In my last post, I talked about the Grand Bend Area Studio Tour. As part of the “Eats” part of the Studio Tour, Dave’s Clubhouse at Oakwood Inn featured a special food sampling menu this past weekend. The Clubhouse menu has been redesigned this year, so I was excited to try out some of their new menu items. The sample menu included Oakwood’s bruschetta, mini skillet mac & cheese, single fish taco, four Bam Bam shrimp, mini baked white cheddar dip, single pork pretzel slider, samples size margarita flat bread, and mini chips and salsa. Each sample was only $2 and a generous size to split for two people. I sampled some of each (you know you ordered enough when it takes 3 servers to bring it out!!) and it was all delicious! My favourite was the flat bread with mozzarella and tomato and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. If you visit the Clubhouse, make sure you sit out on the patio overlooking the golf course. The view was a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon!
You can follow Oakwood on Facebook and Twitter for their features of the day.
Margarita flat bread – yummy!
Oakwood is also offering Mother’s Day brunch in the Terrace Room this Sunday.
70671 Bluewater Highway (Hwy 21 North of main intersection)
Grand Bend, ON
I’m sure all of you are pretty excited that spring has finally came and the weather is nice enough to sit out on a patio. Last week I met with my friends Rick and Bruno at the Albion in Bayfield and had a great meal outside while enjoying the village main street!
The three of us sat on the far north end of the patio and watched as the whole restaurant filled up. It was wing night! The Albion serves typical pub fare and has a variety of unique menu specialties including the ABC Albion Sammy (cheese, bacon and apples on rye), The Dopey Burger (Open faced burger with gravy, mushrooms and onions), and the sweet potato enchilada.
Menu items range from $10 – $20 with some appetizers under and some entrees a bit over, but all in all very reasonable! They als0 have a large variety of beer on tap! Thursday night is Wing night, Friday – All you can eat Fish and Chips and on Saturday, Prime Rib is the Special. I hear that during the winter they do a really cool trivia night. I had been wanting to check out the new paintings that were done over the winter and was impressed with how much they changed the atmosphere of the place!
If you are looking for a nice weekend away, Bayfield is a great place to visit, especially during the summer. The Albion is also a hotel and they rent rooms for $115 – $155 and that includes a continental breakfast. For more information about the Albion hotel visit their website at www.thealbionhotel.com
On Saturday volunteers in Seaforth hosted SoupsOn – a fun event to raises funds, collect non-perishable foods and raise profile of the needs of the Seaforth and District Food Bank. Twenty-eight contestants prepared and served samples of their soups to an appreciative crowd gathered at the Community Centre.
For $7 you got 7 tickets that bought 7 samples. The soups were quite palatable, offering a variety of clear and creamed, spicy, hearty and all-around deliciously flavourful samples. I tried the Pierogi Soup presented by Mark Stackhouse of Britannia Lodge – a thick chowder with cheesy chunks of dumplings — Um um, tasty. Sally’s Closet served a Sweet Potato and Lime Soup which had a wonderful consistency and delightfully golden colour. The lime offered a unique taste. A Jamaican Jump-Up Soup prepared by The Black Dog was deliciously spicy and a Black Bean with Lime Salsa from The New Queens Inn in Seaforth was served with a dab of sour cream that offered a nice coolness to the spiciness of the soup. I also tried a Creamy Potato and a Potato Jalapeno Cheddar Soup served by Jack McLachlan and Mystery Soup Makers, respectively. Both were substantial and satisfying. Last, and my nomination for the People Choice Award, was the Rutabaga and Maple served by Freedom Syrup. Sweet and Yummy!
Colleen Elliott & Brenda Wheeler of Freedom Syrup serve Rutabaga and Maple -
A pie and cake auction served up delicious desserts for the charity too. Carrot cakes, pecan and apple-caramel pies, tarts, and other sweets made of local bakers were awarded to the highest bidders. MP Ben Lobb was the guest auctioneer who got the auction going by engaging the crowd to bring a nice price for some the home-baked goodies.
This was a wonderful event that was well supported by the community and a corps of hard-working volunteers and great soup-makers. Congratulations to all.
MP Ben Lobb engages the audience in a lively auction for delicious baked goods
a great crowd gathered in Seaforth for this annual event.
The first Sunday of each month the Fireside Cafe in Wingham provides a stage for young musicians to perform to a local live audience. On April 7th three young women were on the roster – 14 year-old Maggie Durnin, 14 year-old Kendall Jardin and 17 year-old Haley Boyle.
Unfortunately we arrived too late to hear Maggie’s performance. Boyle, a student from St. Anne’s Secondary School in Clinton, hails from Auburn and is a student of Scott Chow at Studio C. She sang and played her guitar. “It’s really nice to get out and get experience in front of people,” said Boyle “It really cool! I haven’t been playing too long.” The final performer of the mid-day (11:30 – 2pm) event was Kendall Jardin who attends F.E. Madill Elementary School. She sang all her popular performance pieces and played the piano for a few of her songs, and the guitar for the rest. She’s a student of Scott Chow as well and says she enjoys playing the drums too. “It’s good experience to develop skills for a (music) career,” she said about what it meant for her to have an opportunity to play to a live audience.
