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Summerlicious apparently blown off by Chowhounders...??

Very strange, not a peep. Summerlicious 2012 has been here since last Thursday, here it is Tuesday...No comments ...

Did I miss something?

Report One: Pangaea seems to have a winning formula. Take the Express Lunch ($40 for three courses) and put it out for Summerlicious but at $20. We went on Monday and enjoyed it immensely. Perhaps the quantity of the food was lessened (but still, three thick slices of rare lamb leg?) , but all three courses were above average. I had the cheese course for dessert. The web site has the express lunch listed...Food Rated: 3 out of 4.

Report Two: Frank at the AGO has drastically changed their Spanish-style menu, cutting the choices for each of the three courses from four to three, and changing many of the remaining dishes. The previous gluten-free dessert choice was gone, replaced by wheat flour, so there was actually NO choice for my wife. We had chosen Frank for its style and a flourless dessert. The server kindly gave her a pineapple sorbet, but she really, really wanted the almond flourless torte. A 15% (pre-tax) gratuity is automatically added. Food Rated: 2 out of 4.

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  1. As one of the longest standing chowhounder on this board, based on my observation, for the past few years, Summerlicious as well Winterlicious have never been a favourite discussion point amongst the 'die-hard and serious' foodie chowhounders!
    Negative experiences and reviews almost always exceed the positive ones! Personally, I have stopped going three years ago after a couple of disastrous meals!

    23 Replies
    1. re: Charles Yu

      Charles, i know, but usually there is always someone who chimes in on rarieties or special sightings. I'm just wondering...Great weather for lunches...

      1. re: Dean Tudor

        any of the Summerlicious events I have attended tended to be rushed, skimpy, with snotty service. Why would you want to go?
        Any restaurant that automatically adds a 15% tip is 1, totally off my list and 2: saying "we don't trust you rubes to tip appropriately". We rubes are tired of being treating badly and being expected to tip for that opportunity.

        1. re: Dean Tudor

          Due to inconsistency of quite a few establishments, may be a large number of us are not willing to take the 'gamble'??!!

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Would agree with this, always find service/food to be below the restaurant's non-summerlicious standards

          2. re: Dean Tudor

            Today we happily stumbled upon Summerlicious at The Chefs' Table and had a wonderful experience. It was quite full when we walked in, but even though we had no reservations we were graciously seated straight away.
            After a few minutes while we studied the menu, our orders were taken. A small basket of focaccia arrived to before our meal. The bread was light and soft, gently herbed with a slightly crisp crust. For starters we had the layered lettuce salad with apricot and nuts, and a trio of slices of assorted tomatoes with thinly shaved parmesan and wax beans. The grilled salmon, two generous pieces atop chunks of tomato, cucumber, olives and feta, was delicious. The homemade spaghetti smothered in delightfully creamy mint pesto and parmesan was overflowing with fresh peas and corn. It was outstanding. Our dessert choices included a scoop of ice cream surrounded by fresh fruit in a sauce that tasted like zabaglione, and semi freddo with wild blueberry sauce accompanied by a shortbread cookie. So good.
            Service was attentive, efficient and very sweet. The water glasses were kept full and during each course someone came by to check that we were enjoying our food.
            We had never been to The Chefs' Table before but were always intrigued by its concept as part of George Brown's hands-on training. And while Summerlicious is a very busy and stressful event, these students made us feel welcome, well cared for and very well fed.
            I highly recommend it.

            1. re: b.craftie

              Thanks for your review...we've made our reservations and are looking forward to it. For others, the place is listed in the 'licious directory under "T" for The Chefs' House, George Brown College: http://wx.toronto.ca/inter/se/restaur...

              1. re: b.craftie

                Oops, sorry. Of course I meant:

                The Chefs' House
                http://www.thechefshouse.com/

                Lunch was $15 for 3 courses. Well worth it.

                1. re: b.craftie

                  To be even more specific:
                  http://www.thechefshouse.com/menus/TC...

