Tag Archives: Huron County

Music takes centre stage at Queen’s Bakery in Blyth

1 Mar
Tim Craig and Julie-Anne Lizewski play to a toe-tapping crowd at Queen's Bakery in Blyth.

Tim Craig and Julie-Anne Lizewski play to a toe-tapping crowd at Queen’s Bakery in Blyth.

By Diva Heather Boa

heather boaBLYTH – Leather soles of many boots slap the wooden floorboards in unison in this village coffee shop on a Saturday night, Feb. 28. The rhythmic, dull thuds accompany harmonica, acoustic guitar and harmonized vocals from local musicians Julie-Anne Lizewski and Tim Craig.

It’s the second appearance at Queen’s Bakery in Blyth for these two, who are relatively new to the local music scene, and tonight there’s a good crowd of about 20 who’ve settled in for an evening of music, coffee, drinks and desserts. The atmosphere is cozy in this bakery, with its exposed brick, high tin ceilings, full-length front windows with a view of white Christmas lights on trees and a set of blinking blue string lights in the Blyth Festival’s courtyard across the street.

Finola McGuinty and Mike Crocker throw some Dixie Chicks into their set.

Finola McGuinty and Mike Crocker throw some Dixie Chicks into their set.

We ease in with Canadian band Tragically Hip’s Bobcaygeon, then move through some gems I’ve never heard before, like Kathleen Edwards’ Alicia Ross, a song written from the perspective of a 25-year-old Markham woman who was killed by her next door neighbour, and Shawn Colvin’s Polaroids, an upbeat number with all sorts of vocal twists and turns. Then there’s the angry, cathartic song with a title I can’t print here because it’s chock full of potty mouth language.

Along the way, the duo perform Bob Dylan’s Shelter From the Storm, a song request from a woman in the audience. Like most of the playbill for the evening, the lyrics are rich and poetic. The tempo flirts with upbeat – toes are tapping – but remains somehow constrained.

Owners Les Cook and Anne Elliott waltz in the kitchen.

Owners Les Cook and Anne Elliott waltz in the kitchen.

There are other familiar songs, and yet they’re just a little bit different. I discover there’s far more to the 20th century American standard Irene than the abbreviated version sung at the end of many nights at a pub. As Tim plays the lap steel guitar, owners Anne Elliott and Les Cook take up a waltz behind the counter, then gracefully twirl through the restaurant.

The couple enjoys hosting local musicians from time to time.

“It’s something we wanted to do from the get-go. Because we dance we kind of have a thing for live music,” said Les, who is a dance instructor at Blyth East Side Dance.

Each of the two sets are opened by well-known Goderich musicians Finola McGuinty and Mike Crocker, a great pairing for Julie-Anne and Tim. Perhaps their most endearing piece is Nancy Griffith’s Trouble in the Fields, a song Finola first heard in Belfast but says can easily apply to the farming community that is Huron County. In fact, most hands shoot into the air when she asks who in the audience has a connection to farming. It’s to those farmers she dedicates the song.

Huron County pubs and restaurants are great supporters of live music. Friday, March 6, North Country Towers will play at Cinnamon Jim’s in Brussels. Check Ontario’s West Coast events calendar for more information on this and other events.

Queen’s Bakery, Blyth

Address: 430 Queen St. S., Blyth

Phone: 226-523-9720

Follow them on Facebook or Twitter @QueensBakery4

This diva is learning new words: Cassoulet, confit and crema

25 Feb Benmiller Inn Taste of Huron Dinner

jennaheadshot

By Diva Jenna Ujiye

The title of this article highlights three foods or terms I had to Google to figure out for sure what they meant!

For many of us, food talk can be a bit difficult to understand. What I’ve realized is that all of it usually tastes good and I can Google the words to get their full meaning!

Cassoulet- Cassoulet is a rich, slow‑cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing meat, pork skin and white beans.

