deVine Thoughts

April 30, 2012

New York Dining Experiences

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 10:25 pm

Author: Dirk Chan


After a couple of days in the Big Apple, Annabelle and I have experienced the sardine squishing on the NY Metro, the type A people always on the go, the pedestrians completely ignoring crosswalk signage, there’s queuing everywhere you go and of course, the shocking sticker price on grocery items. We’ve recalibrated our expectations of what is considered expensive, and what is just the going rate – we’ve just ignored the fact that coffee cream that costs less than $2 at home will cost $3.50 here, or a bar of Dove soap is $3.25 that I can buy two bars for $2.50 back home.

However, one thing we’ve discovered is that good dinners can be had for just about the same price as Edmonton if you do your homework. For example, yesterday we went the Aldea, a one star Michelin Portuguese restaurant in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighbourhood, an easy 20 min train ride from our rented Upper East Side apartment. Well appointed in modern decor, we sat upstairs in a spacious table for 2.

For appetizers, Annabelle had the Croquetas de Baclhau with roasted garlic aioli, the cod is blended to a smoothness that the salty fish is only subtlely detected. Creamy texture in these cod-fish balls. I had the Shrimp Alhinho, with a subtle kick and lingering garlic finish.

The main course for Annabelle was the Arroz de Pato – duck confit was pulled and served in a rice with chorizo, olive and orange, served on top with medium rare duck breast. Sumptuous. I had the simply named Suckling Pig that was slow-cooked sous vide in a water bath. Various parts of the pig were done and then combined in a uniform rectangular shape and the grilled crisp skin on top. You could have thought it was Shepherd’s Pie if you didn’t know better. Great flavor from the pickled kohlrabi, carmelized onions and crush potatoes. Great presentation and the most unusual suckling pig i’ve ever had.

For dessert, we shared the Sonhos “Little Dreams”, the Portuguese equivalent of the French Bignets, and these were “as good as my Mom’s” good. Smaller then the French version, they were light as a feather, lots of egg taste and when paired with three dipping sauces: chocolate-hazelnut, salted caramel and my favourite, the lemon curd to die for. Exquisite meal.

The wine for the evening, the 2010 Herdade do Esporao Branco Reserva – a blend of three indigenous Alentejo white varietals, it was oily, lemony, perfumey and quite full-bodily dry, and as good as the 2006 which we once carried at the store. Went well with the appetizers and main courses.

Come back in a day or two for the best Mexican dinner of our lives…


April 25, 2012

3rd Annual 104th-Street Cleaning Blitz

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 11:23 am

fourth_st_cleanupAuthor: Ed Fong

Each year, the 104th-St. community comes together to do a “spring street cleaning”. This year, the event will take place on Friday, April 27, 2012, rain or shine. It’s a great chance to lend a hand and meet your neighbors. Our past volunteers have included many of the streets business and property owners, residents and people from other areas of the city.

If you would like to volunteer your time, please contact Ed Fong at deVine Wines & Spirits. Ed can be reached by phone at 780.421.9463 or by e-mail at

Meet Up Time: Friday, April 27, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Meeting Place: deVine Wines & Spirits, 10111-104th-St. – Coffee and donuts will be provided courtesy of the Coast Edmonton Plaza.

Your 104th-St. Action Committee has partnered with Capital City Clean Up to help us clean our neighborhood. They will be providing us with gloves, bags and dustbins to help us do our part.

“A clean and safe Edmonton is a shared responsibility”

With your help, we can make this happen!


April 19, 2012

A ‘Titanic’ Evening

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 10:40 am

titanic_tasting_menu2Author: Dirk Chan

Pictures: Hai Nguyen and Wayne Logus

It was a “Titanic” dinner and the double meaning was entirely appropriate as on Saturday, April 14th, on the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, twenty one of us decided to do a replica of the last dinner on board the ship. The timing was perfect, it was on a saturday, it was cold and wet out, and chances are we won’t be around for the next centennial anniversary. The event was held at Mercer’s Catering (our great thanks to Jill Mercer for allowing us the use of her wonderful space, with a kitchen worthy of the ship itself).

