Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  1. NCT Winery does indeed have some excellent wines at reasonable prices. They are also looking for a winemaker right now, so if anyone out there is qualified, you might want to give them a call.
  2. Good recommendations so far. Reif wines on the Niagara Parkway has some wonderful reds. Coyote's Run has two great Pinot Noirs (Red Paw and Black Paw), made from the same grapes grown in two different clay soils in their vineyard. The differences are really interesting. I second the strong recommendation for the NCT Winery (which is actually within the Town of NOTL, but in the extreme southwest corner of it, and right off the QEW at Glendale). Alas, their 2003 Pinot Noir is all gone. Their Late Harvest Vidal is one of my favourite sweet wines, and a bargain compared to any icewine. For pastries, try Willow Cakes & Pastries at the corner of Mary St. and Hwy 55. Outstanding. Breakfast at the nearby Little Red Rooster is a local favourite.
  3. Jake, you're not one of those heretics who believes that butter tarts aren't Canadian, are you?
  4. The peameal sandwiches at the SLM are served at a counter, and you might find a seat. This is indoor street meat, not restaurant fare, and our antediluvian liquor laws would not contemplate anything as scandalous as wine in such an environment. I have been known to have a mid-morning peameal sandwich as a snack, more than as lunch, so if you have time, you might want to consider strolling through the market around 10:00 with peameal in hand, and then heading elsewhere for another uniquely Canadian experience at lunchtime. One oft-forgotten place that I would suggest is the dining room at Osgoode Hall. They are only open for lunch Monday through Friday, 12-2, September to June, but the food is very good, and they have a decent wine list (albeit only 1/2 bottles). You should make a reservation. The surroundings are opulent and historic, as Osgoode Hall is a beautiful 19th-Century building that is home to the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Ontario Court of Appeal. Half the dining room will be filled with barristers and judges in their courtroom robes (we still do that here; no wigs, though). Finally, and most importantly, Osgoode Hall serves arguably the best butter tart in all creation. The only thing more Canadian than a butter tart is arguing about who makes the best one.
  5. There isn't much right in Niagara Falls. NOTL is a much better bet. Casa Mia is wonderful, and although I haven't been I understand that 17 Noir (not 21 Noir) at the Fallsview Casino is very good, although pricey. In NOTL, the newest kid on the block is Restaurant Tony Deluca at the Oban Inn. He is the former chef from Hillebrand, which is now steered by Frank Dodds (formerly at Langdon Hall). Solid choices in NOTL include Stone Road Grille, the Epicurean, Zee's and the Charles Inn. Hillebrand, Peller and Strewn are all good winery choices (for their restaurants). Worth the drive 15 minutes west of the Falls is Zest in Fonthill.
  6. Sure did, and I've passed them around. Loved the food porn! Ross
  7. Eric, I'm glad you had such a wonderful time. My two dinners at On the Twenty within recent months have both been flawless. I spoke with Kevin Maniaci this morning, and he was very pleased that you had enjoyed the experience! I have to get down to cook with you guys sometime soon... Cheers, Ross
  8. The Ontario Wine Society has a good website with lots of resources, and they run several tasting events each year in both Toronto and Niagara. Membership is only $35 a year.
  9. If Niagara is "GTA", there are several books by local authors. "A Year in Niagara" is a wonderful book by Kathleen Sloan-McIntosh. The Olsons (Michael and Anna) have authored a couple of cookbooks, and there is a new one coming in the fall. Current titles include the "On the Twenty Cookbook" and "Sugar". Tony DeLuca from Hillebrand has a cookbook called "Wine Country Cooking".
