Six Things I’ve Loved in May

I can’t believe it’s time for another monthly wrap-up.

Where, oh where, did the month of May go? 2017 is almost half over, my friends. In just six short months you’ll be hearing Christmas carols on repeat until they drive you insane.

Yeah. Sorry for that reality check.

Anyway. I’ve got six things from May to tell you about. This will be a long one, so let’s just dive in.

First, we’ll talk about 13th Street Winery.

There is a new tasting bar and wine boutique at 13th Street Winery, and it is beautiful. I’ve always loved the building and grounds there, and with the new renos, I love it even more.

Ken and I attended their Grand Opening earlier in the month, and it was packed with well-wishers.

So packed, it was a little hard to get good pictures in the crowd – even a nice crowd, as it was – so we made a plan to come back.

But first, I toasted their achievement with a glass of their luscious Viognier.

I returned the following week, on a beautiful day that felt like summer

It was a perfect day to quench my thirst with three of my 13th Street favourites.

I must say, I love all three of my favourites equally.

In fact, just as much as I love the contemporary, airy, feel of the new tasting bar.

13th Street will be putting these new facilities to very good use. They have so many events going on, and now they will be serving lunch on the patio during the summer months.

With such a beautiful, relaxed location, great wine, and lunch offered, I think they’ll be seeing me even more.

Of course I’ll pick up some butter tarts from the bakery when I visit. The pecan ones are my fave.

Next, I’ve gotta tell you about Wine and Unwind at Legends Estates Winery.

The combination of taking a yoga class, followed by a wine tasting just keeps getting more and more popular these days. And why not? I can’t think of two more blissful, zen-y things to combine.

I used to practice yoga regularly in Toronto, but since moving to Niagara, I think I’ve been to a grand total of two classes. So, I wasn’t really sure how my unstretched body would handle the class. My plan was that if all else failed, I’d just lie in Savasana. Now if only there was a way to lie in Savasana and drink wine at the same time….

Hmmm. I just might have to work on that.

However, this class was a gentle one, and I was able to handle it just fine. Our instructor – Joanna Deluca from Grimsby Yoga and Wellness – was great. If I lived closer to Grimsby, I’d be checking out her classes for sure.

The thing that made this even better was that my pal and fellow blogger, Dina Arsenault, joined me for the experience. She’s written a post about it, which I suggest you check out too.

Thank you to Legends Estates Winery for inviting us to this fun, relaxing afternoon.

I’ve got one more wine event to tell you about.

I’ve mentioned many times how I enjoy the different passport programs that happen through the year at wineries, and recently, I was given passes to attend another – Sip and Sizzle. This is an annual tasting event that showcases wine with grilled foods, held at the Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake. One of the good things about this program is that it is offered every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in May, so it gives you lots of time to get out and use those passports. The fact that it is held on Fridays too is super.

There are always a few pairings that particularly stand out during these events. One of my two favourites was from The Hare Wine Co. Their pairing was grilled halloumi cheese marinated in a creamy curry sauce, which was served on a naan wedge. It was topped with Niagara peach, and matched with their Jack Rabbit White. I loved this, as I adore halloumi, and curry, and of course, wine too.  Three of my favourite things in one mouthful! My other favourite pairing came from Stratus – grilled caponata with salsa verde and dukkha, paired with their 2013 Kabang Red. The flavours in this were something else. It sounded simple, but was bursting with earthy flavour, and just so delicious.

Now, we’re moving from wine to spirits.

Niagara Falls Craft Distillers gave me another thing to love about the month of May. I had such a great visit there with Andy Murison, who is their “Chief Bootlegger”. I wish I had a funky title like that.

The thing I especially love is that each of their products is named after a part of Niagara Falls history.

On their website, they say, “We’re committed to making high quality spirits that tie together our community with hand crafted products that leave you remembering not only the taste, but also a good story.”

They certainly have accomplished this.

My personal favourite? The Lucky Coin Motel Hand Crafted Vodka.

Isn’t that the best name?

I’m going to make myself a killer Caesar with this. My glass will be much larger, though.

So that wraps up drinking for the month. It’s time to talk about food.

And I’ve got two foodie events to tell you about.

I finally got to the restaurant at Redstone for a special Mexican themed dinner. Redstone has had several of these themed dinners over the winter months, and this was the first one I was able to get to. Based on this experience I would definitely like to attend another, but alas, this was the last of the season. I understand they will be holding them next year too, and I will definitely be there. So should you.

Just take a look at this menu.

I’m a big Mexican food lover, and the culinary team at Redstone did not let me down.  Everyone was seated at long communal tables, with each course served family-style. This made for a relaxed and social dining experience. It also meant we could help ourselves to as much of each dish as we wanted.

This was a fabulous thing.

But, I must apologize to the folks at my table here because I think I ate ALL of the guacamole. And the beef and cheese empanadas. All right, probably most of the stuffed seabass too.

I just can’t help myself when it comes to good Mexican food.

I left so full, the food was amazing and plentiful, and of course, there were magnificent Redstone wines to accompany the meal. However, they also offered a Mexican themed beverage tasting menu with maragaritas, Corona, and Horchata. I must say Redstone makes a fine margarita too.

And the price for all of this, my friends?

For the meal, $45. Drinks and gratuities extra.

I thought it was great value for the money.

Now, the last May highlight that I’m going to mention will be brief.

That’s because you’ll be seeing an entire post on it soon. I had to bring it up here though, because it definitely was a highlight of the month.

Last week, I attended the first of the Niagara Parks Pop-Up Dinner Series. Yes, this will be a series, so you didn’t miss out on the chance to attend one of these yummy dinners yourself.

Our feast was held on the grounds of Mather Arch in Fort Erie, and it was a very interesting location to me. First, I’d never been, and honestly didn’t know of it or its significance. The setting for the event was quite special. Tables were set up under the trees and the arch, and we had a view of Buffalo across the water.

The food was incredible. Really incredible. I won’t go into too many details yet, as I’m saving them for the post, but you know the food will be great when maple leaf ravioli is part of the menu.

Details of the next pop-up haven’t been released yet, but Niagara Parks will be announcing them on social media when they are confirmed.

You know what I’m going to say, don’t you. You should go to the next one.

I attended this event as a media guest, but I would absolutely, most certainly, buy tickets to another. It was a great night.

So, May was definitely different than April, and it went by so fast! I’m going to try and slow down time for June, July, and August, as summer always goes in the blink of an eye. Maybe half a blink, even.

Now it’s your turn…..how was May?