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DDTC Memories from March Break

You may remember my trip to Sonoma a few years ago (Redwoods, wine and convicts).  This year we went to the Mayan Riveria (more on that in a different post) and just got back in time to open a bottle from the cellar and make sure we did not miss a week in our Drinking Down the Cellar challenge.  The wine we choose one from that Sonoma trip, Il Cuore, the Heart Barbera 2009. We opened it and then went to diner so that it could breathe.

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Trying to get light through it to show the gorgeous dark red of the wine.

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It had a deep ruby colour that was almost purple, really evident on the cork which had crystals developing.  The nose is quite soft, with balanced fruits and mellow tannins.  The finish was medium and pleasant.  It was an interesting blend of Barbera, zinfandel, merlot and syrah.

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Finally a white! Week 5 of DDTC

After a month of red wine, it was time for a change.  Also with the cold weather (22 cms of snow in one 24 hour period), I find that riesling makes me think summer, and I really wanted to pretend it is warm out.

This week, @WineGuyTO and I were also trying out a new cookbook to keep us on our healthy eating goal, The Best of Clean Eating 2 (because book 1 was not at the Chapters I went to).  We decided to make the beef stir fry, something quick and that we both enjoy.  It was fun both of us prepping together to make dinner.  The only drawback was that we found that the stir fry lacked some heat/spices that we will add the next time, and that the riesling would have complemented, but we were overall happy with the dish.

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@WineGuyTO choose a Good Earth 2009 Medium Dry Riesling to pair.  His notes are: As we love the rieslings from Good Earth, this one did not disappoint.  The initial nose gives hints of what is to come, petrol and fruits.  The colour is a pale lime yellow and the flavour just keeps going.  The sweetness is nicely balanced with sharp acidity to truly reward your mouth.  The finish is quite long and brings memories of wine country in the spring.

Is there a wine type you want us to open? Let me know!

DDTC Week 2 :Baco Noir

This week has been cold.  The cold where you just want to huddle under a thick blanket and cuddle. So I was looking for a wine that had body to it. A friend brought us a bottle of Sandbanks Baco Noir (2013) and I was hoping it would work, as this is our first wine from this winery but our friend says it was a surprise favourite for him. We love finding new wines from Ontario and are looking forward to our next visit to Prince Edward County to explore more.

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@WineGuyTO tells me that this wine initially doesn’t have very strong aromas,  but it was a little on the cool side.  On the nose there is a jammy-ness that becomes more on the palate. Twenty minutes in,  there was a toasted nuts on the nose.  The flavours we got were plum and red fruits,  not the wild cherry the bottle says.  The colour is dark red,  almost purple. The sweetness is balanced by acidity; overall a typical Baco.  He paired this tourtière and found that it complemented the wine, as the saltiness of the pork mixed with the beef makes the wine taste more full bodied.

Really we could have sat on this wine for at least 2-3 years,  but that would not help us fulfill drinking down the cellar!

Drinking down the cellar

@WineGuyTo and I have a problem of sorts; we have a lot of wine.  So much we has ever moved some to our ‘off-site storage’  (i.e. my parent’s house).  Though we really enjoy wine, we really need to drink down the cellar as we are running out of room!  So we decided on two things: not buying any wine for a year (not something @WineGuyTo is happy with),  and a 52 week bottle of the week. The latter will be profiled each Wednesday for # winewednesday,  so watch my twitter feed for a new post each week.

Welcome to week 1! Tonight’s dinner was steak,  so we pulled out an Australian version of a Bordeaux, Wynns Coonawarra Estate Cab Sauvignon Shiraz Merlot from 2000.  It is showing surprising longevity for a generally widely available bottle of juice!

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The colour is a deep red verging on opaque,  not showing as much brown around the edges as I would have expected.  The fruits are still very much present though the tannins have mellowed nicely. At 13% there is plenty of alcohol to balance the fruit.  All in all,  a very pleasant surprise!

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Look at that colour on the cork! There was minute crystallization as well.

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Thanks to @WineGuyTO for the tasting notes.

Recipe for Change

February 27th was cold. That deep down, ‘why am I outside’ cold.  Regardless I ventured out to attend the Recipe for Change event in support of FoodShare Toronto, held at the North Market (St. Lawrence Market).  I was excited to go since I had enjoyed The Stop Night Market last year and find helping to support the community while eating yummy food to be a no-brainer.