  10. I posted this earlier this week on "another" site, but thought I'd add to this recent discussion: For one reason or another, I've managed to have three great meals at three of Niagara's best restaurants over the last week, so here are some brief highlights: ZEST Zest is participating in "Summerfest", a promotion among several restaurants in Fonthill. Three course prix fixe at dinner for $25. Considering that Zest's mains are usually in this range, this was an unbelievable bargain. They even threw in a complimentary amuse, being an Indonesian rice cake with sriracha/hoisin dipping sauce. A fiery start to a splendid meal! Highlights included mussels in a roasted heirloom tomato sauce that was dark and smoky, tempura prawns with a mango dipping sauce, duck in a Thai broth with jasmine rice, and grilled salmon with new potatoes and heirloom tomatoes. The restaurant was understandably packed last Friday, but the service remained first-rate, and Michael Pasto and his crew put on a great performance in the open kitchen. Encore! HILLEBRAND Next was Hillebrand with a couple of good friends from Toronto on Saturday night. The "Taste of Niagara" was lovely, with tenderloins of pork, veal and beef prepared three ways, and served with a flight of three generous "2 oz." portions of wines mated to each. We all shared two cheese plates, trying all the cheeses on offer that evening, and were delighted with the candied nuts and wild blueberries that accompanied the wonderful cheeses on the plate. Dessert was a peach Tarte Tatin, which was made even better when our server told us that the peaches came from his family's farm down the road. The peaches were succulent, the caramel perfect, and the pastry buttery and decadent. ON THE TWENTY Last night was spent in Jordan with some colleagues and a good client. We had a truly splendid meal. Smoked salmon with dungeness crab, caviar creme fraiche and gewurtztraminer-cucumber jelly was delicate and beautifully presented. Grilled sweetbreads were crisp on the outside, creamy within, and served with an apricot bread pudding, walnut-scented lettuce hearts and fruit mustard. Absolutely outstanding. The rare tuna, wild striped bass filet, beef tenderloin and veal tenderloin mains were all great, and were made even better with a couple of bottles of Napanook from Yountville CA. (I understand that they also have a small, but growing wine industry.) Dessert was a marvellous bitter chocolate peanut tart with tamarind ice cream, nicely offset by the fruity sweetness of a glass of Cave Springs' own Indian Summer Riesling. THE VERDICT You can't go wrong with any of these restaurants, and they are great examples of our thriving restaurant culture in the Peninsula. Especially at this time of year, when the rewards of a long, hot summer are coming in from the fields, the fresh local cuisine in this area can't be beat. The winery restaurants are pricey, but generally there is very good value for the money. I have to say that I was really surprised to see that Hillebrand was still offering only Hillebrand and Peller wines on their wine list. I realize that the restaurant is to an extent a marketing showcase for the company's main product, but I think it is undesirable to arbitrarily limit the list like that. It makes the food seem like an afterthought somehow, and I think that Tony DeLuca's food deserves better. Cave Spring Cellars, on the other hand, does not limit its wine selections at On the Twenty, and offers its own excellent product legitimately alongside some of the best of the rest that Niagara and the rest of the world have to offer. Recently anointed executive chef Kevin Maniaci and his team are both talented and focused on delivering the best combinations of flavours and textures that our region can offer. I've never had a bad mouthful of anything at Zest, and it remains one of the very best examples of Niagara's "new breed" of locally owned, regionally focused, globally infused eateries. There's an apartment for rent upstairs from Zest right now: I wonder what the rent would be... P.S. - The new executive chef at Vineland Estates is Jan Willem Stulp, who was there under Mark Picone. I haven't tried his food, but the buzz is good. Mark has joined Niagara College as a chef-professor. Kevin Maniaci at On the Twenty worked there previously under Roberto, before becoming exec. at their sister restaurant, Twelve, in Port Dalhousie. He is now back in Jordan, and I think he's doing some great stuff.
  11. There are a couple of places in Niagara that deserve mention. Olson Foods & Bakery in Port Dalhousie (Anna Olson of "Sugar" fame) has a terrific selection of cheeses, especially from Quebec. By the way, the last time I spoke with Anna, she mentioned an intensive one-day cheesemaking course in Eastern Ontario that she and her husband had taken that sounded wonderful. Here's the link: Glengarry Cheesemaking & Dairy Supply DeLuca's in Niagara-on-the-Lake also had a fine selection the last time I was there. There is a new cheesemaker (!!) who is going to be opening in September in Jordan, just off the highway and near Harbour Estates Winery. Finally, there is a cheese vendor at the St. Catharines and Pelham farmer's markets who sells a nice selection of the stinky gold.
  12. One Winery. How very sad. Stratford is lovely, but have you thought about a longer pause in beautiful Niagara to enjoy the Shaw Festival, and perhaps savour more than one winery? That said, if you really must hurry past, go to the Niagara College Teaching Winery. It will suit your busy needs, if only because it is right at an exit from the Queen Elizabeth Way. But seriously, they are producing some of the most superb product there, including a great Pinot Noir, late harvest Vidal, and two of the nicest Chardonnays that you are likely to find. The "regular" Chard won gold as best white at the 2005 Cuvee, and the "Jim Warren Classic" Chard comes from the hand of a Niagara legend who now teaches at the College. As an added bonus, the wine store at the College is located beside the beautiful and superb restaurant at the Niagara Culinary Insitute, featuring some of the best, fresh local cuisine, and some of the most talented chefs in a very talented region. So you can exit the QEW at Glendale, park the car, wolf down lunch, load up on excellent wines, and be back on the highway within an hour. Sorry, but I can't resist telling you they don't have a drive-thru.
  13. Is there any news about a new website for Au PdC?
  14. I re-read it, and it does appear to be made here. It all seems very mysterious, though. There is another site for Americans at minus8vinegar.com, and the American company seems to be based in NYC. Their distribution also seems to be more widespread in the US. I mean, if this fabulous product is being produced here, why is their vineyard location a "secret", and their winemaker unnamed? I'll snoop a bit and see if I can find out who the culprits are.
  15. I found a website for the Canadian distributor Here. A 200 mL bottle is CAN$58.00. It looks as though it is being produced in the US from Canadian grapes, and has been available to the trade only until recently.
  • Create New...