Rants, Raves & Reviews – Capone’s Grill & Pasta Shop

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Cathryn and I don’t get out for dinner much these days, mostly because many restaurants aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Who wants to pay forty bucks for a steak that’s not cooked to your liking or eat frozen veggies. Maybe it helps in our case that we both like to cook, and cook the way we like.

Not to say there aren’t any great restaurants in Windsor. Take the little Italian grill and pasta shop called, Capone’s on Wyandotte Street, in old Riverside. Owner John Fuerth is the restaurant’s first reason for success. He openly admits that he mimicked his favorite Italian restaurant, the Cook Shop, when he created Capone’s.

dinnerCathryn and I have eaten in both places and John hasn’t missed a beat. We were able to get a table on Friday night without reservations and were welcomed as if we were extended family. We started with the scallop appetizer special. They were plump, seared to perfection and served with a tasty reduction and veggie slivers.

Cathryn had the Chateau Briand and I ordered the carbonara with pancetta, asking for it to be on the creamy side. The wait wasn’t long and our meals were served piping hot from the kitchen that was only a few feet away (a very cozy place for the cooking staff). C’s filet was cooked exactly how she asked. I received a damn good sized bowl of pasta – easily the best carbonara I’ve had in many years.

desertFor dessert we had cheesecake that was made inhouse. It was not your normal triangle slab cut from a pie tin. It resembled a large scoop of ice cream, light and creamy, with no gram crust, and topped with blueberry sauce. OMG good.

Even with a decent bottle of  wine, our bill barely broke a hundred dollars. The same meal would have cost us almost double at the Cook Shop. John told us Lino recently retired and sold the downtown landmark. Not a problem for us since we’ve found our new favorite Italian eatery. Both C and I give Capone’s a 10 out of 10, and I think that’s the first time ever.

The New Old Elora Mill

IMG_2932 (2)Cathryn had dropped a few hints that we were over due for a mystery date (an overnight at an undisclosed destination), the comments directed in my direction for her birthday month. It had been a whole two months since our return from Egypt and Africa so I almost felt sorry for her and decided to surf the web for an idea to satisfy her wanderlust itch.

One of my cousins posted on Facebook that she was at the spa in the Elora Mill. The last time Cathryn and I dropped by the village of Elora the Mill was closed, fenced in and under construction. We tried to peek through the fence but couldn’t see what was in the works. I messaged my cousin who said the Mill was newly renovated and open for business.

I browsed the internet and checked the web site, balking at the listed price for spending one night in a hotel room. Reading on I was able to get into the last night of an off-season promotion that made the cost more palatable. Just because I thought my wife deserved a treat I shelled out $350 banana peels for a room in the mill. The clincher for me was a complimentary bottle of premium wine in the room and a hundred bucks off our food and beverage bill in either the lounge or restaurant.

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Destination Kingsville

kingsvilleAfter retiring I worked for Niagara Wine Tours, a company who was trying to expand into the Lake Erie North Shore region. They were already tapped into the Toronto market and thought the wine industry in Essex County was ripe for the picking. Unfortunately the company couldn’t garner enough interest to keep them afloat. The main complaint from out-of-town tourists was our lack of places to stay.

Fast-forward about ten years and we have fifteen wineries and almost as many breweries or brew-pubs. Existing estates expanded to accommodate tour buses and gatherings such as wedding receptions. Bars and restaurants got in on the action by offering local vintages and brews.

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Nero’s Steak House

1491341927522What ever happened to all the good steak house restaurants? Windsor used to have at least a half dozen top notch places. Did the next generation stop eating steak or do they avoid upscale eateries? Even the Outback Steakhouse couldn’t survive in Windsor.

Not to worry folks. In case you haven’t heard, Nero’s Steak House in Casino Windsor is all things a good beef baron should be, and more. They specialize in prime cuts of meat, but also offer seafood and a full menu.

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El Patio De Sebastian

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One of our favorite breakfast spots in Melaque is El Patio, on the same side of the street and just west of the Bus Depot and Roosters. You can actually walk right by the place if you’re not looking for the restaurant, there are three tables out front on the sidewalk that give it away. Our first time there we didn’t even know there was a beautiful courtyard patio inside, past the kitchen.

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Simona’s – Simply the Best

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We’ve tried the rest and for us Simona’s in Bara Navidad is the best. There are other very good restaurants in the Melaque/Bara area, but after visiting Simona’s at least a half dozen times it’s still our favorite.

15032269_577229592482033_5290378931545559619_nSome new staff that speak gringo are a nice addition this year. Simona and Carlos are welcoming and accommodating as usual. We’ve visited twice in the last two weeks, the first visit was with Cathryn’s mother and her man.

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The Grove Brew House

18221824_448953188785097_1230751276462164033_nWe have a new stop to add to our annual Kingsville Krawl – the Grove Brew House. It’s right on the main drag and attached to its own Inn, formerly the King’s Inn. Cathryn and I checked it out, sampling their craft beers and two appetizers during a late afternoon visit.

The Inn has been refurbished and a brand new brewery has been built beside it where the outdoor patio once was. Although the two buildings are attached, I don’t think they blend well architecturally. That doesn’t seem to matter to the people who have been filling the place on a regular basis.

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Rino’s Kitchen & Ale House

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Formerly the Nesbitt Inn, Rino’s Kitchen and Ale House is a small restaurant on the fringe of downtown Windsor that is big on character and flavor. Meals are served inside a one hundred year old stately brick home on Elliott Street at Pelissier. It’s far enough from the bar scene to have ample parking right next door.

Chef Rino Bortolin proudly uses local ingredients for his ever-changing menu, and he offers local craft beer and wine. His prices are fair and offerings range from burger to lamb shank. The atmosphere is cozy and casual. In the warmer weather tables are set up outside on the deck and sometimes in the back yard.

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Marco’s Pizzeria

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The secret is out in East Windsor. Drive by the corner of Tecumseh and Tourangeau Roads around dinner time and you’ll see the steady flow of hungry people walking in the front door of Marco’s Pizzeria & Italian Family Eatery or coming out smiling, carrying boxes of pizza. I’d heard about the place from some family members, but only remembered the building from when it was Ten Friends Diner.

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Muy Bien Melaque

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We’ve been in Melaque, Mexico just over a month now, our second visit to this undiscovered gem on the Pacific coast. The towns of Villa Obregon and San Patricio help to form what is known as Melaque, a little known destination for many Canadian snowbirds. Although tiny in comparison to places like Puerto Vallarta, Melaque has a great selection of bars and restaurants to quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger. Although we’ve tried many different establishments in the last month, I am only mentioning three of our favorites in this blog post.

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