Great dinner at Escabeche at Prince of Wales Hotel, Niagara-on-the-Lake
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE - With all the talk of royal weddings and all, it was a good day to check out the Prince of Wales Hotel.
I don’t get down to Niagara as often as I’d like to, mostly because of the infernal QEW, but it’s always nice to get out of the city and check out this small, green, manicured corner of southern Ontario. The excuse this time was a visit to the Prince of Wales and a preview of My Fair Lady at the Shaw Festival later Thursday.
A group of us were treated to some Wednesday afternoon sparkling wine and then I got my first-ever “wrap” treatment at a spa. I’ll write about it more soon in the pages of Star Travel but suffice to say it was a citrus and tea procedure that left my skin soft as a proverbial baby’s bottom.
I had a chance to stroll around the town for a bit afterward (word of warning; a lot of shops close very early down here, as in 5 p.m. on a weekday in April) and then we were treated to a fabulous dinner by chef Robin Little, with help from the wonderful sommelier, the highly engaging Fred Gamula, who gave us a brief tour of the 8,000 bottle wine cellar.
Gamula said it’s hard to keep up with folks who want him to stock their wines.
“Everybody and his brother is coming in to the hotel with local wines” they want us to stock, he said. “I took one rep down to the cellar the other day to show him and said, ‘Great, but where would you want me to put it?’”
We had a marveoulous 2009 Coyote’s Run Pinot Blanc with a butternut squash soup with truffle ravioli (see photo) at Escabeche, the Prince of Wales restaurant. There also was aCave Springs 2009 Riesling with roasted beet salad, balsamic and goat cheese foam (I’m a little tired of the foam thing myself),
The third course had Henry of Pelham Baco Noir reserve with lovely pheasant on a bed of sautéed red cabbage with bacon powder, then a chocolate tart with port or a yogurt panna cotta with fruit for dessert.
Definitely a meal to remember, topped off by a half pint at the Irish Harp (great Irish pub down the street from the hotel) and a nice night at the lovely Prince of Wales Hotel and a morning café latte across the street at Balzac’s, which isn’t as atmospheric as the one in the Distillery District of Toronto but still features awesome coffee.