Oh it was one of those days, where the smell of summer takes over the city - fresh, warm and sunny. Needless to say what happens with the patios. Cheri and I took a stroll along lively Queen Street after work.
trendy label with a sense of age, rose-orange hue
From the outside, the clean bold Czehoski typeface on the aged sign with paint deteriorating from it, is a memorable juxtaposition. The wooden-glass front spoke of another decade.
light tears, with typical aroma of strawberries
We walked into a narrow lot, wooden booths on one side, bar on the other. Overall cool and dark, but with trendy lights and open pipes on the ceiling. I was not to anxious to spend our evening here. The waiter took us up a steep fight of stairs leading to a bright loft-like room. Tall ceilings, white walls, photo-realistic vibrant paintings, a random canoe and some greens. That's a totally different feel. Another wooden set of stairs led to some small open concept space, which I was curious to find out is a private dining area.
more define aroma of raspberry and red currants, perhaps some sweet jelly beans too
We were told their patio is currently full, so we decided to start out inside and move out as space opens up. We sat on their wooden tables, next to a mom and a son having a meal. We took a quick glance at their small dark drink menus, which turned out to have all the dishes too. We were both glad to see their chef's name mentioned at the end - Nolan Witkowski.
Our casual waiter with his thick-frames glasses and trendy hat, in jeans and yet a formal vest was ready to tell us how cool and hip everything is (in case we didn't feel it yet). Inquiring about their Babcia's Pierogies, he simply had to say that they are his "all time favorite". This was probably the last time I asked for his advise. We were happy to hear Wednesday evenings was their half-off bottles of wine night. We just had to take advantage of that. Before we had the time to decide on anything, we followed our waiter's wobbly walk through a narrow corridor leading to their outside patio. Yes, they got me - very hip indeed. It wasn't just the joyful crowd of people, but the mix and match of different art and materials, which managed to come together into one sweet spot to hang out in. It was made up of aged wood under our feet and used as benches, blackboad-chalk art in front of us, a steep roof side radiating heat behind us, followed by a stone-arranged wall. The uniform, black patio furniture was just perfect to keep the area stylish and not over-the-top.
semi-dry, light fizz tickling the palate, hint of licorice coming through
Our eyes finally reached their wine cart. We didn't fret too much in picking their Californian Cab Sauv (Beringer '11). It was a great choice - fruit forward, lightly oaked, just the right temperature. Our Popcorn appetizer arrived right on time. We received a large bowl of popcorn with dried bunches of thyme sticking out, some rosemary, grated parmesan, soft grilled garlic cloves and yes, that nutty brown butter feel. Cheri didn't realize he was eating thyme, a spice he thought he dislikes, but loved every bit of this dish. We ended up talking about what a genius appetizer popcorn makes (cheap and easy to make), too bad it is not often a choice.. so much possibility.
Next our Queen West Garden Burger and Babcia's Pierogies made their way. I have never had pierogies surved at the right temperature. They always end up burning me.. the usual had to be repeated. I got a bit upset and ended up cutting all of them in half to cool down to a temperature when their flavor can speak up (it took a few other attempts before that happened). They were hand rolled and stuffed with sweet potato. To my surprise, didn't feel the described smoked gouda nor roasted garlic. There was little braised red cabbage under them and a unique creme fraiche on the side, with hints of orange zest.
The Queen West Garden Burger had a black beans patty with hints of cumin and havarti melted on top. We asked for a side of salad - zesty with plenty of muster seed, even though vegetarian, it was a hearty dish.
the added sugar leaves the palate with a thirsty,
Overall the casual, relaxed ambiance really made us appreciate this Queen West groove, and of course the unique meals served by quite the character had a big role to play. We can't wait to bring a couple of friends there soon.
Overall, one of those trend
y Rosé blends people get hooked on in early summer.