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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mavrik Wine Bar Tasting

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usReview Location:
676 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON
(416) 214-9429

Last week Grace and I were invited by Tim (@mrtimchan) to Mavrik Wine Bar (@MavrikWineBar) for a wine tasting event. Not being much of a wine person, I was pretty intimidated. I don't know the first thing about wine, except the fact that it's made from grapes, right? Well lucky for me, once a month Mavrik invites professional sommelier Alexander Hamilton to educate on the art of wine tasting to whoever would like to drop by. And if you ever have a chance to talk catch a conversation with owners Liz Choi and Joanne Park, they will be able to tell you how Mavrik came about. I'll elaborate more later, but it's an interesting and inspiring story!

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Mavrik Wine Bar

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The event began with Tim warmly greeting us at the door and passing one of the many gift bags with lots of goodies inside. Included in the bag of loot was the most current issue of Corduroy, a magazine from Mr. Tim Chan himself. The current issue was about Josh Hartnett, one of my faves!

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Cheese and Charcuterie Menu

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Food Menu

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Sommelier Alex passing on some of his infinite knowledge of wine

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We were served three different glasses of wine, and a notebook to jot down facts or thoughts. Between each glass, Alex would speak a little bit about the wine being served: the type of grape, facts about the region, and prevalent characteristics. The session was casual and informal, with people asking questions and offering feedback about what they liked about each one.

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Giving our noses a first taste of the wines

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Sampler of Bulgogi Poutine, Kimchi & Goat Cheese Puff, and assorted charcuterie and cheese

So that we weren't drinking on an empty stomach, we were served tasting portions of three dishes to go along with our wines.  I particularly liked the Kimchi Cheese Puff which had an extremely creamy kimchi and goat cheese filling on the inside. They were tiny, but tasty, and kept me wanting more!

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Grace getting her photography on.

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Mavrik Co-owner Liz Choi

So I promised the story behind Mavrik and here it is. It's not a very typical one, or at least one that I've ever heard of. It doesn't begin with two experienced chefs or wine connosieurs. No, instead two best friends, one a Wall Street trader and another a Criminal Lawyer, one day just decided they had enough of the corporate world quit their jobs in order to chase their dreams. And so Liz Choi and Joanne Park opened Mavrik Winebar.

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I had the chance to speak to Liz that night, after she approached me to ask how I was enjoying my night. Her friendly personality made me feel so at ease. Amidst the conversation I decided to ask, "Why a wine bar?" 

She replied without even thinking: "I love wine, and I want people to feel like it doesn't have to be intimidating or pretentious. That's what Mavrik is all about. You can come in here with jeans and a t-shirt, and still have a great time." 

And I have to say, they've really done a good job. To think that I was intimidated to come here at first, silly me! A really great choice for a casual and fun night out with a couple of friends :)

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