Friday, January 30, 2009

Winterlicious in the city

For two weeks each year, in the dead of winter, dozens of Toronto's finest restaurants drastically drop their prices to offer three-course prix fixe lunches and dinners to the dining public. It's called Winterlicious, and given the current state of the economy I'd wager this year will be busier than most.

Lunch ranges from $15 to $30, and dinner from $25 to $45, not including tax and tip.

Good luck nabbing a reservation if you haven't already made one - restaurants began booking for the 14-day event on January 15th and many of the city's most talked about hotspots are filling up fast. I attempted making reservations last night and after striking out at two places I was looking to try: Mildred's Temple Kitchen (the new spot from the people behind the venerable, now shut Mildred Pierce), and The Rosebud (Rodney Bowers's hip Queen West eatery), I found success at The Citizen.

Bowers's latest venture, The Citizen (another nod to his favourite film, Citizen Kane) is located on Queen St. East, near Broadview, and has garnered mainly positive buzz since it opened in 2007. Before opening his own restaurants, the Newfoundland native worked in some of the city's finest restos including Auberge du Pommier and Mistura.

Since The Citizen is in my area of town I'm hoping the Winterlicious menu will impress. The choices for the three courses sound intriguing:


Caesar with double smoked bacon, parmesan and poached egg
Split pea soup with salt beef and cabbage
Salt cod cakes with aioli


Roast brined pork loin with buluga lentils and apple chutney
Roast sweet spiced Cornish hen, cracked olives, lemon and white beans
Calamari with clams, anchovy, sweet onion, herbs and dried tomato


Pavlova with winter fruit and Chantilly cream
Warm apple crumble with creme Anglaise
Plate of nice cookies

How to decide?!

Check the City of Toronto's site for more on what restaurants are participating and the menus they're offering. I also found this Toronto Life article on Surviving Winterlicious amusing.

Looking at the list of participating restaurants, I was proud to see just how far Toronto's culinary scene has come. Yes, we have some of the tried-and-true standbys, from Bymark, to Truffles, to Canoe, but we also have some interesting (relatively) new kids on the block, from Quince, to Caju, to The Citizen. Wherever you end up, hope it's a delicious meal!



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