EATS: Summerlicious 2016

Hello everyone! Summerlicious and Winterlicious are my favourite food events of the year. It’s a great way to discover new restaurants without breaking the bank and also an opportunity to try foods you may have never eaten before. This year, I went out for 3 Summerlicious dinners (in the span of 4 days – no regrets!) and am excited to share this culinary long weekend with you!

First stop: Beaumont Kitchen at Sherway Gardens

This is Oliver & Bonacini’s latest restaurant in west Toronto (or Etobicoke if you will) featuring contemporary West Coast inspired cuisine. Located in Saks Fifth Avenue at Sherway Gardens mall, Beaumont was a definite must for me. I started off with the  Yellowfin Tuna Tartare with cucumber, jicama, lime, and corn chips. Citrusy and light, it was a great start to dinner and set up nicely for my heavier main. The handsome foodie (will refer to him from now on as HF since I’m getting lazy LOL) had highly recommended going for the Grilled Flat Iron Steak since it’s his favourite cut. It came with a chimichurri sauce, grilled asparagus, and crispy mini potatoes. I ordered it medium rare (because really – anything more than medium is a travesty IMO) and it was PERFECT. A heartier dish that was full of flavour and the chimichurri gave it just a bit of heat to keep this a very summery dinner.I finished off the meal with their Malted Chocolate Panna Cotta that had crushed Maltesers (huge in the Chinese community/reminds me of childhood) and stewed cherries. The panna cotta itself was smooth and had a fantastic chocolate taste but wasn’t actually that sweet. The sweetness came from the cherries so it was a nice balance that was far from cloying.

Next stop: Parts & Labour in Parkdale

This was actually chosen by the HF since he has been a fan of Chef Matty Matheson for years. After spending the day together first at Union Summer Market and then the ROM, we hopped over to Parkdale to give this restaurant a try. Known for his boisterous personality and robust flavours in cooking, Matty Matheson opened Parts & Labour in 2010 and now also oversees 3 other establishments (including P&L Burger, which I will bring HF to at some point.) We both chose the Beef Tartare since I like tartare (and panna cotta apparently lol) and he had never had it before. With pickled mustard seed, cornichon, caper, shallot, dijon, the tartare was bursting with savoury deliciousness and of course, breaking the yolk so it runs overtop is so satisfying. HF was a bit nervous about that part but he went all in and enjoyed it immensely. The frites were plentiful and a nice complement to the tartare.Being a burger enthusiast, HF obviously had to go for the P&L Cheeseburger that featured their signature sauce and American cheese. He describes it as:
“F-ing brilliant! The bun was perfectly toasted, toppings were evenly distributed to ensure even flavour in every bite! Cheese was melted and gooey and the patty was cooked to a perfect medium. Nice dark crust on the patty, really tender meat, held together perfectly but not too dense like a meatloaf!” I tried a bite and YEP. Definitely one of the better burgers I’ve had. Since I had beef as my appetizer, I opted for the Sea Bream that came in a beautiful beurre blanc with pickled shallot, preserved lemon, and fingerling potatoes. It may look like a lighter portion, but that beurre blanc was so rich and flavourful, it made this a perfect main course. The lemon kept it bright and overall, I was thoroughly impressed.
We both ordered the Buttermilk Panna Cotta that was topped with fresh berries and a milk crumble. A very different take compared to the one at Beaumont, but it was a fantastic end to our dinner.

Final stop: R&D Spadina in Chinatown

I had been to R&D when they first opened up and so I wanted to come back to check out their newer items. I came here with 2 of my Alpha Phi sisters and refrained from ordering the CSB (although now I am craving them more than ever!) Chef Eric Chong was in the house (Masterchef Canada, season 1 champion) and we enjoyed some Asian-inspired cocktails while we waited for our food. I chose the Indo-Malaysian Chicken Satay which was made with chicken thighs, lemongrass, ginger, kaffir lime, peanuts, and nuoc cham (dipping sauce.) It was SO juicy and tender, I could’ve eaten 10 of these.My main was the Torched Salmon Belly with duck fat potatoes, Chinese broccoli (gailan), ginger, and smoked plum glaze. The portion was a touch on the smaller size (I suppose since salmon belly and duck fat potatoes are on the heavier/rich side) but full of fantastic textures and tastes. True to form – I had the panna cotta for dessert. It was a mango panna cotta with coconut tapioca, which was very reminiscent of the classic Chinese mango pudding dessert, however a lot smoother, creamier, and wonderfully accented with tapioca. A delicious conclusion to Summerlicious.

It’s hard to say what was my favourite dish since they all were so different. I cannot wait for Winterlicious and am looking forward to trying out more great Toronto restaurants.

Where did you go for Summerlicious? Which restaurants would you recommend? AND most importantly – WHAT DID YOU EAT?! Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks so much for stopping by!

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