Dinner in the Sky Takes Summerlicious and Toronto Cuisine to New Heights
Summerlicious 2008 couldn't have launched with any more pomp and style than it did today in Toronto. Using a massive industrial crane to hoist up and suspend a 5-tonne, 22-person table over a red-carpeted Yonge-Dundas Square, the American Express sponsored harrowing-stunt-meets-gourmet-cuisine Dinner in the Sky event most certainly created summer food festival buzz.
Until tonight, I'd never had quite a unique dining experience - one that required a safety briefing and the signing of a waiver. With papers signed, and with a group cheer with my fellow eager table-mates, we were in upward tow. In my stomach were butterflies, and underneath the shiny silver lid before me was a very special meal.
Strapped into my seat, dangling some 35m above the ground, being served champagne by a waiter sporting a safety harness, I tucked my napkin under my plate to keep it from taking flight and landing on some unsuspecting pedestrian's head below. Then I took my first bite of Summerlicious 2008.
It was surprisingly easy to quickly forget about the vertigo (the champagne was a good call) and within a few minutes everyone seemed to drop the jitters that come with, well, being suspended from a crane. Before long, we were all getting into the view and, of course, into the food.
For my half hour Dinner in the Sky experience, I was served the Cornish Hen Roulade. The poultry was filled with a rich and aromatic spinach pesto and served atop smooth fennel mash and vibrantly coloured, seasonal succotash, in a delicate and slightly sweet red pepper sauce spiced with fennel pollen.
I have to admit... between turning my chair a full 180 degrees to check out the once-in-a-lifetime view of the square, snapping photos of the experience, and chatting with the lovely woman beside me, it was a bit difficult to savour the flavours. I forced myself to concentrate just long enough to appreciate my meal.
As quick as one could finish the meal (and a second glass of champagne), the table was brought back down to the ground, and the experience was over. Diners were smiling as they were unlatched from their Formula 1 racecar-style restraints, and were pleasantly surprised by the personal souvenir portrait that was printed and ready to be picked up as they exited.
Dinner in the Sky continues tomorrow, with a special breakfast lift with the CityTV BT crew (celebrity chef Anthony Sedlak's Eggs Benedict are on the menu), and lifts throughout the day. Unfortunately, if you don't already have a reservation for Dinner in the Sky, you're out of luck. But that shouldn't mean that you're not ready to sample the many other options that the upcoming festival provides.
Summerlicious runs from July 4th to 20th. Check out the full list of restuarants participating in this year's prixe-fixe summer food festival.
For more (and larger) photos of the experience, please view this full-screen slideshow. For more visuals (and to practice your French), also check out the promotional video below.
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