We just got back from a weekend in Niagara on the Lake, full of winery visits and delicious meals and relaxation.
We took the day off and drove down around noon, stopping at Redstone for a long lunch on the patio. We enjoyed the perfect weather and a little too much food before driving down the street to Kew Vineyards. We picked up a few bottles of sparkling and carried on to NotL.
We set up at our home for the weekend, 124 on Queen, and relaxed for a few hours before dinner at our always-when-in-town restaurant: Treadwell. We got a great table outdoors, and had a killer meal:
- Ohme Farms’ Tomato Salad, Monforte Fresco, Basil Sorbet, Aged Balsamic (Lindsay)
- Burrata special (Dan)
- Tempura Fried Quiet Acres’ Zucchini Blossoms, Lobster & Ricotta, Roasted Garlic and Lemon Aioli (Lindsay)
- Slow Cooked Pork Belly, Sweet Corn & Chili Succotash, Cilantro Crema, Salsa Macha (Dan)
- Seared West Coast Halibut, “Panzanella Salad”, Roasted Tomato & Basil Mayonnaise (Lindsay)
- Honey Roasted Duck Breast, Confit Potato Fondant, Bourbon & Vanilla-Soaked Cherries (Dan)
- Pistachio Tart with Quiet Acres’ Raspberries (Lindsay)
- Dark Chocolate Mousse, Sweet Pea Meringue, Olive Oil, Ginger Cookie (Dan)
Lindsay did some googling and found a cool-looking brunch place on our way to Beamsville: Yellow Pear. It’s tiny and in a strip mall in St. Catharines, but wow was the food good. Lindsay had shakshuka; I had the barbacoa pork skillet w/ house potatoes, cheddar, poached eggs, pickled onion, red sauce, and green sauce. It was one of the best brunches we’ve had in ages. What a find!
Our first winery stop was Flat Rock. I hadn’t been there in years, but the night before at Treadwell we’d had two of their wines as pairings, so we figured it was worth a visit. As it turns out, my memory of why I’d stopped going held up, and the only two we bought were the ones we’d tried the night before, but we had a nice time outside on their lawn listening to live music.
Just down the road was our next stop: 13th Street. Again, I hadn’t been there in years, but holy smokes had it ever changed. The place has become huge, with an art gallery and a whole separate tasting building and dozens of outside sheets and live music and to be honest it was pretty awful. Way too busy. Mean staff. We grabbed a special six-pack of some of the wines that won them the status of the #2 winery in Canada last week, plus a couple more sparkling, and a few butter tarts, and booked it out of there. Gross. 😦
We drove back down the QEW to St. David’s, where we picked up our annual Five Rows order and chatted with Wes (the winemaker) for a bit, and then drove to Southbrook. Yet another winery I hadn’t been to in a long time, but WHAT a different experience from the others. We sat outside amidst the vines, tasted the whole Laundry Vineyard flight (and then some), had an excellent chat with who we think was the general manager, got pooped on by a bird, and ended up leaving with a case of wine.
We drove back into town, picked up a charcuterie board at Cheese Secrets (more on that later), snagged the last sausage roll at Budapest Bakeshop (there would have been two, but some douchenozzles in front of us took a bunch) and took a load off in the room.
For dinner that night Lindsay had arranged a picnic basket, which we carried down to Queen’s Royal Park. It was delicious, and the weather was perfect. We drank a bottle of sparkling and ate butter tarts and laid under a tree. We even witnessed a proposal in the park at sunset! It was a pretty great birthday dinner.
Not much to do on our last day except return the picnic basket and have yet another meal at Treadwell:
- Chardonnay Steamed P.E.I. Mussels, Fennel Pollen Cream, Grilled Bread (Lindsay)
- Dave Irish’s Roasted Beets, Monforte Goat Cheese, Pingue’s Prosciutto, Hazelnut Vinaigrette (Dan)
- Lobster Club on Duck Fat Fried Sourdough, Double Smoked Bacon, Whipped Goat’s Cheese (Lindsay)
- Duck Confit, Beluga Lentils & Bacon, Fried Duck Egg, Broccolini (Dan)
On our way back to Toronto we stopped in to pick up our Kelly Mason collab order (plus a couple more bottles of the Frontier Block Chardonnay, which the Southbrook staff had urged us to order) and got to meet Kelly herself. I felt pretty lucky to meet some of the Niagara winemakers I’d admired for so long.