My sister and I recently started a new blog – check it out! We’ll be blogging about anything and everything related to fun things we do, including outings, food adventures, random tidbits at home, and so much more. Last week, I added a post about our first Summerlicious experience. I thought I’d “steal” the post from that blog and share it here with you 😉
When I came back to Toronto in January from my 3-year study period in Europe, Sherry and I decided that we would do all sorts of fun things in Toronto (before I leave again, probably, possibly, eventually), including all the food festivals. Taste of Lawrence (we actually missed that 😦 ), Taste of Asia, Night It Up, Waterfront Festival, Rib Fest, Taste of Toronto…you name it!
Of course, we wouldn’t miss Summerlicious, an annual event involving over 200 restaurants all over Toronto. We began planning about a month ago, looking through the list of restaurants and trying to decide which type of cuisine we wanted to try. After much debate and a lot of menu-reading, we settled on GREEK FOOD, and what better place to experience it than in Toronto’s very own Greektown on the Danforth? Sherry has been wanting to try Greek food for a long while anyway but never got the chance, alas we picked Ouzeri as the restaurant for our very first experience with Greek cuisine together.
The sis is lookin’ pretty but also pretty hungry. And I was quite hungry as well. I actually didn’t expect the portions to be very filling for Summerlicious (after a previous Winterlicious experience) but I was very surprised with the portions at Ouzeri. With the arrival of our first appetizer we both gasped – that was A LOT of dip and A LOT of pita bread! Seems like we didn’t even have to order the extra appetizer…
The name of this dish is “Meze – a selection of our most popular dips: taramosalata, humus, melitzanosalata, served with grilled pita”. I’m not exactly sure which is which, but the pink one was probably humus and boy was it delicious. I never thought Greek dips could taste so good and I’m sure the entire time I was eating, I was saying, “This is so good.” And this was only the first appetizer!!
Next up, the second appetizer – “Mydia – mussels steamed in red wine with garden vegetables, fresh herbs and garlic and dowsed in our Mediterranean red sauce”. I was sort of expecting something like the moules in France and Belgium, but the sauce in this mussels dish was very unique. The taste of red wine was very light and instead, the aroma of the spices was very strong and the tint of spiciness added to the extra flavour. In fact I was sipping the remaining sauce with the spoon when we’ve finished the mussels, which I’m pretty sure you weren’t supposed to do…hehe 😉 More thumbs up for Ouzeri, I’m already impressed!
We decided to sit outside – given the choice – as it was a gorgeous day out (not too hot anymore at 8pm), and the lighting would have enabled me to take better food photos. Hidden agenda right there, hehe! Of course, behind me was the Danforth where cars frequently passed by with German fans waving their flags, honking in celebration of the World Cup win a bit earlier in the day. I enjoyed the lively atmosphere and definitely would come back to this neighbourhood for more in-depth explorations.
Yup, so I did mention that we ordered an extra appetizer, which was “Loukaniko – Traditional Smoked Pork Sausage Lightly Infused With Orange Zest”. The waitress must have thought we were crazy to order so much food – and that’s why we’re both chubby XD The sausage reminded me of Toronto’s street meat with a fruity twist. Orange zest? Sherry’s only word of description of the dish was “interesting”, for better or worse. Tzatziki sauce makes everything taste better though 😛
Time for the main course! Did you even need to ask what I’d get? With the word “lamb” on the menu, it’d be difficult for me to get anything other than “Rosemary pie – your choice of lamb shank or chicken breast slowly stewed with onions and mushrooms in a divine rosemary and feta cheese sauce enveloped in filo pastry served with baby greens”. The tender and savoury lamb was complemented perfectly by the crispy outer shell of the “pie”. Sherry tried this and nicely put it as kind of like “having lamb brisket and spring rolls at the same time”, a very appropriate description, actually.
If I was a “lamb” person, then Sherry would be the “chicken” person. Give her chicken in any form and she’d be the happiest person alive or something. Her pick for main dish was also an easy one – “Souvlaki – your choice of specially marinated kebob of chicken breast or pork tenderloin charbroiled served with tzatziki, rice pilaf and lemon roasted potatoes”. Can’t get more Greek than that!
The chicken was very tender and went well with the rice, and of course some good ol’ tzatziki sauce made it even better. By then we were both getting quite full – unexpectedly – but there was still dessert to follow!
I was caught off-guard when Sherry took this photo of me, with an expression that seemed to say “Dudette, you broke my camera lens when you were playing with it!” In fact there really was a problem with the lens, which I sort of fixed afterward, so all was good. This photo also made it seem like I was wearing the purple flowers behind me as a gigantic piece of hair accessory… 😛
Of course I had to take some goofy photos of her as well. Usually Sherry is the goofy one and while I rarely appear in photos, she’s my photogenic model. I’m not sure what she was trying to say here though. Maybe “Ugh I’m so full but the food was so darn good”?
Time for dessert! I’m not a huge fan of sweets but from the menu, it seemed as if every dessert item would be way beyond the tolerable sweetness for me. Gotta choose one anyway, so I went with “Loukoumades – sweet distilled Greek honey fritters topped with crumbled walnuts”. Actually I was surprised that while it was sweet, I enjoyed it. The little balls really reminded me of something else I’ve had before, with sweet honey filling oozing out when you bite into it. I can’t quite put my finger on what it was though…and it’s been bothering me ever since! Not caneles in Bordeaux, not churros, not Krispy Kreme donuts…ahhhh what could it be???
Sherry’s dessert of choice was “Yiaourti – pressed Greek yogurt topped with nuts and honey poached figs”. OH MY GOODNESS THIS WAS SOUR. It may look innocent but it’s similar to a very very thick and heavy sour cheesecake dipped in a very sweet sauce. Oof! Definitely full by the end of the whole meal!
And of course not a single piece of leftover remained on any of our plates by the end of the lovely meal. That was how good everything was. Both us were glad that we chose to go for Greek food on the Danforth, and I was thoroughly satisfied with the quality of food at Ouzeri and I believe Sherry was too. This was an excellent first Summerlicious experience for her while it was my second “-licious” event, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Looking forward to more food fun to come soon!