Last Patio Days of Summer: TZiN

I’ve been looking for an excuse to return to TZiN – the chic little wine bar on 104 Street – for some time. Though Mack and I are really lucky to live in an area where we have plenty of restaurant choices, I find that if we’re in our neighbourhood, we will inevitably dine in.

That said, meeting up with Annie this week was just the reason I needed to revisit TZiN. Though I love the swank interior, especially cozy as the weather cools off, we decided to make the most of the last days of summer and sat out on the patio (I have to comment that their furniture was particularly comfortable – notable when a lot of patio furniture is too hard, awkward, or not meant for dawdling).

Kelsey, always pleasant and knowledgeable, took good care of us wine-wise. I was happy with my easy to drink Gewurztraminer, and Annie (who has been working her way through Spanish reds), enjoyed her generous glass of Gine Gine.


Wine on the patio!

Several items on the menu were tempting (making me think I’d like to be back again before the menu changes again), but I ended up ordering the sirloin and rosemary crostinis ($18.50) and Annie the creamy chili prawns ($17)

Though the items were listed on a “tasting menu”, I’d have to say the dishes didn’t quite fit that billing – they were too large to be considered just a “taste”, and yet, were missing a component to be deemed a full entrée – a side salad to accompany my crostini would have made it a full meal, while some pasta or rice underneath Annie’s shrimp would have lovingly soaked up the creamy, rich sauce. Annie was also hoping for an vegetable side to complement our eats.


Creamy chili prawns

That said, we did enjoy the food. Annie’s prawns were well cooked, and my crostini were topped with a tasty combination of sautéed mushrooms and onions, cheese, marinated sirloin and a delicious spread.


Sirloin and rosemary crostini

When we paid our bill, Kelsey fanned out thin strips of paper, and beckoned us to take one. It turned out they were little fortunes for us to take away. Mine read: “Listen closely as those around you speak; great truths are revealed in jest.” -Javan

At some point, it probably would have been wise for me to have warmed up inside (Annie had to lend me her jacket), but I was stubbornly grasping at the faint wisps of the season. No matter – with a dwindling number of patio days remaining in the calendar year, it was worth the slight chill to be outside.

10115 104 Street
(780) 428-8946
Tuesday-Thursday 3:59-11:03pm, Friday-Saturday 4:01pm-12:06am

Pricey but Pleasant: TZiN Wine and Tapas

If you’ve been paying some attention to my blog, then you’ll know that I’ve been eagerly awaiting the opening of TZiN Wine and Tapas (10115-104 Street). Between the rave reviews and the several notable mentions in the food literature I peruse, I was foaming at the mouth to try it. So on Friday, with Mack in tow, I was excited to finally give it a go.

Anyone else who had ever visited the previous tenant would probably be wondering, like I was, how they would manage to squeeze a full-service restaurant into a space that functioned primarily as a takeout place before. Well, I’m happy to say the designer pulled it off in spades. Though the entire restaurant seats only about 20-25 patrons, the dining area is more intimate than claustrophobic in my opinion. The black and red color scheme is sleek, with the banquette along the left side making the most of the small space. I’d like to think it was deliberate, but the pulsing dance music served as a cover of sorts, allowing for some conversational privacy between tables.

The food menu is definitely not for the frugal at heart. Tapas (“small plates”) start at $8, with most in the $11-$13 range. There were some interesting selections, including frogs legs (cheekily named “Miss Piggy’s Revenge”), scallops, and raw fish. Their lunch appears to be the most economical, with sandwiches priced at between $12 and $14 (I’d order the ExBoyfriend – made with jerk chicken!). We decided to split the 4-20 Pica, a rather elaborate pizza made with artichoke, oven dried roma tomato and asiago drizzled with organic hemp seed oil.

I’m admittedly not much of a wine-drinker (especially when compared with Mack), but it would have been a waste to visit a wine bar and not order at least a glass. We went one better and chose the “Mile High Club” Heaven trio – for $12, three 2oz. samples of whites, including a 2005 Paul Zinck Pinot Gris (France), 2005 Alois Lageder Pinot Blanco (Italy), and 2005 Burrowing Owl Pinot Gris (Canada). If anything, I now know that I prefer Pinot Gris – there isn’t as much of a stinging aftertaste when compared with Pinot Blanco or (blech) red wines. Mack also ordered a fraction of Edmeades Zinfandel, but despite his raw enthusiasm for this type of red, I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy it.

Our pizza arrived after some wait (curious as there are a number of service people in the restaurant but only one cook), likely a ploy to increase drink orders between course delivery. Still, it was a fairly decent dish. I disputed the fact that the tomato was at all oven dried, but I enjoyed the arugula, asiago, and foccacia-eque bread base. It wasn’t worth the $11 charged, but I agreed with Mack’s observation that outrageous prices are necessary because of the lack of seats in the restaurant.

TZiN is not the place for a full dinner, but I can see it becoming a destination spot for an after-work drink or post-show bite.

Novel hours
Kitchen (located right next to the restaurant’s entrance!)
Heaven trio (when the waitress saw that we were eyeing the “Mile High” selections – either “Heaven” or “Hell,” she asked, “Ready to go to Hell?” then quickly countered, saying “That’s probably not the question you want to hear on Easter weekend…”)
4-20 Pica