Winterlicious at the Black Dog in Bayfield

5 Mar

By Travel Diva Jenna Ujiye

BlackDogWinterlicious10

Before I tell you about my most recent Winterlicious I wanted to make sure that you all know that there are only 4 days left to try out these amazing 3 course meals for $29.00. To find menus and information visit: www.tasteofhuron.ca

Last Friday I headed out to the Black Dog Pub in Bayfield to try out their Winterlicious menu. My three friends Ang, Nisa and Nat joined me and it turned out to be a wonderful evening! I was the only person to order the specific Winterlicious meal and it was yummy!

One of the great things about this facility is the bar offereings, many choices in liquors, beers and wines. Now there was a confusion with the first course, I read the cheddar and ale portion of the menu and thought it was soup. Well I think I need a lesson in reading, cause the first course was actually Traditional Potted Cheddar with Mill Street Organic Tankhouse Ale and Toasted Olive Bread. So it turned out to be cheese and bread. The cheese was very strong and had a unique flavor and the olive bread was nice.

Cheese and Bread

Traditional Potted Cheddar with Mill Street Organic Tankhouse Ale and Toasted Olive Bread

Best Beet Salad

Best Beet Salad

Village Salad

Village Salad

Nat ordered the village salad and Ang got the beet salad, both of which I have had and I must say that the beet salad is one of my favourite courses at the Black Dog.

The second course that I had was Pan-Seared Metzger Smoked Pork Chop with Herbed Stuffing, Mustard-Cider Cream, Braised Red Cabbage and Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes. The mashed potatoes where so creamy and even with all of the food on the plate I wanted more!

Metzger's Pork Chop

Metzger’s Pork Chop

We joked about having favourites and Nat and Ang both got what they normally get. It’s great to try something new, but if you love something it is sometimes what you have to go with. Nat got the curry, which is a favourite of many and Ang got the weth’s mushrooms on toast with brie, which looked super scrumptious. Nisa tried something she had never had before the pasta e verdure, which comes in a lovely cream sauce and has weth’s mushrooms in it as well!

Weth’s Mushrooms on toast with brie

Weth’s Mushrooms on toast with brie

Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry

Pasta E Verdure

Pasta E Verdure

For the final course my mouth was exploding with love for the Apple Fritter with Vanilla Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce. My friends Selena and Meighan were both trying out the Winterlicious the same night and both stopped by the table before leaving to pump me up about the Apple Fritter. It really was a treat. Nat and Nisa both got the sticky toffee pudding, we’ve had it before and it is amazing! Overall we had a wonderful evening with superb food!

Apple Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce

Apple Fritters with Vanilla Ice Cream and Butterscotch Sauce

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

The Black Dog Village Pub and Bistro

5 MAIN STREET N., BAYFIELD ONTARIO – PHONE (519) 565-2326

http://blackdogpubbistro.ca

Winterlicious Getaway at Brentwood on the Beach – Part 1

2 Mar

by Diva Trista Russell

Lovely sunset over Lake Huron (photo courtesy of Anthony Sitko)

Lovely sunset over Lake Huron (photo courtesy of Anthony Sitko)

I’m excited to tell you about my relaxing little holiday on Ontario’s West Coast as part of the Taste of Huron program! I was lucky enough to stay overnight at Brentwood on the Beach, which is a luxury bed and breakfast on the shores of Lake Huron at St. Joesph’s (between Grand Bend and Bayfield). The special Winterlicious package I booked included a traditional German dinner, four star accommodations, and brunch the next day.

I had heard about Brentwood before, but I had never had the opportunity to stay overnight before. I had no idea that it was such a large and beautiful property! Peter and Joan Karstens own and operate Brentwood, which is a 10,000 square feet house with 9 guest rooms, a salt water pool, hot tub, sauna, guest kitchen, and common areas with books and games for guests to enjoy. When I arrived, two other guests were curled up on the couch reading a book by the fireplace.

The traditional German dinner included rouladen, which was made out of a Metzger's beef roll made with dijon mustard, pickles, and bacon. Very tender!

