There was a free raffle for great prizes, including a signed copy of Ferran Adria's A Day at elBulli that I just happened to win; free samplings of Toronto microbrewery Steam Whistle; wine tastes; complimentary Brassaii breakfast cards; and a specially designed menu for anyone who felt like noshing.
Foodie Meet No. 1 win: A Day at elBulli, signed by chef & owner Ferran Adria
So we knew we'd be in for an equally great -- or even better -- time at the Wine, Wine, Wine Edition, held this past Wednesday evening at Cafe Taste at 1330 Queen Street W., west of Dufferin. Andrea and Suresh set up a smart pricing system: $45 for five wine-and-cheese pairings (plus unlimited pour); $25 for five 2 oz. pours of the wine tasting; and $5 entrance for anyone who couldn't stay for the entire night, or preferred own menu selection.
I opted for the $5 ticket because five glasses of wine would be wasted on me, and I couldn't stay till 11 p.m. They also did another raffle (I won the Top Chef cookbook, which I didn't want but wasn't going to refuse); and author Kathryn Boel read from her upcoming memoir Corked. She was self-deprecating, sassy, clever and hilarious. Plus Cafe Taste owner Jeremy Day was our wine tutor for the night, and he talked about the wines and cheeses sort of like how a lawyer talks about law -- you got the basic concept down, but his capacity for details was hard to keep up with.
Foodie Meet No. 2 win: Top Chef cookbook
A couple of interesting things I learned about wine last night:
1. There is no use in cleaning your palette with water from one wine to the next because there are about 500 compounds in a wine, and two will only have about 35 in common. So better to cleanse with your next wine!
2. The idea behind drinking wine and eating cheese together is the cheese will coat your tongue in fats and acids, so when you take the next sip of wine and next bite of cheese, an improved flavour should occur for the subsequent sips and bites.
I had a really lovely time, enjoying a 5 oz. glass of Calamus Estate Gewurtzraminer 2007 Vinemount Ridge ($9 -- Jeremy only sells Ontario and Quebec wines and cheeses as he's all about local, local, local!), and mostly chatting with Twitter friend Yasmin (@yasminATlesauce) and her currently computer-less friend Stephanie. It was very cool meeting Yasmin in real life, as we talk almost daily on Twitter and each other's blogs (hers is fabulous, by the way -- funny writing and beautiful food photos of her nearly daily creations) but haven't had the opportunity to meet until Wednesday.
Cafe Taste itself has a dark neighbourhood feel. The front is all dark woods, low tables and chairs, which I'm not that into. But the back patio (where we were) was much more quaint -- canopy covering, twinkle lights along the wooden fence, stone path.
I'm really happy I went. I couldn't have had a better time. Plus beforehand, I stopped at Le Gourmand at Queen and Spadina for a small coffee ($1.20) and enormous peanut butter cookie ($2.25); and sketchy Ali's West Indian Roti Shop about a block away from Cafe Taste for $1.70 doubles -- chickpea deliciousness, too good.