No cottage in the country? Have a Summerlicious weekend in the city. At the Intercontinental Toronto Centre, they’ve got our weekend planned: an afternoon swim at the 48 ft. saline pool and whirlpool, lounging on the scenic terrace and perhaps indulging in some pampering at the AVEDA concept Spa. After a quick change it’s a sumptuous Summerlicious dinner under a glass canopy in the beautiful Azure Restaurant & Bar. Relaxed and ravenous, we are ready to be wined and dined.
And what extravagant dining it is! The menu choices would make any foodie weak in the knees. No surprise that there are experts in the kitchen: award winning, thirty year culinary veteran, Shawn Whelan is Executive Chef, and Chef de Cuisine, is the talented Grace Di Fede. Three appetizers, each more enticing than the other, are suggested: truffle honey, fig and proscuitto tartine is a favorite at our table. A toss of arugula, fresh greens and compressed watermelon is a colorful gift for vegetarians. I cannot turn up my nose at crab and sweet corn fritters with pea shoots, shaved fennel and yummy sauce remoulade. Of the three main course choices, including pan seared pickerel with some intriguing partners on the plate; and ricotta and spinach agnolotti for vegetarians; I fancy Dillion’s Rye bbq glazed duck breast. First we eat with our eyes and we are entranced by the presentation of duck, peach and cucumber salsa, wheat berry salad and cilantro yogurt. So many complex flavours. Each mouthful offers new suprises.
Shall I indulge in dessert? Good things come in threes. Included in the $48 Summerlicious menu are a parade of spectacular sweets: Chocolate S’Mores Parfait (use your imagination on that one) Peaches and Cream Cheesecake made with blood peach puree; and my favorite, the Limoncello Cherry Pie with red currant gelato and crème Anglaise.
After dinner, there’s no need to drive home. We take the elevator to our Feature room, with its classic designs by a Toronto-based design firm Chapi Chapo, and marvel at the view of Lake Ontario and our city from the 20th floor.
Yes, sweet dreams are a guarantee in these hotels amazing beds. Mesmerized by the lights of the CN Tower, I fall asleep planning my breakfast. Shall it be room service or a table at Azure.
People are more exacting about breakfast than any other meal. I give my detailed instructions and am delighted when they are followed to the letter. Freshly squeezed, delicious orange juice is brought around in jugs and they’ll keep refilling your glass if you let them. Poached eggs in a bowl are perfectly done to the second. It’s as if my mom was in the kitchen. A few slices of smoked salmon, and well-done rye toast round out my favorite breakfast.
My “city weekend cottage” is always ready to welcome me with empathetic service, a great view and delicious food. Summerlicious is a bonus.
~ Azure Restaurant & Bar; 225 Front Street West; 416-597-8142 ~
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.