Part II Bistro – Goderich

On our recent Tobermory trip, for a change of scenery, Cathryn and I decided to take the back roads up north – getting off the highway when we could, and following Lake Huron’s eastern shoreline. Knowing the six hour ride would take us longer, we booked a room in Goderich to make it a two-day trip. On the first day we stopped in Grand Bend to stretch our legs and see what is new. The beach resort town was bustling, with plenty of new places to get your favorite junk food, and a complete makeover of the old Colonial Hotel is in progress.

Cathryn barely remembered being to Goderich years ago, so we drove down to the waterfront and along the public beach. The old CPR Train Station has been meticulously restored and relocated there and converted into a restaurant. New since my last visit is a wooden boardwalk with exercise stations, running the full 1.5 km length of the beach.

For dinner we sought out the Part II Bistro, on the main square – more like an octagon loop that surrounds the court house, with a half dozen streets as spokes, radiating from the center. It was Tuesday, and to our disappointment many restaurants in town were closed for the night. Part II Bistro was open and had rave reviews so that’s where we went. They have a beautiful patio out front that offers a great view of the town square, but the weather and seasonal bees had us reserve a table inside.

I can best describe the décor as eclectic, with tables partitioned for privacy and Covid reasons. They had a nice selection of local craft beers and a descent wine list. We sampled both. A picture of our appetizer wouldn’t do it justice – look up Gnudi on their menu – ricotta, parmesan and garlic formed into soft pillows, with a semolina flower crust set on a slowly simmered IPA, basil tomato reduction. Yes, it was a savory and delicious as it sounds.

Cathryn saw a lamb shank on the menu so there was no decision for her. I was torn between the Sacchietti Pasta and the Greek chicken, but was in need of a good carb fix and chose the latter. Stuffed egg pasta filled with mushrooms and black truffles, tossed with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, woodland mushrooms, spinach, onions and garlic. Finished with cream and herbed infused olive oil and topped with parmesan cheese. OMG! Need I say more? The little pasta pouches made for the best I’ve ever had.

The Lamb Shank was braised perfectly in Moroccan influences of cumin, cinnamon and cardamom, set on Israeli couscous with ratatouille vegetables, topped with it’s own braising reduction. Cathryn barely had to coax the meat off the bone, which I secretly think she wanted to suck on.

Dessert was mostly for me, she only wanted a bite. I selected the peanut butter chocolate cheesecake, of course. The picture tells the story, and it tasted even better than it looks.

Service was just a tad slow, but like everywhere else these days the restaurant is having difficulty in finding wait staff. They did a great job with what they had and Cathryn and I eagerly give Part II Bistro a 10 out of 10.

Maria’s in Melaque

27993085_945926655571086_3420542842870343265_ocovere

West Melaque is becoming a hub for tasty new restaurants. Cathryn and I haven’t been here in two years but were happy to see restaurants like the Wok and De Maria en la Playa in the end of town we’re staying. We’ve been to Maria’s three times now and had excellent food each time.

The Italian restaurant is right next door to Tito’s, in the same building that was Tito’s the last time we were in town. The dining room is cozy, extends out onto a wood deck, and has seating on the beach. Menu items include salads, pasta and steaks. The guacamole we had for starters was one of the best we’ve had in Melaque.

Continue reading “Maria’s in Melaque”

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

front

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.

Simona’s – Simply the Best

14731132_564987987039527_2244397156848135902_n

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.

Continue reading “Simona’s – Simply the Best”

Rino’s Kitchen & Ale House

Carbonara

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.

Continue reading “Rino’s Kitchen & Ale House”