Winterlicious 2016

This edition of Winterlicious brought us to Pulcinella Ristorante in South Etobicoke.  Pulcinella specializes in regional Italian dishes, serving seafood, game meats, risotto, pasta and pizza for lunch or dinner.

The menu was expansive!

CHEF’S SOUP OF THE DAY
or
MARIO SALAD
mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, red onion, olives & lemon vinaigrette
or
BEEF CARPACCIO
aaa strip-loin, shaved parmigiano, cracked black pepper

TROUT
boneless filet with farro, cherry tomatoes, capers & black olives
or
NEW YORK STRIP
aaa, truffled compound butter, chive mash potato, market veg
or
CINGHIALE
slow braised ragu of boar, basil, fresh rigatoni, shaved caciocavello cheese
or
CIOPPINO
fisherman’s stew of shrimp, bay scallop, calamari, fish filet, tomato broth & sarde fregola pastina

BANANA BREAD PUDDING

served warm with caramel sauce
or
TIRAMISU
whipped mascarpone, kahlua, espresso and lady fingers
or
CHOCOLATE GANACHE CAKE
deep, rich and decadent

First the wine, a delicious Pinot Noir

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Appetizer – Beef Carpaccio.  Thinly shaved beef, lightly peppered and salted, with slivers of parmigiana and spicy arugula.

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Main course – Cioppino

For dessert – Chocolate Ganache Cake

From the first sip of wine to the last bite of cake, this was a lovely meal.  The beef carpaccio was classically made pairing the thinly sliced raw beef with parm and arugula.  I was in love with the cioppino.  An endless bowl of seafood – mussels, calamari, shrimp, scallops and fish in a fragrant and tasty tomato broth.  Little bits of pastina with every bite.  So good, it had to be shared.  A sweet ending with the chocolate ganache cake.  Now, I expected something a little different.  I was expecting a chocolate cake with a ganache icing.  Instead, the cake was more of a mousse cake.  Very rich and decadent.

The restaurant itself was lively and full.  When we arrived, they had live music for the first little while and then the sounds of laughing and conversation took over.   People feasted on pizza and salumi boards.  It all looked so good.  The servers were friendly and attentive, ours full of jokes.

If you ever find yourself in South Etobicoke, checkout this fine Italian establishment.  You won’t be let down.

=)

Winterlicious 2015 – Mill Street Brew Pub – The Beer Hall

My second Winterlicious meal of the 2015 season.  Located in the historic Distillery District of Toronto, the Beer Hall is a huge space with a great atmosphere.  Plus it’s located in the Distillery District – such a nice area to spend time in.

On the menu:

Beef Goulash
simmered in Hungarian paprika and Cobblestone Stout broth

or

Currywurst
duck fat frites with wild boar bratwurst and curry ketchup

or

Beet Salad (vegetarian)
arugula with Lemon Tea vinaigrette, beets, pears, barley, buffalo mozzarella, beer reduction and pine nuts

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Veal Bolognese

rigatoni and veal bolognese tossed with butternut squash and sautéed mushrooms, topped with goat cheese and onion strings

or

Vienna Schnitzel
thinly pounded panko breaded chicken breast, caramelized lemon, braised red cabbage and brown butter spätzle

or

Maple Stout Glazed Salmon
grilled Atlantic salmon with maple stout glaze, wilted greens and sweet potato rösti

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Apple Strudel (vegetarian)
walnuts, raisins and fresh whipped cream

or

Lime & Lager Donuts (vegetarian)
house made mini beer donuts with root beer custard sauce

or

Banana Beer Float (vegetarian)
Mill St Vanilla Porter with house made banana ice cream

I ordered the currywurst, the schnitzel and the donuts.

A drink to start, a sample of their Winter beer

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and a beer inspired cocktail – Tank house punch.  Won’t lie, didn’t really enjoy this.  I think it was the bitters added to the drink.  I know better now.

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A cheese plate to share.  A creamy brie, a mustardy cheddar and a smoky cheddar.  All good cheese, but I did enjoy the mustardy cheese paired with fig jam and green apple. IMG_0425_2

First course – currywurst.  Duck fat fries…come on.  And the curry ketchup was very tasty.  I never would have thought of this pairing.  I liked it very much. IMG_0427_2

Schnitzel, Schnitzel, Schnitzel…Ahhh I love saying that word.  I also love eating schnitzel.  How huge is this piece of meat?  I barely touched the spatzle – little dumplings. IMG_0430_2

Little donuts for dessert.  Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.  Sweet.  Nicely paired with the root beer custard sauce though it just seemed to taste like a vanilla custard.  Still good.

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Another delicious meal and so ends another Winterlicious season for me.  Bring on Summerlicious! =)

Winterlicious 2015 – Chop Steakhouse

The restaurant was full and bustling when we arrived this cold Saturday night.  We were promptly seated in a nice raised area of the restaurant.  What was on the menu?

Mixed Green Salad
garden vegetables, pumpkin and black sesame seeds with honey-lime vinaigrette
or
Caesar Salad
double smoked bacon, shaved Grana Padano
or
Crab & Shrimp Cakes
house-made crab and shrimp cakes with coconut, cilantro and a touch of chipotle, on basil aioli with fresh lemon
or
Red Pepper Bisque
creamy satin bisque of tomatoes and roasted red peppers

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Buttermilk Roast Chicken with Asparagus Basil Ragout
served with wild rice pilaf and fresh seasonal vegetables
or
9 oz Prime Rib
slowly roasted in rock salt and ground pepper, with hand shaved fresh horseradish and au jus, served with your choice of: infused mashed potatoes, wild rice pilaf, baked potato, Chop cut fries or fresh seasonal vegetables
or
Maple Bourbon Haddock
blackened haddock, seared in a maple bourbon butter, served with wild rice pilaf and fresh seasonal vegetables
or
Top Sirloin Certified Angus Beef
served with your choice of: infused mashed potatoes, wild rice pilaf, baked potato, Chop cut fries or fresh seasonal vegetables
or
Teriyaki Top Sirloin
served with your choice of: infused mashed potatoes, wild rice pilaf, baked potato, Chop cut fries or fresh seasonal vegetables
or
Chicken Fettuccine Rustica
tossed in a classic Italian olive oil sauce with dried chilies, sun dried tomatoes, fried capers and shaved parmesan

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 Raspberry Crème Brûlée

white chocolate and raspberries under caramelized sugar with shortbread cookies
or
Fallen Chocolate Soufflé Cake
with mascarpone mousse and fresh vanilla anglaise
or
9-Hour New York Cheesecake
slow baked and infused with ice wine and ginger, served with a minted raspberry compote

I opted for the crab cakes, the prime rib and the chocolate souffle with a glass of malbec on the side.

Sourdough bread and soft butter.

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Ben Marco Malbec from Argentina.  Smooth with a fragrant scent.

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Crispy crab cakes.  Not greasy.  The basil aioli was fresh and light.

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Tender prime rib.  Such a generous portion.  Cream mashed potatoes. I had been craving mashed potatoes all week, these did not disappoint.

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Dessert was not what I expected.  I was looking forward to a traditional shuffle in a ramekin.  I guess I should have read the menu better and taken note that it was a souffle cake.  Still delicious.  Rich chocolate and mousse-like in texture.

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IMG_0357Meat and mashed potatoes craving satisfied =)