Taste of Winterlude...is anyone going? [General]

2010 Jan 17
I just received this in my e-mail in box. I have no idea how they got my co-ordinates, but I'm glad they did. Here's the website: www.canadascapital.gc.ca

Is anyone here planning on going? I'm thinking of doing Navarra and Beckta, but Atelier is participating too! So many decisions...although I don't think you can go wrong with any of these options : ) I want to try them all, but I have to draw the line somewhere.

I look forward to seeing you there!


2010 Jan 17
navarra and beckta's menus look tempting hmmm... :) i'm going to try to drag some friends to this.

2010 Jan 18
I like the sounds of the menus at Play and Wilfrid's. Never been to Wilfrid's - might be fun to give it a try.....

2010 Jan 18
for the past few ToW's and after comparing the current posted menus, i've found that offerings are not usually a drastic change and that they're mostly a condensed/group menu version of current offerings at respective restos as a market focus to entice winterluders in to try the rest of the menu or the full portion dining size who many not be aware of the good stuff. pricing may be higher due to the advertising and publishing costs that most people are not aware that it is ain't exactly cheap.

if you find yourself that you're a business-minded foodie and if the menu is not completely different from this season's offering, you'll clue in and get in the spirit now and get your ToW without the ToW premium pricing and help business in the slower part of the year.

2010 Jan 18
Atelier is on the list for me! Combine that with some skating at Dows Lake w/ a Kahlua spiked hot chocolate - sounds like a great evening to me (and only a few minutes away from me now!)

2010 Jan 18
Taste of Winterlude or not, we try to be very aware of the situation, and get out and support restaurants in January when in general the weather and people's financial situations hits their industry the hardest.

After reading thru some of the Menus though, I think I see some incentive to get out an try some of the "higher end" spots that we never seem to get to.

Problem will be which one(s)... there are just too many mouth-watering suggestions. (LOL, nice problem to have).

NOTE - If anyone does plan to visit during the Taste of Winterlude... make your Rerservations early... it is my experience that Weekends fill up especially quickly.

2010 Jan 19
At the very least, we're going to Play with some friends.

But we're also checking the web page daily to see if the Stratus Winemaker's Dinner at Beckta will be put on again. It was so good last year (www.ottawafoodies.com).

2010 Jan 20
Hi Momomoto: Sadly, we are not doing a Stratus dinner again this February (but will later in the year). Instead, we have an awesome dinner lined up with Southbrook Winery showing off their incredible '07 reds (including their Syrah and Poetica Bordeaux blend) and some of their other awesome wines. It's Feb. 16th at 6:30 pm, $95 per person plus taxes and gratuity for 4 courses, five wines and a canape reception. Please give us a call at 613-667-9207 if you are interested. Hope to see you there!



2010 Jan 20
Thanks for the update, Steve!

Depending on whether the 16th is doable, I may be attending another event after all.

2010 Jan 21

After seeing a large ad in today's Ottawa Citizen (Thursday, January 21, 2009)... I thought I would share the info.

As an aside, what started out as a relatively easy idea, got complicated quite quickly. The Ad only lists the Title of the Events & their Dates and a reference to contact Groovy Grapes for Registration etc. www.groovygrapes.com

So I checked out the Groovy Grapes Website, only to find out it re-routed me to a Website for Local Wine Events.com and even then some of the info was lacking... so between combining what I did find there, the info from the Ad and then deciding to check out the Winterlude Website itself, I now present some more info than one will find in the Ad (specific details on each Event`s description can be found on-line).

Thursday, JANUARY 28th (6:30 to 8:30 PM)
Restaurant L'Aubergine
$ 89 per person

Thursday, JANUARY 28th (6:30 to 9:30 PM)
Wilfrid's - Chateau Laurier Hotel
$ 125 per person

Tuesday, FEBRUARY 2nd (6:00 to 9:00 PM)
Play Food & Wine
$ 130 per person

Wednesday, FEBRUARY 3rd (6:00 to 9:00 PM)
DiVino Wine Studio
$ 120 per person

Wednesday, FEBRUARY 3rd (6:00 PM)
Sante Restaurant
$ 80 per person

Thursday, FEBRUARY 4th (6:30 to 8:30 PM)
Bacci Bistro
$ 89 per person

Friday, FEBRUARY 5th (6:30 to 11:30 PM)
Perspectives - Brookstreet Hotel
$ 249 per person

Tuesday, FEBRUARY 9th (6:00 to 9:00 PM)
Courtyard Restaurant
$ 130 per person

Tuesday, FEBRUARY 16th (6:00 to 9:00 PM)
$ 125 per person

Wednesday, FEBRUARY 17th (7:00 to 10:00 PM)
$ 50 for Members / $ 55 for Guests

Thursday, FEBRUARY 18th (6:30 to 8:30 PM)
$ 150 per person

Thursday, FEBRUARY 18th (6:30 to 8:30 PM)
Bistro St. Jacques
$ 69 per person

My only slight annoyance with all of this is course that some of the Events are already SOLD OUT but so is the consequence when the major sponsor is American Express (and as such offering up "Front of the Line" seating to their members).

