Six Things I’ve Loved in February

My monthly wrap-up list is getting longer, it seems.

Last month it was four things, this month it’s six. I’m in trouble though if the numbers keep going up – you’d be in for one helluva long wrap-up post by December. But that’s kind of good, right? When you find things that make life a bit more fun, interesting, or tasty, then it’s increased happiness all around.

My list could have been even longer though. I find it so intriguing that when you make an effort to look for good things, you often find even more than you thought you would. An interesting exercise.

But for this month I’ve kept it to six.

So let’s get started.

The Four R’s. Everyone knows what R&R is, but this month, I had R&R&R&R. That stands for rest, relaxation, reading and rum. My heavenly time in the Dominican can be summed up in those four R’s. But like I found in Mexico, wine in the Dominican was very expensive, but rum was extremely reasonable – and good!

So I enjoyed the pleasures of Dominican rum while I was there, mostly mixed with Diet Coke for a poolside Happy Hour drink. I’m by no means a rum connoisseur, but this is the one I enjoyed while I was there. I did sacrifice rum for wine on my last Wednesday in Sosùa though, because who can resist a chance at having Wine Wednesday on a beautiful beach? Not me.

Tastes of the Camden Lock Market. This event was technically in January, on the 30th, the night before we left for Sosùa. However, I had to give it a mention here because we had such a nice time, and January 30th is practically February anyway. The gent responsible for this event was Mike, from The Wandering Gourmet. He came up with the idea for this event on a recent visit to London, England where he was inspired by the incredible variety of street food at the Camden Market. I immediately wanted to attend when I heard of the Camden connection. You see, I’m a bit of an anglophile. I blame it on my parents, who took me for my first visit there when I was a kid, and all my life I’ve been obsessed. Ken knows that if we hadn’t moved to Niagara, it would have been London – according to me anyway.

The food was delicious, as you can see by the menu above. We went home very full, and the final course, which was dessert from Kit at Scratch Bakery, was given to all of us to take home. I’m very thankful for this, as Ken and I scarfed down these delicious desserts at 5am the next day, in the taxi on our way to the airport. Just don’t tell my trainer (or doctor) that I did that please.

This Sunday, Mike has another of those events happening – the Taste of Niagara. All the details for tickets are here, if you would like to join us. And you should.

Your Farm Gate. I had been wanting to visit Shawn Murphy’s new spot for awhile. If you’re looking for tasty, healthy, local food to go, then he’s the guy you want to see. Your Farm Gate does more than just make the food though – they also deliver, and cater, and I am extremely excited that they offer personalized meal plans. This just might be my answer to staying sane in the crazy B&B season. I’ll be calling him for sure.

On our first visit, Ken got the meat cannelloni (so good) and I got the veggie dinner option, which was a huge baked potato stuffed with rye berries, pearl barley, black beans, Ontario feta and carrot purée. Comforting and delicious. We also got some cabbage rolls for the next night and they were packed absolutely full of meat and rice.

But I have to tell you about one very, very important thing. His tomato sauce. I would have to say it is probably the tastiest tomato sauce I have ever had. Seriously. Fresh, light, full of flavour, with just the right amount of garlic. I’m kind of swooning as I write this, just thinking about it. Something as simple as a good sauce can really take cooking to the next level, right?

My own sauce is severely lacking in this magic. Just ask Ken.

So Shawn, if you’re reading this, I would love to know what your secret is.

You can learn more about Your Farm Gate and their committment to local food here.

Fabulicious. Twice a year, it is Fabulicious time in Niagara-on-the-Lake. I thought I might have missed  out on it this winter during the time we were away, but we didn’t. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may have seen a sneak peek of all the deliciousness, but if you don’t, I’ll be bringing a full recap here on the blog in the next few days. We usually participate in Fabulicious every time it’s offered, but I must say the meals we had this time were even better than usual. So as I said, it’s getting a post of it’s own.

It was a nice treat to not have to cook so much when we got back.

The glorious loaf of bread pictured above is none other than the Olive and Rosemary Sourdough from Ravine Vineyard, bought in their grocery.

This bread has changed my life. It reminded me yet again of the intense pleasure that can be found in a beautifully made loaf of bread. Simple things, right? Just like Shawn’s tomato sauce. Simple foods done well can totally elevate everyday dining to new heights.

Olive and sourdough together is one of my ultimate weaknesses. I had the bread smothered in hummus or Boursin cheese as many times as I could, but I also ate it totally plain and was still in love. I have heard a rumour that this particular loaf is very good with peanut butter too (!!). Didn’t try that this time, but as I am the peanut butter queen, I will have to give that a try next.

I was very sad when my loaf was gone.

If you are not an olive fan they have several beautiful breads to choose from. And doughnuts. And cheese. You can’t go wrong with a visit to Ravine’s grocery. Please try to restrain yourself when you visit, though, and save some things for me????

Especially the olive and rosemary sourdough.

And now the last one is a personal one.

My Pixel phone. My Pixel phone has also changed my life. I’m not joking. My last phone was a bit of a nightmare. I had problems with software. The battery would drain after only one short Instagram story. If I was going to Toronto or Hamilton for the day, forget it – my phone would be dead in a few hours. This phone doesn’t die on me. The software works. And the most brilliant thing??

The Google Assistant.

Oh yes. Star Trek days have arrived.

This is SO much fun. When you need to search for something, you pick up your phone, say “OK Google”, and ask it anything. I mean ANYTHING.

Which came in very handy in Sosùa. My knowledge of Spanish is pretty bad, so there were many times I needed help communicating. Google Assistant to the rescue.

Example:

Me: OK Google!

Google Assistant: How can I help?

Me: How do I say “Where is the grocery store in Spanish?”

And Google would tell me exactly how to say it. Brilliant. Communication became much easier, and I learned more Spanish in the process. Win-win.

But here’s the funny thing. One day when I was goofing around I said “Thanks Google!”

And it answered back: “I’m happy to help.”

Seriously. Isn’t that the best?

Sorry. I couldn’t resist one more Dominican picture. That view of that mountain was magical.

So we’ve made it through my six things, and I probably could have added a few more.

Now it’s your turn. What things made you happy in February?

I’d love to hear them.