California Wine Fair

If you’re always on the lookout for the hottest new wines or an avid wine fan, the California Wine Fair is where you wanted to be last night! Many of California’s wineries are currently in the midst of their 35th annual wine fair tour across the country. Yesterday, 450 wines from the state of California were being presented at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto. This was the wine fair’s fourth stop this year. Several hundreds of people came out to sip wine, meet folks and chow down on yummy appetizers.

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We were all given a map, a fair guide and pencils to mark down our favorite and not so favorite wines of the evening. Though I’m in no way the biggest wine “connaisseur”, I’ve really developed a lot more wine knowledge in the past year and a half, thanks to travels and also Offner, who had sold wine back in the day in France. Honestly, after tasting a dozen wines, it became a lot harder to differentiate all the smells and tastes.

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There was an all-around great vibe at the fair last night. Offner and I had fun looking at different wine names and labels, looking for the ones that stood out the most. I particularly enjoyed this rad label taken from a poster found in Nashville and transformed into a wine label by the Three Thieves┬ácalled “The Show”. I also really enjoyed hearing about the history and location of each winery, their vines and products.

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If you’re on the west coast, fear not, the tour will be coming to Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton at the end of April. Same goes for the east coast, the tour will be in Moncton and Halifax at the beginning of May.

Last night got me even more excited about my upcoming Napa Valley winery tour this summer! Great times!

 

 

Cibo Wine Bar

Last Friday, thanks to a twitter recommendation from Chic Darling. Offner and I tried out the new Cibo Wine Bar that opened up just over two months ago on the corner at King and Brant Street in Toronto. We were looking for some good food to enjoy after a long week at work.

Reservations were super easy through Open Table online. Even if we reserved the afternoon of, there were still some spots available.

Right when we walked in, I noticed that the place had completely transformed from the trashy club that it used to be. The big wall of wine bottles, the dim lighting and the wooden walls gave it a very homey and nice atmosphere. I liked that you could see the kitchen from the dining room, the wood oven and also where all the in-house pasta are made.

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As expected, the wine bar had a pretty big selection of wines. We let our waiter recommend us a wine, something we rarely do but figured it’d be the place to do it. To our surprise, the wine he recommended from Napa Valley was delicious! Though a little pricey for the bottle in our opinion ($65), it was worth it in the end.

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The menu was pretty extensive. They had a variety of Italian food – a full pizza list, pasta that was made in-house, others that that weren’t, a list of salads, soups, fish and also some cheese and charcuterie boards.

We opted for an appetizer each: I took the cheese platter and Offner, the fried calamari. Though his calamari was good it was a little undercooked and too chewy for his liking. I was really excited to try their cheese board as it was recommended to me. The presentation was nice and the portions were good for the price ($17). That being said, the cheese itself wasn’t very original – they served Brie and a form of Mozzarella, basically cheeses that are not only easy to find, but unoriginal. The rest of the cheese was a little better/tastier but being a big cheese connaisseur, sadly I was disappointed with their overall selection.

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For our main course, Offner ordered some shrimp pasta made in-house, which he really enjoyed and myself, the endives salad, which was tasty and reasonably priced. Though the dessert menu looked very appetizing (hello Nutella pizza!!), we were too stuffed to order any.

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The one thing that really stood out and gave the restaurant an edge was what I noticed on my waiter’s feet…

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Yup! Some good ol’ chucks! I think having all the waiters wear chucks gave them a cool laid-back vibe.

Overall, a good experience at Cibo Wine Bar. I think they could improve their cheese selection (Terroni in my opinion still offers a better selection of cheese for the same type of Italian cheese board) and perfect some of their dishes a little more but all in all, we had a pleasant time. The restaurant now also serves brunch on the weekends, something I’d be curious of trying out some time!