2010 Jan 22
Very excited!

We are booked in to Wilfrid's for Feb 13th "Taste of Winterlude" menu. I hope anyways, since the girl who took our reservation told me that the menu wasn't decided yet and did I want to wait to book till it was - so I said "Actually I am looking at it right now on the TOW web site"....she seemed a bit flustered. I plan to print out the menu and bring it with me just in case :):)

We are also booked in at Play on Feb 19th for their TOW menu. It looks amazing.

On a side note, I noticed that Juniper was added to the line up (they weren't listed on Tues or Wed when I was going through the list), but their menu is not up yet. So I went to their web site to see if it was posted there by any chance (it wasn't) but I saw they have their "Dueling Chefs 2010" series posted. These take place every Monday night from Jan 11th - March 15th. We are booked in for March 8th with guest chef from Absinthe. Looks like alot of fun and all proceeds go to charity.


2010 Jan 23
The roster of ToW events looks interesting, but most of them are pretty expensive. After making a big donation to the Haitian relief campaign, we're going to curtail our discretionary spending for a bit. But, being a wine guy, I can't resist the Ontario wine tasting, which is the cheapest of the ToW events. We went last year, and it was really worthwhile... a good chance to chat about the products, and sample many of them, along with some good nibblies. Our tasting at this event had quite a bit of influence on what we purchased during 2009.

Here's more info on this event (huge, ugly URL - hope it comes through okay):

The lineup of wineries is similar to last year's, and quite impressive... who can resist the likes of Stratus, Tawse, Southbrook, Flat Rock, Peninsula Ridge, Lailey, Calamus, Cave Spring, Rosehall Run, Henry of Pelham, Strewn, Cattail Creek, Huff, and more?

2010 Jan 24
Booked at Beckta for the 13th. Taking the family from To.
They had a good selection of vegetarian and also no bacon or pork in the dishes. 3 of my guests dont eat pork or shell fish so I had a hard time finding a menu to suit all.

Also booked at Merlot for 6th, going with bunch of gals for an evening out.

2010 Jan 24
BDM - I saw the Ontario Wine Fair (Winefest) info on the NCC's Taste of Winterlude site (list I put up above) and it did catch my eye... BUT then this weekend while picking up some wine at the LCBO's latest release, I also found a flyer for the event with even more details. It sounds like a good event with the chance to talk to many Ontario Winemakers. And as it is an event put on in conjunction with the Wines of Ontario (which I didn't realize previously).... There will no doubt be some GREAT wines present to showcase the Wineries... and guessing some that will not be found on the LCBO list.

"The Man" and I are now definitely interested in attending... will make up our minds probably in the next 24 Hours.

2010 Jan 24
F&T - If last year's event was any indication, it will be well worth attending. Some of the wineries, at least, were indeed showcasing their best stuff (e.g., Stratus was pouring their high end Red and White). Quite a few of the wines on offer were not LCBO listings (though I valued the opportunity to try some of those that were, to decide whether they were worth picking up), while others appeared later in the year as Vintages releases - usually the winery reps can give you a heads-up as to when they'll be showing up at Vintages). Another plus: unlike the Wine & Food Show, there are no extra tickets needed for the wine tastes or food. The location at the NAC should be good, too... last year it was relocated on short notice to the old Ottawa City Hall, which was a bit of a pain.

2010 Jan 26
We're repeat offenders to the Winefest, and will definitely be there on the 17th. We use it as a bit of a preview to what we should buy when we're down in Niagara over the summer (curse the LCBO/AGCO and their unwillingness to let wineries sell direct at these events!)

2010 Jan 29
I cannot attend TOW, but I am also attending the Dueling Chefs event at Juniper on March 8!

I got the last 3 seats :)

2010 Jan 29
Good show, Schnicken! The Dueling Chefs thing actually sounds really awesome. Would love to hear how it goes (if you remember).

2010 Feb 1
I will try my best to post a good review after!

2010 Feb 2
Checking out ToW next Tuesday evening for the Walkabout - fingers crossed for a 'warm' evening. It was a gift from the in-laws. Someone else we know is going tonight, so I'll get some info about their Walkabout to post tomorrow. Sounds very intriguing though - looking forward to it.

Tonight going to the LCBO Zen Kitchen cooking class - looking forward to another serving of the chocolate cake...mmm :-)

2010 Feb 4
Friday, Feb.5th ěs the 19th Annual Winterlude Stew Cook-Off from noon to 2 p.m.

Anyone going? Anyone been before and have any insights they`d like to share?

