Tuesday, September 22, 2015

food in Niagara-by-the-Lake

Great topic when facing Yom Kippur, eh?

Niagara-by-the-Lake, located just downstream from the Falls, is a small town with a Shaw Festival, and consequently has all the characteristics of a boutique theatre town. Its one main street is lined with gift shops and restaurants, mostly plenty upscale. One restaurant is actually called the Epicurian.

Many of the gift shops are food-oriented. There are shops that sell exotic olive oils and spices in bottles. The one I visited wrapped the bottles up plenty well without being asked, which was convenient for putting them in my suitcase prior to plane travel. There are shops that sell candy. One had about 15 flavors of Turkish delight in jars, far more flavors than the Turkish delight specialty shop in Seattle's Pike Place ever has, though they didn't have its specialty of rose-flavored. One kind of candy common in Canada (I also found some in a mall in Windsor) that I've never seen in the US is blueberry-flavored chocolate bars. I bought one to take home for B.

I also bought for B. some exotic coffee from the shop that sells coffees and teas. When I asked if the packages were beans or ground, they said beans and offered to grind it, but then they asked me what kind of coffee-maker I have. I don't know. B. drinks the coffee; I know nothing about the stuff. I've had shops grind coffee for me before without interrogating me about coffee-makers. We got through that OK.

We had lunch in the Olde Angel Inn, spelled that way. This is the kind of olde Englishe pubbe that's so authenticke that I doubt you could find anything like it in England. It's not just the weathered-wood decor and the photos of the royal family on the wall, it's the greasy fries (this is Canada, so they don't call them "chips") and the insistence on serving peas and carrots with everything. I ordered sausage rolls, as an appetizer so they wouldn't inflict me with peas and carrots, and ate them gloomily (they were rather tasteless) while thinking of the sausage-roll conspiracy in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Grand Duke which left the conspirators sick of sausage rolls. The chicken and rice soup tasted canned. My brother liked the unusual offering of chicken-and-peach pie, though.

And that place was supposed to be good. For dinner we picked Bistro 61, named for its street number, because the menu looked promising. There I had bouillabaisse, to make up for the starchy lunch. It was mostly mussels and possibly not any clams, though there were clam shells, plus two prawns and some salmon. Once I removed all the shells it wasn't a very large bowl of soup, but they were good mussels and the broth was spicy and memorable, and there was much less grit than this dish often has. So it wasn't bad, and the service was fast and excellent: a notable plus when you have a curtain time.

Some of these places take US cash at varying exchange rates, but I had loaded up with Canadian cash at an ATM and used a credit card freely.

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