The traditional German dinner included rouladen, which was made out of a Metzger’s beef roll made with dijon mustard, pickles, and bacon. Very tender!

There were over 15 guests for dinner, and with the floor to ceiling windows in the dining room, many of us watched the beautiful sunset go down over Lake Huron before our meal. Peter is originally from Germany, so we enjoyed an authentic German dinner made by Peter and the Brentwood staff including garden salad, red cabbage, turnip, roasted potatoes, green beans, rouladen, pickle tray, and various breads. Dessert was German black forest cake, which was delicious!

Homemade Black Forest cake (photo courtesy of Anthony Sitko)

Homemade Black Forest cake (photo courtesy of Anthony Sitko)

I had a chance to chat with Pat and Betty, two ladies from Harriston, during dinner and discovered that these ladies discovered Brentwood on the internet and decided to come for a break from life at home. They also indulged in some in-house pedicures and massages while they were there!

The morning after I enjoyed a mini spa-like experience: a dip in the pool and hot tub and a quick visit to the sauna before brunch! Brunch included Peter’s famous German apple pancakes with homemade mulberry sauce, poached eggs, sausage, fresh fruit, yogurt, cheese and cold meat platter. All I can say is that if you come to Brentwood, make sure you try the pancakes as they are scrumptious!

The salt water pool was very warm and with the humidity it felt like the tropics!

The salt water pool was very warm and with the humidity it felt like the tropics!

Beach Room with lake view and fireplace

Beach Room with lake view and fireplace

What I discovered during my stay was that most of the guests were repeat guests. They loved staying there and decided to come back, which speaks volumes about the quality of Brentwood. Stay tuned for another post with some stories about the interesting guests I met during my stay!

Brentwood on the Beach
33937 Moore Court, RR #2,
St. Joseph Shores
Zurich, Ontario
www.brentwoodonthebeach.com
Email: info@brentwoodonthebeach.com
Phone: 519-236-7137

Ensuite bathroom with whirlpool tub

Ensuite bathroom with whirlpool tub

Common area with books and games for guests

Common area with books and games for guests

Breakfast is served!

Breakfast is served!

Peter's famous German apple pancakes (yes, a full one is the size of a dinner plate!)

Peter’s famous German apple pancakes (yes, a full one is the size of a dinner plate!)

Eddingtons Winterlicious

1 Mar

By: Diva Jenna Ujiye

The Divas at Eddingtons

The Divas at Eddingtons

This week has been a perfect week to get to a couple more Winterlicious events. On Wednesday five of us divas went for a wonderful meal at Eddingtons in Exeter. Karen, Claire, Christine, Trista and I had a marvelous time!

Trista, Karen and I all decided to go with the Winterlicious menu. Eddingtons had two choices for the starter and main, here is the menu:

Starter – Local atibo white bean and root vegetable chowder. Or Late harvest kale and beet salad. Parmigianino, hardboiled egg, sunflower seeds and sundried cranberry, tossed in a local garlic dressing.

Bean Soup

Bean Soup

Kale and Beet Salad

Kale and Beet Salad

Main – Local Pork shoulder braised in an apple cider vinegar served on a caramelized onion and blue cheese tart accented with a Grand Bend potato and root vegetable medley. Or  Supreme breast of chicken stuffed with fresh herbs, roma tomato and flavorful Italian sausage glazed in a Chianti red wine and shallot reduction. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and market vegetables.

Pork Shoulder

Pork Shoulder

Chicken Supreme

Chicken Supreme

I had the  soup to start and the pork as my main and they were both great. The bean chowder had a nice mild flavor letting the beans and vegetables show their true flavours. The pork was super succulent and tender.

Claire and Christine both decided to get their courses off of the menu. Christine started with the Thai Chicken Salad and Claire had the martini scallops, both starters looked yummy! They both got the gourmet macaroni and cheese, and my the silence at the table you could tell they liked it!

Thai Chicken Salad

Thai Chicken Salad

Martini Scallops

Martini Scallops

To end the meal Karen Trista and  I had Sticky toffee pudding cake with a coastal coffee caramel sauce, Christine had and apple dessert and Claire had the flourless chocolate cake… Wow, it was amazing!