Confit- is a cooking term for when food is cooked in grease, oil or sugar water (syrup), at a lower temperature than deep frying.

Crema- Italian for cream, a variation of sour cream popular in Mexico and Central America or a commune in the northern Italian province of Cremona.

Soooo let’s hope that crema is not a commune in Italy, that would not mix well with poached pears!

The red door entrance at Benmiller Inn and Spa

The red door entrance at Benmiller Inn and Spa

As per usual, I try to get out to as many Taste of Huron dinners as possible and earlier this week I made my way to the Benmiller Inn and Spa with five friends. Let me just say that they didn’t disappoint!  This three-course dinner is available until February 28 and is $39 for all three courses.

We were first served an amuse bouche (happy mouth) of chicken in sweet and sour sauce on a deep fried wonton. This starter was a tangy surprise and helped us to get excited about the rest of the meal.

We started with a White Bean Cassoulet duck confit, wild boar and orange sausage. While we were eating this course I looked around and noticed that most of us were saving the wild boar and orange sausage until the end. The tender meat was perfectly flavoured with orange and tied the cassoulet together. I also loved the use of white beans, seeing that Huron is home to Hensall – the White Bean Capital of Canada!!!

Kate, Hellen and Erin enjoying the bean Cassoulet

Kate, Hellen and Erin enjoying the bean Cassoulet

White Bean Cassoulet duck confit

White Bean Cassoulet duck confit

The main course was Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin braised date stuffing, celeriac mashed potato, and maple glazed carrots. Living in Huron, we have great opportunity to try some really unique local pork meals at most restaurants in the area. Many of us would also agree that bacon makes everything better! The tenderloin was perfectly cooked and the date stuffing added a unique and yummy sweetness. The celeriac (celery root) mixed into the mashed potato added that extra tangy flavour.

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin braised date stuffing, celeriac mashed potato, maple glazed carrot

Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
braised date stuffing, celeriac mashed potato, maple glazed carrot

To finish we had Prosecco Poached Pear and gordon’s goat dairy crema. Booze, fruit and cream: A great mixture to end a meal. This dessert was not crazy sweet and the pear essence was the shining star!

Prosecco Poached Pear and gordon’s goat dairy crema

Prosecco Poached Pear and gordon’s goat dairy crema

Another highlight of Benmiller is its extensive wine list and liquor offerings. One friend even tried a flight of Scotch, which she seemed to enjoy thoroughly!

The taste of Huron winter dining menus run until Feb. 28 and you don’t want to miss out on these yummy meals.

Benmiller Inn & Spa

519-524-2191

81175 Benmiller Road, Goderich, ON N7A 3Y1 Canada

Website:

http://www.benmillerinnandspa.com

 

 

Blyth’s Part II Bistro: Fresh tastes chase away winter blues

24 Feb A group of eight women share a meal beneath the twinkling lights.

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By Diva Claire Carter

It’s official – winter in Huron County isn’t going anywhere for awhile.  Luckily, Chef Peter Gusso and the staff of Part II Bistro in Blyth have a delicious menu to help visitors beat the winter blues.

I visited Part II with a group of ladies on a quiet Wednesday night in February. The restaurant ceiling is draped with romantic twinkle lights, and reminded me of the carnival scene from the movie “Big Fish.”

We were warmly welcomed by our server, and all had some difficulty deciding on what we would eat.  After

Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche

ordering, we were treated to an amuse bouche of a curried cauliflower soup that featured Blyth Farm Cheese.  It was delicious and warmed us all up.

I ordered the pork spring rolls as my appetizer.  I was pleasantly surprised

Appetizer

Appetizer

when they were served on a bed of seaweed salad.  The spring rolls were filled with tender pork and perfectly cooked veggies.  The flavours of this dish had a lovely Asian influence, and the sweet sesame lime dressing tied everything together perfectly.  My dinner companions ordered appetizers including the spinach and pear salad, Caesar salad and beef tacos.  Each of these dishes was beautifully presented and delicious.

