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Hogtown’s Best Pig-Out: Winterlicious Dining Program

8 CULINARY EXPERIENCES
These tantalizing events highlight some of this month’s incredible offerings. (Call individual venues to register.) Plus, they’ve inspired our exciting Plan Bs that are in no way second-rate!

NOW YOU’RE COOKING
“Winterlicious Cooking Demonstration”
February 8, 6-8 p.m., $60
Ground zero for epicureans and home chefs, the Caphalon Culinary Center (425 King St. W., 416-847-2212) is a cutting-edge facility. Sign up for a Winterlicious cooking demonstration and impress your friends with a perfectly crafted maple crème brûlée.

IF YOU LIKE THAT IDEA, TRY THIS…
Check out one of the cooking classes offered at the Bonnie Stern School of Cooking (6 Erskine Ave., 416-484-4810), including a Valentine’s Day workshop (February 10, $95), Book Club Dinner with Bernice Eisenstein, author of I Was a Child of Holocaust Survivors (February 15, $135), Everyday Italian with Rosa Marinuzzi (February 19, $135) and the Sunday Night Spread with Drake Hotel chef Anthony Rose (February 28, $135). Classes run from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Registration is required.

SUSHI ‘N’ SAKE
“Far Beyond Sushi”
February 5, 6:30-10 p.m., $75
Journey back in time to Japan’s Edo period—considered by many to be a time in which the enjoyment of food became a favourite pastime—at uptown EDO. Here, you’ll explore the delicate flavour of sushi and the finer points of Japanese cuisine complemented by wine and sake tasting.

IF YOU LIKE THAT IDEA, TRY THIS…
Kaiseki Sakura (556 Church St., 416-923-1010) specializes in kaiseki, a high-end Japanese tasting menu that evolved from the traditional dishes served as an accompaniment to Zen Buddhist tea ceremonies. It’s pricey but worth it. A six-course meal with four sake pairings is $80, or go all out with eight courses and six pairings for $105.A BEST BET
“Casino Nights”
February 7, 6-10 p.m., $60
Allow Lady Luck to lead you to the Lobby Lounge for Texas Hold’em poker tournaments complete with a Vegas-style lounge singer and inventive takes on the classic burger: lamb, veggie, surf & turf and Kobe beef.

IF YOU LIKE THAT IDEA, TRY THIS…
Cash in at Woodbine Racetrack and hit the slots or bet a trifecta on a thoroughbred, and take your winnings downtown for one of the city’s priciest burgers. At Czehoski, a “bourgeois” will run you $36.94—think foie gras, truffles and gold leaf!—surpassed only by the truffle and foie gras burger at Bymark, which cashes out at $36.95.

ENTERTAINING HOW-TO
“Simply Entertaining,”
February 6, 6:15-9 p.m., $75
Refine your entertaining panache with the help of good-time diva Donna Dooher. Tuck in for dinner at her legendary Cookworks (99 Sudbury St., Ste. 8, 416-537-6464) and soak up her knowledge. Dooher draws upon her years of experience to guide you through a sumptuous spread. As a bonus: you get to take home the recipes.

IF YOU LIKE THAT IDEA, TRY THIS…
Learn the finer points of chocolate making (and tasting!) with chocolatier extraordinaire Jen Stone at js bonbons’ (163 Dupont St., 416-920-0274) Chocolate Tasting Experience. For those who prefer to sink their teeth into a main course, choose from one of many exciting classes offered at the Summerhill LCBO (10 Scrivener Square, 416-922-0403), such as “Heartwarming Valentine’s Feast” or “Demystifying Herbs.”CHAMPAGNE TASTES
“The Distillery Experience”
February 2, 5:30-11 p.m., $150
Experience everything the Distillery Historic District has to offer in a single evening. Amuse your bouche with succulent hors d’oeuvres and champagne on a curatorial tour of The Thompson Landry Gallery and The Gibsone Jessop Gallery, followed by a four-course tasting menu at The Boiler House and Soulpepper Theatre Company‘s production of The Threepenny Opera. Cap off the night with live jazz back at The Boiler House.

IF YOU LIKE THAT IDEA, TRY THIS…
Hit the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen St. W., 416-363-6671) for a free lunchtime concert in the stunning Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre and get a closer look at the remarkable architecture with a building tour. Sashay up University Avenue to Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner (111 Queen’s Park, 416-362-1957) for lunch with a view.

FOR FASHIONABLE FOODIES
“Guilty Pleasures III”
February 3, 10 a.m. & 1 p.m., $35
Back by popular demand for a third year, The Drake Hotel, purveyor of all things hip, plays host to a prix fixe fashion-brunch extravaganza. Shop while you sup as local talent hits the catwalk, and take home a sweet freebie swag-bag to complement your nouveau Canadian couture.

IF YOU LIKE THAT IDEA, TRY THIS…
Work up an appetite while shopping at Yorkville’s local fashionista haunts: Over The Rainbow, Designs by Naomi or anywhere in chi-chi Hazelton Lanes. Revel in your loot over canapés at Flow Restaurant & Lounge.

A DAY TO IMPROVISE
“Cabaret Jazz Brunch”
February 4, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m., $64.50
Start the day off right with a stellar brunch at the tony hot spot that is the Rosewater Supper Club. Jazz impresario Adi Braun headlines the “cabarazz” performance at this lively Winterlicious event.

IF YOU LIKE THAT IDEA, TRY THIS…
Every Sunday The Boiler House serves up a whopping brunch buffet under vaulted ceilings to the melody of smooth local jazz.

POUR, DIP, BAKE
“An Olive a Day”
February 6, 6 p.m., $100
Think all olive oils are the same? Well, Roberto Dante Martella of Grano (2035 Yonge St., 416-440-1986) begs to differ. Martella will introduce you to the subtleties of this essential ingredient and astonish you with its versatility. Nosh on olive-oil-infused Mediterranean fare, including olive oil cake.

IF YOU LIKE THAT IDEA, TRY THIS…
Do it yourself with a trip to the Olive Pit and Spice Trader and peruse its 36 varieties of extra-virgin cold-pressed olive oils from nine different countries. Take away a bottle of fabled Minus 8 icewine vinegar from the Niagara region and treat yourself to a late pizza lunch at the super-popular neighbourhood eatery Terroni.

TIP! Free WinterCity activities at Nathan Philips Square on Feb. 3 and 4 include cooking shows in the City Hall rotunda.

See 8 Prix-Fixe Menus for more restaurants offering year-round fixed menus.

To keep the chill of February at bay, check out these 10 Winter Warm Ups.—Susan Traxel

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