            2. re: Charles Yu

              Personally, I've found 'licious to an excellent city initiative and one that we've generally enjoyed and will continue to support. But as CY has indicated, talking about it here for whatever reason has not been so enjoyable. For this Summerlicious, we've already been to Canoe and have booked reservations at Starfish and George Brown. These are all places that we've known from previous licious AND non-licious times.

              1. re: T Long

                How was Canoe? I have reservations for Sunday dinner and would love to hear some feedback.

                1. re: ottawaoperadiva

                  We were there for lunch. Overall, it was fine. We had the great view of the lake (weather cooperated), the service was appropriate and friendly, and I enjoyed my beef rib main. The dessert was a bit tiny (cherry clafoutis) but that's nitpicking. And the price was right! As an aside, we noted that many of the other tables were ordering from the regular menu, so they were not there for Summerlicious. We could not see any differences in service or presentation between licious and non-licious. Of course, I have no idea of their bills, but guessing they would have paid more. The only downside of a 'licious meal at Canoe is the telephone lottery of making a reservation (took one of us spending 2 hours waiting and redialing to get through...even with the American Express card). That wasn't me, so the whole experience was enjoyable and one that I would repeat given the opportunity. Hope that helps.

                  1. re: T Long

                    Sounds like you had a lovely lunch! I noticed at Biff's last year there were equal amount of diners ordering from the regular menu as there were diners ordering from the licious menu. I called Canoe for a reservation last Monday and was lucky enough to get a reservation easily enough for dinner on Sunday night. Now to start saving my apetite!

                2. re: T Long

                  I have always enjoyed it as well, but I suspect that I don't eat out as often as many people on the board. I use it as an opportunity to try restaurants I wouldn't be otherwise able to afford, or to go out for food with friends that don't usually bother. This year I've been to Parts and Labour , which we did really enjoy, although I'm not sure it would be worth it at their usual prices.. and they had 18% grat added to our bill for 2 people! We only noticed it because I read the bill carefully, and my dining companion was very confused by this, and didn't know if it was gauche not to leave extra! Going to Colbourne Lane and Boehmer next week.. again, both places I'd wanted to try.
                  I've always heard that the George Brown restaurant was really good.. will have to try it one of these days...

                  1. re: rstuart

                    If they already added a tip on the bill than I would not feel obliged to add any extra... Did it say on the summerlicious menu that they would add an automatic gratuity of 18%... If anything, that would annoy me and I would have wanted to leave less of a tip.... I can see a group setting where they charge an automatic gratuity and make it clear in advance

                    1. re: ylsf

                      The auto gratuity is annoying. The only place we went last time that had the auto gratuity was Frank at the AGO. Coincidentally, it was also the least favorite place of the 4 places we went.

                      1. re: ylsf

                        I don't think so, but I didn't check. Usually they do warn you. I didn't feel the need to leave anything else!

                        1. re: rstuart

                          Tried Bohmer on Tuesday night. The food was good, but I wasn't bowled over.. probably because the music was so loud we were all shouting to hear each other!

                          1. re: rstuart

                            Colborne Lane last night.. really fabulous. Again, somewhere that I'd always wanted to go, but was always a bit much for me...
                            The desserts in particular was wonderful. There was three of us, so we got all three desserts. However, I was reluctant to share mine (the caramelized banana + peanut butter + hazelnut + dulce de leche)..
                            A really enjoyabe experience...

                            1. re: rstuart

                              We were there last night as well, and I also had the caramelized banana dessert. I agree that it was fantastic, certainly my favorite dish of the evening.

                              I also had the "popcorn" soup, which had a nice marriage of corn (though, oddly, not popped as far as I can tell) and pork, from bacon and a chunk of pork belly. The rock hen was good, but not particularly memorable. The bread served with the meal was mediocre and paltry. The service was really disorganized and more casual than I would have expected from a restaurant at this price point.

                              Overall it was an enjoyable meal, but it left me hungry, and at $75 all in (incl. one cocktail and tip) I would not consider it a deal.