Main course

Main course

I ordered the steak as my main course, and continued to be overjoyed with my choices.  The steak was a tender sirloin, rubbed with garlic and rosemary, and smothered in a healthy serving of a peppercorn and mushroom cream sauce.  The steak was served with truffled mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables.  It was difficult but I managed to enjoy every bite of this savory meal.

I didn’t think I could do it, but I managed to find just enough room to enjoy the

Dessert

Dessert pavlova

pavlova for dessert. The dessert, created in honour of Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova, had a meringue that was light and fluffy, and the berries atop whipped cream tasted like they had been soaked in a chocolate liqueur.  While I was beyond stuffed, I would have been full of regret if I hadn’t had this dessert.  I also had to share a photo of the creme brulee, another beautiful dish ordered at our table.

Dessert creme brulee

Dessert creme brulee

What did I like best about Part II Bistro?  The ambiance, great quality and presentation of the food all impressed me.  When our table of eight was completely silent after receiving each course, I knew we were all in foodie heaven. Part II is participating in Taste of Huron’s Winter

Dining Program on until Feb. 28. If you go, please be sure to advise them you are participating in the Winter Dining Program when you make reservations. It is also  hosting two beer tastings (March 27 & 28).  Call the restaurant for details, 519-523-2663.

Part II is located right across from the Blyth Theatre, making it a great place for a bite to eat before or after a show.  From Tuesday through Sunday, they’re open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. ($12-$15) and open at 5 p.m. for dinner (appetizers, $8-13, mains, $25-29).

 

Lunchtime organ concert runs Fridays through Lent

21 Feb 20150220organ2trivitt

metoo
By Diva Heather Boa

EXETER – Close your eyes and you can hear the organist tease resonating notes from cool air on the finicky pipe organ or feel the sound vibrate through your seat and into your bones from the digital organ during a lunchtime concert in the sanctuary of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church in Exeter.

Open your eyes and let the hymns by great composers such as Brahms, Handel and Bach become background music

Dr. Richard Heinzle, organist and music director of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, hosts a lunchtime concert every Friday through Lent.

Dr. Richard Heinzle, organist and music director of Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, hosts a lunchtime concert every Friday through Lent.

to the sights in this magnificent church, built in 1888 and funded by Thomas Trivitt, Justice of the Peace in Huron County – the sun shining through stained glass scenes from the bible, Neo-Gothic architecture of tall narrow windows with pointed arches at the top and arched ceilings accentuated by wooden beams, the majestic bells that represent a full octave, which have temporarily been removed from the five-storey bell tower and line the church aisle.

It’s your choice how to best appreciate 40 minutes of organ music in the church sanctuary.

Every Friday until the end of Lent (the end of March), Trivitt’s organist and music director Dr. Richard Heinzle will present a lunchtime concert, inviting any and all to take a seat in pews usually reserved for the choir and enjoy their own brown bag lunch while he plays the pipe organ and the digital organ. (Just a note based on my own experience: A crunchy apple is probably not the best choice for lunch.)

Since early 2014, Richard has been music director and organist at Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church in Exeter and music director of the South Huron Community Choirs, part of outreach efforts by the church. He is also a board member of the Bach Music Festival of Canada, which will take place in Exeter this summer.

Richard introduces each hymn, telling us, for example, before he plays Bach’s Jesus, My Joy that most works were playbillimprovisational but the composer put together this piece in order to teach students how to improvise and to explore the different ways pieces could be put together.

There are just two visitors to this first concert, but Richard was undaunted and hopes word will spread and more cushions will be filled in the coming weeks.

He also wants people to know about the upcoming Hymn Sing Marathon planned for Saturday, Feb. 28 at the church. People are invited to drop anytime from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. to make a cash or food donation to the Exeter and Area Community Food Bank and sing along as he plays through one verse of each song in the hymn book. He says many of the hymns in the Anglican hymn book are the same as in other hymn books, so you’ll be able to sing some familiar hymns as well as some new ones.

