Pelee Island Winery and Birdie’s Perch

IMG_5325The long weekend gets even better – yesterday, Jonathan and I went for a tour of Pelee Island Winery.  We sampled a few new wines and learn a few things about how one of my favourite Ontario wines is made.  The tour started by tasting a few reds and whites of varying sweetness, flavours and age.  We even got to keep the wine glasses at the end as a fun keepsake.  Our favourite wine that we tasted was a new organic wine called Pelee Pure.  It was light, non acidic and perfect for a summer afternoon with some appetizers.

First in the tour they showed us the huge barrels that were used about forty years ago, imported from France made from French oak.  These barrels are fun to look at, but hard to keep clean.  Each time these wine barrels were emptied someone had to crawl into the barrel and scrape the insides clean so that the flavour would be perfect for the next batch of wine.  Currently, Pelee Island uses smaller oak barrels and giant stainless steel barrels to age, ferment and store its wine.  A fun fact that I learned about sparkling wine is the finer the bubbles the higher the quality of the sparkling wine.IMG_5306IMG_5307IMG_5313

IMG_5326At the side of the building there was a mini vineyard and pretty garden beds.  All of the grapes used in the wine are grown on the island.  Pelee Island was chosen to grow grapes primarily because it shares the same latitude as Northern California and Southern France.  Meaning a warm climate and longer growing season.  Pelee Island has 550 acres of vineyards and is Canada’s largest private estate.  You can also visit Pelee Island for wonderful bird watching, hiking and cycling.  There is a ferry that goes over to the island, but it only goes across twice per day.

IMG_5339After our wonderful tour Jonathan and I went for fish tacos at Birdie’s Perch.  Jonathan discovered this unique chip truck while writing for his weekly food column at CBC Radio Windsor.  He loved the food so much that he simply had to take me back to try the food.  The ingredients were fresh and delicious – the perch in the taco came from Lake Erie.  Jonathan also ordered a delicious Canadian treat – poutine!  Clearly because it’s delicious and to celebrate our Canada Day weekend.  On the top level of the bus there are tables, but since it was humid we opted for a shaded picnic table where there was a nice breeze.  It was a perfect ending for our day.  On the drive back we drove by many beautiful farms where farmers grow fresh produce.  Local produce always tastes better and can be a fun way to explore your surroundings.IMG_5340IMG_5337IMG_5346IMG_5344IMG_5342IMG_5323IMG_5303IMG_5300IMG_5297

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Glow Fresh Grill and Wine Bar – Shops at Don Mills, Toronto

Last week Jonathan, Sarah and I were in Toronto and we tried  Glow Fresh Grill and Wine Bar. Glow is owned by Pickle Barrel and features Rose Reisman’s recipes.  Restaurants can give you ideas or make you feel like your cooking is really awesome.

First up, the kitchen brought out crostini with three sampler-sized dips.  There was an artichoke and Asiago dip, a hummus dip, and finally a beet and mascarpone dip.  The best by far was the artichoke and Asiago dip.  In later posts on my blog I will share some of my own recipes for appetizers and dips.

We ordered sliders to share.  These were extremely well done with lots of flavour and there were three different sliders.  The three types of sliders were: turkey topped with dried fruit chutney, beef with caramelized onions and aged cheddar, and lamb over mint infused hummus and feta.  Jonathan, Sarah and I, each tried a different one.  There were no buns with them, because Rose Reisman’s recipes are about healthy eating.

After that it was a long wait until our main lunch dishes came out.  I ordered the fish tacos, Jonathan ordered the Mediterranean burger and Sarah ordered the white chicken chili. 

These main dishes weren’t anything too special.  The burger without the bun didn’t really meet Jonathan’s expectations for flavour.  The fish in the fish tacos could have had a crispier breading.  The guacamole was average, I feel like I could have made it better myself.  Sarah’s ordered the white chicken chili and it wasn’t photograph worthy, it was kind of plain looking.  The décor at the restaurant was fun and the patio was open because of the lovely weather.  It was fun to try a new restaurant, but the food wasn’t inspiring.  The best part for me was probably the coffee I ordered, it was from Balzac’s and was quite tasty!  My Mom has many of Rose Reisman’s cookbooks, so maybe I will have to experiment at home with some of her recipes. 

After lunch, we shopped around a bit.  The concept of Shops at Don Mills is interesting, very walkable, but it still doesn’t compare to the outdoor mall Fashion Island, that Sarah and I visited last year in Newport Beach, California.  I would really love to go back to California, but if I can’t go back now, at least we are getting some nice California weather in Toronto this week (its been around 20-25 C this week).  It was a fun day though, I love trying new places and exploring in Toronto.