                              1. re: autopi

                                I agree with everyone above on the food. Really solid and just as good as what you'd get by eating at the restaurant on any a la carte night. Our service was excellent. However, the overall experience was lacking, which is consistent with nearly every summerlicious experience I've had. Food comes out very quickly. Servers put the food on the table without any explanation of what's on the plate or cooking techniques. And yes, the bread was a huge disappointment (4 small slivers of baguette instead of the usual bread basket).

                                Overall, it's basically works out to be a 1 hour (or less) regular experience with excellent food, instead of a longer, special experience with excellent food. If you were to go to the restaurant on any other night, you'd pay about $15 more per person to order to the same or similar dishes, but would have a much richer experience.

                                1. re: SMOG

                                  The service experience has always been wanting for me when we go at night. But this is a very rare time of day for us these years.

                                  We usually only go for lunch, where the service is brisk anyway, to get the people in and out and back to their work spaces. Also, it is a lot less expensive for the food, and just as good at capturing the essence of what the kitchen is supposed to do.

                                  As for service at lunch, I notice that waitstaff don't really care whether you order wine, coffee, tea, bottled water, or not..They do not get shirty. .Most people around me don't order anything other than the meal. At night, if you want to linger beyond an hour, order a drink and/or coffee.

                                  1. re: Dean Tudor

                                    Are you referring to Colborne Lane?

                                2. re: autopi

                                  Yes.. I was disappointed by the bread as well.. very stingy. We had good service, and both the waiter and the busboy explained the spun sugar (I think?) disc on the salad...
                                  I enjoyed myself enough to want to go back on a non 'licous night, which does not always happen..

                  2. Actually - that's not true. There are two separate threads on summerlicious 2012, one of which you actually originally posted for which someone else put their not-so-positive review.

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/852630

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/856868

                    1. tried to go to colborne lane this evening for summerlicious, only to find that they had a water main break in front of their restaurant and so couldn't open. ended up trying origin, around the corner. good frites, so-so thai beef salad -- beef not properly caramelized, so didn't have the char and sweetness that it should; the salad flavors were tame and muted, rather than vibrant and in strong counterpoint. no tart lime, no kick from bird chilies, no funky fish sauce -- everything just seemed really tame. on the other hand, the negroni cocktail i had was very well done -- balanced, wisp of orange peel giving it a pleasant aroma, and a single large, slowly melting ice cube.

                      DC had a beautifully composed raw tuna salad, and peking duck tacos w/sriracha, which might have been the better order. for my part, the frites and the thai beef salad were competent, but at that price point they need to be executed perfectly, and the beef, alas, was not.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: autopi

                        I also had reservations for Colborne Lane tonight. Was looking forward to it but alas it wasn't meant to be. I am really curious how the 'licious menu is ther if anyone else went or goes. We went to Origin Liberty instead since they manged to get a hold of me before I headed into downtown. They offered a $45 prix fix but I don't feel like it was worth $45. The proteins and desserts werent that great. Anyway, since it was a 'licious menu I won't go into full details.

                      2. Year after year, the number of restaurants offering ' Variation on a 'Salmon or Chicken Breast' theme' is still staggering!!
                        9 replies and 'Grilled Salmon' is already cropping up!! How boring!!

                        1. I don't consider myself a chowhound connoseieur by any means. But I don't care for summerlicious or winterlicious. I went the first few years they had it and then I though t"Hey, I'm not really getting a $80 meal for $30 bucks" (that's how it was advertised by the media) Service didn't seem really good either. I went to Canoe and Epic, Dynasty on Bloor and Hemispheres. Of all those places I think Hemispheres was the only one that was decent.

                          I can do without pretencious food and pretencious staff anytime. Then again, I also think Burger King or other fast food is good too. Guess I'm just a 'bumpkin and I know it'

                          1. WTH is Summerlicious?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: EWSflash

                              http://www.toronto.ca/special_events/...

                            2. I specifically avoid restuarants participating in SL or WL - but that's just me.

                              ______________
                              www.foodnerds.ca

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: justxpete

                                Agreed. I have been enjoying the fact that nobody is discussing it. It's like summer road work that disrupts the TTC; You can still ride the rocket but it really isn't the same and it's an incredible pain in the ass.

