For someone who doesn't have much faith in 'licious, I seem to have hit a lot of them this year. My last 'licious luncheon was planned for Toula -- 'licious and a restaurant with a view -- a potentially deadly combination.
The hostess for our group had promised us a lovely view and promised nothing about the food, and Toula entirely lived up to those promises. The view was lovely -- I can't believe I've lived in Toronto for 14 years and had no idea the harbour froze up in the winter -- and the food was nothing.
Apps: Steamed White Asparagus in Truffle Sauce and Parmigiano Crostini. I presume 'truffle sauce' is what they were calling the unfortunate gloop that was slopped on top of the white asparagus, but I have no idea what on my plate might have been called parmigiano crostini. There was certainly nothing that even might have resembled it on the plate. It was probably off somewhere canoodling with the scallops that were promised in the chowder, but which nobody could find. The waiter mentioned they were 'chopped very finely'. Or perhaps the crostini, too, was chopped very finely? At least I didn't order the Venetian Doge Caesar Salad with Slices of oven Roasted Pheasant Supreme on Aromatic Herbs, which had its dressing uncaringly slopped all over the top of it, and slabs of pheasant slapped on the side.
Main: Wild Mushroom Pappardelle. This wasn't on the website, but was on the menu, and indeed it did appear to be fresh pasta and decent mushrooms. My presentation of it was almost sort of good, except that the pasta was undercooked and it was swimming in a lake of sauce. On the other hand, two seats away, another serving of the same dish appeared to be nearly absent any sauce or mushrooms. Perhaps they just sauced mine twice and sort of forgot about hers? One person at our table sent her chicken back for being ridiculously overcooked, while those who made the mistake of ordering the ravioli searched valiantly for any sign of pasta under the pasty sauce. I didn't hear any complaints about the salmon, though I have to admit I was a little afraid of the neon yellow sauce that came on it.
Dessert: Classic “Lemoncella” Toula Cheesecake. If I was to try and replicate this dish at home, I would start with a base of dry graham cracker crumbs, and then pour some lemon extract into a tub of cream-cheese icing and slap that on top, and send it out with a couple of raspberries for color. It would probably taste about the same, and it wouldn't look any worse. Reports were that the tiramisu, which appeared to have been plated by a cafeteria lady imported directly from the 1970s, was actually quite good, but I don't like tiramisu, so I didn't try it. I did try a bit of the Baba with rum, which was very sweet, but amongst all the desserts at least appeared to have been baked and served, rather than congealed.
Service: Umm, well, okay, I guess. It was pretty standard 'licious service: brisk and brusque. Still, they did keep the water glasses full, and did replace the inedible chicken with a small portion of the pappardelle. Why they didn't replace with totally uneaten pappardelle of another in our party, with something else, I don't know. Perhaps it was the best of the bunch and they couldn't offer her anything that wouldn't have been worse than the dish she wouldn't eat in the first place?
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