Apple Cake

Apple Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Sticky Toffee Cake

Sticky Toffee Cake

The Taste of Huron Winterlicious dining program is running until March 9 at various restaurant around Ontario’s West Coast, if you want more information, visit here: www.tasteofhuron.ca

Eddingtons of Exeter:

Address: 527 Main St S, Exeter, ON N0M 1S1

Phone:(519) 235-3030

Website: http://www.eddingtons.ca/

Olympic Fever at the Albion

26 Feb
The Albion is a popular spot for snowmobilers.

The Albion is a popular spot for snowmobilers.

by Diva Trista Russell
February has been a great month for getting cozy on the couch and watching some television…especially when the Winter Olympics were on! While I was in Bayfield staying at the Little Inn during the Family Day long weekend, I headed down the street to watch the Canada vs. Finland hockey game in the pub at The Albion Hotel.

Not surprisingly, there were lots of hockey fans cheering on the Canadian team, and servers were even dressed in red and white jerseys. It was a sunny winter’s day, so of course there were lots of snowmobilers stopped there too. Every Tuesday, they have great specials and prizes for snowmobilers, which includes $2 tacos or sliders and chili dogs for $5.95!

The Albion has huge murals painted on the walls along with some displays of sports memorabilia. The interior looked different from the last time I was last there, but I love how the decor provides a relaxed and cozy vibe.

Olympic fever has hit the Albion!

Olympic fever has hit the Albion!

For those that enjoy fish and chips, when I went they had a $12 two-piece fish and chips special. I enjoyed the “Nachos Supreme” and a beverage, which definitely hit the spot!

The Albion has a great atmosphere for watching sports, especially the Olympics. You can see how proud everyone is of the Canadian team when the pub erupts with cheers. Go Canada Go!

The Albion Hotel
1 Main Street, Bayfield
Phone: 519-565-2641 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting
Email: albion@tcc.on.ca
The Albion is on Facebook!

My hockey watching menu: “Nachos Supreme” with ground beef

My hockey watching menu: “Nachos Supreme” with ground beef

Watching the Olympic hockey game at the Albion

Watching the Olympic hockey game at the Albion

Murals and sports memorabilia adorn the walls

Murals and sports memorabilia adorn the walls

The 182 Year Old Inn

24 Feb

IMG_4549 (Large)by Diva Trista Russell

I subscribe to the Little Inn of Bayfield’s e-newsletter, and this past January I saw that the Inn was offering a great winter deal as part of their 182nd anniversary: stay in the room of your choice, $50 dining voucher and full country breakfast for $182 for two people!

Since February 14th was coming up, I treated my Valentine to a great getaway that wasn’t far away from home, but was a nice change of scenery. We both had never stayed at the Little Inn before, so it was a new experience for us. The Little Inn of Bayfield has a CAA Four Diamond Award for lodging and dining and it’s Ontario’s longest continually operating inn. Wow!

The Little Inn of Bayfield

The Little Inn of Bayfield

IMG_4534We arrived early for the snowshoe adventure (see my last post for details), and the reception staff was very friendly and welcoming. There were guests milling about, some enjoying coffee and a good book in the front parlour by the fireplace, and others enjoying a late lunch in the dining room. Innkeper Darren Erb led us to one of the Carriage House rooms which is a bit more spacious than the Original Rooms. Room 31 featured a queen size Tempurpedic bed, small sitting area (complete with mohair throw from the Old Mill in Blyth), ensuite bathroom with standup shower, and view to the historic Main Street. The bed with custom made duvet was very comfy, although it was so high you literally had to climb up into bed (there were actually stools provided!). Two heart-shaped sugar cookies were waiting on the bed upon arrival, which was a nice treat after snowshoeing.