2010 Feb 4
Here is the Walkabout Feast Menu from Tuesday Night - all accounts were great! They espcially enjoyed the wine pairings. Can't wait for our Walkabout on this coming Tuesday!

Play Food + Wine ~ Welcome: mixed charcuterie paired with Codorniu Brut Classico (Spain)

Kinki Asian Fusion - Black Pearl, lightly braised scallop, masgo, spicy mayo, avocado and tempura bits paired with Quinta de Avelheda Vinho Verde '09 Portugal

Stella Osteria - Duck confit and shiitake mushroom lasagna paired with La Tunella Pinot Nero '08 Italy

Navarra Restaurant - As Good As Foi Gras, 'crispy pig cheek' with lychee and apple butter paired with Albarino Valtea '08 (Spain)

Social Restaurant & Lounge - Sweet Ending, cheese & deserts paired with a surpirse dessert wine.

My brother-in-law and his wife enjoyed it. The weather co-operated as well.

Will post next week's Walkabout menu :-)

2010 Feb 4
i'll be walking right by it with my list of errands to do tomorrow (aubrey's, la bottega, chapters), so i'll definetly check it out :)

2010 Feb 5
re: stew cook off

the lineup was huge!!! and gated. my friend and myself didn't have enough time to wait then try each place but, people seemed to be enjoying themselves.

great weather for it today too.

2010 Feb 15
Had our TOW dinner at Wilfrid's Sat night. It was absolutely delicious.

There were two apps, two mains and one dessert (included) for $45 plus $20 for two wine pairings:


My husbands main was the "O’Brien Farms Braised Beef Short Ribs". Crispy on the outside and tender and juicy in the middle. He asked our server if this was a regular menu item. He said no since the short ribs are braised for at least 48 hours before being served and when they run out, they run out. We were both happy to be able to taste them....

My main was "Pomegranate Glazed Pickerel". Perfectly cooked, flaky, melt in your mouth and the pom glaze was a nice sweet accent.

All four wine pairings were well matched with the Gretzky Cab-Merlot being the stand out pairing.

Service was friendly but unobtrusive and the restaurant itself was relaxing and calm with lots of space between the tables making for a very intimate dinner.

We loved the whole experience....

2010 Feb 18
Well, the Wines of Ontario Winefest on Wednesday night was a winner. The venue, at the NAC, was excellent - just the right size for this event, with conveniences (washrooms, coatracks) nearby, and it all seemed very well organized. The food was plentiful, and a good selection of wines from 24 wineries was available. It was busy, but not overly crowded, and there was never a long wait to get food or wine samples. Many of the booths were manned by winery owners and/or winemakers, which made it more interesting.

I had the best of intentions to make some tasting notes along the way, but it was just too awkward to do that while juggling wine and food, so I gave up on it. Oh well... here's a few notes from what I remember:

We started with some whites, mainly Chardonnays, and these were generally very good, especially those from the 07 vintage. There weren't as many Rieslings and Gewurztraminers as I would had expected, and the few we tried weren't that impressive (the Cave Spring 08 Riesling was pretty nice though), so we moved on to the reds. The best of the Pinot Noirs tasted was the 07 Reserve from Flat Rock. Most of the others were from the 08 vintage - we tried the Tawse, for example, which was okay, but a pale shadow of the 07 that we tried last year. Fortunately, there were quite a few other 07 reds to try, and most were very good. The 07 Wildass Red (Stratus) was really nice, but the star of the show for me was the 07 Stratus Cabernet Franc - I had to go back for a second sample of this beauty! We tried some other 07 Cab Francs (e.g., Lailey, Sandbanks), but the Stratus blew them away. It was nice to see the Henry of Pelham 05 Reserve Baco Noir is still maturing nicely, as we still have one in the cellar.

Another wine I was really taken with was the 09 Tawse Echos Rose - gorgeous and fruity, a perfect summer wine. Apparently it's scheduled to be released at Vintages in June. We finished up by sampling some sweeties - the Strewn 08 Late Harvest Vidal, which is very nice for the price, and then a couple of terrific icewines: the 07 Pillitteri Riesling and the Stratus 08 Red.

They also had coffee available, another nice touch. All in all, a very well done event. Next up for this wino: the California and New Zealand wine fairs in April!

2010 Feb 19
I'm in the same boat as BDM - Loved it, didn't take notes ;)

Sounds like we drank the exact same things, too, so I'll echo everything already said and give a big thumbs-up to the 2008 Stratus Red Icewine (Cab. Franc–Cab Sauv.). I can't remember the last time I had it, but it's gained this beguiling spicy character that a lot of red icewines just don't get. I have a bottle down in the bottom of the cellar that I'm just not going to touch for many years, just to see how it turns out.