So this week I have a visitor from my hometown who is in town for business and free at night. So I didnt have to muse about what to make for dinner we went out! After a lovely late afternoon at the Island, where we enjoyed patio beverages and tip toed into the lake we ended up on the perfectly quaint Baldwin street and supped at Cafe la Gaffe who is participating in "Summerlicious".
Summerlicious is city run program with 180 restaurants in the city offering a "special menu"of 3 courses prix fixe. The idea is to get diners out of their comfort zones, to try new foods, at new places for a reasonable cost.
For people on the hot side of the table, "Summerlicious" is hell. Everyone in Toronto knows we need no cheap prices to fill seats and patios in the summer. But in order to participate in the much needed Winterlicious festival, in the cold months when people need encouragement to go out and spend money, you MUST be part of Summerlicious. more often than not the city-wide fête include hurried guests and hastily thrown together food as restaurants work overtime to deal with the influx of low-tipping and no-showing diners.
When I was at the distillery, I had a lemon meringue tart on a summerlicious menu, on top of the 3 restaurant dessert menus I was already juggling, in a crazy busy season. I was cranking out hundreds a day. In the humidity of summer, the tart shells got very soggy over night so had to be made fresh, daily. I cant tell you how many hours a day I worked. Your regular diners still come and order off your regular menu, than the cheapskates come for summerlicious, in droves...Phewww
Cafe le Gaffe, to thier credit, offers ONLY their summerlicious menu. Excellent plan. Easy on the kitchen and therefore the food isnt rushed or resented. I sometimes would wonder if the diners could taste the resentment I occasionally cooked with...I know they could taste the love, so.....
My friend and I only wanted a nibble, so we split one 3 course meal. It was perfect! We started with a Caprese Salad. The peak seaon tomatoes were so ripe I could smell the sweetness of them from across the table. Nothing fancy, but simple delicous...Tomato, roast red pepper, bocconcini cheese dressed in a simple balsamic vinaigrette. The right dish for a warm summer night.
For our main course we had the grilled Tilapia, served with coconut cardomon rice and simple sauteed veg. Another home run! The fish was cooked to perfection, flaky but not dry, quite impressive for a late dinner when the kitchen is almost closed. The rice, altho white, which I normally avoid was so exquisitely aromatic, it teased the nose for minutes before it ever got around to pleasing the palate.
For dessert we had some chocolate banana gateau. I wont say much...My companion enjoyed it. It was made with excellent Chocolate (I want to say lindt, it wasnt "soft" taste wise to be Callebaut imho, but who knows ) I just found it quite heavy and without finesse, but I am a pastry snob, so lets just leave it at, it was a sweet chocolaty finish to a wonderful meal.
I would be remiss in not mentioning our lovely server, she was attentive but not over bearing, just friendly enough and made sure we were taken care of...Kudus!
I recommend a visit!
Cafe La Gaffe
24 Baldwin Street