ate all the peaches! Mona went for a fresh raspberry iced tea ($7), which I didn't try any of since she was sick. And finally, Jas ordered a Canoe dark & stormy with rum, ginger beer and lemon. I'm not sure why this was named dark & stormy when it really was quite bright and summery.

July 16, 2012

Summerlicious lunch @ Auberge du Pommier

Back at Auberge du Pommier again, this time for Summerlicious lunch with my mommy dearest!
Oddly enough, I've sat in this room all three times that I have dined here, and this was the second time I was seated at the table next to the fireplace. Not that I'm complaining since the room is absolutely lovely, especially during the day.
While waiting for the food, I noticed that a couple of the chairs had French phrases printed at the back and they were all different. I wanted to go around the dining room and read them all!

July 14, 2012

Summerlicious @ Sorrel Restaurant

As part of our teambuilding day at work, we went to Sorrel Restaurant, situated in the heart of Yorkville. Frankly, I've never heard of this restaurant before, but it had very good reviews online. Lunch is $20 and dinner is $35 per person.
In spite of its basement location, there was still ample amount of sunlight that poured into the dining area. In fact, the room was quite spacious. The décor was elegant and classy, and I imagine that the restaurant would transform into an intimate, candle-lit space in the evening.

July 9, 2012

Summerlicious @ Luma

I've been to Luma once previously and enjoyed my dinner very much. Since I heard a lot of good things about Luma during the last Winterlicious (especially their desserts) so I decided to drag a bunch of my friends there as my first Summerlicious! Lunch is priced at $20, and dinner is $35.
We started off with some warm sourdough bread with a creamy lemon dip. The staff was quick to offer us seconds after we devoured the first batch within the first two minutes.
Sangrias ($8 each) are the perfect summer cocktails. I had the red one and my friend opted for the tropical white. While the drink was perfectly fruity and refreshing, I wished that it included actual chunks of fruits.
Three friends ordered the smoky tomato gazpacho with spicy chimichurri. I didn't get a lot of positive feedback on the soup, but that may be due to their preference for hot soups.
I opted for testa-pork head pâté with pickles and house mustard. I loved the artistic presentation, but the pickles were a little overwhelmingly tart for my taste. I ate everything on my plate but the pickles.
The rest of the group went for the romaine salad with double smoked bacon, parmesan, croûtons. A little safe, perhaps, but I always enjoy a refined Caesar salad. Curious that the "croûtons" came in the form of a singular slice of toasted baguette.
For our mains, the majority of our table (myself included) ordered grilled flat iron steak with butter whipped potato, grilled zucchini, and salsa verde. I really enjoyed the steak that I had last time at Luma, but unfortunately, I was left slightly disappointed this time around. For one, the cookery of the meat wasn't very consistent. My requested medium rare turned out closer to medium, and my boyfriend's medium steak had an unpleasantly bitter char on the outside. The salsa verde was also quite bitter. But other than that, the steak itself was flavourful, and the portion size was very reasonable.
The other entree that I was debating on ordering was the roasted ling cod with braised endives, leeks, and yogurt dill sauce. Thankfully, I was able to mooch off of my friend's order. The fish was quite good, though I wouldn't say that I prefer it over my steak. The bigger problem was the bed of braised endives and leeks, which were bitter and really unappetizing.
In my world, desserts are always highly anticipated. The first one I tried was the strawberry + rhubarb crumble with lemon balm and whipped cream. I wasn't the biggest fan because the crumble reminded me of breakfast oatmeal, which I eat everyday. However, the fruity flavours were pleasantly tart, and this would be the perfect plate for those averse to sickly sweet desserts.
The highlight for me was definitely the chocolate bread + butter pudding with butterscotch and shaved white chocolate. It was super gooey and satisfying! To my surprise, there wasn't a lot of chocolate at all, but the moist bread pudding, paired with the butterscotch sauce, was utterly divine! In some ways, this dessert reminded me of Moxie's white chocolate brownie, which is one of my all-time favourite desserts! 

All in all, the meal had its flaws. But thankfully, the service was attentive, and the dessert (namely the chocolate and butter bread pudding) certainly ended the meal at a high note. I would consider this meal a decently good start to my Summerlicious adventures.

Luma on Urbanspoon

July 4, 2012

Burger Week: Grindhouse Burger Bar and Murrays Sandwich Emporium

Our next stop for Burger Week was Grindhouse Burger Bar. Even though it didn't have the greatest reviews online, I was tempted by their burger offering. In the end, I should've trusted those reviews!
Las Vacas Locas ($5): Beef patty, sour cream, chili, seasoned kidney-bean salsa, hot peppers and avocado on a cornbread bun. The burger was a lot smaller than I had anticipated, especially after my Hrvati Bar experience. On the whole, the burger was really disappointing. For one, the bun was too big for the patty. On top of that, the patty was unpleasantly dense, and that cornbread bun was dry and cold. Even the addition of punchy and flavourful toppings couldn't save the burger!
James actually ordered something off the regular menu because he didn't like any of the toppings for the Burger Week special. He opted for the Black & Blue ($10): Signature Beef Blackened with Cajun Spice, bacon ranch sauce, and Shropshire Blue cheese. Again, this burger was on the smaller side, but his regular bun did look more appealing than my cornbread bun. That said, I wouldn't pay $10 for this burger.
Grindhouse Burger Bar on Urbanspoon
Grindhouse actually left us so unsatisfied that we made the trek to another Burger Week participating restaurants- Murrays Sandwich Emporium. As a sandwich lover, I've always wanted to check this place out for its gourmet sandwich selections.
Murray's $5 Burger Week offering was their specialty Burgster (normally $8)- a 6-oz. patty on an Ace Bakery roll with white cheddar, lettuce, tomato, and special Murray’s mayo. This was a simple burger without the bells and whistles of unique toppings (like kidney-bean salsa, avocado), but it was absolutely delicious. The Ace Bakery roll was amazing and miles better than the cornbread bun from Grindhouse. The burger here was also a lot bigger.
Originally, Mel and I intended to sample James's burger, but after one bite, we knew it wasn't enough! We ended up ordering another burger and sharing it between us. This was undoubtedly one of the best burgers that I've had in awhile. The patty was juicy, flavourful, and well-complemented by the slightly sweet mayo. Everyone loved this burger and we all wished that we had skipped the Grindhouse.
Judging by the quality of the burgster, I wouldn't hesitate to come back to try out their other gourmet sandwiches! A big thanks to The Grid for organizing such a fantastic event! I definitely look forward to another one next year!
Murray's Sandwich Emporium on Urbanspoon


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