I took a friend along with me to celebrate her birthday and we enjoyed the entertainment as well as a full breakfast buffet that included a substantial salad bar, scrambled eggs, french toast, waffles, bacon and sausage as well as a full dessert bar. Tickets were just $16.99 per person.
Philip Stelzer, Proprietor of the Fireside Cafe, feels its important to give local musicians a stage and will continue to host artists and musicians regularly. The next Youth Talent Brunch will be the second Sunday in June as Mother’s Day falls on May 5 when they’ll be offering a special buffet to honour all moms. Also upcoming this month is Al Crawford of Late Night Rodeo. He was a hit the last time he visited the Fireside Cafe! Check the website or follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/winghamfiresidecafe
Like most people, I buy the majority of my food at the grocery store. During the summer, I like to stop by the Exeter Farmer’s Market, but in the winter I find it hard to source locally grown produce. The local food movement is growing in popularity, and has attracted some attention in the news lately as the provincial government is reintroducing the Local Food Act.
Purchasing the Good Food Box is one way I can get local, fresh produce year-round. The Good Food Box is a community-based project which provides Huron County residents with local vegetables and fruits monthly. The best part is the Good Food Box is only $15. According to their website, buying a Good Food Box means you can save up to 40% off grocery store prices!
Fresh food items in this month’s Good Food Box
Here’s what I got in my Good Food Box for the month of March: a bag of green beans, a cucumber, 2 heads of garlic, 3 pound bag of carrots, hearty bean chili mix (with recipe), 5 pounds of potatoes, a whole cabbage, 2 peppers (red/yellow), 4 oranges, and a bag of brussel sprouts. Included in the box is a handy newsletter with recipes using the box’s contents as well as nutritional information and tips.
I used a recipe from one of my favourite cookbooks (The Looneyspoons Collection) to make a healthy crustless quiche for dinner using the peppers, potatoes, and garlic from my box.
Delicious & Nutritious dinner made from items in my Good Food Box this month.
You can place an order at a neighbourhood host site by the first Friday of each month. The nearest host site for me is the Exeter Library. All orders must be pre-paid in cash at the time they are placed and orders can be picked up on the third Thursday of each month at the host site.
Eddington’s of Exeter featured a variety of theme nights this winter, such as musical nights and wine and spirit nights. I was lucky enough to score the last table for two for the whisky night! I brought my Dad along, who is a big fan of Forty Creek whiskey. Forty Creek is an award winning whiskey and its 2012 Port Wood Reserve was named Canadian Whisky of the Year!
Wade, the representative from Forty Creek, provided us with four tasty samples from their line of spirits (see photo of the sign). These samples were provided between courses along with some background info from Wade so we could appreciate what we were tasting. Chef James Eddington also checked in to see that we were enjoying our samples and food.
whisky potato cheddar bisque
For our meals, I started with the whisky potato cheddar bisque and then enjoyed whisky marinated local fillet mignon served with a Forty Creek mushroom compote, garlic smashed potato and market vegetables. My Dad had the caesar salad with whisky glazed bacon and drunken croutons as an appetizer. For the main course, he had the chicken appleby with granny smith apples caramelized in a Forty Creek Copper pot whisky glaze topped with brie cheese along with roasted potato and market vegetables. The filet mignon and the chicken were both very tasty and tender!
For dessert, we both had crème brule cheesecake accented with fresh whisky soaked berries. I had good intentions of saving dessert and taking it home with me, but it was so good I couldn’t resist finishing it! The cost for the three-course meal including samples was $40 plus tax per person.
crème brule cheesecake accented with fresh whisky soaked berries
Best of all, my Dad was the lucky winner of some great swag from Forty Creek! I think I may have earned the “Best Daughter” award
Eddington’s (www.eddingtons.ca) is located at 527 Main Street South in Exeter. You can reach them at 519-235-3030. On Thursday nights, Eddington’s features a gourmet pizza night. I haven’t tried them yet, but I hear the pizzas are excellent!
Saturday evening the Bach Music Festival of Canada held a fund-raising Medieval Feast at Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church in Exeter. Many people wore costumes, many of which were elaborate, all of which added greatly to the spirit of the evening. King Gerald (Fagan) and Queen Marlene (Fagan) and their children provided entertainment, mostly on a musical theme. The church was filled with laughter and singing.
The roasted pig was a great success and cameras were clicking as guests enjoyed the spectacle.
There were compliments all around for the catering service from Personal Chef Devin Tabor of Bon Vivant. Excellent was the word I heard used most regarding the feast .
The silent auction proved popular and certainly aided in the fund raiser for the Bach Music Festival in July.