                                1. re: eppicurious

                                  Funny and YMMV. I've found that approaching it like any other time dining out, the % of enjoyable eating experiences is about the same. Research (CH has been helpful as a resource), works for me. Unlike using the TTC, it's possible with planning to avoid potential rough rides.

                                  1. re: eppicurious

                                    For me, there's a number of factors:

                                    *typically* -

                                    1. You're not getting the best quality or product from the kitchen. You're getting something that's easy to prepare and serve in a very efficient manner.
                                    2. Restaurants are typically busy and very noisy (which I'm seldom in the mood for).
                                    3. The servers despise it (for the most part). They have pre-conceived notions about each and every diner, and as such, service is rather dismal.

                                    Of course, there are always exceptions, but mostly, this is what I experienced in the past.

                                    I'm not saying it's a bad idea in general, but I won't partake, personally.

                                    _______________
                                    www.foodnerds.ca

                                  2. re: justxpete

                                    I specifically avoid restaurants that participate in WL and SL. I have to agree with the other posters. The food typically isn't top-notch and often doesn't reflect the restaurant. The restaurants are trying to cobble together a menu that is low-cost and can be pushed out quickly. And $30/$40 a person isn't that cheap - I could go to one of my favourites (i.e non WL or SL) for that and just have a smaller meal.

                                  3. I live in Ottawa and visit Toronto once a year. I notice the 'licious events don't seem very favourable to the Toronto hounders but from an out-of-towner's perspective it's a great introduction to some of the restos that TO has to offer. Last year I came to TO specifically to take in Summerlicious. I tried Biff's Bistro on a whim and loved my meal and the service so much I would happily go back any time of the year to try their other menu offerings. I also went to Sassafrass - not sure why I picked this resto and I should have read the reviews on chow first. The meal was mediocre at best and I found the service too hoity-toity so needless to say I won't be back.

                                    This year I am coming for the Picasso exhibition and decided to tie in my visit with Summerlicious. I have dinner reservations at La Fenice and Canoe and am looking forward to both meals!

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: ottawaoperadiva

                                      I would cancel La Fenice if I were you. Far worse than Sassafrass.

                                      1. re: haggisdragon

                                        Yeah I haven't gone to Summerlicious for quite a few years now! If I go its only because I was walking around and go have to go in somewhere for dinner!

                                    2. Okay, having now read many of our luminaries talking about how difficult it is to find an interesting dining experience in a mass process, I am struck by the non self-effacing irony. This site is about finding the things worth seeking out among the seemingly mundane or unappealing.

                                      Many places use the opportunity to try and establish a mid week presence, or bolster off nights. And it is, in that way, like many loyalty building exercises in that the places looking to build make an extra effort. Earth Bloor West is doing a 15 lunch that kicks the backsides of most of the downtown cattle calls, and they actually want to talk to you and please you in a culinary non-creepy kind of way. On the dessert list is a chocolate torte that would be the price of admission alone downtown.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Snarf

                                        It's not just the mediocre food and inconsistent service, but these days I don't even see the Licious events as a bargain anymore. For $35-$45 a person on just food, I can do Yours Truly, Cava, Campagnolo, Beast, Woodlot, Acadia, Black Hoof/Raw Bar, County General, etc. Granted I'll have to order carefully if I were to limit myself to $45, but I'll still end up with better food and service. And this doesn't even include Chinatown, ramen, pho, or other even cheaper options. There are options out there, it really baffles me there are those who wait until the four weeks of the year to dine out (not Chowhounders of course), because of the notion that going out to dinner is extravagant unless it's Licious.

                                      2. Just went to Tutti Matti for lunch and their offerings were excellent.

                                        1. SL lunch at Tabule at Yonge & Davisville today -- combination plate of 3 freshly fried falafel, hummus, tart tabbouleh and a slightly smoky baba ghanoush, followed by a totally competent kofta kebab platter. Dessert was a scoop of honey gelato. Not an earth shattering meal by any means, but a pretty solid deal for $15.

