Eating is one of my favorite things to do. I like food from all nationalities and enjoy trying new places and venturing out of the immediate area quite often.
As I mentioned before, many of the wineries have great restaurants too. One of our favorite areas to visit for food, wine and general scenery is the Bench. This is the area of the Niagara Escarpment that is beyond St Catharines, taking in Jordan, Beamsville, Vineland, and Grimsby.
Back around Thanksgiving, we went for a scenic drive out that way, visiting Balls Falls Conservation Area. This is a great place to walk and see the falls, visit the little pioneer village and the Visitor Centre there.
Anyway, after that, we met with some friends and had booked Thanksgiving lunch at Redstone Winery in Beamsville. This winery is owned by the same people as Tawse winery just up the road. Redstone is a fantastic, contemporary building made of glass, stone, steel and wood – very open concept with soaring high ceilings and, most importantly, great food and wine!
Looking down the menu, it was tough to decide but after careful consideration and several orders of warm, fresh baked bread, I went for the Celeriac soup with smoked pear, rosemary and black pepper. To follow, the Beef short-rib on a bed of spätzle with onion, kale and goat’s cheese was a natural choice.
A side order of charred zucchini with preserved lemon, ricotta and mint completed my main course, washed down with a smooth 2012 Pinot Noir. The dessert selection was no easier but after a filling meal, a lighter Crème Brulee with fresh fruit compote was the perfect finish. A fresh cappuccino and it was all over.
A little further along the road is a great place called Memphis Barbecue Company. This retro 1950’s style diner does fantastic milk shakes. Everything here is big so go hungry!
If you love smoked meat, beef brisket, pulled pork, pulled chicken or smoked rack of ribs, this is THE place. They also do fantastic buttermilk fried chicken, great burgers, hot dogs and the most amazing poutine. Loads of other options including a 1lb burger – yes, one pound! They have a license too so you can get a beer. This place was featured on TV a couple of years ago and they just keep getting better.
Driving back towards home, you will pass through the village of Jordan. Actually, you have to deviate very slightly off the main road but it is well worth it. Here, in the heart of the quaint little village is a café with an eclectic interior and a great outdoor seating area for the summer months.
Formerly the Zooma Zooma Café, it changed owners and names and is now Unwined Bean & Bistro. This great little place offers great Tapas. Items like Baked Brie with cranberry salsa or fresh baked flatbreads with assorted toppings, spicy roasted chicken with banana peppers, cheddar and spicy aioli are just a few of the items. My wife loves their strawberry and spinach salad goats cheese and almonds.
Whether you want a nice glass of wine, a cold beer, a refreshing iced tea or a great coffee, there is something here to please everyone.
There are a few other great places in this little village, but more of that in another article!
If you want to know more about the Niagara-on-the-Lake area or about real estate in NOTL, don’t hesitate to contact me.