A day in the bench…

We have a last minute event on Monday, so it was a bit rushed this a.m. but I was still able to get to our venue for Wednesday by 10:30 a.m. - it's a gorgeous, rustic setting with lush greenery and a fabulous Victorian style house on the property. I hope our guests on Wednesday enjoy it !

Next, I went over to the Watering Can in VIneland to get some supplies - and while I was over there I thought maybe I should have lunch at About Thyme Bistro as I eat their food at so many functions but have never been to the actual bistro - now -this is not a large place - and I was close to the first luncheon customer there at noon - but in short order the place was packed. I bumped into Paul and Maury and the crew from Tawse getting organized over lunch for their big concert series (Jim Cuddy is coming! woohoo!) and we had a chat about the corporate group that I am bringing to Tawse on Wednesday.  When Ryan, the Chef and owner of About Thyme, had a minute, we got our July 16th bike dinner organized - if you are a Twlighter you know about this annual, "back by popular demand" event, and if you are keen, book now - because we are only taking 20 people - and hey, one of them has to be me - so that leaves 19 spots!

Ryan, ever gracious, sat with me and reviewed the menu for Wednesday and that is when my day really took off - first he had me over to Daniel Lenkos, then Gretzky's, then Kacaba - and well, I have to do Hidden Bench, Stratus and Vineland tomorrow because there was not enough time in the day!

I was at Daniel Lenko Winery to hunt down a nice late harvest for dessert - ice wine is an acquired taste and often it is good to have a late harvest option - and Ryan was quite excited about this particular wine as Daniel has decided to get out of sweet wines and this is the last of stock.  I ended up with a case of late harvest, one bottle of raspberry reserve, a little John Deere Tractor for my son and a bottle of Reisling Reserve for the big kids - everyone was happy! The wines are well made, they have what you will hear wine writers refer to as good structure - and nicely balanced. I first heard about Daniel Lenko from Anna Olson, who told me this was the best winery in NIagara  - which is high praise from a foodie.

If you haven't been to DLW, and you are up for a taste of character - you really have to go - Daniel is the kind of character that Harlequin Romance writes novels about. As I left the winery 4 lovely young ladies in town for the Niagara Wine Country Run tomorrow pulled up - they approached, giggling, and asked..."are you THE Daniel Lenko?".  Blackie the resident border collie and I were left in the driveway, both of us grinning.

Next it was off to Wayne Gretzky's - to collect some Shiraz ice wine which I tried at the bar with some medium dark chocolate - it was a very nice pairing.  If you get a chance to do this tasting, take it - the chocolate really softens the sweetness of red ice wines - do you remember Hershey Cherry Blossoms? It's like a cherry blossom for big kids - yum. I would do this for dessert - red ice wine and good quality chocolate wafers - what else do you need?

So, the next stop is Kacaba for their 2007 Cabernet - wow, this is a big, meaty wine with a lot of tannin (it is that part of wine which makes your mouth feel dry) - and I am a bit hesitant on it - so Dave, the retail manager, puts the wine through the aerator and wow - I am hooked. Now, this is not a sit on the porch and sip wine - this wine needs protein to bump up against - but I am pretty excited to try this - it should be a great steak wine that doesn't set you back $30 a bottle. Here is a shot of the pretty exterior at Kacaba - and they have some great event space just to the right of this - definitely worth checking out.


Well, I was exhausted by I scooted over to pick up my race kit at the Beamsville Fairgrounds for tomorrow's big race - and the ever lovely Christina Pietraculpa from Niagara Airbus was there - she, Jennifer Wood and I are going to brave the elements and run the Niagara Wine Country Race tomorrow!

part two - 72 reasons we love our jobs!

We were so very privileged this weekend to spend it with some fine folks from the steel industry - my only regret is that I wish I had a chance to sit and hear from them about what they do - I think that must be a fascinating industry!

We did a history tour, an art tour, some golfing, biking, whirlpool jetboating and some very fine dining both at Copacabana and Jackson Triggs. I'll fill in more details later - but it was our first event fully done by David Penny, the Chef at Jackson Triggs and the reviews came back very good!

Looking forward to our next adventure tomorrow!

Cheers, Natalie

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How Whitty Farms makes life in Niagara better…

On my way home from Toronto I stopped at Whitty Farms and ran into Karen Whitty - and chatted with her about curling, wineries (she and her husband Doug are involved with 13th Street Winery) and things in general. I got some gorgeous strawberries to take home - and I managed to snap this photo before Stacy hoovered them. They tasted as good as they looked.

Karen and her husband Doug recently won a rather prestigious prize for their husbandry of the environment and the protection of the greenbelt - read about it here - just another example of local residents and business owners making a positive difference.

So the next time you are out and about in NIagara, stop by  Whitty Farms or 13th Street Winery and help support the businesses that make Niagara better every season.

Bon appetit!


p.s. While I adore Karen's beautiful produce, my next door neighbour says Karen's butter tarts are dangerously good - and the food critic in the house, the 8 year old, concurs!

72 reasons we love our jobs!

Entry Tagged as: history, art, niagara falls
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