How about this one pop-fans. The Pop Shoppe still exists. Remember that red and white logo, the cool flavours (grape, cherry, lime rickey, cream soda, pineapple, root beer) they’re all here – paint me shocked, I thought these guys were long gone; but as their brochure proudly proclaimed “The Pop Shoppe is Back” and I found out I could get my favourites at Giant Tiger, Costco, 7-11 and Zellers … awesome, brings me back to my childhood (like I ever really left) – www.popshoppe.com.
Speaking of drinks, check out the new flavoured carbonated water from Clic, presented in a see through “can” – 8 great flavours of which pineapple, grape and cherry were my favourites, while mango, peach and lychee were close seconds … and not too much carbonation making them perfect refreshers without that bloated, gassy feeling – fuzzy water minus the disgusting wet-belch. These cool little beverages are available at Highland Farms – www.clicfoods.com.
Drinks seemed to be all consuming for me today – probably to wash down all the food that was being thrust in my direction. There was this odd little drink from Tea Shop 168 – Green Tea and Aloe Vera, with real chunks of aloe vera … odd to chew my iced tea, but very refreshing (had it been hotter out) and my inside’s have never felt so smooth – www.teashop168.ca.
I mentioned food and there was lost to choose from, but these two really stuck out to me: 1) Bagel O’s (available at Wal-Mart) – stuffed bagel bites already loaded with your favourite cream cheese (think puffed pastry sized, but made with bagel). Cream cheese choices included Classic, Herb and Garlic, Salmon, and Blueberry – in traditional or whole wheat … a quick way to start the day. And as good bagels should be they are certified Kosher – www.bagelos.com. 2) Black & Tan beer fans unite with McCain’s Brew City Black and Tan Onion Rings – these rings have zing and stripes, they are drizzled with stout beer … this was the first food stuff I popped in my mouth at 10 in the morning and it stayed with me all day (in a good way). These you’ll have to find in pubs and restaurants.
Of course being a wine writer I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that New York Wines was there, promoting the fact that 5 New York wines will be on Vintages shelves come the fall … a first for N.Y. wines. I found the prices to be a little hefty, but that, I am sure, has more to do with the healthy LCBO mark-up than what the wineries are actually charging back home. The Hermann J. Wiemer 2006 Riesling ($23.50), of Finger Lakes origin, was very nice with great crispness and a biting finish; the Sheldrake Point Vineyards 2006 Chardonnay ($15.85) from Long Island has a dry pineapple core. Brotherhood, from Hudson River, has a Pinot Noir ($18.75) that tasted of dried cranberry and then there was the over-priced wine of the day, a Raphael 2001 Merlot from Long Island, sure it had a nice dry cedary taste and long finish, but $42.95 might be a hard sell in Ontario … those in the booth were saying the price should be more like $38 or $39 – but even that seems a bit high.
Churchill Cellars was there with a limited supply of wine, two of which were really good value. The French Pere Patriarche Pinot Noir ($9.80 - #522649) under screw cap of all things – light, fruity and earthy; and the Chivite Gran Feudo Reserva ($15.80 - #479014) a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot with great black-fruit intensity and subtle oak nuances.
Finally, my product of the day had to be the Enomatic Wine Serving System, I could sit here and try to describe it, but instead I took pictures (see above and below), to save myself the thousand words. I urge both restaurants and especially the LCBO to look into this ingenious, revolutionary way to serve alcohol by the glass (for restaurants) or by the ounce (for the LCBO) – heck I’m sure a forward thinking winery or two would have use for this … it keeps wine fresh in the bottle for up to 60 days – depending on the wine – and amounts served can be programmed and carefully controlled by the machine. You can see it in action at the Mercatto Restaurant on Toronto Street or visit www.enomatic.ca.