Lake Huron fish and chips and mushroom risotto

Lake Huron fish and chips and mushroom risotto

For dinner we enjoyed Lake Huron fish and chips and mushroom risotto, as well as a warm apple tart with chocolate ice cream for dessert in the Carriage House dining room. Nearby in the Original Inn dining room guests were enjoying an Around the World Wine and Dine event featuring food and wine pairings from all over the world. If we weren’t so stuffed, we would have tried the Hayter’s Turkey Poutine which was made with gnocchi fries, devils rock blue cheese, chive seedlings, turkey veloute…sounds yummy and interesting! I especially enjoyed their speciality tea after dinner, which was a decaf vanilla blend. The Inn also shares some of their favourite dining room recipes on their website.

Diva Trista at The Little Inn of Bayfield

Diva Trista at The Little Inn of Bayfield

There were couples young and old, and even families with small children (they have a children’s menu) enjoying dinner in the dining room. The little girl next to us so well behaved and was quite entertaining: at the end of dinner she put her utensils “to bed” under her napkin! What was nice was that throughout the meal our server explained the ingredients and how the food was prepared, and we didn’t feel rushed even though we spent over 2 hours enjoying a candlelight dinner.

Breakfast was a continental buffet of cereals, fruit, yogurt, breads, jams, and juices as well as an item off the hot breakfast menu. We enjoyed the French toast and Spanish omelet and we were quite full by the end! I especially enjoyed the homemade banana bread and local coffee from the Coastal Coffee Company. The Little Inn features locally grown and raised products from Huron County, as their breakfast featured sides of Exeter tomatoes and Metzger’s bacon and sausage.

The LittleInn is quite charming with its antique furniture, traditional decor, and friendly service, so it’s nice to see that it is still operating since 1832! Every January they close for their annual “winter’s rest” where they give the Inn a facelift such as refinishing the original wood plank floors in the dining room. While it is a historic Inn, it still offers much of the same modern amenities as other inns and hotels (such as free wireless internet), and it’s evident that they maintain the Inn without sacrificing its original character. I thought with the older plumbing, the shower would be just lukewarm, but it was the hottest water I’ve ever experienced!

This package was a great deal and it shows that you don’t have to spend a small fortune to stay in a beautiful historic Inn. Considering that the cost for the room was slightly over $100 with the breakfast and dinner amounts removed, I think most would find it difficult to get quality accommodations elsewhere at that price. Along with the great price, parking was nearby and free, shopping was literally down the street, and the service and charm was much greater than what you’d find in the city!

The Little Inn of Bayfield
26 Main Street North, Bayfield, Ontario
Telephone: 1-800-565-1832 or (519) 565-2611
Email: frontdesk@littleinn.com
Web: www.littleinn.com
Check out their Facebook and Twitter pages for deals and specials!

parlour at the Little Inn

parlour at the Little Inn

Diva Trista is snuggled in during a winter retreat at the Little Inn of Bayfield

Diva Trista is snuggled in during a winter retreat at the Little Inn of Bayfield

Winterlicious at Benmiller Inn

23 Feb

By: Travel Diva Jenna

Benmiller Winterlicious - Happy Divas

The Group – Ang, Sarah, Jenna, Monica, Kate, Courtney, Griffyn, Katie and Melissa.

I finally got out to my first Taste of Huron Winterlicious event at Benmiller Inn and was it ever delicious! What made the dinner even better was that 7 other divas joined me on this culinary evening, oh plus our token “dude” Gryffin! The Winterlicious events are such a great opportunity for people to try out menus at restaurants across Ontario’s West Coast, Prix Fixe menus, 3 courses and the cost is $29!!!

Benmiller Inn wowed us from the start, before our first course came they served us a mushroom wonton amuse bouche, which indeed made our mouths happy! Of course the whole menu is available during Winterlicious, but all of us decided to go with the special. Between all of us we ordered one of everything. I have always had a tough time getting great photos at Benmiller, since the lighting is low and I never bring extra lights, luckily Katie Schedlich was along with us and had the idea to use our phone lights to make the photos looked posed and perfect… so much better than a flash! Below are the menu options and photos of the food:

Benmiller Winterlicious - Amuse Bouche

Above – Amuse Bouche – Mushroom Stuffed Wontons

 Starter

Benmiller Winterlicious - Duck RaviolliBenmiller Winterlicious - Pork Soup

Everspring farm Muscovy duck confit ravioli, honey beets, sea buckthorn mirin glaze.
or
Slow roasted Metzgers pork, udon noodle, dashi broth, chili oil, scallion