                                          1. I went to byzantium last week and loved it. Reserved a spot on their charming back patio. Had jump shrimps with mango for app (friend had coconut mussels and another the gazpacho, both enjoyed) and about 3-4oz of lake trout on lentils for main. Another friend enjoyed the lamb burger, large portions. Dessert was the best key lime pie Ive ever had. We had amazing cucumber mojitos and the homemade bread for an extra $3. Id go back in a heartbeat. I wont try other restaurants though, I just dont trust many.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: cupcakez

                                              We had a wonderful lamb tagine and other Mid East treats at 93 Harbord (dinner only). Lunch at Quince for $15 each involved salmon tartine, Berkshire pork sausage, chicken rillette, panna cotta with berries, Quebec raw milk cheese. $20 Lunch at Frank featured Spanish steaks, a huge seviche, vegetarian paella. Lunch at Toula ($20) had an eggplant tower of bufala and eggplant, wild mushrooms on polenta, veal medallions, cornish game hen (not dry), summer berry bavarese, espresso ice cream -- plus the view of the Island.

                                              We usually go at lunch, more relaxed, no pressure to buy booze, cheaper, and if the meal is so-so, well, it's just a lunch, not a candlelit romantic dinner for two..

                                              1. re: cupcakez

                                                We go to Byzantium for every 'licious event. They always do it well and always enjoy ourselves. It's actually a decent value since most of the items are things that are on their regular menu, also there's a lot of choices.

                                                We went last Sunday with 9PM reservation and it was great as always. It was very mellow, only about half full. Our server mentioned that Saturday was slow too. We had a very relaxed meal and enjoyed every minute of it. Service was efficient and friendly and everything was relaxed and far from rushed.

                                                Dinner is $25. The Asian spiced Chicken Supreme was a highlight. Also a really good split pea soup was amazing, but that may have been the soup of the day. Also as cupcakes mentioned, the gazpacho was excellent.

                                                We've never gone wrong here, it's also an easy 15 minute walk from home so not sure if it's a drive in from the 905 destination. But strongly recommend this for anyone looking for an alternative to the more frustrating 'licous experiences out there.

                                                1. re: cupcakez

                                                  Second Byzantium licious! What up with that Key Lime pie. Their poutine is also exceptional.

                                                2. Sorry to say that I am not a fan of the "licious". Did have a good experience this past winter licious at Canoe - but went with a friend with an AMEX card, and was somewhat embarrassed by the throngs of other diners who seemed to almost want to extract every last ounce of food out of the menu - didn't add to the atmosphere or the experience - although the service was classy, and better than anticipated. Had a pretty good experience at Auberge du Pommier, and my folks have tried Centro and been satisfied. However my HORRIBLE experiences at Alize and Celestin have put me off even trying. I think I am a pretty good diner - also working in the service industry. I'm pleasant, not pushy, order wine with dinner and tip at least 15%, but at Celestin we were asked to wait for over 25 minutes, even though we had reserved. There was SRO, as lots of other diner's were in the same situation and not too much of it, so I'm standing with my butt in some poor diners face as they finish their meal. They only offered one wine choice with the SL menu. I know that restos mark up booze and have to make a buck where they can, but if I'm paying twice as much for a glass in the resto, as I get the bottle for in the LCBO, that's too much - and giving me only one choice, come on? The food was mediocre and the server brought us the wrong bill twice. I will never return. The other bad experience was Alize at Y&E, where the server was so rude, we actually left without the dessert. Being in service, I totally get what a hassle it is serving a table when you get the over the top cheap vibe from the beginning, but this problem has ruined it for everyone.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: annamac

                                                    One of my two HORRIBLE experience was at Celestine too!! The other one was a 'number' restaurant on Yonge close to Pastis.

                                                  2. After a bad review on Jump, I have a better one on Chiado.

                                                    Went here tonight on a Saturday. Very pleasant experiences.

