Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Summerlicious 2017 tips.

It's Summerlicious time of year.  I have mixed feelings about Summerlicious and I think a lot of people that go to restaurants regularily probably do to.

All of a sudden everyone decides that they want to have a fancy dinner at a bargain and they descend from all over for Summerlicious lunches and dinners.  It's great business for the restaurants, right?  Yes it is, but at the same time certain restaurants get slammed with so many people they can't keep up and there are others that still don't fill their spaces.  I don't know how many staff actually like working during Summerlicious,  probably not many, so you need to take that into consideration when judging the food and service you receive during this time.
I was invited to the Summerlicious preview at the fairly new O & B restaurant Lena on Yonge Street just south of Queen.  All of their Summerlicious dishes were on display but we only sampled 4 of their dishes.  I have been wanting to go to this restaurant for a while since I work not too far away but haven't had the chance to go yet.  It's a beautiful restaurant.  The dishes on display looked gorgeous.  I can say that I really liked 3 out of the 4 dishes I sampled and would like to go back and choose off their menu sometime soon.

I also organized a lunchtime Summerlicious meal with my co-workers as part of our Healthy Workplace Initiative.  We walked down to Batch on Victoria St. on a cold, windy and rainy day.
Batch makes their own beer so it's a Craft brewery space which is open and airy.  There were 7 of us for lunch which isn't too bad.  The staff were friendly but we waited at least a half an hour before we got our appetizers and this is pretty long when it's supposed to be our lunch HOUR.
I ordered the salad, the Burger and fries and the sticky toffee pudding.  The salad was over dressed and a soggy but it tasted ok.  The Burger and the bun were very dry but the fries were fantastic.  The sticky toffee pudding was cold and dry and nothing special.  I only actually took 1 bit of it and took the rest back to the office because we took so long.  The food was a bit hit or miss but I am told by a friend who has been during regular times that their food is good.  So this is a case in point where it might be better any other day or different meals.

But then there are the GREAT places like JI on St. Clair Ave West.  The same owners as Pukka on the same street.  It's Indian Street Food but on a higher level.
It's a lovely bright space and we were able to get reservations easily on a saturday afternoon.   We went to celebrate my friends birthday and he likes Indian Food.

I ordered the Vegan Caesar salad, it has coconut bacon and chickpeas for croutons and a vegan cream for the dressing.  I really enjoyed it.  My friend had the sweet potato chaat and he liked it.  We both ordered the Butter Chicken Cavatappi.  It was Indian spice flavoured Mac and Cheese but it was a nice creamy sauce.  I thought the portion was good but my friend was really full, maybe that's because he ate the sweet potato before it.  For dessert I had the spiced Brownie which tasted a bit like Mexican chocolate cake.  My friend had the pistachio flavoured Kulfi in the shape of what he called a Christmas tree.   He enjoyed that and said it had an interesting flavour.
Our server was a lovely friendly young Irishman.  It did take a while to get our bill but it was a lazy Saturday afternoon so it was ok.  We were in no hurry then.

My advice regarding the Summerlicious meals is to find out the reputation of the restaurant year round and then decide and at the same time if you don't have a great experience take it with a grain of salt and maybe try the place again another time and you may have a different experience.

But it's a great way to sample new restaurants that you may not have thought of and try things you might not have ordered normally.    It's only food,  so you might as well enjoy it.

Check out #liciousTO to see all the drool worth photos from fellow diners to see where you want to dine and don't forget to share your Instagram and twitter photos with them @liciousTO

For more info on each restaurant and their menus click here:  SUMMERLICOUS 

And don't forget to make reservations well in advance.

Enjoy.

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