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Monday, August 29, 2011

A visit to Yates Street in St. Catharines - 29 August 2011

It should come as no surprise that St. Catharines has some very interesting neighbourhoods with some very interesting homes. The good news is that St. Catharines is a very affordable place to live from the real estate point of view, especially when compared to Toronto.

Yates Street is one of the historic streets in the City and a very enjoyable walk too.  The walk I normally suggest to people is that they start near St. Paul St. and walk Northernly up the few bocks to the end of the street and return on the other side of the street. Then I suggest that they walk East along St. Paul and stop at one of the many cafes, bistros or restaurants and have a lunch or dinner. It is a wonderful and enjoyable way to learn about the City.



Below is a video walking tour of Yates Street in 2 parts.

 Here is Part 1 of the video tour.




Here is Part 2 of the video tour
 




Yates Street -  St. Catharines - 29 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Yates Street -  St. Catharines - 29 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



It is nice to see a few hitching posts on the street to hitch your horse - from the 1800s
Yates Street -  St. Catharines - 29 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Yates Street -  St. Catharines - 29 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Yates Street -  St. Catharines - 29 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Yates Street -  St. Catharines - 29 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Yates Street,  St. Catharines, Ontario
Google Map
 
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

A visit to Hernder Estate Wines - 25 August 2011

I needed some cold pressed grapeseed oil, so off I went to Hernder Estate Wines.
Hernder is an interesting place - beautiful grounds on a massive 600+ acre estate. They sell all of their wine directly so you either purchase directly from them or enjoy their wines in a restaurant that buys from them.
They are known for their Cabernet Franc which they serve at the Pillar and Post and several other Niagara-on-the-Lake restaurants (and which, as it happens, was sold out when I was there). However their Riesling is also exceptional .
Although you do have to buy directly from them since the LCBO does not carry their wines, you will find it to be worth the drive, not only because the Niagara region makes for a lovely drive but also because you will pay substantially less for top quality wine. Their prices are very reasonable and I think they would be much higher if you had to buy their wine through the LCBO.
They also have some unusual wines that may surprise you - such as their rhubarb wine.....don't let the name put you off, it's like having a bite of rhubarb pie with every sip, slightly sweet and really delicious. They have a selection of very nice wine vinegars as well. I happily recommend a visit to this winery.

   
A really beautiful setting

Hernder Estate Wines - 25 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com 
Comfortable chairs in relaxing outdoor areas

Hernder Estate Wines - 25 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com 
Very nice facilities to have a wedding reception

Hernder Estate Wines - 25 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

  Hernder Estate Wines - 25 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com


 The folks at Hernders treated us very nicely and I suspect that is the norm there. All in all, a place well worth the visit.

Hernder Estate Wines
1607 8th Avenue, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2R 6P7 

Tel 905-684-3300
www.Hernder.com

Google Map
 If you have comments on this or any other content or if you wish to suggest a review, please email us.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A visit to the St. Catharines Farmers' Market - 20 August 2011

It was another sunny and warm Saturday morning so we decided that today would be a great day to visit the Farmers' Market in St. Catharines.




 

A hive of activity
St. Catharines Farmers' Market - 20 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

Real fresh food
St. Catharines Farmers' Market - 20 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

More real fresh food
St. Catharines Farmers' Market - 20 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

It is important that we remember that when we make purchases from local folks that we are helping people in our own communities. The more we can do to keep the velocity of money high in our own communities the better. Think of it as investing in your food supply - which you are.

Don't get me wrong, I am not asking you to spend your money frivolously, just spend it locally on your needs. Preferably on goods grown or made here - not just sold here. The closer to 100% local content, the much more vibrant this community will be.

 

Mavis from Beamers
Mavis from Myers - St. Catharines Farmers' Market - 20 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

Alexa From Home Town Ice Cream
Alexa Fraser from HomeTown Ice Cream - St. Catharines Farmers' Market - 20 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

Vanessa from Vanessa's Cupcakery
Vanessa from Vanessa's Cupcakery - St. Catharines Farmers' Market - 20 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

Wouldn't you rather be investing in your neighbours and community than Chile, China or Mexico? I would and I do.

This is a great place to visit and we encourage you to visit and to buy locally. Keep cash moving locally - it benefits everyone.



