The Event: Spring Media Launch of Porzia's new food and cocktail menu
The Venue: Porzia, 1314 Queen Street West
The Target Audience: food and wine media/bloggers
The Quote/Background: The restaurant had been open two years and it was time for a new spring menu. It was named one of Toronto's 10 best new restaurants in 2013 by the Globe and Mail. The menu rotates weekly through 10 items, all under the control of owner-chef Basilio Pesce (who named the restaurant after his mother).
The Wines: the launch featured a variety of beers and cocktails, as well as four wines that they offer.
**** BEST -- Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Rosewood VQA Sussreserve Riesling 2013, 10.4% ABV, $14.95 LCBO
***1/2 BETTER -- Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Moonlite 2013 IGT Rocca della Macie, about 1/3 chardonnay and 1/3 vermentino, $14.95 Vintages
-Rosewood VQA Select Series Pinot Noir 2013, $21.95 Vintages
*** GOOD -- Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Rocca delle Macie Chianti 2013 Vernaiolo, $14.95 LCBO
The Food: the food came out in series, beginning with formaggi and salumi. These were around for the longest time before the superb crostini arrived (bone marrow and snails, cotechino and rapini, and ricotta and bomba: all best with Sussreserve). Next up were excellent olive oil halibut and fiddlehead aioli (my wife's fave). Deep fried side strip prawns arrived by the platterful, but it was difficult to get to the stinging nettle tortellini with smoked mackerel (too small a plate and everyone wanted photos). But I did, and I am glad that I caught up with the catch. By then, the crowd had doubled, the music volume had doubled, and while there was more food to come, we could not take the crush-noise-layout anymore. So we left. Of course, it will not be this way during a normal night sitdown meal.
The Downside: because of the set up it was impossible to pair all the wines with all the food. There were not enough seats and tables to do this. The crowds compounded the layout by actively taking cellphone and camera pix of the food, which managed to cool off before being eaten.
The Upside: great food. We were sorry to miss the grilled octopus, the chicken liver agnolotti, the ricotta cheese cake with rhubarb, and the yogurt panna cotta. I did not have enough nerve to ask for a doggy bag for these items.
The Contact Person: email@example.com and www.porzia.ca
The Event's Marketing Effectiveness and Execution (numerical grade): 82.
Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada