Toronto is ready to explode, it's amazing it hasn't already--I mean, its earnestness is so ripe, I suppose it's its signature. But wait! Everyone is walking around with James Beard Award winning Paul Greico's beard and even a riesling in every fist, yet there's this fabulous, (don't hit me) pinch the cheeks sweetness, and freshness. Where else is there a serious kitchen upstairs and a grunge bar rock club below. What did the chef tell me? It's a guarantee you get fucked. I suppose it's all about that in the end, isn't it?
Got my bearings.
Headed to Woodlot, where I still haven't eaten (at least on the menu). With a crazy ass wood oven in the rear, that looks very much like some dreamy MRI machine, it is where once ex-pat Canadian Jeff Connell, now repatriated to his home country, bakes bread and presides over a brilliantly presented, wonderfully curated wine list. In a way he's the little wine Johnny Appleseed. He spreads the wine gospel and I just bet plenty of Canadian coins that the wine world changed when Mr. Connell returned.
For example, $8 gets you a glass of the rare Baudry rosé--also available in 1/2 bottles. He successfuly does what Il Buco Alimentaria wishes--in depth selections by producer. Three choices of Breton (09 vintages) five of Texier, four of Frick, Given this is Canada and they've got to buy their wines at practically retail, the markups are not too bad, at least by current levels in NYC. So, in my pocket book I might go for the Nikolashvili Saperavi--waxy rose - $44 (Jeff stocks 3 saperavi) or Domaine La Montagnette 2009 for $42. Frick 2007 Steinert ( $72) or the 2009 Nuits d'ivresse ($74). For the local explorer go Keint-he 2007 pinot ($85).
Jeff had other ideas for me. We were off to see a Jeff disciple at a new spotin Roncesvalles, Hopgood Foodliner, for my first experience with Maritime food--from Halifax.
Thank goodness Jeff is a slave driver, off to Midfield Wine Bar in Dundas West.
Extrordinary. We breezed in. The photos up on Toronto Life suck. At night the place is romatic, dreamy, as good a date spot as Woodlot, local cheese
and the first wine I saw? Pelaverga--was it from Castello di Verduna? Hell, I wasn't taking notes. I longed to go back. I want it around the corner from me. Can something authentic please come to my neighborhood where the likes of the M&R bar used to roam?
Two nights later, back in Woodlot for a party for....me!
There is Kevin slicing up the salmon, fabulously citrusly dressed
I got to see Chris again, though not at his place, and I left Toronto without going to the place that everyone is buzzing about, Chantecler, started by a Woodlot and Jeff spawn, probably angelic and not devilish.
I can only hope when David Chang arrives in town, within two or three breaths, they don't start wearing their wine and tatts with the irony of the big city.