The Toronto Wine & Spirits Festival, in it’s 4th year, was held last weekend at Sugar Beach. With the great weather we’ve been having, the waterfront was the perfect location for sampling wine, beer, spirits and some really good food.

I arrived in a group of six after work and our first stop was the booth from Milagro Restaurant. They offered a special of two tacos (pulled pork and lamb) with a marguerita made with Tequila Tromba.

Pulled Pork Taco from Milagro

Lamb Taco frmo Milagro

The pork was flavourful and had some heat to it that was tempered by the pickled onions. The lamb taco wasn’t spicy but nice and tender. Both were equally good.

We next spied a booth where there was a large container with dry ice coming out of it. Too curious, we joined the line to try what the called The Eddy Stuart Stormy by The Grid TO.

The Eddy Stuart Dark and Stormy by The Grid TO

This was a bloody fantastic drink! The ingredients for this drink: 1 part Drambuie, 1 part Bacardi Black Rum, 3 part ginger beer, 3 drops Angostura bitters, 5 part lime juice.

The dry ice was for effect and the presentation was great. They served the drink with a piece of candied ginger on a stick. I’ve never really enjoyed whiskey because I find it leaves a bit of a harsh aftertaste in my mouth, but would definitely buy some Drambuie and create cocktails at home.

Our next stop was to the booth from Against the Grain. They were cooking up a house smoked beef brisket poutine. Now that was some tender beef and the gravy was smooth and tasty! According to my friend Ken “It was GOOOOOOOD!”

House Smoked Beef Brisket Poutine from Against the Grain

Our next stop was to Rock Lobster. There was a line up but what people were ordering looked really good. You had a choice between their lobster roll (what they are famous for) and their lobster taco. I chose the lobster taco and we were not disappointed. The taco contained lobster meat with red cabbage, avocado crème,  sriacha sauce and garnished with cilantro.

Lobster Taco by Rock Lobster Food

Lobster is one of my favourite things to eat and the flavours were well put together. I am thinking of it as I’m writing this.

To complement my taco, I opted for some wine and sampled the Henri Bourgeois Sancerre “Les Baronnes”. This is a Sauvignon Blanc and is known to be a good pairing with fish dishes. It was a light, fruity and a nice sipping wine.

Ready for more eating, we headed to the Berkeley Events booth that offered Chinese pork buns with Ban Mi slaw and Wrapped duck c with white bean & taro.  The duck confit was the standout of the two but the bun to meat ratio was off. There was way too much bun. If they had a smaller bun (not size but the thickness of the bun) then both sandwiches would have been perfect.

Chinese Pork Buns with Ban Mi Slaw

Wrapped Duck Confit with White Bean & Taro

Two friends in the group, encouraged me to try the Perz Cruz Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva. Waiting by the table for my pour, I overheard a couple talking about this wine as they were back for their second sample of it. I have to say I enjoyed it very much. It was full and fruity but I didn’t find it heavy.  The smell of the wine made me hungry for it. It was quite delicious so I too enjoyed two samples.

My next sample was the BC Growers Cider.  I thought it was okay but I am a loyal drinker of Strongbow Cider and I still prefer it. I am thinking a tasting of all the ciders is my future. This might be the theme for my next summer party.

Somewhere during the evening, my group of six had grown to 11 and we agreed that the standouts were the lobster tacos and the The Eddy Stuart Stormy so we had another round of each. I didn’t realize there is no filler in the lobster rolls by Rock Lobster (that is why I didn’t try one) but I will definitely find out where their next pop up location will be so I can try one.

I enjoyed the creativeness of the booths at this festival and I look forward to it next year especially if they keep the location to the waterfront. It’s well within stumbling distance.

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