The menu was ambitious and we cut it down to ONLY 11 courses (it took us from 7pm to almost 1am to finish – we carried our bellies home). The attendees selected one or two courses that they were going to prepare and it worked out wonderfully. The wine menu has never been recovered so we did our best to pair with quality wines to each course. I’ve always wondered what happened to what must have been an enormous and great wine cellar on board the ship.

We tried to be as authentic as possible – we were all decked out in either First Class finery or lower berth slum-wear. Flowers were the traditional pink and white. Music was what was heard from the Titanic ranging from Tchaikovsky, Verdi, to ragtime, piano, Viennese Waltz music as well as what was said to be the last tune played by the String Trio onboard the Titanic – Songe d’Automne. Wayne, one of our contributing photographers, brought doilies for the flower arrangements, a couple of morse code machines, a British flag, and an officer’s whistle that was used to announce the start of the meal as well as a call to attention where each guest got up to speak to their respective courses. We must mention and thank our two wait staff, who were tremendous and even dressed their parts – amazing.

Great fun was had by all, with only the inclement weather that prevented the men from going out to the attached deck for cigars and port. . Memorable in every way and a great way to pay tribute to a tragedy that forever changed maritime safety, as well as a great excuse to spend quality time with friends and loved ones and to empty out the cellar somewhat.

To view the food and wine menu and a selection of photo’s from the ‘Titanic’ evening, click here for Word, click here for pdf,


April 11, 2012

Al Fresco, June 9th – Save the date1

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 3:03 pm

alfresco_zebra3Author: Ed Fong

The 104th-Street community is thrilled to announce Saturday, June 9 as the date of our annual Al Fresco block party and fundraiser. Mark your calendars and save the date for an action packed day of fun and excitement in the downtown core!

We are feverishly working on event programming to bring you a fabulous day that includes:

– The Downtown Edmonton Community League Pancake Breakfast running from 8 to 11 AM
– Edmonton Downtown Farmers’ Market operating between 9 AM to 3 PM
– A “Kids Zone”, run in cooperation with the City of Edmonton, opening from 4 to 8 PM
– The deVine Wines & Spirits and Yellowhead Brewery “Tasting Lot” and salon serving between 12 noon and 8 PM. You will have an opportunity to sample 90 different types of wine, beer and spirits in this urban enclave!
– Extended patios from your favorite restaurants and wine bars on 104th-St.
– Music from a lineup of great DJs and stage performers
– Fashion show and a drag show brought to you by some of Edmonton’s most fabulous Queens
– An armada of food trucks coming together for another, much anticipated “What the Truck” event
– Street food from some of Edmonton’s hippest and most fun-filled restaurants

Coming Together as a Community – “The businesses and residents along 104th-Street and surrounding area are excited to share the vibrancy in our growing community”, says Al Fresco Committee Chair Ed Fong. “Al Fresco celebrates the start of summer, and we wanted to do something special as a community to support a very worthy cause. This year, I am pleased to announce we will be supporting the Zebra Child Protection Centre.”

Al Fresco is not only a celebration, it is a grassroots fundraiser designed to bring the 104th-Street community together by uniting everyone in support of a great cause. Our goal, as a community, is to raise $15,000 for the Zebra Child Protection Centre and to create public awareness of the public service they offer.

Barbara Spencer, CEO of the Zebra Centre says “Our success at the Zebra Centre truly comes from the resiliency of the kids we work with and the strength of the community that supports our good works. The Centre is very fortunate to have been given this gift of support from such a vibrant community within Edmonton. In the words of a child…this is going to be ‘the best ever’ Al Fresco Block Party so far… look forward to seeing you there and sharing our zebra centre story with you.”

Zebra Child Protection Centre is a non-profit, community-based organization that was established in 2002 to improve the lives of children who have suffered abuse. Through Zebra’s community partnerships, the Centre is able to provide children and their families with essential social, medical and mental health services and supports. To find out more, please visit their website at

How Can I Help?

You can help us achieve our goals in many different ways.