The Sap was running well on this sunny Saturday afternoon.
By Diva Karen
By all reports the sap has been flowing well this season and Huron County has some great Maple Syrup producers. I’ve enjoyed it a couple of times in the past week and I’m sure you’ll enjoy spring sweet nectar served like this too.
First, my all-time-favourite way to enjoy maple syrup is on fresh baked tea biscuits. My grandmother taught me how to make these flakey treats years ago and they are still a big hit here. I add raisins for extra goodness!
And last night I tried an easy new recipe. I chopped up sweet potato, parsnips and carrots, drizzled them with olive oil, salt & pepper and baked for approx. 1/2 hour (stirred half way through). Then, I mixed 1/4 cup maple syrup with 2 tbsp dijon mustard and 1/2 tsp garlic powder and glazed the cooked root vegetables. My dinner guests enjoyed this sweet vegetable treat last night and todays microwaved left-overs were even better!
collecting sap the traditional way – metal buckets hang on the trees
I visited the Drudge Family of Wroxeter right at their farm a couple of weeks ago. The Drudge Family has been making maple syrup continuously since 1797! So, I didn’t think I could go wrong and I purchased some light syrup – first of crop for 2013.
I was delighted to find on my tour through Huron evidence of both the newer way of collecting syrup with those blue syrup lines and large tanks as well as traditional method – metal sap pails nailed on the side of the trees.
A couple of weeks ago the divas met at Benmiller Inn to chat about 2013 blog story opportunities and to meet each other!
The meal was seriously awesome. They started us with an amuse bouche – which I just call happy mouth – which had smoked salmon, cream cheese, wasabi and was served on a small potatoe pancake. We all wanted more!
The menu is seasonal and Chef Spencer Vail changes it up fairly often. They also highlight the local producers and farmers of the area, which is something a foodie loves to see. A couple of the Divas ordered off the the prix fixe menu, which is three courses (a couple of choices for each course) and the price point was $29!
We had soups and salads to start and moved on to the main course. We had a variety of dishes including: Chicken Supreme Risotto – Sun dried tomato, roasted red pepper, spinach, chevre, parmesan ($24), Metzger’s Cast Iron Roasted Beef Tenderloin – pommes sarladaise, spring vegetables, whisky spiked hunter sauce ($28) and Willowgrove Hill Pork Chop – sweet and sour cabbage, potato rosti ($28). We were all very pleased with our meals and a couple of the girls even moved on to dessert!
If you are looking for a nice evening out and an excellent meal, Benmiller Inn will definitely impress. Oh and did I mention they also have a great Inn and a spa, but I’ll save that for another story!
Dinner for Lovers at The Little Inn of Bayfield
Feb 14 – $65/pp | Menu | five scrumptious courses that include foie gras and flourless chocolate cake! | Gourmet offerings and a cozy atmosphere in Ontario’s longest continually-operating Inn in beautiful, historic Bayfield. | reservations required – call 1-800-565-1832
Valentine’s Day Rendezvous
Valid February 14th, only | Your package includes one night’s accommodation in the best room available on booking, Chef’s special Valentine’s Day Dinner Menu and a hot made-to-order breakfast in the morning. This package is available on February 14th only. | $305 per couple | Gratuities Not Included, Taxes Not Included | Available from 14/02/2013 to 15/02/2013 | Call for reservations: 1-800-565-1832
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Be My Valentine!!
5-course Valentine’s Dinner for Lovers in the Ivey Dining Room
$39/pp ~ February 11 – 17th
Accommodation Packages Offered All Month Long
Accommodation Packages Offered All Month Long | February Midweek Special - $319 per couple – Best available room at time of booking | $100 dining credit, Breakfast, Chocolate Covered Strawberries and a Split of champagne in room at check in
Saturday Night Special
$369 per couple – Best available room at time of booking | $100 dining credit, Brunch on Sunday Morning, Chocolate Covered Strawberries and a Split of Champagne in room at check in
CALL 1-800-265-1711 for more information
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Cinnamon Jim’s Café in Brussels!
Valentine Open Mic Dinner & Show on Feb 15 | Show hosted by John Bryndza & Dave Hawkins | Two dinner seatings at 6:00pm & 7:15pm. Show @ 8:30 | Call 519-887-8011
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Valentine’s Dinner at Eddington’s
Exeter – Feb 14 - $95 per couple (+ tax & gratuity) | Appetizer, Entree and a Romantic Dessert for Two | Casual, Fine Dining in Exeter’s oldest House | Fresh Local Ingredients Menu
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Valentines Dinner at Samuels Hotel
Friday Feb.15, 5:45pm & 8:00pm seating ~ $40pp prix fixe | Shared Starter | Soup or Salad | Main | Shared Finish | Price does not include beverages, taxes, or gratuity. | Call or Email to make your Reservations 519.524.1371 ~ www.samuelshotel.ca ~ firstname.lastname@example.org