                                                    They started you off with the first course of a skim milk cows cheese wedge with balsamic and honey, very good compliments of one another.
                                                    I ordered the Sardines (I'm a Portuguese fan....always get the sardines!), I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was two+ large pieces grilled with a salsa. very good.
                                                    The Partner had the Lobster Bisque, personally I thought it was 'ok'. mine was better :)
                                                    For Entree I ordered the Seabream which was cooked to perfection. It came with beets and green beans. My partner had the salmon (which seemed popular) and it was fantastic. He loved it. It came with a plum chutney. Went very well together.
                                                    For dessert I had the 'dried fruit tart' which was awesome. I'm limited to what I can have for dessert due to allergies, and this was one of the best fruit desserts I have had. It was fantastic. Not dry at all. aahha.
                                                    My partner had the sour cream chocolate cake which was decadent. Very chocolatey, and he loved it.

                                                    All in all, a good Summerlicious experience. Good service and food overall. Would go back on a normal night to try it out again.

                                                    1. Went to Bymark, Quince and Tabule last week. Bymark was lunch and Quince and Tabule were both dinner. All were $25. Quince was by far the winner.

                                                      Bymark's lunch menu looked fantastic but fell short. I had the zucchini soup with crab which sounded wonderful but the soup itself fell flat. It lacked polish and seasoning. My companion had the halibut ceviche which, while well seasoned, seemed as if it had been placed in the marinade the day before so was practically petrified by service. The halibut main fared better although it was served with a gigantic portion of white bean salad that seemed to be filler. The turkey reuben with fries was great - extremely filling. We both shared the chocolate cake with mint mousse. The mousse was great - the cake dry. Overall kind of meh. Service was excellent though, as always.

                                                      Tabule for dinner was a large menu of options drawn from the regular menu. The cauliflower with tahini was an excellent starter dish (as always). The eggplant starter was dry and uninteresting. The beef/lamb kabob main in tomato sauce was lovely and a large portion. Honey ice cream and mango sorbet for dessert were nice. Service took forever. We were there for 2.5 hours. I couldn't help but say that this is a resto best visited outside summerlicous and the pricing wasn't that great of a deal.

                                                      Quince was the huge winner - a really fantastic dinner for $25. Complimentary bread and cumin humous started the meal. The green been, fennel and pecorino salad with a lemon dressing was out of this world (and a very large serving). The lamb arancini in creamy mint sauce were wonderfully different. The crispy pork shoulder main, serviced with a ratatouille - type veggie was beautifully done - Very slow cooked pork shoulder firmed into loose "burgers" and then griddled. Sounds odd but worked and was extremely filling. The chocolate brownie with honey cream and the cheese selection from Cheese Boutique were both outstanding. Service was excellent and attentive, the place was buzzing and it was a good reminder as to why Summerlicious can be a good thing - reminding you of what a good restaurant can be and letting you try places maybe you haven't been to for a while. I will definitely be back to Quince as a result.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Cat123

                                                        We went to Quince for lunch ($15)...what I liked was that the menus for lunch and dinner had separate and different items. For lunch we had an excellent pea soup, an excellent chicken rillette (not fatty), an excellent Berkshire pork sausage, an excellent salmon tartine, an excellent cheese course, an excellent panna cotta with fresh berries. Hey, excellent all round -- for FIFTEEN BUCKS, people. Plus the bread and cumin hummus.

                                                        My only reservation was that we only got one cheese, but a lot of it. They could easily have cut the cheese in half and offered two different kinds. The cheese course at Pangaea has three cheeses.

                                                        1. re: Cat123

                                                          Just went to Quince tonight and it was lovely. The service made the biggest difference -- when they ran out of the main veg, they offered to make me a different veg entrée, even though I was willing to sub in a second appetizer. And they flagged gelatin in the dessert so that I would order something else.

                                                          Overall, the food was good. The salad could have used a little more salt and the main a little less pepper, but those are minor quibbles. I would totally return outside the 'licious format.

