By Annabelle Goodman –

30 Baldwin St
416 977 1287


Every year at Christmas time my friend Ann B takes her 25 best friends for an outstanding meal. Guaranteed there will be much conversation and loud laughter. We all look forward to this festive outing. I always tell Ann that she has the most eclectic group of friends and it is guaranteed to be a fun afternoon.

This year we were all treated to the fine dining in a separate room at Bodega. Outstanding comes to my mind. I had to walk home after the meal just to work off the excess calories. I ate too much but loved every bite.

We were all greeted with a special menu welcoming us to the Ann’s Annual Christmas Luncheon. Things just got better and better. The fantastic warm multi grain bread was delicious.

Many of the women at my table enjoyed the Crab Cakes as an appetizer. I had a bite of my neighbors and just about shouted out loud with glee. They were so delicious. The Roasted Beet Salad was a work of art. Small cubed pieces of beets were marinated and formed into a ball on the plate. The frisee was gently placed on top and made for a picture perfect appetizer. Blue cheese, walnuts with orange, garlic and a ginger dressing made this a perfect choice. The Calamari Salad was served with spicy red pepper and tomato vinaigrette. A Soup Du Jour was also available.

My neighbor opted for the Grilled Chicken Breast for the main entrée. It was served with sweet potato and bacon hash, seasoned vegetables with rosemary and walnut oil dressing. At the risk of overdoing the superlatives everybody loved their special order. Our hostess told us that the Seafood Bouillabaisse is the best in town. Prawns, scallops and market fish are prepared in a saffron fennel tomato broth and served with Emmenthal cheese and rouille. I spoke with one of my friends who exclaimed that her Seared Filet of Alberta Beef served with truffle mash potatoes and wild mushroom sauce was a gold star winner. It makes me salivate just to re-read the menu. Several at our table opted for the Vegetarian Tower.  A grilled portabella mushroom was on the top of several layers of eggplant, zucchini, roasted pepper, spinach, goat cheese, sun dried tomato and basil dressing. I intend to try and make this dish at home. It was a work of art on the plate. It was absolutely delicious.

Shame on all of us but then it is the festive season. We all devoured our desserts as if we hadn’t had enough to eat. It was disgusting but such fun. The Vanilla Crème Brule was indeed a winner. Most at our table enjoyed the Chocolate Pecan Tart with vanilla ice cream. The Chocolate, Espresso & Bailey’s Flourless Cake served with crème Anglaise was the third choice.

There were no prices on our menu. When I left the restaurant I noticed a sign advertising lunch for $15.00-$20.00. No wonder the restaurant was fully booked. Obviously a special lunch such as I just enjoyed is a different rate. We had outstanding service and we all are begging for an invitation to the 2010  Ann’s Annual Christmas Luncheon.

What a lunch!

What a good time!

What a good friend!