Taste Niagara

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Ok so it might seem like this is the only place that we vacation to, and that might be because in the last year Niagara-on-the-Lake has become a go-to weekend holiday spot for my husband and I. We wanted to do so many trips this year; we had big plans for a  Europe trip, then we scaled back a bit and considered Vancouver (a place we’ve both been dying to see) and in the end Niagara and the family cottage were as far as we got. These spots were close enough to feel a little less pressured by baby needs, but far enough that we actually did feel like we went away.

IMG_1990This past weekend we took another quick, one night trip to Niagara-on-the-lake and we both decided that our favourite things about this spot are the history, the people and the food! To be honest, we’ve started to choose our vacation destinations based on these things, but mainly food. Good food, wine, tea and coffee can honestly make a trip and the same is true of bad food, I actually cried once while eating in the worst restaurant ever while on vacation (it was a hysterical I’m kinda crying but actually laughing cry, but I still cried). While seeing the major historical sites of a particular place does matter to us, it’s the food and people that bring us back.

After visiting Niagara-on-the-Lake in the fall, there were a few spots that we knew we had to visit again.

One of these was Victoria Gallery, also known as Victoria’s Teas and Coffees.

IMG_1985Victoria Gallery is the perfect little picturesque coffee shop, it’s like walking into one of those cute little coffee shops you see in the movies. The people who work there make you feel like you’ve been coming there all your life, and the selection of delicious teas and coffees to drink and purchase is amazing. There are so many options and it’s a lot of fun to smell the different beans before choosing which ones you’d like to drink or buy.

On our fall trip, my husband and I fell in love with Zombie Cure. Zombie Cure was a feature on the fall menu (a Halloween special), and the combination of sweet and salty caramel corn had us coming back for more. This time though we couldn’t just leave with one bag, knowing we might not be back for a little while (at least until next season) so we also bought a classic blend: Vanilla Hazelnut! I’m pretty sure that the smell of this particular blend is what fills the store and seeps out into the streets. In fact, it was the smell of these delicious blends that brought us into this store in the first place. If you aren’t able to make the trip out to Niagara and are craving these decadent dessert coffees as much as I was, you can purchase them from Victoria’s Teas and Coffees website.

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After our arrival, check-in and afternoon coffee we had dinner reservations at the Prince of Wales Restaurant; Esabeche. Ok so I am going to preface this with a small disclaimer; we don’t usually eat in places that are this fancy (for fear of the cheque, but also because we often have a hard time finding something we both like), but I have to say that our dinner experience was well worth it! Like, I’ve been dreaming about my appetizer: Oxtail and Chestnut Ravioli, for the past few days. Ok, dreams might not be enough to explain how much I truly enjoyed this dish. So I will elaborate. I seriously considered ordering it again as my dessert (after having a steak as my entrée). Now I often eat until my heart’s content, yup I don’t hold back in this department, but even the waiter was a bit shocked when I put this idea on the table. Unfortunately, I did not have the space for it this time, but I can say that if we go there again it’s Ravioli all the way for this girl (forget this steak in the middle business). And my craving for all things chestnut just keeps on getting stronger, I’m thinking I need to do a chestnut recipe in the near future before they go out of season or I just forget about them again for another year.

By noon the next day we were out walking the strip. Yup, we slept in! We are kind of impartial to buying nic-nacs these days, when you live in a condo-sized house in the city you run out of space faster than you can store things, so we’ve started buying food mementos on our trips; like coffee and jam! There’s only one place to go for jam when you’re in Niagara and that’s Greaves. We always leave with a bag full of jam, to share of course.

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We ended the weekend with a little afternoon tea for two. Well, I had tea, my husband is a coffee man and was more than happy to drink his cup of Joe while I sipped tea “like a princess.” Yup, “like a princess!” Ok so when I was little my parents loved taking my sister and I to Niagara-on-the-Lake for short little day trips, we went all the time and I absolutely loved it! We would walk the strip and I was always so infatuated with the pretty glass room outside of The Prince of Wales hotel, it looked like a place for princesses, I would think. Well, this princess finally got to sit in that little glass room and drink some tea! It took a few years, but it really was everything I imagined it would be; beautiful china, shiny silverware and bite-sized sandwiches and cakes on a two-tiered tray! The icing on this cake is that they serve Sloane Teas, which are my absolute favourite! So if you know anyone who wants to be a princess for a day, or who might need to be a princess for a day take her to Tea!

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Oh and I almost forgot!  The Icewine Festival is going on at Niagara-on-the-Lake right now! If you’re an Icewine fan (I love it more than regular wine these days) take a little trip over there this weekend for a sweet party in the streets.

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