making winter as de-licious as possible
Did you say mushroom veloute, duck rillete and potato souffle, all under $35? And then they get you, always with the creme brulee.
I have sat through many of these menus, but never without wary taste buds. Having lived and dated a chef who knew the ins and outs of Winterlicious and Summerlicious, it is only natural for me to be apprehensive.
It's not a coincidence most menus will feature items like couscous, pasta and cheap cuts of meat. Restaurants used to an expansive budget for food are forced to tighten their belts like the economy is crumbling and make your cheap piece of steak look as good as it can. And while most chefs can pull this off with a little creative flair, a lot of it is made in bulk to prepare for the masses. So if you're food doesn't taste fresh off the grill, it probably isn't.
Even the waiters I know cringe at the thought of it. Their usual dining crowd disappears as penny pinchers walk in the door, leaving behind smaller tips and smells of cheaper perfume.
The Star and torontoist wrote some helpful pieces on Winterlicious, with a few pointers on what's worth your winter budget.
On the bright side it's a great chance to check out some new restaurants, eat like the French with several courses and dine at prices you can afford. I have had Winterlicious meals not worth talking about, and ones that leave melt-in-your-mouth memories in the back of my mind.
My only problem is that if my meal is cheap, I usually overcompensate with wine or martinis, thus enhancing my meal but also killing the budget aspect. So this year I will be making delicious meals at home, enjoying the fruits of my labour, and a bottle of wine to my leisure.