                                                        2. Lovely summerlicious dinner at Scarpetta -- DC had a beautifully presented, velvety pea, asparagus and tarragon soup, I had the short rib app. The soup was the better of the two, the short ribs sliced like roast beef and layered over a barley risotto with sliver of pecorino (I think), but still didn't quite have the richness it ought to have had. However, my trout -- gorgeous crisp skin, pink flesh, sorrel pesto & roasted fennel was just how it ought to be, and very delicious. DC had the roasted chicken, w/spaetzle, which seemed lovely. (The salty crispy skin is basically crack in poultry form.) Molten chocolate cake seems, like, so 2002 but this was probably the best rendition I've had, with an almost ganache-like interior consistency, the richness cut by a light caramel ice cream. DC had lightly sweetened coconut rice pudding with I think a passionfruit ice cream, which was superb on a hot muggy night. Two dinners plus two cocktails (mojito and an aviation, both well executed) plus tip came to $150. This was by no means a bargain, but still a very good meal. Service, for those who care about that sort of thing, was excellent.

                                                          1. I just had a good experience at Wildfire for lunch today! I usually stick to the lunches because they often have a similar menu to the dinner and so it is better value. I've not been to too many summerlicious events, but I try to go to one restaurant every year!. It's a great way to get to places that I normally couldn't afford, or haven't heard of!

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: edibleexplorer

                                                              Our party of four had another great Summerlicious lunch at Trio Restaurant at the Novotel North York today. Apps were Greek salad - standard but fresh and a nice size, deep fried risotto and mushroom cakes with salsa-type dressing, and I had the canteloupe gazpacho soup - fabulous. Mains were chicken loaf (Dad loved this) and the rest of us had the tex-mex open-face sandwich, - really good but portion size was too large (if that's a negative). Dessert was tartufo ice cream and apple blossom pastry thing. Overall another very nice experience- the service is always good, they don't hover but you never have to ask for anything. $15 pp well spent.

                                                              1. re: barneyvernon

                                                                SHOCK!
                                                                Given the lack of anything that qualifies as dining in this area I had tried Trio maybe 18 months ago and found it to be totally uninspired serving classic 'commercially delivered' (i.e. heat 'n serve) pre-prepared meals. Didn't write it up as I think a review deserves a second visit if its negative (could have been a chef off-day) - although I will respond to others' posts.
                                                                Admittedly this was an evening experience - but was so bad I never returned.
                                                                However, to be fair, haven't tried their 'Licious offerings at all, so maybe if I'm in the area.....

                                                                1. re: estufarian

                                                                  I've only been to Trio during 'licious. (3X) When I passed by that area on other occasions, the menu seems to be totally different and for me, unappealing. This is one place that I would happily return for 'licious, but not at regular times.

                                                            2. I work at a distributor of high-end meat and cheese in the TO area and around the time of WL and SL many of the restaurants who participate either stop buying certain product of certain prices or call looking for cheaper product to serve. Once I clued into that, the intrigue of SL/WL sort of dropped off. I have had good, bad and great meals at Licious before but I decided not to bother this summer.

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: CheezeWiz

                                                                Thanks for the insight... ! But it makes total sense....

                                                                1. re: CheezeWiz

                                                                  I appreciate that you can't squeeze blood out of $15. So the ingredients can be cheap, but I want everything to be good, the meal to be coherent and that there be enough to eat.
                                                                  Good luck in T.O. at regular prices let alone at 'licious!

                                                                2. Had 2 great experiences this year. Dinner at Colborne Lane - desert was fantastic! Lunch at Canoe and I have to say the service was great! The manager of our dining area gave us excellent service!

                                                                  1. Had SL lunch at The Old Mill today, and it was lovely. Started with the caprese salad, which was merely standard. Then had the flank with corn, tomatoes on sweet potato, and it was really tasty. Nice thick cut of beef and it was juicy. Dessert was blueberry and peach tart with some sort of ice cream. The portion was not too big or small, very fitting ending to the meal. Never been there before for food, just happened to stop by and it was quite a nice surprise.