1. Come downtown and celebrate with us on June 9. The restaurants, wine bars and food trucks will be donating a portion of their proceeds in support of Zebra. Net proceeds from the Downtown Community League Pancake Breakfast and the gate receipts from the “Tasting Lot” will be donated to Zebra.

2. Participate by bidding on our on-line silent auction. Last year, nearly $20,000 was raised for E4C’s Edmonton School Lunch Program. The on-line silent auction can be tracked on deVine Wine’s website at Please bookmark this url and come back often, the online auction starts Wednesday, March 28th.

3. Donate an auction item. We are seeking auction items to make this our most successful to date. If you are interested in donating an item to the auction, please fill out the in-kind donation form and then email the completed form to Ed here.

4. Donate item(s) from the Zebra Centre’s “Top 5 Wish List”. The Zebra Centre needs:

– Non-perishable snacks & juice boxes
– Sweaters/hoodies for kids under 8 years of age
– Gift cards from teen related stores
– Jewelry for young teens
– Board games for children

Prior to Al Fresco, these items can be dropped off at deVine Wines and Spirits at 10111-104th-St. We will have drop boxes set up at the Zebra Information Table on the day of June 9 to receive any “Top 5 Wish List” donation items as well.

5. Make a cash donation. Please fill out the donation/tax receipt form here and then email the completed form to Ed here.

6. Donate your time. The Al Fresco Planning Committee is always looking for eager volunteers to help us run this exciting event. If you would like to volunteer your time, please contact Caitlin McElhone at 780.761.6682 or email Caitlin here


Easter Wine Recommendations

Filed under: deVine's Daily Blog Article — Dirk @ 3:02 pm

turkeyAuthor: Dirk Chan

Another Easter is upon us, and we are flooded with Easter Dinner wine pairing requests. If you have an unique dinner planned other than the traditional turkey and ham, then by all means bring your menu into the store or drop us a line, and we would be happy to choose specific matches to enhance your special evening.

For those doing turkey and ham and all the cranberry fixings, here are a few favourites at deVine’s that will suit the bill nicely:


  • NV Reversanti Prosecco DOC (Veneto, Italy) – $16.49
  • NV Rolet Cremant du Jura Brut Rosé (Jura, France) – $24.99
  • NV Champagne Mailly Grand Cru Reserve (Champagne, France) – $64.99
  • 1998 Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame Brut (Champagne, France) – $254.99

  • Whites:

  • 2010 Koster-Wolf Albinger Hundskopf Scheurebe Kabinett (Rheinhessen, Germany) – $17.99
  • 2010 Anselmi Soave San Vincenzo (Veneto, Italy) – $19.99
  • 2010 Hexamer Meddersheimer Rheingrafenberg Riesling Spatlese (Nahe, Germany) – $37.99
  • 2007 Zind-Humbrecht Rangen de Thann Clos Saint-Urbain Grand Cru Pinot Gris (Alsace, France) – $102.99

  • Rosés:

  • 2010 Domaine Montrose Rosé (Languedoc-Roussillon, France) – $15.99
  • 2010 Protos Rosado (Ribera del Duero, Spain) – $17.99
  • 2009 CARM Rosé (Douro, Portugal) – $19.99

  • Reds:

  • 2010 Jean-Marc Burgaud Beaujolais Villages Les Vignes de Thulon (Beaujolais, France) – $19.99
  • 2008 August Kesseler Spatburgunder Pinot “N” (Rheingau, Germany) – $37.99
  • 2009 Shea Wine Cellars Block 5 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, Oregon) – $72.99
  • 2001 Betts & Scholl Hermitage (Rhone Valley, France) – $139.99

  • Denouement:

  • 2007 Vina Bisquertt Casa La Joya Late Harvest Gewurztraminer – 375mL (Central Valley, Chile) – $14.99
  • 2001 Heinfried Dexheimer Bergmann Ortega Trockenbeerenauslese – 375mL (Rheinhessen, Germany) – $29.99
  • 1988 Chateau Rieussec (Sauternes, France) – $244.99
  • 1999 Quinta do Portal Vintage Port (Douro, Portugal) – $69.99
  • (more…)

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