Fellow board member Tim Burnett, his wife Alyssa and yours truly journeyed to downtown Toronto for one final dinner at Los Colibris, the finest high end Mexican restaurant in Toronto and indeed all of Canada. Spearheaded by superstar chef Elia Herrera and restauranteur Andreas Antoniou. Higher property taxes and a municipal project prohibiting car traffic on King Street downtown in the theater and cinema district killed any viability of turning a profit and as the chef told me, the staff and investment partners were not interested in working just to pay off taxes instead of turning out a profit. They were negotiating down to the wire with their landlord to see if they could work something out but it was not to be. The restaurant's POV was that they didn't want to work just to pay taxes, they had to make a living. The landlord's POV was that he was hit with both rising property taxes and a traffic killing city project, neither of which he had control over. Understandably, all parties involved are all moving on to other projects. Last night was their final hurrah and we were there to partake of one last meal and say goodbye for now to Elia who moves on to the Assembly Chef's Hall downtown.
A special final thank you to the floor and kitchen staff who kept their heads held high on this final night and were total professionals. And especially to Elia whom Jay and I have known literally since the day the doors opened 5 years ago. The house was full on their last night and the service gracious. To be honest, you wouldn't have known the place was closing if you were a walk-in who hadn't read the news online. Some good news: the full timers had a month's notice so all of them immediately found employment elsewhere. They didn't charge us corkage on their last night as a final courtesy so they received a rather substantial final tip instead. Here's what we had:
DOMAINE HUET 2011 VOUVRAY SEC LE HAUT-LIEU -- Crisp and refreshing, lanolin texture, fresh lemon, and accented by the usual phenolic bitterness I find in good Chenin Blanc wine. Very refreshing.
CARLISLE 2012 GRUNER VETLINER -- To quote Tim, it has nothign in common with Austrian GV. But what this does have is big and delicious creamy off-dry starfruit and white grapefruit flavor in a silky smooth medium body that just veers ever so slightly off of refreshing enough to let you know it's a Cali wine but still refreshing enough that it's pretty comparable to a classic though lighter bodied Austrian GV. Very well done.
DE BORTOLI 2009 NOBLE ONE -- This well aged Australian Semillon based TBA has aged remarkably well, now showing a deep gold color, full of buckwheat honey on the nose, and bursting with honey sweet dried citrus peel and mango flavor with a slight touch of vanilla and toffee. Botrytis glycerin is still evident as well. Always a remarkable achievement. Vastly underrated and very affordable dessert wine that puts lesser Sauternes to shame in comparison.
For our last supper at Los Colibris, we started by sharing the house Guacamole with avocado, chili, lime juice and pomengranate seeds served with their housemade tortilla chips.
For their mains, Tim and Alyssa shared a Beef Cheek and a pork stuffed Chiles en Nogada (not pictured).
Tim and Alyssa moved on to an Empanada each which I ordered myself as my main.
As such, for my first course I had the house Sopa de Tortilla, which is beautifully presented by pouring the broth into the bowl at the table.
We then shared a couple of desserts to finish off, an absolutely mandatory event here given that Elia is a longtime pastry chef. We had the Tres Leches Cake and the Benuelos.
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Tasting notes, varietals, grapes - anything related to wine
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