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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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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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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The Two Bill’s – Part 2

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This story appears in my first book, A Casual Traveler

 The Way Back 

            Usually, going somewhere is more fun than coming back. Whenever I plan a trip I try to take that into account. I don’t know how everyone else feels, but I hate covering the same ground twice. I’d much rather make a loop and go out of my way, than drive down the same road more than once. Unless something is worth seeing again, from a different perspective.

            Cathryn and I had a great ride getting to Vancouver, but I knew I had my work cut out for me, trying to find an eventful and scenic way back home. The whole idea of the trip was to cover new ground, since both of us had been out west before. Seattle came to mind. Although I’d been there twice, I never had time to see more than a few token attractions on the waterfront.

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Steerfish in Spearfish

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You never know what you’ll end up eating when you’re on the road and looking  a  good meal. Cathryn and I struck it rich in Spearfish, South Dakota when the manager at our motel recommended Steerfish Steak & Smoke.

Spearfish is one of those towns that most folks have never heard of, but this restaurant and the annual motorcycle rally in neighboring Sturgis have put them on the map. If you are ever anywhere in the area, visiting this eatery is a must.

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Better with Bacon @ Arby’s

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I never, ever, thought I’d be blogging and bragging about any food at a fast food restaurant. The new Brown Sugar Bacon Club Sandwich changed my mind.

Cathryn and I were on the road, returning home from our motorcycle trip to the west coast and back. We were into day three on the road, in the middle of Iowa, somewhere along highway #20. The gauges on the gas tank and our stomachs read almost empty, so we pulled off the road to fill up.

The choices were Subway or Arby’s and the latter won the coin toss. We couldn’t remember the last time we had eaten there. Ironically, a couple of nights before, I had seen a tv commercial about the new brown sugar bacon sandwiches at Arby’s. So, I ordered the Club and asked the girl if my sandwich would look like the one in the picture.

Of course, she looked at me like I had two heads, but another girl said that it was a big sandwich and I would like it. When I picked up the tray, I knew she was right. It had some serious weight to it.

The sandwich was stacked high with meat and bacon and all the other yummy stuff you get on a club sandwich. It had to be a half a pound, on a nice soft bun. I usually shun Arby’s for all their processed crap, but it was easily the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten there.

If I had to complain about anything it would be the brown sugar bacon. It was a bit sweet. I thought a smoky bacon would be better. Just saying.

Seattle’s more than Seafood

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Seattle deserves a lot more time than we allowed ourselves there, but with a Kamikaze agenda, we hit enough bars and restaurants to give us a good taste of the seaside city. For me, downtown Seattle means Pike’s Market on the waterfront. You could spend a whole day wandering through the dozens of shops in buildings on both sides of the street, and not see it all.

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3,200 Miles to Granville

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So far, Ruby has carried us (Ed, Cathryn and Axle) over 3,200 miles…that’s about 5,000 Kanadian miles, from Windsor, Ontario, to Surrey, British Columbia. She’s resting in the garage as I write this, but has an appointment at the hawg  dealership tomorrow, for a new front tire, oil change, and minor damage repair from a hitting a bad pot hole somewhere out there. Yes, Tim, the Harley made it all the way across  the country…just follow my oil slick.

Although it’s been nice to get off the bike for a few days, we’ll be back on her soon enough, heading to Seattle next, to visit an old friend. We’ve had a mixed bag of weather, but none of it bad enough to stop us. A couple of close lightening strikes did give me pause.

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