Four Things I’ve Loved in January

Wait a minute…..What did I just say?

That I’ve loved things about January?

Strangely enough, there have been a few things I’ve loved about it this year. For example, Twenty Valley’s Winter WineFest. Our warm-ish, non-typical January temperatures. And the fact that we had very little snow.

This, my friends, is a big step forward for me. In the past, nothing – and I really do mean nothing – would make me smile in January. So, finding those three things above is already an accomplishment of sorts. But, I’m going to surpass that and tell you about four more things I’ve enjoyed this month.

Yes, four more.

I’ll start off with Downtown D’Lish.

Downtown D’Lish was happening in downtown St. Catharines, and ran for two weeks in January, with many restaurants in the area participating. For the cost of anywhere from $15-$40 you could enjoy special fixed price menus either for lunch or dinner. What a great idea, huh? For those two weeks, I would gladly eat at a different spot for every meal.

Though these special menu programs bring me joy, I usually have to rein my excitement in a bit. Before I can go all in and make that dinner reservation, I have other considerations to think of. Namely, my resident picky eater – a.k.a Ken. Oh, I love my Ken to bits, but we are not the same when it comes to what we like in food. What’s really funny is that he is truly such an adventurous person – alas, not when his palate is involved.

So when I’m in the process of choosing a restaurant to eat at, I must meticulously research the menu, to find things that are “Ken Approved”. Woe to me if the restaurant changes its menu when we get there, and he has to eat something he hadn’t expected.

I was thrilled to discover that Wellington Court‘s Downtown D’Lish menu was definitely “Ken Approved”, so I had two weeks to get there and know that the menu wouldn’t change. We had a lovely dinner. The only down side was that the lighting was a bit too dark for pictures, so you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you our experience was good.

Italicious is the second food thing I’m going to mention, and what’s particularly great about it is that it’s not just for January. Every Wednesday and Thursday this winter, you can partake in this special menu yourself. It’s a three course menu for $40, offered at Kitchen 76 at Two Sisters Vineyards.

I’ve eaten at Kitchen 76 a few times, but it had been awhile since my last visit. So for my lovely mama’s birthday, we ventured back, and it was just as scrumptious as always. Mom and I both had the soup of the day, which was potato, sausage and artichoke, followed by the roasted chicken with vegetables. Ken stuck with his favourites – big surprise there, eh?- so he didn’t strictly order from the Italicious menu. He had arancini – which he could eat honestly by the bucketful – followed by the sausage pizza. Mom and Ken both had the beignets for dessert, and the only thing missing was a candle for my Mom. I don’t think the restaurant would have wanted to hear me sing though, so that’s probably a good thing.

Don’t forget, you can still try this menu yourself, and I recommend you do.

Onto number three! It’s wine time.

My wine cellar was a bit reduced after the holiday season, so I had some restocking to do. Ever so valiantly, Konzelmann Estate Winery and The Good Earth came to my rescue.

I visited Konzelmann recently to sample their Icewine Festival Discovery Pass pairing of lobster bisque with a bit of spice, matched with their 2010 Vidal icewine. It was delicious. I mean, really, really delicious. Really. Konzelmann has made my favourite pairing for Icewine Fest for the last three years now. You can read about 2015’s pairing and 2016’s pairing here, if you’re curious!

Because I hadn’t been there in several months, I took the opportunity to visit the tasting bar while I was there. One of the things I love about Konzelmann is that they make several tasty, good value wines. With my recent travels, and the holidays, my wine budget is not very large these days. I bought the 2015 Merlot, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and you just can’t beat the price point. And alright, I bought a splurge bottle too – the 2012 Cabernet Merlot Reserve. Worth every penny, and waiting to be poured with a special dinner.

I was at The Good Earth for their Sunday brunch a week ago, and I’ll have more on that visit later this week. But after the brunch, I went into the tasting room to buy some more of my cherished 2015 Viognier. You know that Viognier has been one of my favourite varieties lately, and my supplies are getting low. However, I also added some 2014 Big Fork Red and 2013 Cabernet Franc to my collection.

I’m so grateful to both of these wineries for coming to my wine rack’s aid.

The final thing I’m going to say I’ve loved this month is my discovery of the flat white. Where has this specialty coffee been all my life?

Honestly, I don’t drink much coffee these days. I love it, but find it tends to make me super-jittery and even a bit anxious. Don’t know why, and it’s only been happening over the last couple years. So, coffee has become a real treat.

And what a treat a flat white is! Lattés and cappuccinos have too much milk for me, but the flat white is perfect. A shot of espresso with less milk, and the milk seems creamier, not as foamy.

It’s divine.

Especially the one I had recently at Relay Coffee at the Hamilton Farmers Market. I just might start drinking more coffee again. Hope Ken can put up with my resulting jitteriness.

I’m on a roll now. As I’ve been writing, I’ve realized I could come up with a few more things I’ve enjoyed this month. I think this might become one of those new series I talked about.

What about you? Anything you’ve particularly enjoyed recently? I’d love to hear about it.

  • Elena Galey-Pride

    Couldn’t agree more about Winter WineFest. But for the rest of the month, it’s been me and Netflix when not working! 😉 Oh, I did venture out to shoot Icewine making at Malivoire. That was cool – literally.

    • I would love to experience an Icewine grape harvest. I’ll look forward to seeing your pictures! And Netflix in January is a good option – all cozy at home, and with a great glass of red…