January 02, 2015

Niagara Falls - Part One with Dinner at Weinkeller

Seven thought she was coming along as I was packing...

Last month I had the opportunity to head down to Niagara Falls, Ontario for two nights. I absolutely love Niagara Falls. I've been going there since I was a kid and I always have a great time. It's not too far from Toronto - so it makes for the perfect weekend escape for GTA'ers. There is so much to do there - for people of all ages! I have so many great memories from Niagara Falls

As an adult, whenever I have gone I have done pretty much the same thing...dance the night away at nightclubs like Rumours or Dragon Fly, then head to the casino then back to the hotel followed by a hungover breakfast at Denny's or iHOP in the morning. LOL So when I was brought out for this trip - I was excited because I was able to play tourist and visit new (to me), different attractions. 




We didn't get to Niagara Falls until pretty late on the Friday night, so we kept it casual and stayed in watching movies and drinking wine in bed. Nothing wrong with that, right? LOL By doing so, I was able to wake up bright and early Saturday morning and head out for a solo run. At the time, Niagara Falls had a a bit of snow, and with the mist coming off of the falls - it was quite slippery. My Nike LunarGlide 6's kept me on my feet and helped me push my way through the final leg of my run - which ended up being all uphill because I'm an idiot and didn't plan a route beforehand. 

But, anyways - at least I got it done and got out there to clock in some klms!  


The man, the legend - in-house chef Robert Forster.

After my run we spent the day shopping, so needless to say - we worked up quite the appetite! This worked out perfectly because we had a reservation at Weinkeller. The reservations were set for a 5-course meal, set off of a prix fixe menu. I'll be the first to admit - I can be a wee bit of a picky eater so I was nervous excited to see what options there would be for me. But I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn't a single thing I tried that I didn't absolutely love. Seriously!  

Weinkeller is Niagara Falls' only craft winery (hello!) inside a restaurant. Their fresh farm to table food and in-house wine created an experience that was seriously - AHHmazing. I couldn't stop raving about the entire meal on Twitter and Instagram while we were eating...and since then, I've told anyone who will listen how amazing it was and how I cannot wait to go back. 

In-house chef Robert Forster has a passion for what he does and it shows in each and every dish that comes out of his kitchen. He started his career out as a dishwasher and worked his way up to kitchen manager only to realize he knew nothing of actually cooking and preparing a dish - so he headed to the kitchen as an apprentice and has found his passion in cooking! Robert says, "One of the greatest feelings I get now is when I don’t even have to ask a table how their meal was, they look at me a say "that was the best thing I have ever eaten, from start to finish."" (I said this to him as well after my meal. Hand to God!)




A photo posted by Weinkeller Niagara Falls (@weinkeller_niagara) on

We started with Chicken Parcels, which are individual chicken pot pies dotted with an intense tart aioli and were scrumptious. Yes, I said scrumptious. Herbed mussels topped with parmesan truffle fries were also ordered...I didn't try the mussels, though was told they were delicious. I'm sharing a picture from Weinkeller's Instagram page because my old iPhone 4S just couldn't get a decent pic! *sad face*  Side note: the fries were heavenly! We also ordered an Ontario Peach and Blueberry salad. 



Next up was the entree. The big kahuna. The main course. The big cheese...you get the idea. I was torn between ordering a Supreme of Chicken, grilled with woodland mushroom vermoth sauce and the Pork Loin Chop pan roasted with maple mustard. I chose the latter because I have chicken SO often (#wingme) - I thought it would be nice to try something different. And...boy o' boy - I was not disappointed! The pork loin chop was basically a pork steak. It was massive. Served on the bone with in-house cured mustard seeds...this is THE best pork chop I have ever had in my life. Literally. I'm sitting here and my mouth is salivating thinking of this pork chop. It was so good that I could only share one tiny bite...I wanted the whole thing to myself! LOL



Just when I thought I couldn't possibly eat another bite...it was time for dessert. And when you are offered a 5-spice Apple Crumble...you just simply do not say no! 

The great thing about the 5-course prix fixe menu is that you can substitute a course for a glass of wine! In total, I had 3 courses and 2 glasses of wine! #Winning #Wino



After having some amazing wine with dinner, we decided to stick around for a couple cocktails because we were loving the ambiance so much! Owner and operator, Chris Dobson,  was so passionate about the drink menu! 

As you can see...my selfies got a little blurry after the deliciousness that was consumed...



Chris was seriously a blast. He had me laughing obnoxiously throughout the meal every time he came by the table. You could just tell he loved what he did and he loved seeing his guests enjoying their mealIn his own words:
“Originally from Vancouver, B.C., I moved to Niagara Falls in 2008 to be near my wife’s family when our second son was born. ‘Happy wife...happy life!’

I have been in hospitality for over 20 years now. I have worked mostly in casual, fresh food restaurants, nightclubs, lounges and urban eateries, and am fortunate to have worked with some of the greatest industry leaders on Canada’s west coast. I was a managing partner at Earls Restaurants (Penticton, B.C., 1990-1995), and give credit to the mentors who shaped who I am today, Alan Merriman and Patrick Munson. I was the general manager at the Roxy Vancouver (Vance Campbell and Brian Peers, Granville Entertainment) from 1998-2002. I know how to fulfill the guest’s needs through indulgence, gratitude and attention to detail. There is nothing better than to see someone discover a new taste or sensation that they didn't expect. That look... when the eyes close and the guest almost appears to move in slow motion as they truly enjoy that first bite. There is nothing like it!”


After our meal I even got behind the bar with these crazy guys for a couple minutes. Don't worry - I have my SmartServe! Brought back a lot of memories from being a server and bartender

Maybe I will should get a part time job again? Hmmm...





After dinner it was time to take a stroll down Clifton HillClifton Hill is the main street where most of the tourist attractions are and during the summer is literally filled with tourists. Seeing as this trip was in the dead cold winter...it was a little less busy. The Skywheel is gorgeous at night, all lit up - but I knew we'd be checking it out tomorrow during out "Tourist Day", so snapping this pic was enough for me that evening!  



The Winter Festival of Lights was going on that weekend, so we made our way down to the Falls to check them out. The Winter Festival of Lights is actually on until January 12, 2015 - so you still have time to head down and check them out

After walking around and checking out the Winter Festival of Lights we decided it was time for a little more (indoor) fun...so we headed to the Fallsview Casino! This could only mean trouble...

I'll fill you in on all of that in the next post though! 





Disclosure: Dinner was provided to me as part of a prize package, however as per usual my views are entirely my own and I really did devour my dinner!