A very good friend of mine met me in Dearborn, and we drove together to Windsor, Ontario, Canada for our dinner meeting. Since we both joined about a month or two apart back in the Eighties, we have attended a lot of meetings. We had our passport in hand and suffered the slings and arrows of going through Customs in Canada. We finally made it off the bridge and were on our way to have a cocktail before dinner. Our illustrious Club Secretary wrote the old name of the restaurant on the invitation, and even though I knew the area, with all of the new highway construction going on, we passed the restaurant, even though we thought it was the right location, but it had the wrong name on the building. We continued on down the road, since my Father and Grandparents had grown up in Windsor, I remembered the streets, even though there had been some changes in the landmarks, as we went up further, I decided that we were going to soon be on our way to Toronto, so we had to get off the road and double back down. When we got back to where I thought was the restaurant, we were going to pull in so that I could check if there had been a name change, of course I did not have to, as I saw some of the other members in a side room already enjoying a cocktail or two.
We had arrived at the Grill 55 and the restaurant and the hotel that it was located in, had done a complete renovation. The room our meeting was in was new, bright and airy, and it had windows, which was a change from the cavern-like room we used to have. We started by having a cocktail, until I could look at a wine list of wines that were being served by the glass. Since I was not one of the hosts that evening, I refrained from wanting to order a wine that was sold only by the bottle, as that would not be fair to my esteemed hosts. The tables were arranged in a very comfortable set up with no cramping of space, which made the setting even better. There was fresh baked bread in baskets, and a couple of flavored butters set out on the tables, when we had arrived. Even the water pitchers that were on the table were very nice; they not only held ice, but lemons, strawberries, and blackberries were in the pitcher to freshen the water. As is standard norm for the club meetings, we were offered several choices for our entrée. For my dinner, I started with a house salad with a Creamy Italian dressing, though they were offering a Mushroom Bisque that did sound interesting. For my entrée I chose a Prime Rib plate that came with three different choices of potatoes, as well as sautéed vegetables. The hosts had also selected a Tilapia plate, and there was a Chicken offering as well. When the entrée choices were brought in, they also offered fresh horseradish, as well as a horseradish sauce for the Prime Rib dinners. Our desserts are normally a chocolate sundae, but the restaurant also added an assortment of fresh fruit as well for the toppings. Everyone I talked to that evening was very happy with this new restaurant, the service and especially the food. We most definitely will be returning to this establishment again.
When I looked at the wine list, they were offering more standard fares of wines by the glass. One caught my eye, as it was a Canadian wine, a Cabernet Franc. I remembered some of the great Cabernet Franc wines, my Bride and I had, when we were up in the Niagara Peninsula so that is what I ordered, and I also asked our waiter if he could bring the bottle into our room, so that I may take a picture of it. When the waiter returned with my glass of wine, and the bottle, I saw that it was more local, than Niagara-on-the-Lake. The wine was a Pelee Island Winery Cabernet Franc VQA 2011. The VQA stands for Vintners Quality Alliance in Canada, and is a quality assurance that the wine is all Canadian grapes grown in a recognized designated area, similar to the laws of other countries. Pelee Island Winery is the southernmost part of Canada and at 550 acres is the largest private estate in Canada. There is a ninety minute ferry ride to get to the island which is in Lake Erie. I have to admit though, that the wine did not taste like any Cabernet Franc wine that I have ever had. It had a sweet taste to it, which was not to my liking, even though it did mellow out a bit during dinner, it still was not what I was expecting from this varietal. Though I was pleased with the dinner, the next time, I will try another wine, but in the big picture, it was a learning experience.