Niagara on the Lake (yes, again) - great coffee?
Inspired by the many recent NOTL threads, the Mister and I have decided to embark on a much-needed overnight getaway this week. We've got a short-list of places culled from recent threads (Treadwell, Stone Road Grill, Cheese Secrets, Pie Plate) but I'm wondering if anyone can please recommend a spot for my morning americano? I'm a sucker for great coffee - any rec's for espresso-based coffees? Also, if we were to go to one winery for a tour and to purchase some wine, where would you suggest? One last question - for Treadwell, do we flip a coin to be designated driver or do people typically cab it from NOTL? Thanks.
There is a shortage of god coffee in NOTL but the Epicurean does a nice espresso. Don't miss Tony de Luca's the Old Winery for cheap and cheerful pizza/pasta. Definitely cab it to Treadwells, you don't want to miss James's wine pairings. As far as just one winery, well that's a tough one. You into reds or whites? And is so will you go as far as Grimsby/Beamsville or are you just staying in NOTL?
Thank you all for the rec's. First, the coffee - good call, Embee. I found the place you were talking about (whose name I now forget). When I first walked in, I was almost knocked over by the sickly smell of brewed flavoured coffees. But they have a nice big espresso machine and they actually poured a respectable americano with some nice crema - not perfect but good and much better than I expected.
My husband offered to drive to Treadwell - and it's a pretty little drive. Other than wrapping your head around the drinking/driving issue (and by that I mean, taking a cab or having a dd), I wouldn't discourage anyone from staying in NOTL and dining at Treadwell. It was one of the few warm summer evenings and we sat outside with Twelve Mile Creek behind us. Lovely. The dinner was spectacular, from start to finish. I had the tempura zucchini blossoms with a sambal mayo - 4 large gorgeous blossoms, light batter, lovely dip. He had the multi-coloured teardrop tomatoes with Monforte goat's cheese in some kind of a purplish (flavoured with cabernet, I forget the grain) home-made tart. It will go down as one of my great summer tastes this year. For mains, I had the pork dish - pork belly, pancetta, tenderloin, etc. He had the lamb racks - both were fantastic, I'd give the edge to the lamb. We also ordered a side of roasted baby beets with ricotta and toasted hazelnuts - divine. For us, the wine pairings were just okay. I appreciated the 3 oz. glasses (I'm not a big drinker) but there wasn't a single wine that knocked my socks off - I still find myself saying "it's okay for Ontario wine". Sorry.
On the following day, we ordered sandwiches (delicious) from Cheese Secrets, rented bikes and enjoyed a lovely cycle/picnic off the Niagara Parkway. We also stopped in at Olson's Bakery on the way back to TO - not much there. We bought a little lemon loaf that was just allright - nice flavour, not too sweet but a bit dry.
All in all, a fun overnight trip.
And not to end on a bum note, as it was a fun outing, but I must say that the main strip in NOTL has to be one of the most uninventive, uninspiring strip of retail stores anywhere. Okay, I get that they're catering to an "older" crowd but surely even older people want something other than boring clothes, ugly hats, tacky souvenirs and ho-hum jars of sauces and chutneys.
In NOTL, there is one place I know with decent espresso. It won't blow you away, but it's okay. It's the shop that sells coffee, gelato and fancy teas. I can never remember the name, but it's on the same side of the street as the Epicurian, between the Epicurian and the supermarket. The Epicurian itself also has espresso that you can drink,The other places along there don't have decent coffee of any kind. Don't enter the Shaw Cafe for any reason!
Re Treadwell's, we spent the night at a B&B in Port Dalhousie. If you don't do that, you've identified your two options. I suppose you could flip a coin for cab or drive, and then another for DD :-)
I just had lunch at Treadwell yesterday which did not disappoint. Prix fixe, 4 courses, $40 or $65 with wine pairings. Their sommelier Stephen is terrific and very passionate about local wine producers (including PEC). He knows his food and wine pairings and I would not pass up the opportunity to sample as many wines as possible so hire a taxi or limo if both of you enjoy wines. You can sample by the glass (3 or 6 oz.) and of course by the bottle. BTW, their coffee is great (I was told they roast their own beans). For a wine tour, I would suggest Flatrock cellars; beautiful setting on a hilltop with spectacular views of the vineyards and on a clear day the Toronto skyline. The staff make an effort to welcome all visitors and chat about their products. You are welcome to sit and linger on the terrace and enjoy the view (no restaurant on site). Of course, you can sample all of their wines. The 2007 Riesling Nadja's Vineyard is great; if you like it, purchase some since it's only available on site (but they do offer delivery service as well). If you get to Stone Road Grille, please report back since I've been meaning to try this place myself. Enjoy!