The St. Catharines Farmers' Market
91 King St. at James St., St. Catharines, Ontario
Google Map
 
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Friday, August 19, 2011

A visit to Stoney Ridge Estate Winery - 19 August 2011

After having lunch elsewhere, we headed out to Stoney Ridge for dessert .... and wine. It was a warm day so we sat in comfortable chairs outdoors under a parasol and relaxed.

We ordered some wine, which was both excellent in taste and adequate in quantity - unlike many other wineries. We also ordered a cheese plate and that was excellent. The video explains more about the cheese plate.


This photo was taken late Winter 2011
Stoney Ridge Estate Winery - Winter 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com




This video and the images below were taken on 19 August 2011


Stoney Ridge Estate Winery - 19 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Stoney Ridge Estate Winery - 19 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Stoney Ridge Estate Winery - 19 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Stoney Ridge Estate Winery - 19 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Stoney Ridge Estate Winery - 19 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Stoney Ridge Estate Winery - 19 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



We had a very pleasant and affordable time.  Beautiful grounds, plus excellent wine and cheese and let us not forget the comfortable chairs and superb service - all of which makes this winery as a strong recommend to anyone who asks.



Stoney Ridge Estate Winery
3201 King St., Vineland, Ontario L0R 2C0 
Tel 1-866-778-6639
www.stoneyridge.com

 
If you have comments on this or any other content or if you wish to suggest a review, please email us.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A visit to Good Earth Food and Wine Co.- 16 August 2011

We picked a bad day, or a good day, depending on your point of view, to visit Good Earth Food and Wine. As we arrived a busload of food and wine writers arrived.

There were a good number of us plebeians about so it was actually a good test of the establishments offerings and service.



Good Earth Food and Wine - 16 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com


A video of part of our visit


 

 Nicolette Novak is the Owner and Fun Coordinator
Nicolette Novak - Good Earth Food and Wine - 16 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

a table of pampered critics
Good Earth Food and Wine - 16 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

Now down to the review: I found the soup to be a disappointment. Bland - enough said about that.  The main course was delicious. I found my glass of wine, while acceptable, mundane. The service was very good.

On a practical note - The outdoor chairs that we sat in were extremely uncomfortable and one septuagenarian complained about them vocally several times both at the time and since - my mother in law.

I assume that the reader understands and accepts that different people have different palates but we all like to be comfortable.

While I am speaking about food and wine, I want to bring up a pet peeve of mine. I want to talk about the quantities of wine served by the  individually ordered glass in most wineries.

Simply put, I find that most wineries are miserly in their portions and overpriced for those portions. I understand that there is a minimum quantity required by law but that is the minimum requirement. Wineries should loosen up and give a thank you to their patrons by being magnanimous in their servings. It isn't as though they weren't saving the 50% or so discount that they would have to sell to the LCBO and then doing a mark up as though it was purchased from the LCBO.

I predict that the first wineries / restaurants that step up to this practice will be around in a few years. Most of the other restaurant will close. Peak Oil and Peak Credit are real folks - show some appreciation to the people that spend time, money and effort to find your venues -  get with the program.

  Main course at lunch
Good Earth Food and Wine - 16 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

The Pantry operates on the honor system - a very nice touch
Good Earth Food and Wine - 16 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

The property is very appealing to the eye
Good Earth Food and Wine - 16 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

The well respected cooking school
Good Earth Food and Wine - 16 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

Good Earth Food and Wine - 16 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

Good Earth Food and Wine - 16 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

All in all this is a great place to visit and we will come again. We recommend it to all. The kitchen is very good overall and the grounds are very pleasant.



The Good Earth Food and Wine Co.
4556 Lincoln Ave., Beamsville, ON L0R 1B3 
Tel 905-563-6333

 
If you have comments on this or any other content or if you wish to suggest a review, please email us.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A visit to St. Catharines BuskerFest 2011 - 13 August 2011

Today I visited the first BuskerFest in Downtown St. Catharines, Ontario. It was a beautiful day and the downtown was a busy place with buskers, vendors and the public.



Below is a video of some of the action and a few photos for those that don't watch videos.

Video


It is nice to see the people milling about.

BuskerFest St. Catharines - 13 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



It certainly is nice to see some colour in the urban environment.

