CiaoWinterlicious_side2eviteFebruary in Toronto means several things.  It used to mean grey skies, grey slush, grey clothing, and grey faces.  That hasn’t changed, except for the grey slush – snow has not made much of an appearance this year.

But aside from that, February in Toronto also means a potential culinary pick-me-up: Winterlicious.  Now in it’s tenth year, the city-wide festival means prix fixe meals at restaurants across the city.

Prices for 3-course meals range from $15-25 for lunches, and $25-45 for dinners.  Some of the restaurants I wouldn’t be caught dead entering, some I’d feel like a yokel if I entered, and some are comfort places.  I’ve had some very, very mediocre experiences at Winterlicious (and Summerlicious, and Veggielicious), because some restaurants use the event to offload their menus’ crappiest items on unsuspecting customers who just want a good deal.

But if you pick your venue well and do your research, then it’s a great way to get a taste of cuisines or restaurants you wouldn’t normally go to.  This year I went with a tried-and-true comfort, where the food was unoriginal but good, and where I could soak in the informal atmosphere of a restaurant I hadn’t attended in a long time.

It’s strange, the psychology of choosing a meal with friends.  Do you go spend the money, good value, on a known quantity, and risk boredom?  Or do you risk your wallet (and tax, and tip), and go somewhere new?

Does your city have something like Winterlicious?  Are you adventurous when dining out?

– Jean AAR

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I live in Seattle, Washington and work as a legal assistant. I remember learning to read (comic strips) at a young age and nowadays try to read about 5-6 books a week. I love to travel, especially to Europe, and enjoy exploring smaller towns off the tourist track though London is my favorite city in the world.