If you haven't heard already, Winterlicious 2013 is in full effect! This is your last week to make reservations so hurry up and skedaddle! You have till this Thursday to make reservations at some of the top restaurants in Toronto. But wait - read my post about my lunch at Canoe first!
To be honest, I'm usually not a huge fan of Winterlvicious but this was the first year ever I made it through the reservation line at Canoe - so I had to take the opportunity when the opportunity was given! Our meal started off with warm bread and hummus spread. I absolutely love warm bread at the table and truly believe it's a small gesture that goes a long way.
Next came the appetizers. You had a choice from the Winter Green Salad with charred pear, aged cheddar & caramelized onion vinaigrette, Roasted Squash + Parsnip soup with birch yoghurt & spiced croutons, or Sheep's Milk Quark with baby greens, beet reduction & crisps. Being the complete control freak that I am, I forced everyone to order one of each so I can snap pics and sample a little bit of everything!
I'm told by my coworkers the salad wasn't too impressive but the soup was good. I ordered the quark and was really blown away by the presentation. The raw beet shavings and fried carrot ribbons were absolutely beautiful! The quark tasted like a whipped sour cream/cottage cheese. The carrot ribbons added a really nice sweet note and the peppery bite of the beets really humphed up the overall taste of the quark.
Service was beautifully choreographed and everything was absolutely flawless - right down to the synchronized pick up and drop off of plates. Our mains came out really fast and hot. This definitely showed how tight the kitchen runs its ship!
This round, two of us ordered maple braised Willow grove Pork with orecchiette, crackling, kale & thunder oak gouda and my other coworker ordered the slow cooked Ontario brisket with steel cut oats, red wine cabbage & cedar pickled mustard seeds. The third option was pan seared Salmon - I didn't force anyone to order this one because friends don't let friends order Salmon at a restaurant. Kitchens put Salmon on restaurant menus for people who don't really know what they want to eat. I'm sorry to break the truth to you.
Hands down, both plates were absolutely beautiful to look out. The Willowgrove pork (above) wasn't very impressive the first few bites, but the more I had, the more I loved it. The flavours kept getting better and stronger with each mouthful. At first it looked like a small portion but I was completely satisfied by the end of it. The pasta was cooked to perfection and the sexy strips of crackling on top made a perfect sponge for the sauce.
The Ontario brisket was pretty impressive as well. The first few bites I had, had a lot of flavour. You could taste the wine, but it wasn't overpower. It was also so tender you could just pull at it with a fork and it would fall apart right in front of your eyes.
Oh and that view everyone's always talking about? It was 'aight .--Just kidding! It was absolutely breathtaking! You could see out into the lake for days and days and we had a perfect view of Porter Airlines and Toronto Island. Being on the 54th floor definitely has its perks! This picture really doesn't do it any justice!
Last but not least, dessert! We had two orders of the Spiced Chocolate Panna Cotta with a marshmallow graham cracker crumb and one order of the maple gingerbread pudding with cranberry preserve and scorched citrus creme anglaise. The third option didn't sound appealing to anybody so we left the almond cake out.
Both desserts were executed very well with the perfect balance of flavours. My gingerbread pudding was a perfect balance of sweet and tart.
Canoe definitely delivered. To be honest, nothing about the meal was absolutely mind blowing, but when you combine each individual component from the view, to the service and the overall atmosphere of the restaurant, the meal came together fantastically! It is no surprise Canoe is considered one of Canada's best restaurants and to be able to experience this at a mere $25 plus tax & tip - I considered myself spoiled!
66 Wellington St W