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49 FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Roasting your own coffee beans, food you can wear and simple spice stars.

75 NIAGARAON-THE-LAKE CULINARY TOUR

on the cover…

CASA MIA:

A NIAGARA INSTITUTION THAT LOCALS CALL HOME

24

todaymagazine.ca 1


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Š 2017 Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.

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8/24/2017 10:53:40 AM


CUSTOMIZE YOUR FALLSVIEW DINING EXPERIENCE Three Course Dinner

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Five Course Dinner

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BREAKFAST SERVED DAILY Located in Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls/Fallsview directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9 +1 905 353 7138 watermarkrestaurant.com |

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Complimentary parking for our dining guests.


MEAT... DONE WELL

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GET RECOGNIZED

Volume 1 Issue 6 - September/October 2017

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XX FOOD FOR THOUGHT:

Roasting your own coffee beans, food you can wear and simple spice stars.

XX NIAGARAON-THE-LAKE CULINARY TOUR

on the cover…

CASA MIA:

A NIAGARA INSTITUTION THAT LOCALS CALL HOME

XX

todaymagazine.ca 1

On the cover: Casa Mia Photography by David Haskell.

Today Magazine Niagara Edition is published by Rev Publishing Inc. All opinions expressed in Today Magazine Niagara Edition are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the view of Rev Publishing, it’s employees or owners. Reasonable care is taken to ensure that the information contained in this magazine is as up-to-date and accurate as possible, as of the time of publication, but no responsibility can be taken by Today Magazine Niagara Edition for any errors, omissions or comments made by writers or interviewees that are contained herein. Furthermore, responsibility for any losses, damages or distress resulting from adherence to any information made available through this magazine is not the responsibility of Today Magazine Niagara Edition. All unsolicited manuscripts and/or photographs submitted are assumed to be intended for publication or republication in whole or in part. The right to alter, edit or refuse photos and/or manuscripts intended for publication is assumed. All unsolicited material submitted to Today Magazine Niagara Edition are submitted at the author’s risk. Manuscripts and or photographs intended to be returned must be accompanied by sufficient postage. Today Magazine Niagara Edition does not assume any responsibility for any claims of our advertisers and reserves the right to refuse any advertising.

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todaymagazine.ca 7


//CONTRIBUTORS

LYNN OGRYZLO

JULIE TANOS

MARIANA BOCKAROVA

JILL THAM

GABRIELLE TIEMAN-LEE

Lynn is a food, wine and travel writer, author of three international award-winning cookbooks and regular contributor to REV Publications. Lynn specializes in culinary tourism covering regional cuisine destinations, slow food, culinary holidays, wine, spirits and “la dolca vita”. She can be reached for questions or comments at lynnogryzlo.com.

Julie’s love of reading good books and writing was sparked at a very young age. After earning her Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Guelph, majoring in Hotel and Food Administration, she returned home to Niagara Falls. While Julie considers the hospitality industry the meat and potatoes of her career, freelance writing is the delectable dessert! When she’s not busy enjoying her three kids, she and her hubby are root … root… rooting for the Blue Jays. julieann.tanos@yahoo.com

Mariana Bockarova is a PhD Candidate at the University of Toronto, where she teaches Psychological Resiliency, the Science of Happiness, and the Psychology of Relationships. Her research explores narrative medicine and mental health. She also holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University concentrated in Psychology.

Jill’s passion for writing came after seeing the movie Stand by Me. She prefers listening to Niagara bands to practising her guitar and running the track better than shopping. When Jill is not moonlighting as a freelance writer, she is an Elementary teacher juggling her three children. Along with being a regular contributor to Today Magazine, Jill’s articles have been featured in Canadian Running, Pedal, Allergic Living and @OECTA. jilltham.wordpress.com @JillBT

A writer for REV publishing for over three years, Gabrielle has written for numerous REV publications including Taste, Shopping & Travel. She is a graduate of the University of Ottawa’s Journalism program and has written for a variety of newspapers including the National Post, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette.

