Thank you for the amazing 8 years here at A Baked Creation, we can't thank you enough for the memories! But we've decided to move over to a new site - Sincerely, Syl. Please join us there for future posts on all the things you loved here!


Monday, January 28, 2013

Winterlicious: Parts & Labour

1566 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M6R 1A6
Tel: (416) 588-7750

It's 'licious time again in Toronto, a time when restaurants offer prix fixe menus at low prices to entice us to try their restaurant. We tried a few during the summer and we've lined up some more this winter. One of my favourite part is learning about which restaurants will be participating and what the menus will be. I spend a couple of happy hours going through the listing and then choosing my top picks. Next, I e-mail a bunch of friends to see if any are interested in joining us for a meal (or more). Then, I sit back and wait for the responses. It's quite easy because after that, Howard does the difficult part. Booking. It's the quick morning calls to the restaurants once reservations are open - fingers crossed that there are availabilities.

Our first Winterlicious restaurant was Parts and Labour. A really neat restaurant that we've been meaning to try and had heard great things about. We had two friends joining us for our 6:30 pm dinner. We walked in and hovered near the entrance. There was a hostess there, but she had her back to us and was on the phone. So we walked in to wait by the fireplace (which is a very neat idea - especially during a chilly night in Toronto). She later came in to greet us, asked for us to confirm our reservation, and took us to our table.

We walked by the long bar with the spring-looking seats, we walked by the rows and rows of large tables in the main dining room ... and that's when I saw them.

They have three tables beside the kitchen! I did a very discreet skip/hop as I didn't even know about this. What a treat! I love sitting by the kitchen and watching the chefs and staff go about their work.

We were given the menus and our glasses were topped with water. We also learned that they were only serving the Winterlicious menu at this time, but we asked to see the regular menu, too. We were already deciding on a return trip!

First up, Howard and our friend tried the seared mackerel with yuzu, cured cucumber, chili, and hoisin mayo. Thumbs up all around. The guys aren't ones to express many words, but I did hear, "wow," "delicious," "like the little bit of spice," and "love the citrus flavours."

I tried the pork belly with pickled shallot, tarragon cream, and oats. The pork belly was soft and tender. They give you a good portion and it worked well with the accompaniments. Might have been a little bit too sweet, but overall, very satisfying.

Most of us ordered the hanger steak and frites, served with a demi glace. The meat was cooked to the rarer side, but that was fine for us. The demi glace was quite good, I started mopping it up with the fries, but then it got a bit too salty. Stick to the ketchup my friends!

Howard, being the adventurous one, ordered the seared scallops with roasted squash, and corn polenta, served with salsa verde. I can't even remember if he gave me a bite, I think he did, but it wasn't a very big bite! From what I remembered, this was also very delicious.

Where we were seated, we got to see the deep-fryer in action and the dessert plating! See the shelf above? Those are beignet doughs in the plastic containers. All poofed and ready to be fried. And in the ramekins? Chocolate mousse!

Here we are, watching our desserts being prepared.

A swipe of caramel sauce. A dollop of fresh whipped cream. A spot of strawberry jam!

Hello! Here was my chocolate mousse with peanut butter and marshmallow "snow." The mousse was very smooth. Mixing in the peanuts and marshmallow gave it a nice crunch and texture. I would eat it again!

Our friend tried the panna cotta with roasted grapes and graham cracker. We didn't quite taste a difference in the grapes - roasted or not - but the panna cotta was a nice light way to end the meal.

The guys got the cinnamon-sugar beignet with strawberries, cream, and caramel. This was by far the best dessert of the night! We enjoyed it so much that we asked for another ... two more please. And then watched the beignets get fried and plated again. We ended up getting charged $8 for each additional doughnut if you're wondering how they add that on.

So far, this was our favourite 'licious meal to date! We had a great time, aside from the frosty hostess (she ignored us on the way out), the kitchen and wait staff were all friendly and attentive. And the food was well worth it!