Monday, March 15, 2010

*UPDATED* Lucy's Toronto Vacation - Day 2


Continuing from the last post...

Lucy's Toronto Vacation - 1
Lucy's Toronto Vacation - 2
Lucy's Toronto Vacation - 3
Lucy's Toronto Vacation - 4


It was Saturday, February 27th. We were going to Libretto for lunch, and it was going to be amazing!

After taking the TTC to Ossington station, we got on the bus to get to the restaurant. I remember I wasn't that hungry until we transferred to the bus. I was excited to eat an amazing culinary art piece again.

I was expecting the restaurant to be pretty busy, even though it was off hours (we arrived around 2pm). As we walked in, I was eyeing the bar seats at the window facing the street, but people were already occupying those seats. Our server led us towards the back of the restaurant, and he even offered to let us choose our table. All the other tables were dim except for a tiny table by the wall. It seemed as though there was a spotlight on the table. It was a sign.

We chose the more brightly lit table and got comfortable. Looking around, I noticed that the restaurant had a wide variety of customers. Students sat in front of me. There was a young family with a very young baby behind me at another table. The other tables seemed like middle aged Torontonians just enjoying a great lunch. It was a different crowd from what I saw the last time I was here, where there were dressed up business workers and even high ranking sailors (the ones in the while suit, hat and the pins).

We looked over their simple menu. One side listed a few antipasti, salads, pastas, and of course, pizzas. Flip the menu over and you'll be faced with an impressive list of wines. There was also their " Lunch Prix Fixe" menu for only $15. You get to choose one starter, one pizza, and a dessert:

Beet Caprese
Mixed Green Salad
3 Bruschette (Chef's Choice)

Margherita D.O.P
Marinara D.O.P
Piadina of the day


I chose to have the lunch special: 3 Bruschette and the Margherita D.O.P. Lucy ordered the Ontario Prosciutto and Arugula pizza.

Complimentary bread and olive oil, balsamic vinegar and pepper arrived at the table. The last time I had this, there was something amazing about it. Since then, I've had this many times and I didn't find anything that great. The oil was tasty and was not stale and the balsamic vinegar was very sharp. Yum. To ensure we didn't fill up on bread, Lucy and I chose to only eat one slice each. We needed to save our stomachs for what was to come.

Lucy's Toronto Vacation4

The trio of bruschette arrived. So pretty! Starting at the bottom, going clockwise: spicy eggplant caponata, Ontario prosciutto with goat cheese, and an onion jam with fresh ricotta.

Lucy's Toronto Vacation5

We tried the onion jam first. The cool and sweet onion jam, with the creamy cheese and the slightly crunchy slice of bread was the perfect match. Lucy and I both looked at each other and just smiled. It was so good that we were both giddy! I was shocked at how well all the components matched. The onion jam was slightly sweet with a mellow onion flavour, which I wasn't expecting. I thought the onion was going to be a punch in the face, while the creamy ricotta was going to be like a cool wet cloth wiping my face clean. It turned out to be a balanced dish.

Lucy's note: It was a really well thought out dish. The creamy, textured ricotta played off the sweet onion jam nicely. There was a balance of sweet and savoury. It was fantastic!

Lucy's Toronto Vacation6

Up next was the Ontario prosciutto. I was intimidated with the amount of prosciutto that was on it, but because the prosciutto wasn't very strong in flavour, there was more packed on. I didn't mind the milder prosciutto used, but I'm sure it would've tasted a lot better with thicker slices or a stronger flavoured prosciutto.

The gossamer-thin shavings of prosciutto failed to wow my tastebuds. The thinness was pleasant because the prosciutto melted the moment it touches your tongue. I can't remember what the creamy stuff was, but it didn't contribute much to the flavour or texture as a whole. It was good, but not memorable.

Lucy's Toronto Vacation7

The stewed eggplant one took a bit of time to register. It's not that it was bland, but it just took me a while to figure out if I liked what I was eating or not. I'm not sure if Lucy had the same feeling about it because we both stared at each other at first. I finally decided that it wasn't bad. Lucy commented on how it was a great bridge to the pizzas. Not long after we finished, the pizzas arrived.

The caponata was very tangy and had a nice medley of flavours. There was a gradual heat, but it wasn't super spicy. It was a familiar taste, and that worked well. Overall, it stimulated our appetites before the pizzas arrived.

Lucy's Toronto Vacation8

The Margherita came first, followed quickly by the Ontario Prosciutto and Arugula pizza.

The first things that came to mind when I saw my pizza: there were more basil pieces than I expected (a good thing), I hoped that the charred bits of the crust didn't ruin the pizza, and I couldn't wait to tasty that tangy and bright sauce.

