[Entertainment District] Canoe (Winterlicious)
After endless phone calls every year during summer- and winterlicious, our call finally went through and got us a reservation for winterlicious at Canoe!
I was so excited because I thought I’d finally understand what all the hype was about…
Perhaps my expectations were too high… perhaps winterlicious/summerlicious is never a good time to judge a restaurant, but I was truly diappointed.
Our bread came first, nicely wrapped in a white cloth. It also came with a little tray of chick pea dip. Our server was not sure what exactly was in the dip, so I requested some butter. I had a piece of the white bread first. Nothing special. I went for another piece of bread. It looks a bit darker than the white one, but I did not think too much of it. After all, we told our server about my severe allergies to nuts and seeds, why should I be worried? I took two bites of the bread. It was delicious. I felt like I haven’t had bread so delicious for a while. Then I looked down… there it was… a tiny hitch hiker on my bread that closely resembled a sunflower seed, one of the allergens I am allergic to. I passed it to Charles and he kept trying to reassure me that the restaurant would not risk sending food out if they weren’t sure about it, but it was too late. I was already freaking out.
Based on past experience, I knew I would not have a severe reaction until approximately 30 minutes after ingestion. Then I would be covered with hives in 5. I started to panic and feeling nauseated. When the waiter walked by, we also asked whether the bread contained any seeds. The waiter looked worried when he told us it did contain both sunflower seeds AND flax seeds, and told us to inform the restaurant ASAP if I felt any worse.
Well, lucky for him (and of course, me), I did not have a severe reaction to the bread. I was not a happy camper but the dinner continued.
Butternut Squash Soup
Braised Beef Cheek & Beet Emulsion
Chicken & Goose Liver Parfait
Birch Syrup & Pickled Cookstown Roots
Our waiter was much more careful after the bread incident. When he served me my soup, he emphasized that the soup was “nut- and seed-free” (and the charade went on for the rest of the night). There was nothing special about the soup. It tasted like butternut squash soup. That was it. No clue what happened to the “braised beef cheek & beet emulsion” part. I didn’t want to risk trying out Charles’ parfait. He said I was not missing out much and I took his words for it.
Pan-Seared Albacore Tuna
Spiced Root Vegetable Ragout & Coconut Couscous
Roasted Alberta Lamb Sirloin
Yellow Split Pea & Swiss Chard
Thank goodness, our entree was decent. We both liked our tuna and lamb. My lamb was quite juicy and tender. I couldn’t complain. I don’t normally like peas but the peas were tasty enough for me to clean my plate. I tried a tiny bite of Charles’ tuna. Nothing special.
Pear & Rosemary Bread Pudding
Maple Anglaise & Drunken Raisins
Raspberry and Passion Fruit Sorbet
Fresh Mixed Berries
Dessert was super disappointing for me. I had my mind set on the caramel chocolate tart and then the waiter informed us that EVERYTHING they had in the kitchen contained nuts. I supposed they would not risk sending me to anaphylactic shock after I had already ingested a small amount of bread that I was allergic to. The compromise was a bowl of sorbet. I don’t mind sorbet. I like sorbet. I just don’t like it when I already have my mind set on something else. I am stubborn like that. Plus, sorbet and berries seem to always be the solution for restaurants when they can’t figure out what to give me. I always wonder how they keep those mixed berries fresh in the back. Nobody seems to be eating them but me. Anyhow, sorbet was just sorbet. Nothing special (again). Charles said his bread pudding was interested. It was not typical to have rosemary in bread pudding. We both wondered whether that was their creative solution to get rid of stale bread.
Then the bill came. No discount, no apologies. I think I was treated better at Moxie’s. Too bad that I was a wuss and was afraid to make a big deal out it. Charles thought we shouldn’t since nothing happened to me, technically. I thought the restaurant should never have sent me the bread at the first place, especially after being informed about my allergies. We decided that if we can’t trust them for taking care of my dietary restrictions, Canoe is not a restaurant that is worth re-visiting.