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10 things we learned on our Civic Holiday getaway

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Mettawas Mediteranean Grill, Kingsville Ontario

Mettawas Mediteranean Grill, Kingsville, Ontario

  1. Even at fairly late date, it’s not that hard to get a hotel room in the Leamington / Kingsville area for the August long weekend, and they accept one-night stays.
    However… when your hotel says it has free wifi, that doesn’t necessarily mean said wifi will actually work. (Too bad, as otherwise we have no complaints about King’s Hotel, which had nice rooms, was a good deal, and conveniently located.)
  2. M.E. and Suzie’s, a wonderful restaurant in Port Stanley, has closed.
  3. The restaurant now residing at the former M.E. and Suzie’s location has some of the worst food we’ve ever had. The lowlights were the supposedly “lighly breaded” smelts that actually were deep-fried mush and the “pork” dumplings that contained something brownish that didn’t really look or taste like pork.
    The highlight of that meal was the wine. (Malivoire “Guilty Man” white.)
  4. Aleksander Winery is fun to visit. They don’t really limit how many wines you can taste. You can opt to have cheese with your wine. (Jean filled up on that after our poor lunch.) The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. And the wines—pretty good! We ended up buying a case of various types. The highlights were:
    • Chardonnay Barique, an oaked Chardonnay that didn’t taste very oaked. It improved as we tasted it. (And it was the first one, so drunkenness wasn’t a factor in our judgment.)
    • Charmbourcin, a less-common, light red wine that originated in France, but isn’t much respected there. Very food friendly.
    • Baco Noir, full-bodied and delicious.
    • Cabernet Franc, lighter than the Baco, heavier than the Chambourcin, and well-balanced all around.
  5. During this last tough winter, Aleksander Winery lost 90% of its grapes. So don’t look too hard for their 2014 vintage in the future.
  6. Cooper’s Hawk winery is also pretty fun to visit! It was busy when we got there so they took longer to get us set up with wine, but then were quite friendly and knowledgeable and not too strict on tasting numbers. We had been here before, and found they were still really good with their off-dry whites. We left with several types of those: a Gewurtz, a Riesling / Gewurtz blend called Touché, and a Chardonnay Musque. But we also quite liked their Cabernet Franc, and the Pinot  Noir Rosé that our server confessed was a really hard sell for them. “People just don’t like it!” It is very dry, which might not be what people expect in a rosé, but I think it’s going to be fabulous with food.
  7. Mettawas Station in Kinsgville is, fortunately, still a good place to have a meal. Very casual, but nice pastas with fresh ingredients, and a decent list of area wines by the glass.Eyeing my Gnocchi!
  8. Thunder can be so loud it rattles your hotel room. The #onstorm that hit KW earlier arrived after midnight there, waking us with a start.
  9. Mango Rock Cafe in Kingsville is great place to have breakfast. Very friendly staff and quite decent, creative cooking here, like whole-grain pancakes with glazed walnuts and steamed apples. Yummy coffee also.
  10. Kingsville is kind of far. It’s a good three-hour drive. It’s really too far to go away for a one-nighter. Be a good destination if you can spare two nights, though. Then we would have had time for more than a brief look at Point Pelee National Park.

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