Have you been enjoying the wonderful agricultural bounty this year? Personally, I have been in fresh food heaven. By chance, I met a couple yesterday that had just moved to Niagara from Colorado. Their first comment to me was how amazed they were with all of the fresh vegetables and flavourful fruit that Niagara offers. Not knowing what I did for a living they gave me a bit of a puzzled look (short-lived) when I said, “Oh, you should see what we do with grapes around here!” 🙂 Naturally we celebrate excellence in the grape harvest every year, but we also have the opportunity to celebrate everything that grows in Ontario. Our venerable restaurant that has been a culinary mainstay in Niagara for decades continues to showcase all that is fresh. Our newest menu is chock full of great food elements that are coming into full summer season. Rare beets, heirloom tomatoes, pea shoots, pole beans, berries and foraged mushrooms just to name a few are tasty ingredients that are best enjoyed now as they come into peak production. To support these seasonal stars we offer proteins like Rainbow Trout, steak, duck confit and venison. My favourite apps these days are two items that have minimal or no cooking at all. The rare seared tuna is new and a perfect opening for a lively summer meal and the beef tartar on crispy fried chicken skin is an indulgence!! Also, remember that all of our desserts are made in house (in our all too tasty pastry department) and the fresh fruits and berries are abundant. If you happen hear someone talking about Colorado at the table next to you when you are dining here, it just might be the couple I met. They were so impressed with their first visit to the winery and restaurant that they told me that Vineland was going to be a “regular” with them. Be sure to give them a warm Canadian “welcome” and ask them about the fried chicken skin! They think we’re nuts…..tasty, but nuts!!