After Christmas here in the GTA, social media starts buzzing with talk of Winterlicious in Toronto. But what most people don’t know is that we have our own prix fixe dining program here in sleepy old Burlington. Actually, we’re not so sleepy lately with all the howling coyotes keeping me up. But anyway, to kick off Winter 2015’s Taste of Burlington there was a launch event last Tuesday. For $30 we got to try samples from all of the participating restaurants to pique our interest in trying their tasting menus come February 22. Well, I’m officially interested.
(I just want to quickly stop here and apologize for the horrid photo quality in this post – I just didn’t feel like lugging around my DSLR at this event while juggling plates of food, so I stuck to using my iPhone)
We started our evening at West Plains Bistro‘s stand, a restaurant where I always have a good meal. Their offering was salmon en croûte with goat cheese, asparagus, and sundried tomato finished with a vodka cream reduction. The flavours were spot on, although the puff pastry was slightly soft due to being precooked and held in a warmer. This was still my favourite dish of the night though!
I was pleasantly surprised by the Beaver and Bulldog‘s healthy vegetarian option: a quinoa salad with chickpeas, dried cranberries, feta, scallions, and pumpkin seeds. This definitely put this restaurant on my radar as a healthy lunch option when I’m downtown!
At Eatalia‘s stand I had a panko crusted salmon cake topped with caper aioli and lemon dressed micro greens. That aioli totally made the dish – yum! Honestly I’ve been to Eatalia before for drinks, but I’ve always overlooked their food. Perhaps that should change?
Paradiso is a restaurant I usually love, but I was a bit let down by the lack of flavour in their braised beef and mac & cheese fried balls. Despite this flop in my eyes, I know they serve a great meal at the restaurant – especially their crab cakes and fish – and I definitely plan on returning!
Pepperwood Bistro had a delicious spoon of smoked bacon wrapped meatloaf on Yukon gold potato puree. Oh man was this ever good! I would gladly devour a full sized plate of that.
Rayhoon is a Persian restaurant that’s a newer addition to downtown Burlington, and a restaurant I’ve been meaning to try. They were serving up Aush Reshteh soup made with herbs, beans, and noodles topped with cream sauce, mint infused oil, and fried onions. The flavour was really unique, but it grew on me the more I ate it. It sounds weird, but the best part of this soup was actually its mouth feel – it was so soft and velvety!
SB Prime‘s butternut squash gnocchi with rabbit confit had me excited, but I found the flavours to be flat. I would have liked an exciting punch of flavour in the dish to make it stand out!
From the Waterstreet Cooker I had a roasted root vegetable and baby kale salad with goat cheese and quinoa granola. The granola was such a cool addition. I enjoyed all the flavours in this, however I didn’t taste any dressing on it. I’m not sure whether it was left off intentionally or by mistake! But I think the salad would have benefited from some moistness to tie it together.
We wrapped up our tasting spree with a chocolate brownie with ice cream from Wendel Clark’s. This unfortunately fell a bit flat for me. The brownie was fairly good, but it was served in soupy ice cream that was lacking in richness. It was good (how can any brownie and ice cream not be good?) but just not spectacular.
We ravaged our way through the samples and left merely an hour after arriving – guess we were on a mission! But I’m looking forward to checking out the tasting menu at one (or hopefully more!) of these restaurants at the end of February.
Looking for more posts about local food events? Check out these: