Niagara on the Lake, Canada
I must admit having a porky website name makes for some pretty awesome meals. There are so many restaurants in Niagara on the Lake but I knew after a day of tasting ice wine it would be easiest to have dinner at Zee’s Grill at my hotel.
The kitchen offered to do a tasting menu and I was so excited but I had to meekly apologize that Drunkntrvlr was vegetarian and when they responded it was no problem I again apologized, acknowledging the humor of me traveling with someone who did not share my love of bacon.
Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so apologetic because I was about to learn a very important lesson.
Food envy is the worst feeling. You know when you order a meal but then you try someone else’s dish and wish you had what they were eating. That rarely happens to me, I always order the most interesting dish. But tonight I had a fantastic meal yet was still green with jealousy.
First off I should say is that Executive Chef Jason Dobbie is incredibly talented. I have told many people that I am over pork belly and yet he made an amuse bouche that made me feel sorry for Drunkntrvlr. The next 3 hours I was treated to a warm mushroom and smoked bacon salad, surf and turf of confit wild boar belly, seared scallop and the coveted black garlic, sorbet, crispy duck leg confit and ending with a dark chocolate mouse with brown sugar candied bacon.
This was a pork lover’s dream meal.
But it wasn’t until I had some of Drunkntrvlr’s meal that I realized just how skilled Chef Jason is. Bacon is magic because it can make things taste better with little effort, but making an amazing vegetarian meal is truly challenging.
I cannot believe I am saying this but the vegetarian meal was better. I had food envy.
He started with a celeriac and apple veloute with black garlic and truffle oil and it was hard not to eat half the dish. Drunkntrvlr marvelled that the Moroccan spiced lentil ragout was the best dish he had ever eaten.
Afterwards we went back to meet the kitchen, really wonderful people in such a small kitchen I cannot believe they feed the entire restaurant. It also became very clear why Chef Jason was so skilled with vegetarian food, he had worked out in British Colombia so feeding vegetarians wasn’t so unusual.
Maybe I shouldn’t apologize for Drunkntrvlr being vegetarian but be thankful he shared some of his meal with me.