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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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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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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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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Belles in Cowtown

Cibo Wine BarCibo Wine Bar Yorkville

By Cathryn Gagnon:

A recent visit to see Cityline in Toronto brought the girls and I to Yorkville.  We discovered that a favorite restaurant named Ciao, at  133 Yorkville Avenue, has been renamed Cibo Wine Bar. It did not disappoint.  I was pleased to hear that there now is a Cibo Wine Bar on King Street as well.The place is huge, among the other posh eating establishments in Yorkville.  Cibo is trendy and loud, but the whole atmosphere is vibrant.

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Taste Sensations:

  • CARPACCIO – thinly sliced raw beef, arugula, shavings of parmigiano.
  • FUSILLI – chicken, porcini mushrooms, light cream sauce.
  • ARUGULA – Prosciutto di Parma, shaved parmigiano reggiano, red wine vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil.
  • TONNO SCOTTATO + CAPONATA Seared Ahi tuna*, black olive salsa, green beans.

We chose to eat a lighter fare, but every mouthful was amazing.  I highly recommend Cibo Wine Bar, rating it 9 out of 10.

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Toscana…All the Buzz

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By Cathryn Gagnon and her Dining Divas 

This month the Dining Divas experienced Toscana Restaurant and Wine Bar at 3891 Dougall Avenue, in Windsor.  When making the reservation, the restaurant was completely booked, but they were able to accommodate us in the redesigned bar area.  I actually prefer to sit in the bar area at restaurants; the energetic atmosphere is abuzz, making it a fun setting.

Although it’s a fair size, Toscana is always full. The new bar area now seats about 20, and puts diners face to face with the sushi chef. Stylish round booths surround the comfy bar stools. Our favorite way, for my husband Ed and I to enjoy Toscana, is to reserve a bar stool and share a few of our favorite starters, paired with a bottle of wine.

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Relax at the Ben Miller Inn

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Two of the main buildings at the Ben Miller Inn & Spa are over one hundred and thirty years old, but it’s the simplicity and charm of the old grist mill, that keeps visitors coming back for some good old fashioned country R & R. It’s nestled in the rolling hills near Lake Huron, about ten minutes from downtown Goderich.

Rooms are available in different buildings or cottages, depending on the experience you are looking for. We stayed in one of the Mill rooms that overlooked a gushing stream and the Maitland River. The sound of the water and the view were amazing.

The room was clean will all the amenities, including a mini hideaway kitchenette. I was a bit disappointed with the overall condition of the old Inn. There is being old and there is looking old; the Inn looks like it could use some TLC. It was more evident on the property away from the main building.

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Food of the Gods – Icarus Resto Bar

safe_imageEd and I were in London, Ontario this past weekend for a friend’s birthday. We helped him celebrate at Icarus Resto Bar at 519 Richmond Street. I had been there once previously, having the best lamb shank ever, so I was looking forward to another gastronomic experience.

The lamb shank is braised with red wine and rosemary, served over creamy polenta, and accompanied by market vegetables.

There were twenty guests for the birthday party, so a pre-arranged family-style meal was served. Personally, I believe a party of that many people is a challenge for the diner, as well as the server and restaurant. Our server and the kitchen did not let us down.

To get our evening started my friend, our host, put a few bottles of wine on the table. A Schug Pinot Noir and McManis Petite Syrah were to go perfectly with the spanakopita appetizer and chicken kabob, and then beef kabob and lamb chops, respectively.

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KOMA – A Hidden Taste Sensation

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By: Cathryn Gagnon

This month the Dining Divas discovered KOMA (Kitchen of Michael Anthony) Restaurant – at 3090 Dougall Avenue, in Windsor. It’s nestled behind Taco Bell.

Upon arrival, I was pleasantly surprised at how beautifully decorated the restaurant is.  Luxurious red, accompanied by black accents with lovely furniture and great little bar.  The place is small – perhaps twelve tables, but it’s the perfect size for Chef Michael Anthony to shine.

The menu presentation isn’t fancy, a printed sheet of paper – but the appetizers and entrees certainly are. Windsor-20160420-00149

Once all Divas arrived, we chatted among ourselves and reviewed the deliciously described menu choices – most of us kept changing our minds on what to order as each tantalizing item was discussed.

After much discussion and input from our server, about the menu items, we finally decided.

Our starters in included:

  • Tempura Vegetables smothered in roasted carrot puree with soy honey dressing
  • Rice Balls laid over pulled pork tenderloin with san marzano tomato and guincale
  • Braised Lamb atop seared bacon corn bread, caramelized onion and blue cheese
  • Panko encrusted Calamari with dill soy honey ginger dressing and red curry cream.

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The Kingsville Krawl

IMG_1151The town of Kingsville is about a forty minute drive from our house in Windsor. It boasts a handful of unique pubs and restaurants as well as several wineries that are just outside of town. Cathryn and I have visited and/or stayed in Kingsville on many occasions.

It can be a bit quiet in the winter, but that’s when places like Lakeside Park come to life with their beautiful Christmas light display.

On this occasion, Cathryn scored a Groupon for $90 that gave us accommodations in a beautiful century-old home, above Jack’s Gastro Pub. The deal included $35 in food or beverages of our choice.

Jack’s is a hot-spot in Kingsville, with it’s open veranda and shaded patio dining areas. The menu is ever changing, but always has delicious choices. We like to hop around town to try different places, eating and drinking as we go. IMG_1155

After dropping off our bags we walked down the stairs to the little bar, right below our room. Too handy. We got into the craft beers, starting with an Okanagan black lager that tasted like more. I had another.

We wanted to try something different to eat so we ordered the bacon cheeseburger spring rolls. Then went perfectly with the dark beer.  I had to share the appetizer and I wasn’t quite full so I decided to try a Belgian craft next. It was like having dessert before my meal. Continue reading “The Kingsville Krawl”