Archive of ‘Food’ category

LCBO Intro to Wine Class

red wine session
Here’s a secret. I don’t like wine. So when my friend mentioned taking a LCBO Wine Tasting class,
I was intrigued. Could this class help foster a love of wine? Only one way to find out!
We signed up for Intro to Wine, at the impressively massive Summerhill LCBO.

Each session focused on a different type of wine. Reds, Whites, Sparkling Wine (Champagne!) and Fortified Wines (Port, Sherry) were covered.The classes were entertaining, and our instructor, Neal Boven was energetic and passionate about wines. He had traveled all over the world tasting wines, and was responsible for selecting wine for the LCBO to sell each season.

the classroom

The classes were held in the kitchen, and had a really nice set-up. 8 glasses of wine would be set up with generous tasting amounts, with a basket of fresh bread along with spring and sparkling water. We learned all sorts of neat facts, like pinot noir (pictured below) is referred to “the heartbreak grape” by wine makers due to it’s fickle nature. Did you know that red wine get it’s colour from the grape peel? I also quickly learned that I liked wines high on the sugar scale, and did not like bitter wines at all.

the heartbreak grape

the heartbreak grape

we used this worksheet to review each wine

Here’s how to properly taste wine (according to me):

1. Take a deep sniff of the wine to see what notes you can catch.
2. Vigorously swirl your wine to mix with the air and release the scents. Sniff again.
3. Drink the wine, making sure to swirl it around in your mouth so it hits your palette.

Wine has some bizarre tastes. Some are what you’d want to taste. Honey, fruit, cake, spring blossoms, ginger Others…..gasoline, wax, cream of mushroom, Nivea cream, rubber, cat urine, mold ……definitely nothing I’d ever want to taste in my wine. Or my anything, really.

The very last session was about pairing foods with wine. We weren’t able to take this session with our regular instructor, and had to beg and plead to be allowed to take our final class at a different location. The final class was a lot of fun, and we tasted cheeses and chocolates with different wines.

Taking the course was a good experience. I now know what my favourite white wine is (Vouvray Lieu Dit Les Fosses D’Harengs) and how to pick a bottle of wine like a pro! I still don’t really like it though…
If you are interested in taking a course at the LCBO, go here! (They also offer cooking classes.)

A word to the wise…the Summerhill location is a particularly good one. When we visited another location for the final class, the instructor and class wasn’t half as interesting.

Winterlicious Review: Bistro 990 $20 lunch

So I decided to try Bistro 990 as my first Winterlicious lunch of the season. It’s claim to fame is that it’s the TIFF go to, so I grabbed a friend and checked it out. From outside, it isn’t much to look at, but inside is beautiful. We were ushered to a cozy corner table.

I started with the Leek & Potato Soup, Shaved Truffle Infused Pecorino Cheese, while my friend had the Bistro House Mixed Salad, Balsamic Vinaigrette. We were served two pieces of french bread, which was (oddly, but not unbecomingly) salted. Perhaps this was a taste of what was to come?

I was pleasantly pleased with my soup. I am not much of a soup drinker, but it was delicious, with the exact amount of thickness and flavour. The Pecorino cheese was a tasty addition. My companion enjoyed her salad.
leek-soup
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The main course arrived. I had chosen the Black Angus Beef Burger, Aged White Cheddar, Garlic Toast and Frites. My friend had the Sole Filet à la Meunière. I thought that her sole portion looked a little small, but maybe that was just me. I was a bit surprised to see my burger served without a bun, but wasn’t really bothered. The burger was excellent quality and very flavorful. I found the garlic bread a little tasteless and hard. I also noticed that it was the same salted house french bread…an odd combination for garlic bread. Not only that, but they were a little burnt. The frites were nice and crisp. I didn’t feel that they were housemade, though.

My friend took one bite of her sole and commented that it was wayy too salty. I tried a piece and it was. It was too salty with an overpowering lemon flavour. She also didn’t seem too impressed by the bed of linguine the sole was served on. Our waitress noticed that she hadn’t eaten much, and asked if everything was okay. My friend told her that it was a bit too salty for her, and she was asked if she would like anything else but she declined. We were a bit disappointed with our main course, after being started off with such excellent appetizers.
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For dessert, we had the Crème Brulée and Apple Crumble, Vanilla Bean & Bourbon Ice Cream. Both were presented quite nicely. The creme brulee was in a tea cup, and my (tiny) scoop of vanilla ice cream was in a cute spoon rest. I found my apple crumble a bit on the cool side, the the apples being just a tad too crisp for my liking in a crumble. Both desserts with served with a tiny assortment of fruits. My companions Creme Brulee made a satisfying crack as she tapped it with her spoon, and declared it delicious.

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Overall, I was underwhelmed by Bistro 990. The service was good, the food was generally good quality, but could have been way way better. Portion sizes were mostly adequate, and I was left feeling full and satisfied, if not eleated.

Bistro 990
990 Bay Street
M5S 2A5
416 -921-9990

http://www.bistro990.ca

La Tea Da Review

lateada1
On Friday afternoon a friend and I set out to achieve a mission. This was to have afternoon tea, and consume pastries. Unfortunately, we didn’t factor in leaving from Queen and Yonge in the heart of rush hour. We did end up making it to our chosen destination, La Tea Da, a mere half an hour before closing. We were quickly ushered in and shown to our seats, all the while being cheerfully admonished by the owner for our late arrival. Although we had originally wanted to sample a High Tea, we ended up settling for a Cream Tea instead and were not disappointed. A Cream Tea consists of tea and scones, while a High Tea has three courses: scones, finger sandwiches and an assortment of pastries.

We were served our tea in matching blue teapots set atop of ceramic tea warmers. The tea warmers had small tea lights inside to keep our drink piping hot.

I ordered Chocolate Indian Tea, and my friend had the Prince of Wales- a black tea with a hint of currant. We both enjoyed our teas.

As we were sipping our tea, we were served the daily selection of scones, (blueberry and cranberry) warm from the oven. We were given an assortment of jams, clotted cream and butter. The scones were excellent and fresh, despite our late arrival. I’m not very fond of berries inside of my baked goods, but these were delicious! Although the owner was busy bustling around, we were never rushed or made to feel like we were inconveniencing her. She told us to take our time, although she did lock up to make sure our meal (we were seated right in front of the window) didn’t encourage latecomers.

As we were leaving, we noted all of the charmingly mismatched tea cups set on each table. “You can pick them up and flip them over if you like. Everyone does that.”

We did. La Tea Da is a great place to go with a friend on a sunny, cloudy, or even rainy afternoon. We will definitely go back to try the High Tea, hopefully next time with more time to spare!

La Tea Da 2305 Queen Street East,
(416) 686-5787 http://www.lateada.ca

Hours:

Tuesday-Sunday: 11:00am-6:00pm Closed on Mondays

Cream Tea: $12.00

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