For more information on Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church, visit this website.


 

2015022020organ4trivittLunchtime Organ Concert: If you go

What: Organ Concert At Lunch, a brown bag concert series

When: Every Friday through Lent, until March 27, starting at 12:15 p.m. and ending at 12:55 p.m.

Where: Trivitt Memorial Anglican Church’s sanctuary, 264 Main St. S., Exeter

How much: Goodwill offering. Suggested $5

What else: Dress warmly

 


 

 

Ladies’ night success demonstrates why this diva loves Huron County

21 Jan
Hypnotist Comedian Hank Stone found a number of volunteers to give him a hand. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Hypnotist Comedian Hank Stone found a number of volunteers to give him a hand. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

by Diva Melody Hodgson

SEAFORTH – I have always found it interesting how quickly things can transpire once the wheels have been put into motion.

This past Saturday was the 1st Annual MILPS Gala in Seaforth, hosted by the Huron East Centenaires. What began as an informal conversation after the Men’s Steak Night last summer quickly turned into a full-on planning session for a fun- filled ladies’ night in Seaforth. The gala was to focus not only on raising funds for the newly formed Men’s Senior AA hockey team and local youth sports initiatives, but also provide a showcase for some of the local bounty that Huron County has to offer. In a few short months it went from a vague idea and discussion to a sold-out event with 200 women filling the Seaforth & District Community Centre.

The MILPS Gala (which stands for Mom’s I’d Like to Party with) is not the first ladies’ night to hit Huron County (the Clinton Kinsmen has an incredibly successful one in November!), and it is with a respect for the existing events that we began the planning process.

Agnes Kluz and Brenda Campbell capture a memory of the evening. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Agnes Kluz and Brenda Campbell capture a memory of the evening. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

The event featured local musician Jay Allan (who blew the audience away with his acoustic talents!), catering by Walton’s own Teresa Dejong and High Creek Farm, fashion show curated by high-end consignment boutique Scarlet in Exeter and the only non-local talent, hypnotist-comedian Hank Stone.  Local partnerships were also formed with Blyth Farm Cheese and 16 Mile Cellar Winery (local businessman Paul Vandermolen of Lawnmaster is a partner), Shop Bike Coffee Roasters, Blooms ‘n’ Rooms and Your Life In Stills Photography with Rob Boyce.  On top of the entertainment, thanks to the generosity of local merchants there were over 16 door prizes ranging in value from $50 to $430, and 35 silent auction items to bid on.  The evening ended with a jam-packed dance floor, with DJ Jake Campbell (JCMBL) taking over the stage.  Throughout the evening, the Ex-Cents (a senior men’s league hockey team) formed a squad of concierges that waited on each table hand and foot, fetching drinks, serving the plated meals and laughing at all of the ladies’ clever jokes.

The tables were beautifully decorated for the event. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

The tables were beautifully decorated for the event. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

It was an incredibly fun evening, and exceeded all of our expectations when planning.  And while I may have been one of the event coordinators for the Gala, this is not meant to be a “toot my own horn” blog posting.  As an import to Seaforth and Huron County, Saturday night exemplified beyond words how much I love this town and the surrounding area.  I feel more at home here than I have in any other location (be it from the shores of lakes Erie, Ontario and Superior, to further northwest in a secluded little town called Atikokan), and it’s not just due to the fact that I have my own little family here.  It is, for the most, part due the people.  The area is full of amazing people who will help out at the drop of a hat, who are supportive and full of excitement and want nothing more than to see an idea succeed into fruition. Over time, they become an extended family that you never knew you needed, but are incredibly thankful to have.

