Winterlicious, enters its 11th year on January 25th, and while the prix fix food festival doesn’t cause quite the stir it used to, there’s still lots to get excited about in the days leading up to the event. While much of this year’s list of participants is made up of familiar faces, there is some new blood to keep things interesting.
Reservations opened back on January 10th, so there’s likely a number of places that will be almost completely booked for dinner already. That said, there’s no shortage of worthwhile options that will still have availability leading up to the 25th (and perhaps beyond). So here’s a rundown of what to expect from Winterlicious 2013.
HOW IT WORKS
It’s probably unnecessary to explain the concept at this point, but just for the sake of thoroughness, I’ll review. This year sees 191 restaurants on the Winterlicious roster, all of whom will offer three-course prix fixe meals for lunch (priced at $15, $20 and $25) and dinner (which comes in at $25, $35 and $45). For popular restaurants, it’s almost imperative to reserve in advance, though lunch offering are typically far easier to take advantage of on a last minute basis. Although facilitated by the City of Toronto, you need to contact the restaurants directly to make reservations.
NEW THIS YEAR
There are 16 new participants this year, of whom a few are particularly noteworthy. They include the following:
- Grace (menu) — Refined takes on country/farmhouse classics.
- Loire (menu) — A French gem on Harbord. Great service and accomplished food.
- Splendido (menu) — The pick of the litter this year (get in if you still can)
OLD FAVOURITES & HOT TICKETS
This could be a very long list, so I’ve prioritized 1) those places that you’ll want to try to make early(ish) reservations for and 2) that offer bang for your buck considering their usual prices.
- Auberge du Pommier (menu) — Still some of the best high-end French food in the city.
- Canoe (menu) — Another Oliver and Bonacini staple. Come for the view; stay for the food.
- North 44 (menu) — Where Mark McEwan started his empire and it remains remarkably polished.
- Colborne Lane (menu) — Why not see for yourself what all the fuss over Claudio Aprile is about.
- Boehmer (menu) — Ossington hot spot with great cocktails. Try the beef cheeks.
- Centro (menu) — Still excellent Italian-inspired fare near Yonge & Eglinton.
- Célestin (menu) — A quiet and sophisticaed French spot on Mt. Pleasant.
- Lee (menu) — Susur still does small plates very well. Best coleslaw ever!
- Mistura (menu) — Celebrity chef Massimo Capra has still got it.
- Scarpetta (menu) — The buzz has died down, but the food is still generally excellent.
VEGETARIAN AND VEGAN OPTIONS
There’s no reason why those who don’t eat meat-derived products can’t get in on the fun. Here some of the better vegetarian/vegan-friendly options.
- Frida (menu) — Meat-free Mexican eats aren’t second class on this menu.
- 259 Host (menu) — Like Indian food? Go here.
- Tabülè (menu) — Excellent Middle Eastern food in a casual setting.
- Prime Steakhouse (menu) — Who would have thought a steakhouse would be your best vegan bet?
CHEAP BUT GOOD
Here are some top picks in the most reasonable Winterlicious price range of $15/$25 (for lunch and dinner, respectively.
Buffalo Roasted Cauliflower
Roasted cauliflower done buffalo wing style in a spicy hot sauce!
Servings: makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1 tablespoon oil or butter
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup hot sauce (such as Franks RedHot)
1 tablespoon butter, melted (optional)
blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping (optional)
celery stick on the side (optional)
Toss the cauliflower florets in the oil, salt and pepper, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, and roast in a preheated 400F oven until lightly golden brown, about 20-30 minutes.
Toss cauliflower in a mixture of the hot sauce and butter and enjoy warm with blue cheese or ranch dressing for dipping.
Paeonia (peony or paeony) is a genus of flowering plants, the only genus in the family Paeoniaceae. They are native to Asia, Southern Europe and Western North America. Boundaries between species are not clear and estimates of the number of species range from 25  to 40.
Most are herbaceous perennial plants 1.5 – 5 feet (0.5 – 1.5 metres) tall, but some resemble trees up to 5 – 10 feet (1.5 – 3 metres) tall. They have compound, deeply lobed leaves, and large, often fragrant flowers, ranging from red to white or yellow, in late spring and early summer.
I was so lucky to receive this beautiful necklace made from peony seeds as well as a pair of matching earrings. A good friend of mine is from Mexico and his wonderful mother sent this gift all the way here for me to add to my accessories. I love the simplicity of this piece and the fact that it can also be wrapped around my wrist for a different look.
Thank you for the continuous support all the way from Mexico!
- Must have first session by May 1, 2013. Voucher expires 1 year after first treatment
- Limit 1 buy per person (to treat up to 3 regions during the year)
- Must wait a minimum of 6 to 8 weeks between treatments on the same area
- Valid only at the location selected at checkout
- Not valid with other offers
- Does not include tax or gratuity. No cash value. No cash back
- Banish unwelcome hair for good
- Choose from up to 3 body regions
- Comfortable treatment
- Choose from multiple locations
Like ex-boyfriends, unwanted hair has a habit of showing up at awkward moments. Say good-bye to [shaving] Nicks, Marks and Harrys with today’s WagJag: $199 for one year of unlimited permanent hair removal sessions for three body regions (up to a $4,000 value).
IPL and laser hair removal battle hair follicles at their roots, striking with an iron fury that reigns victorious every time. This virtually pain-free process not only removes hair but removes the need to shave, wax or use smelly depilatory creams. You can bestow this gift upon up to three body regions in the upcoming year. Get rid of unwanted hair for good and lay out the welcome mat for smooth, luxurious-looking skin.
The following body areas count as one, two or three regions:
- 1 region: upper lip, chin, sideburns, back of the neck, bikini line, armpits, fingers and toes
- 2 regions: half-arms, half-legs or thighs, shoulders, chest (except for stomach) and Brazilian bikini
- 3 regions: full-arms, full-legs including knees, full back and shoulder, chest and stomach, or face
Locations (choose one at checkout):
- Aurora, ON
- Artemis Salon: 15207 Yonge St.
- NV Medical Spa: 31 King St., Unit 3
- Salon You: 390 Front St. N
- NUMI Beauty and Laser: 10025 Hurontario St., Unit 11
- Burnaby, BC
- Aura Skin Care Services: 102-7738 Edmonds St.
- Sweet Retreat Wellness Spa: 314-10 St. NW
- Goddess of Beauty: 14571 – 121 St.
- Josie’s Laser Hair Removal & Electrolysis Clinic: 55 Dydzak Crt.
- Light Touch Med Spa: 90 Reynolds St.
- Aesthetica Day Spa: 4101 Albion Rd.
- Richmond Hill
- Mila: 10376 Yonge St., Unit 207
- Prestige Laser: 54 Colborne St. N
- St. Thomas
- Auroram Laser: 39 Southwest St.
- Aquarius and Aphrodite New Technologies Medical: 4646 Dufferin Ave., Unit 3
- Beautifully Bare: 250 Queen St. W, 2nd floor
- Bloor West Medical: 3250 Bloor St. W, Suite 126, East Tower
- Salon Daniel: 83 Yorkville Ave.
- Skin Secrets: 615 Yonge St., Suite 401
- Stratique Hair Salon and Spa: 4632 Yonge St., Unit 202
- VB Laser Trim Clinic: 89 Bloor St. W, Suite 207
- Yanox Laser and Massage Therapy Clinic: 1210 The Queensway
- Zaarah Touch For Paradise Inc.: 97 Thickson Rd. S
- Prestige Laser and Esthetics: 510 Ingersoll Ave., Suite 108