The Countdown is On! Getting Our Forks, Knives, and Napkins Ready for the 10th Anniversary of Winterlicious

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I have some good news and some bad news.  Bad news first.  Today, the 3rd Monday of January, is apparently known as Blue Monday, the saddest and most depressing day of the year.  I had no idea such a thing even existed!  We’re well-acquainted with the phrases, “winter blues” and “winter doldrums”, but Blue Monday wasn’t introduced to my vocabulary until today.  Stemming from holiday and Christmas debt, gloomy weather, and struggling new year’s resolutions, Blue Monday is allegedly the universal day for frowns and sad faces. 

I like to keep positive the best way I can though.  I may not have much money and things in life could be different, but I’m enjoying great food every day (taking advantage of winter’s comfort food offerings!), I have wonderful friends, and I have my scrapbooking and the blog which led me to all of you!  So here’s the good news: Winterlicious is in 10 days and I’m planning on sharing more than one Winterlicious experience with you all on the blog!

Last year's delicious Indian meal!

Last year’s Winterlicious meal at Amaya’s Bread Bar was so wonderful and I’m so happy I decided on them in the end.  The restaurant was so vibrant and colourful and the food was light, delicious, and a joy to eat – c’mon, who can resist basmati rice in a pretty metal bucket?  It was my very first time taking part in the event and it was a total success for me.  I’ve enjoyed Summerlicious several times but for whatever reason, Winterlicious never made it onto my plate until last year.  It fights through the glommy January winter clouds and shines like a ray of sunshine in my book! 

I don’t know if anyone else is excited as I am about this year’s Winterlicious, but I’ve been poring over the list of restaurants and the price fixe menus for over a week now!  Even though the prices are very reasonable for many of the meals and establishments, I’m not at a point in my life where I can go all out and splurge on the $45 dinners or on the many amazing culinary events.  If I could, I would be all over the fish-themed menu event and the chocolate one happening in February.  I LOVE themed menus and the culinary events are so great because they’re a little more intimate, they’re educational, and they’re unique.  It pains me not to be able to go to these, but I feel fortunate that I can at least partake in Winterlicious in some capacity. 

How adorable is this year's promotion photo?!

I stuck to the $15 lunch price point and started my process of elimination from there.  The only rules I made for myself this time around?  I wasn’t going to choose a place I had already been to (outside of the Winterlicious program) and, as much as I loved last year’s Winterlicious at Amaya’s Bread Bar, I wasn’t going to choose Indian food simply for the sake of eating a different type of cuisine.

The process of elimination has been painstaking, but I think I’ve finally narrowed my list down to the few I really want to enjoy this year.  I’m going to keep my Winterlicious picks a secret until I blog about them (ohhhh, you want to know where I’m going now so we can compare notes!  I’m mean, I know.  I like the suspense!), but totally feel free to share your own methods of choosing and what you want to get out of this year’s event.  This year is a big one: it’s Winterlicious’ 10th anniversary!  And for that reason alone, I’m determined to make this year’s experiences great ones.

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Winterlicious and Summerlicious are annual price fixe food events where over 150 restaurants across the city take part in.  Click here to view all restaurants and menus.  Restaurants started taking reservations on the 12th, so if you want to secure your spot, give your top spot a ring.

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Price-Fixe Menus and 3-Course Meals – Prepping My Taste Buds for This Year’s Winterlicious!

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Winterlicious starts tomorrow! 😀  And y’all know I’m excited for that!  For those who don’t know, Winterlicious is an annual foodie event in the city of Toronto where over 100 restaurants participate in offering special price fixe lunch and dinner menus, as well as special culinary events and presentations throughout the duration of the festival.  The food fest starts tomorrow on the 28th, and runs until February 10th and you can bet I’m going to haul my tooshie to at least one awesome eatery! 

I posted about my amazingly fun Summerlicious dinner experience at Southern Accent when I first started the blog almost 2 months ago and I also did Winterlicious for the first time last year with my dear friend Sally at Big Daddy’s Crabshack and Oyster Bar.  So I’m excited to try something new for Winterlicious!  The price fixe menus offer 3-course meals (appetizer, main, and dessert) and prices range anywhere from $15 for lunch to $45 for dinner, with $25, $30, and $35 menus in between.  As well, if you have a day and time in mind, it certainly doesn’t hurt to make a reservation as many of these restaurants fill up their seats quickly for this event. 

This time around I’ve set my sights on lunch menus and I’ve really taken the time to pore over the Winterlicious website to narrow down my choices.  I’m not afraid to say that I want bang for my buck and that I’ll toss out options that aren’t up to snuff.  I want to be able to tell right off the bat when I go over a menu that the establishment wants to go above and beyond with no strings attached.  There’s just no sense in going if you feel you can try any of the dishes any day on their permanent menu, or if the dishes are things you’ve seen and heard a million times over.  That’s the beauty of Winterlicious and Summerlicious to me; it enables you to go crazy and to try things you either wouldn’t normally try because they’re out of your comfort zone, or things you’ve always wanted to try but couldn’t because of the price tag.

I’m soooo looking forward to this!  And I’m also really looking forward to a bunch of things I have up my sleeve for the blog in the near future.  The Lunar New Year (or Chinese New Year as I normally refer to it since I’m Chinese) is next week (Februrary 3rd!), and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so I’m definitely going to take advantage of them both to share a bunch of photos and stories with you guys.  I’m not a sucker for seasonal and celebratory occasions for nothing! 😀  For those planning on munching away at Winterlicious, have fun and feel free to share your awesome eats and experiences here with me!  See y’all tomorrow ❤