Last weekend marked the end of this year’s Summerlicious and I wanted to talk about the two restaurants I dined at for the event. There was a definite similarity between both places in that they both serve comfort food.
The first Summerlicious restaurant I went to this year was Harlem. My friend Nathalie and I chose it for two reasons: we’ve never been there before and their lunch option was $15. It was fairly easy to find, just get off Queen station and walk to Richmond and Church. The decor was very cool; the walls were covered with paintings by local artists. We had gotten there around 1:45, assuming the lunch service would be slow but it was pretty busy still. It took awhile for us to place our orders but maybe it seemed longer than it actually was since we were both starving.
We both got different appetizers and main meals to taste as many items on the menu. For apps, we had cornbread and fried pickles. They were both really good. Although I prefer when the pickles are cut in slices than spears because the breading holds together better. Their cornbread wasn’t dry so I was happy. As my main, I had to go with fried chicken and waffles. It was another reason I was excited for this place. The waffles were light and crispy, just the way I like ’em. I thought the fried chicken pieces were small at first, but by the end, I was definitely full and could barely finish the yummy candied plantain. I also had a taste of Nathalie’s jerk chicken sandwich, which was also pretty flavorful. I’ve had better fried chicken but overall, great meal for a great price.
My second Summerlicious 2014 experience happened at none other than Bannock. No matter what my boyfriend and I plan out to try new places, we somehow always go back to choosing Bannock. I think it comes down to their ingredients and how their dishes come together. We had an awesome Winterlicious experience and the same can be said this time around. After watching a movie last rainy Saturday, we headed over for dinner but we were 45 minutes early for our reservation. Luckily they were able to seat us. I had the Iced Bloody Caesar Soup, which I thought was a very clever cold summer soup. It had a nice bite to it from the tabasco that I didn’t think I’d like but ended up enjoying. There were two clams in it that were unnecessary.
Keith had the Smashed Cucumber and Head Cabbage Salad. He inhaled it. I didn’t even get to try a bite, he ate it so fast. He told me it was crisp and refreshing. The pickled watermelon and the mint worked really well with the green curry vinaigrette. Well, good for him.
For our main, we both decided on Mama Kyle’s Meatloaf. It’s only available as a dinner option and the description sounded amazing: ground brisket, bacon, chicharrónes and birch tomato catsup. It also came with veggies and their great mashed potatoes. The meatloaf wrapped in bacon was cooked perfectly. The chicharrónes were ok. I get that they were there for texture but some pieces were chewy. The boyfriend did make a comment that they probably should’ve chosen a different side since the potatoes and the meatloaf have a similar texture. We still really liked the dish. It was up to O&B standards as per usual.
No matter how full we were, dessert was not to be missed. I went with the Cortland Apple Fritter that came with a berry compote and an incredible maple and cider dulce de leche. The donuts weren’t too sweet which was perfect to balance out the two sauces it came with. The apple flavor didn’t come out though.
Keith had O&B Artisan Croissant Bread Pudding. He liked it but he said the spiced chocolate and peanut butter drizzle was unnecessary. Luckily it was served on the side so he just avoided it. I on the other hand loved that. To each their own, I guess.
All in all, both Summerlicious experiences had its ups and downs, mostly positive though. If you still have not tried Bannock, do. And I would definitely go back to Harlem if I was in the area wanting a bite. I know I said I’d try these other restaurants, but I couldn’t make it work time and budget-wise. Oh well, there’s always Winterlicious! Have a nice Tuesday.