Friday, June 23, 2006

Play Date in Niagara

This post kind of reminds me of conversations I have with my sister. We’ll start talking about something which triggers a thought that takes the conversation in a different direction and on to a completely different topic. Usually – make that eventually we end up back at the original topic. I started writing about our spontaneous adventure to the beautiful Niagara region last Sunday, so that I could squeak into Kalyn’s WHB. I promised to actually write about the trip rather than just post pictures. So before it hits Sunday AGAIN….here are some of the highlights.

It was a gorgeous, sunny day and my Honey (who’s been listening to me whine about not getting to the Niagara region when all the trees were in bloom. -it’s famous for wine and fruit,) decided that we should head out that way. At least we would see the baby fruit on the trees and maybe the local strawberries would be ripe enough to enjoy. They were!!

Actually so was the rhubarb and because our will power is limited, we stayed away from one of our favorite local markets at the Kurtz Orchard, that sells delicious flaky homemade strawberry & rhubarb pies. What can I say....we'd eat the whole thing without inviting anyone over to share and then we'd whine about our weight.

Naturally, genius that I am, I forgot the wonderful goodies I had made for Saturday (there were some leftovers that would have been great to eat on a blanket overlooking the falls or vineyards or orchards). So much for picnicking, but he had a better idea anyway.

After much meandering and stopping every time I saw a new type of fruit tree to photograph, we ended up at one of my favorite local wineries .....Hillebrand Estates. In addition to some delicious wines (I love their blend called “Trius Red”. It’s … words!!!, that’s how good) they have a wonderful restaurant with a terrace overlooking the vineyards.

Too windy for us today, but this view from our table was only topped by the service and the meal. Here's a close up of the vines.

So without further ado…come share our wonderful meal. While we were waiting for our meal, we munched on delicious breads and dipped them in walnut oil with a baco noir reduction - what a surprising taste treat!!! Chef Frank Dodd and his team created these masterful presentations.

My Honey had this delicious flank steak on bitter greens and baby pea shoots with feta cheese and caramelized mushrooms and onions. It was wonderful and paired with that Trius Red I was talking about.

I had this pretty dish called Tour of Niagara - a sample plate paired with 3 different wines (2 different Chardonnays, and a Grand Red). The trio was some proscuito wrapped chicken sitting on mashed potatoes, salmon filet with a half a quail's egg perched on a sweet pea couli and a skewer of beef with tomatoes and bococcini. Pleasant enough, but I must admit, I preferred my Honey's meal. Desserts, on the other hand.....

This one was mine, "roasted pecan creme caramel resting on pecan cake with candied pecans and caramel riesling reduction" - even their description is heavenly.

This dish is called "Ice Cream Parlour"and my favorite part was the blueberry ice wine milkshake. There also was white chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two reverse chocolate chip cookies and a chocolate mint ice cream cone. We were both in heaven, but definitely in need of a walk after that meal. So we wandered through the vines for a while before our drive home, stopping at every orchard so I could take the photos I posted last Sunday.

And now it's Friday...what kind of adventure will we have this weekend? And what about you....

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