Monday, April 28, 2008

Port Dalhousie

Despite the bad beginning to the day, we decided to go ahead with our plans. We drove to Port Dalhousie (they leave out the h) on the Saturday afternoon and arrived at the bed and breakfast just before 4 p.m. Then discovered I had been given the wrong number for the person who was looking after us this weekend. As it happened, she turned up shortly after we arrived, so no problem. It was a delightful house with a lovely yard. The whole of Port Dalhousie seemed to be in blossom - they are 60 miles south of us and the plants are a bit more advanced. There were Japanese Maples in flower wherever I looked. It is one of my favourites, I had one in North Carolina and was sorry to leave it behind. I call them tulip trees as the blossoms look very like tulips before they open. They are absolutely beautiful. It never occurred to me they would grow in Canada until we came back here to live. There were other blossoms visible, I know some were peach and others apple blossom, but I am not a good enough gardener to know which was which. We seemed to be in the middle of orchard country coming into the Port - we knew we were close to wine country, but this particular area is known as Fruitland I discovered.

Jennifer, at the Old Port B & B took us into the house and showed us around, a delightful lounge and a family room with TV which we were welcome to use. A kitchen where we could obtain ice and where she set a pot of coffee ready for me when we came back from the restaurant. Then we went up to our room which was very pleasant, light and airy, with a nice en suite bathroom. We were impressed with the whole set up. I didn't take any pictures inside but there are some here if you would like to look at them.

We then went to check out where the restaurant was located and found it just a few minutes away beautifully sited right on the water. Looked a very nice spot. We went back to the B & B and decided to have a drink before dins. Jennifer was still there setting out things for breakfast in the morning and pottering about with various jobs. Apparently she fills in for the owner quite a bit and some people have never even met the owner because she goes away with her son's sports team quite a bit.

Went back to the restaurant for 6 and met the owner and his wife, Stephen and Sue with their son James, all from the UK although they have lived here some 26 years. Steve is the owner/chef and his son is the sommelier. The maitre d' had also spent a lot of time in the UK so it was almost like old home week especially as my friend's mother is English originally although she has been here some 50 odd years.

After drinks and discussing the menu, we finally ordered what we wanted. The menu was prix fixé at $55 (3 courses) or $65 (4 courses) and there were various items one could add such as the foie gras at an extra $15. Once the meal was about to start they produced demi tasses with a spicy tomato soup covered with a cappucino foam (I think) for an amuse bouches. It was absolutely delicious. Also delicious home made breads, a multi grain and a sourdough. With the bread was a dipping sauce of oil and vinegar. I then began my meal with the foie gras which was sautéed and served on a brioche with a rhubarb sauce. The foie gras was delicious but I personally found the garnishing too sweet. Matt had a Prosciutto salad garnished with sliced pear and shaved Parmesan which he said was very good. My friend had both the foie gras and a Roast Beet salad which included golden beets. She gave me one and it was delicious. Another item which a couple of people had was Leek and Potato Soup garnished with lobster meat and a cheese straw. I was told that it, too, was wonderful, it certainly looked it. I have always liked Leek and Potato soup anyway, but with the lobster - yum - you know how I feel about lobster. There seem to be a couple of starters missing, there were eight of us altogether, but I am not sure what else anyone ordered.

For the main course several of us chose lamb. Matt and I had a lamb filled tortellini with ours and my friend chose a mashed potato with mustard. Her son had the venison with carrots which were cooked in sparkling water and carmelised with honey. No picture of the venison I'm afraid, but it did look good. Matt and I drank a glass of Pinot Noir, it was by a local winery called Malivoire. We only had one 6 oz. glass each as that was $18 a piece!! At least two of the group chose fish, my friend's English mom had Pickerel and another of us had Whitefish, both of which are delicious fish and as nothing was left, I assume they were good.

Last, but not least were the desserts. You remember I am a chocolate freak, so needless to say I chose a chocolate dessert, they had chocolate volcanoes similar to those we made last week; my friend assured us the only difference was in the shape. They were served with ice cream (coffee flavoured I think) and a cookie. Matt decided to have the Ginger Creme Brulée and then there was a lemon tart chosen as well as a local cheese tray which came with a couple of chutneys or jams. Nothing served in the restaurant contains ingredients which are not local. I did get a taster of some of the cheeses which were very good. Once we had finished the desserts, we were served coffees and teas and they produced a kind of ginger turkish delight, very sticky and sweet. Finally we got small, crunchy macaroons which were delightful. I ate two, (diet, what diet?). After that of course we got the only part of a meal which comes free, the bill, a lot of money. We certainly didn't expect it to be quite so high. I guess one doesn't do the addition as you go along. Still it was a delightful restaurant with a very pleasant view over the water and the service was superb.

Finally we went back to our B & B and everyone else wended their way home. I made my coffee and had a couple of cups plus we had a bedtime drink and then climbed the stairs and slept like logs.

I think you have had enough about food today, so I won't post a recipe. I will tell you about our Sunday tomorrow.

Have a great day.

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