BuskerFest St. Catharines - 13 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



BuskerFest St. Catharines - 13 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



The usual Living Statues were present
BuskerFest St. Catharines - 13 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



and the crowds were out
BuskerFest St. Catharines - 13 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



the Wire, Juggler etc .. all in one act
BuskerFest St. Catharines - 13 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Here is a map to the nerve centre of the activities Google Map.
 

While I was very happy to see the public out and about and our local businesses doing some trade, I wasn't at all happy with the vendor situation. I realize that the organizers sell space to vendors but the crap that most sell and the money that the vendors TAKE OUT of the community are a problem.



Don't get me wrong, the vendors do what they do, it is the organizers that I have a bone to pick with. It strikes me that the organizers, Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects, a not for profit corporation, have stepped way beyond their stated corporate mandate - "Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects enriches our community by strengthening its identity through theatrical production, theatre arts programming and community-based initiatives. Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects connects the community in its entirety. We do this by offering:
Affordable live theatre of challenging artistic merit
Workshops and theatrical opportunities for the citizens of St. Catharines and Niagara Region
Educational programming and professional development initiatives"


I don't see a lot of enriching with the vendor situation, I see money being removed from the community - I may be wrong, it could be that the vendors are all from the Niagara Region but I don't think so.

If you have comments on this or any other content or if you wish to suggest a review, please email us.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A visit to the Bleu Turtle Breakfast Bistro - 10 August 2011

Today I  visit the Bleu Turtle Breakfast Bistro and it's owner and chef,  Robby Berry.



I have eaten there many times in the past and a few weeks ago I mentioned to Robby that I was thinking about doing a short write up and video about the Turtle and was he alright with that. He was glad to help and suggested the opening as a good time.



The restaurant is located On St. Paul St. West and I arrived in time for the 8 a.m. opening. I had a chance to chat with Robby as he went about his morning preparations, baked bread and served his first customers of the day. As can be seen in the video, there is a lot involved in the morning startup.



Robby tries to buy and use local produce as much as possible. I can see that smoked salmon and lobster can be a problem.



The Bleu Turtle Breakfast Bistro
Bleu Turtle Breakfast Bistro - 10 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com



Video



Owner Chef Robby Berry
Chef Robby Berry - Bleu Turtle Breakfast Bistro - 10 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

Is there anything better than an open kitchen?
Chef Robby Berry - Bleu Turtle Breakfast Bistro - 10 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

Bleu Turtle Breakfast Bistro - 10 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

Bleu Turtle Breakfast Bistro - 10 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

Here we have a smoked salmon eggs benedict and a lobster benedict - I have enjoyed both on previous occasions - delicious.
Bleu Turtle Breakfast Bistro - 10 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

 

As the reader can tell from our review, I really like the Turtle and I hope that you will too. The food is delicious, the service excellent and the ambience very pleasant.

 

The Bleu Turtle Breakfast Bistro
215 St Paul Street West, St Catharines, ON L2S 2C9 
Tel 905-688-0330



If you have comments on this or any other content or if you wish to suggest a review, please email us.

Monday, August 01, 2011

A visit to Aure Wines - 1 August 2011

Aure Wines is a very new winery in Beamsville.
Video
 
Aure Wines - 1 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com
 
Aure Wines - 1 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com
 
Aure Wines
3749 Walker Road, Beamsville, Ont., L0R 1B2 
Tel 905-563-7256



If you have comments on this or any other content or if you wish to suggest a review, please email us.

A visit to Angels Gate Winery - 1 August 2011

Angels Gate Winery is located in a picture perfect location on Mountainview Road in Beamsville, Ontario. The Winery's buildings look out and down the Niagara Escarpment and Lake Ontario is clearly visible.
It was a beautiful day when we visited and the ample parking lot a a dozen or so vehicles in it on this holiday weekend.
The grounds are lovely and the facilities are first rate. We will be going there again.
 
Angels Gate Winery - 1 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

Video

Angels Gate Winery - 1 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

Angels Gate Winery - 1 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

Angels Gate Winery - 1 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com

Angels Gate Winery - 1 August 2011 - NiagaraWatch.com
 

Angels Gate Winery
4260 Mountainview Rd. Beamsville, Ont. L0R 1B2 
Tel 905-563-3942



If you have comments on this or any other content or if you wish to suggest a review, please email us.