Lucy's Toronto Vacation9

I was mentally prepared for this moment. My first bite... The joy that flooded over me and the delicious balance of flavours dancing around in my mouth, was not followed by my mouth spazzing this time. The first bite of the pizza was a piece I cut from the middle, which had some basil, mozzarella, sauce and the thin dough. My second bite was just as tasty; it was a piece of the crust with some basil, mozzarella, and sauce. It was a better experience than the first, only because it had the fluffy, light and slightly sweet crust. Oh, how I missed thee!

The sauce was incredible! It was so bright and tangy, you would swear that there was some sort of citrus in it. The basil perfumed each bite, even if you took a bite without basil. The sauce on the edges of the crust had this amazing concentrated tomato flavour. I enjoyed the simplicity of this pizza.

Lucy's Toronto Vacation10

Lucy's pizza:

The very first thing I noticed was the arugula--it was a freaking mountain of it! Again, the prosciutto was shaved paper-thin, but it worked better on this pizza than on the bruschetta. The parmigiano was grated instead of shaved, and I was a little skeptical as to how that would play with the other elements.

Lucy's Toronto Vacation11

There is also a hidden element that gave me a pleasant surprise--tiny slices of garlic hiding beneath the prosciutto. These little guys packed quite a punch! They were my favourite bites, and the garlic helped to tie in all of the flavours and balance the arugula. Each bite was different because of the varying ratios of toppings. I felt it was a more subtle and sophisticated version of the ones I ate at the Grand.

The crust was heavenly. It was thin and crispy, and yet still very chewy and pliable. I was a little worried that the thinness would translate to soggy crust, but it definitely held its own. My only complaint about the crust would be the charred bits. I know that some people like that, so I'll chalk it up to personal preferences.

Lucy's Toronto Vacation12

I felt that I was reaching my limit when I was down to the last half of the pizza. After trying to decide if I would be able to finish it and still be able to walk afterwards, I chose to wrap it up.

I wasn't sure if our good-looking servers (all tall, tanned, handsome guys) forgot about my dessert, but then one came over and asked which dessert I wanted. Trying not to stare at him, I asked him what the affogato was (hot espresso poured on gelato). We had a choice of vanilla or chocolate gelato. Vanilla please!

Lucy's Toronto Vacation13

One of the other waiters brought over the vanilla gelato and while he was going to grab some espresso at the bar (where they have espresso machines), I quickly took a picture of the gelato.

He came back and playfully asked if I wanted an action shot while he poured the gelato. Hehee! (I should've shot from a lower angle... bah!)

Lucy's Toronto Vacation14

The first half of the affogato was mainly espresso - a very tasty espresso with a bit of melted vanilla gelato. The last half was mainly vanilla gelato with a bit of espresso. What an awesome dessert. It was a perfect way to end an amazing lunch!

The gelato was velvety rich as it melted into the espresso. I loved the way it started off strong with the espresso, but by the end, it was all sweet gelato. It was a great evolution of flavour as it melted. It was a grown up version of a mocha. Definitely recommended!

My lunch special was only $15, which was the same price as Lucy's pizza.

After we had lunch, we started walking down Ossington and towards Queen Street West. The destination was a Japanese store: Sanko. Our shopping list consisted of things to make okonomiyaki.

Once everything that we needed was purchased, we headed back up to Ossingston Avenue, where we dropped by the same Portugese bakery for some coffee and dessert. We were tired at this point and just relaxed. I don't think we brought out the camera, although we should've - just because Lucy enjoyed her pastry very much.


Lucy's note: Found some grainy pictures on my cell! I ordered a canudo--a flakey horn-shaped pastry filled with custard. The pastry shattered into a million pieces as I started to cut into it. Oh, it was goooooooooood. The sticky custard wasn't very sweet, but as I chewed, I noticed that the pastry itself sweetened the custard. I really loved this.

Canudo with custard filling

Christine had a chocolate mousse. It was very dense, and I felt like I was eating velvet (not in a good way). It was too sweet, and there wasn't enough chocolate flavour. I prefer eating mousses that have the texture of fluffy clouds that melt. I think it was entirely cream-based because I didn't see the tell-tale bubbles of beaten egg whites.

Super dense chocolate mousse

Out of all this, I enjoyed the coffee the most. It was a flavourful, medium-bodied coffee. I drank it black, and it had sweet, nutty flavours. It matched beautifully with both desserts, sweetening the canudo and tempering the mousse.

We popped into an LCBO to pick up Japanese plum wine and then headed to a small grocery store across the street to buy green onions and cabbage. We had everything we needed, so we headed home for some sleep. The trip home felt even longer this time, for some reason, but we got home safely, watched a bit more Olympics and then crashed.

What a day!



Pizzeria Libretto on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. What is a Canadiano? Is that like an Americano, or is it entirely different? Never mind, I'll google it. :) Nice blog, BTW, and wonderful photos of delicious looking foods.


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