Inside the warmth of the North Market, I found 30 Toronto chefs, 20 Ontario wines and 6 local beers who had collaborated to bring fresh, local food to a few hundreds guests to help promote food literacy education in schools.  In fact, Bendale Technical Institute  and Eastdale Collegiate Institute culinary students, who are apart of the program,  were on hand with plates for guests to try.

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Bendale and Eastdale students

Bendale and Eastdale students

FoodShare Toronto was created in 1985 to address the need for healthy, affordable and sustainable food access in Toronto communities. They reach over 155, 000 children and adults per month through community based programs.  Currently they run multiple school programs that focus on a “from field to table” approach, including: student nutrition programs, fresh produce programs, school grown market gardens, good food cafés and field to table schools.  At the core is advocating for public policies that will ensure that everyone has access to sustainably produced, healthy food.

The evening's host, Adam Stiles from Citytv

The evening’s host, Adam Stiles from Citytv

I tried to sample as many dishes as possible, even trying tongue for the first time!  Each dish was delicious, with great local wine and beer pairings. I especially liked the maple bacon macchiato from Crema Coffee Company.  It was the perfect temperature (for me) and the bacon added an interesting saltiness to the coffee.  I immediately texted @WineGuyTO to tell him we would be checking them out on our next coffee outing. My other favourite drink was from Carol Marks, tea sommelier.  It was a cold tea, set in dry ice making for a captivating display that drew many people over.  It was refreshing end to my evening.  There was not one dish that I sampled that I did not like!

Cucumber Cup filled with Zucchini Hummus and topped with a Raw Pumpkin Seed Falafel

Cucumber Cup filled with Zucchini Hummus and topped with a Raw Pumpkin Seed Falafel

Annona Restaurant at the Hyatt - Pulled Buschbeck braised lamb slider with spiced mustard glaze, crunch slaw sesame tooney

Annona Restaurant at the Hyatt – Pulled Buschbeck braised lamb slider with spiced mustard glaze, crunch slaw sesame tooney

Tacos de pescado en salsa verde from Frida Restaurant

Tacos de pescado en salsa verde from Frida Restaurant

Vegetarian paella from Carmen Restaurant.

Vegetarian paella from Carmen Restaurant.

Le Select Bistro's Sweet potato gnocchi with wild boar ragu.

Le Select Bistro’s Sweet potato gnocchi with wild boar ragu.

The Beverley Hotel's Rueben caraway rye gnocci, pastrami lamb's tongue, dill pickled mushrooms with red cabbage and apple mostarda

The Beverley Hotel’s Reuben caraway rye gnocchi, pastrami lamb’s tongue, dill pickled mushrooms with red cabbage and apple mostarda

Foodshare Toronto's free-range buffalo chili on a pan de bono and sweet roasted corn and herbs, chipotle in adobo salasa, traditional mole and white mother sauce reduction

Foodshare Toronto’s free-range buffalo chili on a pan de bono and sweet roasted corn and herbs, chipotle in adobo salsa, traditional mole and white mother sauce reduction

Mixed ceviche from TO Ceviche Bar

Mixed ceviche from TO Ceviche Bar

Whole wheat scone with goat cheese and The Chef's house peserves from George Brown Cafe School.

Whole wheat scone with goat cheese and The Chef’s house preserves from George Brown Cafe School.

Gulab Jamun from 416 Snack Bar

Gulab Jamun from 416 Snack Bar

The Love of Tea's Foggy Sunburst Morning Earl Grey Mocktail (earl grey tea, lime, leongrass, orange juice, orange bitters, grenadine, club soda and bergamot citrus.

The Love of Tea’s Foggy Sunburst Morning Earl Grey Mocktail (earl grey tea, lime, lemongrass, orange juice, orange bitters, grenadine, club soda and bergamot citrus.

Duck tamalies from Valdez

Duck tamales from Valdez

Chicken chilaquiles Mexico City style from Santo Pecado

Chicken chilaquiles Mexico City style from Santo Pecado

The maple bacon macchiato from Crema Coffee Co

The maple bacon macchiato from Crema Coffee Co

Click here to see all the food offerings that night.