Benmiller Winterlicious - Fish and ChipsBenmiller Winterlicious - Gnocchi

Main

Ausable gold potato gnocchi, Wild boar with cranberry & Berkshire pork sausage, Weth shiitake cream sauce
or
Panko crusted yellow perch goujons, Garlic box scape caper tartar sauce, pomme pont neuf

Finish

 Winterlicious - Poached PearWinterlicious - Cheese Plate

Blyth farms chevre with spiced pecan and Inn made lavash
or
Prosecco poached pear, vanilla ice cream, Johnston’s Apiary honey drizzle

I chose the Roast pork soup, Gnocchi and the poached pear, all of which were wonderful. To be honest I was full after the soup, it had three large pieces of pork that could be a regular serving for a dinner! But of course I was able to find room for the creamy gnocchi and the poached pear. Out of the whole meal I would have to say that my favourite dish was the gnocchi; the wild boar sausage mixed with the perfectly cooked cream sauce and potato dumplings made my taste buds jump for joy!

We left Benmiller feeling happy, full and excited for the next adventure. During the next week I will be heading to Eddingtons and the Black Dog for more Winterlicious dining… I can’t wait! The Taste of Huron Winterlicious runs until March 9, and there are 9 restaurants taking part! For menus and more information visit: www.tasteofhuron.ca

 

 

 

Cabin Fever? Get Outside!

18 Feb

 

Heidi Martin from Outside Projects leads us on a snowshoeing adventure!

Heidi Martin from Outside Projects leads us on a snowshoeing adventure!

by Diva Trista Russell

A long time ago I tried snowshoeing during a class trip to Quebec. It involved large hefty wooden snowshoes that made you waddle back and forth like a penguin in the snow. Thankfully, when I booked a guided snowshoeing tour during my stay at the Little Inn in Bayfield (more on my Little Inn experience in a later post!), the snowshoes were nothing like I remembered. The were much smaller and made of light weight metal…so no more waddling and tripping over my own feet!

Outside Projects offers guests at the Little Inn an opportunity to book guided snowshoeing tours ($20 per person) including snowshoe rentals ($15 per person). Heidi Martin from Outside Projects led a group of 10 of us “snowshoers” through a 2 kilometre hike on the Sawmill Trail just outside Bayfield. The entrance to this Bayfield River Valley Trail was about 2 kilometres from the Little Inn, just a short drive over the bridge on Bluewater Highway (No. 21) to Old River Road and Sawmill Road. Tyler Hessel from Outside Projects greeted the group at the trail entrance and provided an overview of what to expect and also helped those who needed some assistance (yes, that would be me) with putting on our new shoes.

Enjoying my new winter shoes!

Enjoying my new winter shoes!

The trail started with a lookout point donated by private owners where you can overlook Lake Huron. Then we proceeded with a descent down what Tyler called “Heartbreak Hill”, which I realized why it was named so when going back up the never ending hill! There is no doubt that snowshoeing is a great form of winter exercise. The trail is rated as moderate difficulty, but even with the snowshoes on, I never felt wobbly or unsure on my feet. As long as you walk sure-footed, snowshoes are very safe and an easy way to walk in the snow.

The tour lasted a little over an hour and was very peaceful as we hiked through the clearly marked trail along the Bayfield River. There were interpretive signs throughout about local plants (such as ferns) and animals (such as wild turkeys). Bridges and benches also lined the trail, and Heidi said that about 1,200 volunteer hours were involved in constructing this specific trail, which was opened in 2009. The Sawmill Trail was made available with the permission of various landowners, so it was great to see the results of a community coming together to make this trail happen. Snowshoeing was more fun than I expected, and I would definitely do this again!

Sawmill Trail leads to the Bayfield River, where you can see the remnants of the old mill dam and bridge at the river's edge.

Sawmill Trail leads to the Bayfield River, where you can see the remnants of the old mill dam and bridge at the river’s edge.

IMG_4538

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