Niagara Life Lately – May 2015

May, you were beautiful.

We have had a glorious start to spring here in Niagara, and thank goodness for that. Recalling this past winter is still a bit too traumatic for me. I know, I know, I’m being dramatic – but really, this winter was hideous. As I am one of those people that prefers to vent my feelings, I let them all out where my dislike of winter is concerned. No “positive thinking” about winter for me – it is what it is. And I am so happy that it is finally spring!!

There has been lots going on this month. The B&B is in full-on seasonal mode, the town is bustling, the Shaw Festival is full swing – and so much more. There’s been a lot of wine stuff on the blog this month, and a great day out with Niagara Culinary Tours. Oh, and our massive garden project. Plus, you know, life.

It’s been busy. However, there are still a few other things we’ve done this month that I haven’t told you about yet. So here’s a glimpse of some of the other things we’ve been up to lately.

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Sip and Sizzle

Every weekend in May, twenty-five wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake have been hosting Sip and Sizzle – an event perfectly timed with the arrival of barbecue season. With the purchase of a touring pass, you could wind your way around the region, sipping and sampling.

Whenever I go to these events, I always end up discovering new wines to add to my cellar. The theme of this event for me seemed to be Rosé. I’ve never really liked Rosé much in the past, but I discovered some lovely ones at Strewn, Stratus and Rancourt Winery. The one from Chateau des Charmes was beautiful too – the essence of summer in a glass. I think this is going to be the Year of Rosé for me.

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With this gorgeous weather, the wineries were full of people eager to toast the season.

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There were so many delicious pairings on offer, it was tough to know where to start. Several wineries had sausage pairings. I can never resist sausage on the grill.

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A great way to kick off spring. Let me know of any other rosés I should add to my ever-growing collection.

Cultural Culinary Crawl

This was so much fun. Ken and I went on the St. Catharines Cultural Culinary Crawl, done by the St. Catharines Downtown Association and the Niagara Folk Arts Festival.

The Culinary Crawl was a delicious opportunity to walk the streets of downtown St. Catharines, sampling some cuisine from different cultures.

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We headed out from Robertson Hall, a gorgeous building.

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Our first stop was Dom’s Pasta and Grill,  for Italian food.

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I think Dom is a delightful chap.

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The restaurant is in the beautiful Winchester-Larkin House, built sometime between 1845 and 1850. There are lots of gorgeous old buildings in downtown St. Catharines, actually.

So of course, we had a sampling of pasta. Always a hit in my book.

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Next up, Indian. Oh how I have missed Indian food since my exodus from Toronto.

Our destination? Touch of India.

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Some of the tour guests had never eaten Indian food before.

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But I don’t know a single person who doesn’t like samosas, once they try them. We also had onion bhajji, and chicken tikka.

By this time, we were all thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

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Then we headed out to what was to be my favourite of the evening, Tôi Restaurant and Tapas Bar.

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They were so welcoming.

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The restaurant is sleek and stylish, with an urban vibe. Downtempo chill music playing in the background too.

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And the food? Scrumptious fresh spring rolls and mango salad. Sounds simple, but wow. The flavours were wonderful. I can’t wait to come back here for a full dinner.

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The final stop was The Mansion House, which is apparently the oldest continually operating licensed pub in Canada.

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We had a yummy Steak and Mushroom pie there, which alas, I do not have a photo of. Trust me, it was good.

We went back to Robertson Hall for dessert, a vegan tiramisu provided by Rise Above.

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Let me tell you, I was extremely full.

It was a fabulous evening, and we had a great time. I hope they make this an annual event. If they do, make sure you go.

Spring Markets

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‘Tis the season for spring markets, and we were able to get to two of them this month. Artisanal products galore with the added bonus that both of these markets were held at wineries. Wineries happen to be some of my favourite places, as I’m sure you can tell.

The Spring Handmade Market was held at 13th Street Winery, on a spectacular, sunny, hot day.

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We went on a Friday, and there were lots of folks there – enjoying the sun, the food, the wine, and the fabulous products for sale.

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But my favourite part has to be the people-watching

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(Can you guess who the handsome man above is?)

I always enjoy the Handmade Market. Next one is September 18th and 19th, so make note of those dates. It looks like it will be held at 13th Street Winery again too.

The other market we went to was the Sprung Market, held at my beloved Stratus. A beautiful afternoon, great products, food trucks and the new release of Stratus Wildass Rosé.

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It’s been a good month. As I think I’ve said a million times, the weather has been magnificent, and it is so good to get out and about. Just a taste of all the fun things to come this summer in Niagara!

What did you get up to this month?

  • Next time I want to find a new restaurant in Niagara Region, I’m definitely using your blog for reference! Yum! I’ve been looking for an good Indian food place since I moved here too. Love everything about this post. I’ve only been to one Wine event so far… I have a bit of catching up to do 😀

    • Thanks so much for commenting Andréa, nice to meet you! I’m so glad you liked the post, and I’m looking forward to reading more of your blog too. Yes, Indian food is awesome, it’s the one thing I think we need more of down here!