DAVID SOMERVILLE

DR. CHRISTINA PLASKOS

EVAN SAVIOLIDIS

CATHERINE PALMER

GERRY HOTSON

The founding partner at Capital Wealth Management Inc. has a passion for learning that has led him to attain a Certified Financial Planner designation; the highest level of professionalism in providing financial planning advice. Specialized in providing comprehensive wealth and estate planning advice to business owners, medical professionals and individual investors.

Dr. Plaskos received her Honours Bachelor of Science of Pharmacology and her medical degree from the University of Toronto. Dr. Plaskos also has continued her education by completing a fellowship at the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine which helps shape her practice at Aegis MD. Her mission is for everyone to ignite their well-being! She is a certified & advanced injector.

Evan Saviolidis is a Wine Tasting Challenge Grand Champion, Journalist for Canada’s largest wine magazine, Quench, instructor for the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers, and teaches wine appreciation courses in Niagara at WineSavvy. For complete information, please visit evanwinesavvy.com.

Catherine Palmer is a Financial Services Specialist with PenFinancial. A life-long resident of Niagara, Catherine is happy to be working at a truly local credit union that helps grow the lives of over 20,000 Niagara residents and businesses. You will often find walking her dog Oscar, through the nature trails of Dufferin Islands, or practicing yoga outdoors in Fireman’s Park. Check out Catherine’s financial blog at trulylocaladvice.ca.

Gerry Hotson, a long time St. Catharines resident, is a Renaissance artist in the true spirit of the word. Owner/Producer of HotSound Recording and an accomplished bass player, Gerry moves seamlessly between the stage and the studio. As a father with a green thumb, he has cultivated a refined taste for all things organic, turning a hill of beans into a real brew-ha-ha!

MD, HON BSC PHARM, ABAARM

todaymagazine.ca 9


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from @niagarafied, from @niagarafied, photo @niagarafied

@niagaraparks Discover the beauty of the Niagara River through the lens of featured photographers.

WE WANT TO KNOW WHAT INSPIRATION YOU’VE TAKEN AWAY FROM THIS ISSUE. Tweet us at @TodayMagazine

SPECIAL

WALTER SENDZIK @wsendzik Walter Sendzik offers a unique perspective as the mayor of St. Catharines.

photo @wsendzik

THIS MAGAZINE IS FULL OF AMAZING RECIPE IDEAS,

BLOGS WE LOVE!

BUT THERE WAS NO WAY WE COULD FIT THEM ALL IN.

halfbakedharvest.com

Visit Today Magazine’s “Taste” board on Pinterest to uncover even more ideas for taking your cooking to the next level.

Tieghan Gerard is the creator of Half Baked Harvest, a blog where she features her wholesome recipes (we’ve featured some here on page 17), everything ranging from comfort foods to healthy desserts. For more amazing recipes, check out halfbakedharvest.com or pick up her new cookbook – out now.

chocolatecoveredkatie.com

wickedgoodkitchen.com This blog is aptly named, because here, you’ll find tons of delicious recipes you’ll want to try out asap. The author is a recipe creator, food writer and baker.

She is basically the queen of healthy desserts. And while she does have the occasional savoury item on her site, the dessert makeovers are where she really shines.

READER’S CHOICE AWARDS

2017

READER’S CHOICE Nominations close October 22, 2017 at 11:59pm Voting opens November 1, 2017 Nominate your favourites businesses around Niagara to make sure they get included in the voting! Just visit todaymagazine.com

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© 2017 Pandora Jewelry, LLC • All rights reserved

SEE THE WONDERFUL

T H E PA N D O R A S T O R E AT

PEN CENTRE


NOTES FROM THE

It’s been a weird

year so far – to say the least. One prevailing sentiment that seems to be globally accepted is that there is a yearning for a simpler time and a deep sense of wanting to slow down - catch a breath. It seemed fitting then that for this issue, we celebrate tradition, community, passion and process. In this issue we recognize Casa Mia, a local mainstay, that both tourists and locals flock to for their fi nely crafted authentic Italian fare, derived from prized family recipes (pg 24). Niagara-on-the-Lake culinary tours showcases the food, drink and history of a region rich in abundance (pg 75). Benchmark, a Niagara College initiative, has established itself as a local gem – this teaching restaurant is teeming with ambitious students that incorporate food, wine and beer that is cultivated on campus and in the community onto their menus (pg 29). Inspired by a trip to the Italian country side, local writer Modesta Tonan has realized her dream, as her passion project,

