Thursday, February 11, 2010

Winterlicious in 2009 (Photo heavy!)

This year for Winterlicious, Mr.W and I visited two restaurants; both were of Italian cuisine, had similar menus but gave drastic food experiences.

Winterlicious is a culinary restaurant program that is held across the city in some the top restaurants

This year Winterlicious was held in 130 of the city's top restaurants offered fixed price pre-set lunch and dinner menus. For example, some restaurants offer a three course lunch anywhere from $15.00 - $25.00 and three course dinner menu from $20.00 - 35.00.    There is tax and gratuity on top of that of course and beverages are not included, but usually this meal would cost much more than that.

Mr.W and I visited Pallucci and Joe Maggiano this Winterlicious. Both offered a $25 three course dinner meal.  I had a wonderful time at Pallucci but I cannot say the same for Joe Maggiano Steakhouse....

Pallucci:
 Food: ★★★★☆/★★★★★

The usual bread with balsmic vinegar - this was tasty! I usually don't like my bread with vinegar

 
This is fresh scallop in a bed of various vegetables. This is not actually on the menu but Mr.W likes his share of seafood.....the scallops were really fresh and cooked to perfection - neither raw or undercooked.

 
Roasted Butternut Squash & Pear Puree
This is Pallucci's famous soup dish that they've won an award for, so I HAD to try it! It was sweet tasting (because of the pears) but so heart warming because I love butternut squash :p It wasn't so thick that the texture put me off either.

Hot Italian Sausage 
roasted with garlic, extra virgin olive oil and salsa fresca
This was Mr. W's appetizer, which I did not enjoy because the sausage was too spicy! But I can see why some people would love this because it would simply give you a heartburn in a yummy way.


 Maple Glazed Atlantic Salmon
served with roasted potato and fresh daily vegetables
All I can say is that the salmon was very succulent and the maple was a nice tough since it added a ting to the savory taste. Not the best that I've tried but was well done for the price of the dinner. Though it's definitely not filling enough for someone with a big appetite.

 Steak Frites AAA Striploin of Beef
served with Yukon gold frites, fresh broccoli and a peppercorn demi glaze
Mr. W had the steak, which I thought was a tad overcooked even though he asked for medium rare. But I thought the frites were just scrumptious. I think Pallucci made it themselves, and reminded me of Lays Ruffle Chips.... mhmmmm

 
Biscotti 
with fresh crème anglaise and fresh daily berries
So good!! It was so savory and hard (good thing because you don't want biscotti to be too chewy!)

 Tartuffo
I preferred my Biscotti to the chocolate icecream with raspberry filling. Actually it was not as creamy as icecream... more like frozen yogurt. Though the raspberry filling was very tasty! 

Atmosphere: ★★★★☆/★★★★★
I loved the atmosphere! The server allowed me to choose where I wanted to sit and I chose the two love seats that were sounded with pillows. It was so comfy! The only thing I did not like was that the interior walls of the restaurant was red.


Service: ★★★★☆/★★★★★
Great service and the servers we had were courteous and so polite. Even when a woman whipped her purse too quickly and broke some wine glasses they told her it was all right! 

Pricing: ★★★★☆/★★★★★
Not bad for $25!



Joe Maggiano Steakhouse:


Food: ★★★☆☆/★★★★★

Bread with virgin oil
I have to say that though it was good, it was wayyyy too oily!! You can definitely not pick up the bread with hands otherwise oil will drip EVERYWHERE.

 
Golden Maple Butternut Squash Soup (vegetarian)
Slow roasted butternut squash pureed with Quebec maple syrup & a touch of cream
Similar to the Butternut squash and pear puree at Pallucci that it's slightly sweet, but this tasted like it was not brewed long enough because the maple syrup was too strong and haven't absorbed fully into the butternut squash. I neither hated nor loved it.

 
White Wine Mussels
Fresh P.E.I. mussels steamed in the shell then sautéed in a light white wine basil sauce
 This was a good dish! The mussels were fresh and for an appetizer they gave a good amount that made you wishing for more.

 
Black Pepper Rainbow Trout
Seared Rainbow trout filet crusted with fine herbs and black pepper, topped with a light honey pecan glace. Served with seasonal vegetables and roast potatoes
 I. WAS.SO.DISAPPOINTED. I think this was the driest trout I've ever tried. Swallowing it down took a lot of effort and there was hardly any vegetables. Maybe it was a bad night for the Chef...

 
Lobster Tail and Shrimp Arrabiata
Lobster tail & jumbo black tiger shrimp, sautéed onions and hot pepper in a spicy tomato sauce served over pasta
This sounded so fancy but it's almost like tomato pasta! The lobster tail was super dry thereby making it too chewy and the entire seafood taste was covered by the overly bearing spicy tomato sauce. The only thing that I can give credit to is the jumbo shrimp that was still fresh tasting (but not really that jumbo!)

 
Truffle Royal
Topped with chocolate sauce
If I had another chance I would have chosen the panna cotta....It was too sweet and so flakey!

 
Cheesecake
Creamy and rich, topped with strawberry coulis
Didn't like or dislike it, but indifference is not necessarily a good thing....

 Atmosphere: ★★★☆☆/★★★★★
The atmosphere... sucked. Our table was super tiny and was situated right next to the bar! It's not romantic at all (guys do not take your SOs there for special occasions....). I guess it also did not help that it was superbowl night so there were avid fans shouting, drinking beer and eating their hot dogs.


Service: ★★★☆☆/★★★★★
The server was polite and provided the typical service, but nothing over the top. It also felt like they were rushing us out of there even though there were not much customers sitting in our area.... they did not even ask Mr.W and I if we wanted coffee/tea after our dessert and just hurriedly to pass us our bill!

Pricing: ★★★☆☆/★★★★★
I don't think I would pay $25 for the food here... I mean, this is a steakhouse, and there was no steak on the menu for Winterlicious?!!

1 comment:

Natalie Nguyen said...

Hey thanks for dropping me a comment! Canon would definitely be my second choice =).

Oh my, you go eat at such nice restaurants!! The food is making me hungry haha!

 


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