Toronto may have its thousands of restaurants, clubs and subway system…but I know Huron County has more.  And I know for sure we are the only area to have our own MILPS Gala ;)

A model turns some heads during the fashion show. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

A model turns some heads during the fashion show. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Upcoming Ladies’ Nights

Be You, Be Fabulous (Seaforth) – March 5, 2015

Clinton Kinsmen (Clinton) – Date TBA

2016 MILPS Gala (Seaforth) – Jan. 16, 2016

2015 MILPS Gala Event Partners

Huron East Centenaires

Your Life in Stills Photography (also on Facebook)

Jay Allan

High Creek Farm

16 Mile Cellar

Blyth Farm Cheese

Shop Bike Coffee Roasters

NJS Design, Party & Event Rentals (also on Facebook)

Scarlet

Blooms n’ Rooms

 

The women at Table 3 pose with their host server. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

The women at Table 3 pose with their host server. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

 

Nothing rounds out a great evening like a dance party. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Nothing rounds out a great evening like a dance party. Photo by Rob Boyce, Your Life in Stills.

Snowflake Stays at Oakwood Inn

7 Dec

by Diva Danica Rush

Snowflake Stay Packages

OAKWOOD RESORT – GRAND BEND, ONTARIO

Starting at $101.50 per person

Starting from $203 per two people/ Includes a special gift ($20 Value) awaiting your arrival, Overnight Accommodation, $50.00 in restaurant credit.

BOOK ONLINE or call 1-800-387-2324

*** Alternative Rates February 13 – 15

Looking for a unique way to warm up this winter, I treated my mother to a snowflake stay package at Oakwood Spa and Resort. The staff were warm. We made our way to a wonderfully spacious suite and opened up our welcome basket containing Huron County treats. Our room was stunning and the two fireplaces and the pine finishes were the perfect setting for some mother/daughter time.  I’m a bit of a boutique hotel junkie and have to say that I was very impressed with the waterfall bathtub and rainfall shower that came with the suite. After enjoying a walk down to the private beach, a soak in the indoor hot tub and saltwater pool, we made our way to the Oakwood Pub for dinner.

OakwoodResort

The decor of the Oakwood Pub was beautiful and tastefully decorated. The crowd was a lively mix of all ages; a table of women in their 20s enjoying a girls’ night, couples mingling at the bar and a few seniors out for a Friday night meal together. The ambiance was lovely – enjoyable background music and soft lighting seemed to put everyone in a jolly mood. We were handed the specials and regular menu and it was pretty hard to choose a dish as they all sounded amazing. I ordered “The Snow Man Beef and Noodles” while my mom ordered the “Ocean Jewels” off the traditional menu, neither of us were disappointed. My Ontario raised- grain-fed beef was delicious and the papperdalle noodles were perfectly cooked. The addition of sour cream and green pea shoots complimented the mushroom, red wine and demi-glace nicely. My mom said the scallops and shrimps were perfectly cooked. She loved the lemon rice that came with the dish and veggies reminded her of the way my grandma used to cook them. We were definitely satisfied but could not give up the temptation of sharing the Candy Cane Cheese Cake – a chocolatey and creamy piece of  joy. The night ended with girl talk by the fireplace while we enjoyed the complimentary coffee and teas that awaited us back in the room.

Snow Man Beef and Noodles

Snow Man Beef and Noodles

Ocean Jewels

Ocean Jewels

Candy Cane Cheese Cake

Candy Cane Cheese Cake

After a refreshing sleep we made our way to the Oak Room Dining Room for a hot breakfast buffet overlooking the Oakwood grounds. The experience of the Snowflake Stay Package at Oakwood Spa and Resort was a wonderful way for my mother and I to connect, recharge and unwind before the excitement of the holiday rush. If you are looking for a special way to treat your mom (or another loved one) to the warm spirit of Huron County, I would highly recommend a snowflake stay package at Oakwood Spa and Resort.

Oakwood Spa and Resort
70671 Bluewater Highway
Grand Bend (South Huron), ON
N0M 1T0
1 800-387-2324

OakwoodResortSwag

OAKWOOD RESORT – GRAND BEND, ONTARIO

Starting at $101.50 per person

Starting from $203 per two people/ Includes a special gift ($20 Value) awaiting your arrival, Overnight Accommodation, $50.00 in restaurant credit.