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: merlot143

                                                                      Same here...hubby and I were on the patio and quite enjoyed ourselves and the meal. Agree with the flank...good cut and great flavour. All in all, great value for 3 courses. ($20)

                                                                      1. re: merlot143

                                                                        I had summerlicious dinner last year at The Old Mill Inn - it was awful. Food was lukewarm, server was inattentive, and the food was mediocre! The restaurant is more outdated and old than rustic and charming :p

                                                                      2. I ignore Summerlicious (as usual) - previous experiences haven't been impressive.
                                                                        However, (and I know this is too late now - but could affect plans for Winterlicious) I 'accidentally' went to Linda Modern Thai last night (the visit was planned - didn't realize it was part of Winterlicious!), and was knocked out by their Licious menu.
                                                                        I'm not suggesting that this is the best Thai food ever, merely that it was an astonishing deal for $25 - for DINNER - a 4-course menu.

                                                                        To start we had the lettuce wrap (minced chicken, shrimp, water chestnut, rice vermicelli and cashew) and the vegetarian (mango, pickled carrot, cucumber) rolls. The wrap was superb - warm, crunchy, refreshing - a great starter. The roll was perfectly acceptable - fresh and crunchy, but just didn't have the zing of the wrap.

                                                                        Next course we had the coconut milk soup with Mussels and the 'Modern' mango salad. The soup had a great mouth feel and 6-8 mussels with a mild spicing; and the Mango salad was a tarter version of the one usually served in Toronto - missing (fortunately) the sugary sweetness that other versions often have. Very fresh greens and sweet/sour mango.

                                                                        Mains were very creative - most prepared just for this promo (although it wouldn't surprise me to see them return on the regular menu - albeit not strictly 'Thai' - but certainly Thai inspired).

                                                                        The "Quinoa and Smoked Duck 'Fried Rice' " was impressive. Yes quinoa is fashionable and a trendy cereal - but this was one of (perhaps THE) best versions I've had. Fluffy, light with diced smoke duck for texture variation - we cleaned the plate. And 'Thai-style' Fish & Chips was also a very pleasant surprise. The chips were sweet potao fries and the sauce (vinegar substitute) was a chili-tamarind version. The fish itself came in a crispy, grease-free beer batter - the gimmick being that Singha Beer was used (hoppier than the more-often-encountered English Beer batters).

                                                                        Desserts were more conventional - Deep-fried banana with honey, and Ice cream (we had coconut and mango).

                                                                        Sorry to not let everyone know sooner - If I had realized Summerlicious was still on, I may not have even gone to Linda's. However, this may have been (probably was) my best 'Licious meal EVER - of course, that wouldn't normally mean very much - but this was indeed a real deal. Assuming they return for Winterlicious - put this on your list.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: estufarian

                                                                          Thank you, estufarian, for your insights and review.

                                                                          This probably concludes Summerlicious 2012 discussion (hey, prove me wrong)

                                                                          Stay tuned for Winterlicious Jan 25 - Feb 7 2013.

                                                                          1. re: estufarian

                                                                            Linda does many special priced events, including a fairly creative and reasonable selection of lunch specials. By far and away, the best food to be had at the Shops at Don Mills, and worthy of a visit even when the herding exercise is not on.

                                                                          2. I think when it comes to Summerlicious, and any time you go to a restaurant - it's all about doing your research. Some restaurants embrace the 'Licious times as a time to promote their restaurant, while others participate in it but have a bad attitude.

                                                                            I've been to a few duds, but I've also been to a few spectacular ones. This year I ate at Il Mulino (Allen Road & Eglinton) and it was fantastic! Other shout outs go to Canoe as well as first-time-ever participant Lucien.

                                                                            The only disappointing experience was at Céléstin where they tacked on a 18% automatic gratuity. The service was lousy! The server asked us if we wanted coffee AFTER dessert.

                                                                            So in my books 3/4 is pretty damn good!

                                                                            Here's my gallery of 'Licious adventures - http://on.fb.me/MQ2BJu