Niagara-on-the-Lake 2016

A few weeks ago we had a belated one-year anniversary brunch with my parents in Niagara. The reason we were about 6 months behind was because in the fall JDL had his knee replaced and then who wants to go to Niagara in the winter?

The day started with a visit to Southbrook Vineyards, Canada’s first bio-dynamic winery. We tasted a flight of four different wines, two whites and two reds, each highlighting the unique growing conditions and techniques at Southbrook. Our server was incredibly knowledgeable, having studied cuisine and wine at Niagara College. He was well spoken on the interplay between wine and food, something I completely lack and admire in other people.

After a few tastes of wine, we headed over to Trius Winery for our celebratory brunch. The brunch at Trius is a three-course tasting menu with the option to pair each course with wine as selected by the restaurant. Mom, being the classy and knowledgeable person she is, made her choices based on the wine; everyone else made their choices based on the food.


The dining room at Trius has been recently redone, featuring bold furniture in yellows and reds. The main dining room features huge spherical light fixtures that resemble fireworks exploding in a night sky. The dining rooms open out onto a patio which overlooks the vineyards. In early April this is not quiet the focal point that it is in the summer. We were seated in the back of the restaurant, which was a little more private and with a view of the courtyard and vineyards.

After we were seated, we were immediately greeted with glasses of Trius Brut Rosé – all brunches should start with pink bubbly. It should be noted that this is apparently supposed to serve as a palate cleanser between courses and should last the length of your meal, not gulped down shortly after the first course like mine was. Oops. It was just too tasty to not enjoy that quickly.

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Sunday morning was cold, snowy and dreary so it only seemed logical to brave this ridiculous April weather for some brunch. We headed down to Dufferin and Dundas to try brunch at Antler with our friends Renée and Sean.

Photo Credit: BlogTO’s review of Antler

Antler is unassuming from the street: the restaurant’s frontage is a large, simple window surrounded by what is now black painted wood and with simple yellow block letters spelling out the restaurant’s name. The large window looks immediately on to bar seating at the window, allowing passers-by on the street to be tempted by the beautiful food inside. The restaurant has that cozy, hipster restaurant vibe that has exploded all over Toronto: exposed brick walls, pew seating, simple textiles, large reflective surfaces to give the illusion of a larger restaurant and industrial lighting.

Antler’s tagline is “Inspired Canadian Cuisine. Regional Ingredients.” which was part of the reason for choosing it. I’m always intrigued by restaurants that are trying to help create a national cuisine by using local and seasonal ingredients. The menu features ingredients like boar, bison, foraged mushrooms and foraged black walnuts. These ingredients are hearty, abundant and reflective of the country they are made in. They can also be used in a variety of different ways, highlighting their versatility and range of flavours and textures.

Renée ordered the House Baked Granola (pictured clockwise to the right).

Note: I have started following chocojanna on Instagram because everything is beautiful, Toronto and food which are my three favourite things.

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The Rosedale Diner

The last meal eaten out of 2012 at a restaurant we had not been to yet – The Rosedale Diner. Part of my New Year’s resolution is to eat out less in attempt to save money and lose a little bit of weight so unfortunately there will be less restaurant posts BUT more recipes!

The Rosedale Diner was chosen for brunch on Boxing Day for its location and because it was one of the restaurants Guy Fieri visited on his Toronto vist for Triple D. It is a small diner that is crammed, busy and noisy – you would accept nothing less from a true diner. The food is not your typical greasy spoon dive food, it is healthy and fresh.

We started off with the calamari.

IMG_3170Crispy, tender and not chewy, this was perfectly cooked calamari. I wasn’t crazy about the sauce drizzled on top – it claimed to be a lemon caper aioli but it was slightly spicy with no citrus tang. I prefer my calamari to be dipped and in a citrus sauce of some sort.

GC ordered the egg’s Benedict.

IMG_3171A great but simple egg’s Benedict. It is hard to add anything new to this dish because it is so legendary to brunch and that’s fine. The hollandaise sauce, the mark of a good Benedict, was sweet, tangy, rich and creamy, it perfectly rounded out the dish.

I ordered the Crab and Salmon Burger.

IMG_3172 IMG_3173Creamy, sweet but savoury, and with great hints of dill – delicious! I loved that this burger came in a pita rather than a burger bun and that it was simply dressed with lettuce, tomato and onion. It was very light, but filling and satisfying.

This is a great little diner and I will definitely be returning for the Poutine au Canard, or duck confit poutine – so much for losing a little weight…

Happy munching!