**Please excuse the photos, it was my first time using my new DSLR. I am still learning 🙂

Thank you to Mary Luz Mejia of Sizzling Communications for the invitation to attend and cover this event.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Boon Eat + Drink, Guerneville CA

I really had not planned out our trip to Sonoma.  The lovely @laurendorphin had been the year before and gave me a great detailed and helpful  list of wineries to check out, as well as places to eat.  So when we got to our hotel in Guerneville, we decided to walk the main drag and just pick a spot.  I think we picked a winner!

Boon Eat + Drink is about supporting local farms and business restaurant, meaning that all the food (and wine!) comes from within Sonoma.  They also have a small hotel and spa in the area too. The restaurant itself is tiny, maybe 6 tables, but there was a heated picnic table outside the door.  There was as much on the drinks menu as there was on the dinner!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What we ate:

I started with the cold roasted cauliflower and faro,  then the boon burger. I chose the Acorn Syrah to drink.

Syrah – palate smacking, robust, a lot of tannins, well structured.Plum,  Cracked pepper, black currents, blackberry/Cassis

Salad – a little salty but the flavored worked nicely together. Just the right amount of vinaigrette and the portion size was  just right, not too small and not very large. Portions I am used to, not the oversized US ones I kept getting.

Burger – the butter of the brioche bun added to the medium fineness of the meat grind. Liked the pickled onions but not so big on the arugula as I am not a fan of lettuce on burgers. A tomato would have been nice but not keeping with local/in season I imagine.

Fries – can totally taste the truffle oil and they were almost under salted which worked. The ketchup had a nice sweetness to it. The aioli was mayo-y in a little overpowering way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

@WineGuyTo had the fried chicken special. He says the mashed sweet potatoes were buttery and the chicken was fried  nicely and not overly breaded. Crisp  and matched well with the lemon tarragon buttermilk sauce. Sorry, forgot to get a picture.

For dessert we shared the chocolate fudge brownie with sea salt and balsamic reduction from the nightly specials menu. Again a little too much salt. The balsamic provided the sweet as the brownie was very gooey.

Would I go here again? Definitely!

16248 main street
guerneville, ca 95446
707.869.0780
info@eatatboon.com

WineAlign and Beringer Winemaker

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WineGuyTo and I had the pleasure of meeting the man behind Wine Align at last year’s Wine Camp.  We were excited to find out that he was hosting a taste and learn with Beringer Wines winemaker Laurie Hook at Sassafraz May 24th.  We were both familiar with Beringer, myself mostly with their whites.  Got to admit, the price made going attractive, $45 for 6 wines and tapas.  So away we went!

Being served were the following:

  • Beringer Founders’ Estate Chardonnay 2009
  • Beringer Napa Valley Chardonnay 2009
  • Beringer Private Reserve Chardonnay 2008
  • Beringer Napa Valley Pinot Noir 2008
  • Beringer Napa Valley Merlot 2009
  • Beringer Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
  • Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
  • Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1997

Luckily, our late arrival coincided with Air Canada’s late arrival of the Laurie, so we were treated with an extra glass of Founder’s Chardonnay while we waited.  A cool climate version, as Beringer’s vineyards are very spread out, I enjoyed it immensely.

Two Chardonnays side by side

We then started early with the Napa Valley  second chardonnay, which would be our first of the tasting.  Very typical chardonnay butteryness.  We moved quickly through the wines as Laurie explained the wine’s background in relation to where they were grown and their differences to other wines within the same vineyard.  A personable and approachable speaker, she let us ask questions during her presentation.  Only the 7th winemaker in the Winery’s history, she has been with them since 1986.  Beringer is no longer family owned (since 1970s) but owned by Nestlé.  This has allowed them to expand.  My personal faves were the Knight Valley (on sale at LCBO) and the 1997 Private Reserve Cab.

The ‘tapas’ plates were large enough to be considered full servings!  There actually was almost too much food.  My only critique was that the wines and the food were not presented as pairs, but rather as two separate entities.

Spice rubbed lamb chops with olive jus

Buffalo mozzarella and aged asiago ravioli

Charcuterie and cheeses

Mignardise

Overall, we enjoyed the food and the wine and look forward to more events from WineAlign.

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