Oh what a week

The food: Summerlicious highlights

The story:

The Summerlicious Prix Fixe restaurant promotion is on now in Toronto (till July 25). Some cynics I know shun Summerlicious (and its cousin Winterlicious) as nothing more than a free dessert promotion, and who needs to eat three courses of food in a meal anyway, but I like to think of it as an opportunity to try out some new-to-me restaurants at reasonable prices.

The warm, flaky, buttery, savoury cheese biscuit shown above was a highlight of the prix fixe meal at Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, a groovy, modern airport-lounge type space in Liberty Village:

Also good there was an appetizer of house smoked rainbow trout with fingerling potatoes, cucumber, sorrel and yoghurt dressing. The portion was small but the fresh, delicate flavours of the vegetables and fish were enriched by the creamy, herby dressing.

E and I were not moved, however, by either of the main courses we tried. The filling of the chicken pot pie was thin and bland:

and the hamburger and fries were both overcooked though E had requested his meat medium:

E liked his dessert, a summer berry bread pudding that was pretty, light and tasty:

whereas I was not fond of the hard, crunchy blocks of meringue featured in the “rough and tumble lemon meringue”:

The lemon curd and berry coulis were good, though! And yeah, we probably won’t be back.

On another day, we tried the Summerlicious menu at Vittorio’s on Avenue, an old-fashioned Italian restaurant that was quite busy at lunch, despite its slightly out of the way location at Dupont and Avenue Road.

Its salads were small and featured underripe tomatoes, packaged croutons and tired lettuce. And the slightly tough veal in E’s scallopine limone was neither Provimi nor milk-fed. But the unsummery Spaghettini Bolognese that I was inspired to order after having seen the excellent Toronto production of Jersey Boys (closing August 22!) a few days before, was very good: made with a good quality dried spaghettini, and a hearty, meaty sauce, and a desirable (read: the pasta was not drowned in sauce) sauce to pasta ratio.

And the rich dulce di leche cheesecake I had for dessert left me with a good taste in my mouth and the resolve to make cheesecake at home sometime soon.

So I may go back to Vittorio’s, maybe for the linguine alla vongole. I do like linguine with clams

2 thoughts on “Oh what a week

  1. Robin Spano says:

    Do you find that Summerlicious inspires good restaurants to serve mediocre food? I get the sense that restaurants still want the same price points/food cost, and the implied value of the more affordable meal isn’t really there.

    • hungrynovelist says:

      Many of the restaurants seem to serve selected items from their regular menus for Summerlicious, and I gather they cut costs by limiting what they offer (4 entrees instead of 10 or 15) and possibly by serving smaller portions (of dessert, for instance). Plus they see the promotion as a loss leader and hope to recoup on either alcohol sales or on future business, no? That’s my theory anyway, but as a former restaurant operator, you probably know better …

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