BOOK ONLINE or call 1-800-387-2324

*** Alternative Rates February 13 – 15

Snowflake Stay @ Hessenland

3 Dec Hessenland2

by Diva Rachel Lynn

Snowflake Stays are taking place at four different Inns throughout Huron County From Dec.1 to Jan.1. Packages start at $101.50 per person per night and all come with a special welcome gift, dining and accommodation. For more information on this great winter opportunity visit http://www.ontarioswestcoast.ca/beta/news/snowflake-stays/

Snowflake Stay Packages

Hessenland Country Inn is a beautiful place on Lake Huron between Grand Bend and Bayfield.  My husband and I were looking for a night away and decided Hessenland was the place for us.  We decided on the Snowflake package, which included a welcome gift, a 3 course dinner and breakfast.

There is a rich history to Hessenland, which is now run by second generation Ihrigs: Frank and Liz.  Frank is the head chef and Liz takes care of the day to day operations as the Innkeeper.  For more on their history please visit: http://www.hessenland.com/about-us/http://hessenland.com/about-us/

My family is German and this is one of the reasons why I wanted to stay at Hessenland.  My dad was born in Germany and came to Canada in 1956.  My maternal grandmother came to Canada in 1933.

As we opened the doors we were greeted to a beautiful décor and our host for the evening: Katie. She showed us around the Inn and to our room before we were guided to dinner.

HessenlandChristmasTree

Shawn got the Caesar salad, but not just any Caesar salad.  Here is there description:

Hessenland’s Classic Caesar Salad made with Crisp Romaine and tossed with our own Caesar dressing, with Westphalia Ham, and aged white cheddar and 12 Rye Bread.  

I choose the Die Hessenland Gulasch Suppe (goulash ) cup of soup.  I was not disappointed.  It was full of flavour and the beef was so tender.

HessenlandAppetizers

Main course:  Katie was informing us of the specials for the evening but as soon as Shawn saw Rouladen on the menu he tuned her out (sorry Katie!).  Rouladen is tender slices of Beef stuffed with vegetables, bacon & spices.    My mom makes this German staple like no other and Shawn has never seen it on any other menu.  He did not offer to share with me.

HessenlandRouladen2

I knew before we arrived that I was going to order the schnitzel.  It’s one of my all-time favourite comfort foods and reminds me of home. I had high expectations for this meal.  It came with spaetzle (homemade noodles) and fresh veggies.  I was given the option of red cabbage (also one of my mom’s specialties and one of my favourites) but opted out as they make theirs sweet and my mom makes hers sour (I usually prefer it sour).  I was pleasantly surprised when my dish came to with a sample of the red cabbage.

My expectations were beyond met.  I could not get enough of the food. It brought me right back home.  And the red cabbage was so good.

Schnitzel

 Pork Schnitzel, “Schweine Schnitzel”, Huron County Pork breaded and sautéed

I had to stop myself from eating all of the schnitzel to save room for dessert.  Shawn ordered crème brule and I ordered the strawberry sherbet.  My sherbet was made with real strawberries from Masse Fruit & Vegetable Market down the road.  It was the perfect ending to a spectacular meal.

HessenlandDessert

When we arrived at our deluxe room, a welcome package was waiting with lots of great goodies, including homemade cookies from Chef Frank, a welcome letter from Frank and Liz and a Snowflake list of “Things to do” in Huron County this winter.  This was extremely useful as it helped me decide to go to the Poinsettia Festival the next evening.

SnowflakeStaySwag

Hessenland was a great staycation (only 25 minutes from Goderich).  We will definitely come here again….and again.

Hessenland Country Inn
72981 Bluewater Hwy, RR1
Zurich, ON
519-2360-7707

Hessenland: www.hessenland.com
Follow them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/hessenland
and Twitter: https://twitter.com/HessenlandInn

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