I Belong To You, has hit Canadian shelves and is being worked into a screenplay (pg 65). Embracing the journey, local foodie Gerry Hotson takes us through roasting coffee beans from fair trade resources and waxes poetic about the delicate but rewarding process (pg 56). And when we are getting back to basics... it doesn’t get much simpler than this: consider growing indoor herbs (for real this time), rediscover the power of simple spices and love your tools (pg 49). Famed Canadian indie group The Dears (with local drummer Jeff Luciani) make a stop at the Warehouse in St. Catharines on their 2017 tour (pg 89). And don’t miss award-winning author and poet Shane Koyczan, when he makes a stop at the First Ontario Performing Arts Centre. His powerful spoken word prose is always thought provoking (pg 90). Fall is a time for a rebirth – a shedding of sorts. Take time for reflection, indulge in some of these comforts and feed your body and soul.

todaymagazine.ca 13


something to

CELEBRATE

1-800-263-5766

WHITEOAKSRESORT.COM RESTAURANT


// I N S I D E

LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

ABOUT TOWN

fall recipes

photo: Kaare Iverson

17

Shane Koyczan

65 49

DELICIOUSLY UNCOMFORTABLE This fall, turn comfort food on it’s head. Elevate familiar dishes with recipes that are both soulful and impressive featuring creations by Tieghan Gerard, blogger/author at halfbakedharvest.com.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT Whether you are just flexing your culinary muscles, or an accomplished ‘foodie’ we help you find your ‘spirit food’, roast your own coffee beans and get back to basics with a few helpful tips and tricks of the trade.

24

59

CASA MIA Casa Mia was born in 1984, over a cup of coffee at the kitchen table, when an opportunity arose. Luciana, fondly known by her family as “the energetic optimist” and her husband Gino – “the grounding force”– opened the establishment with high goals to evolve the current restaurant into something more.

29

feature – on the table In this issue, we feature three very different chefs and restaurants. From the mediterranean delights of The Kasbah in Niagara Falls to the mouth watering steaks at the elegant Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse to culinary creativity at work at Benchmark at Niagara College, we’ve got all aspects of the Niagara dining scene covered.

34

WINE PAIRINGS A quick and easy guide so you can learn how to expertly pair wine and cheese, to create a delicious appetizer, tasting board or meal.

37

EVAN’S WINE RATINGS Evan Saviolidis, one of Niagara’s leading wine experts, gives us some insight into some of our local Niagara wines. If you’ve ever walked into the LCBO, only to stand confused in the wine section because there are so many different options, this is a great place to start!

TRULY LOCAL ADVICE Catherine Palmer gives readers the tools needed to make the most of post secondary education and a crash course in funding college or university.

61

MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE Mariana Bockarova delves into the hidden meanings behind our actions with body language expert Marcel Danesi.

90

75

Modesta Tonan

17

HERE. SEE.DO.

photo: dreamsandtalesfineart.com

photo: halfbakedharvest.com

FOOD & DRINK

food tour

75

NIAGARA CULINARY TOURS Blending culture and food with Niagara’s rich history and authentic charm, this culinary walking tour  is the perfect way to experience a little bit of everything in a single visit.

83

EVENTFUL An overview of cultural events, festivals and entertainment taking place in the Niagara Region this upcoming season. 89 The Dears The famed Canadian indie group is coming to St. Catharines. Check out our Q&A with band leader Murray Lightburn.

79

NIAGARA’S BEST FISH & CHIPS A creation of necessity, this fried meal was an instant hit and became the most popular dish throughout England, and not just for the working folk, but for everyone. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously called fish and chips “the good companions”. Who would disagree?

90 Shane Koyczan Interview with famed spoken word poet sensation coming to the Performing Arts Centre this fall.

94

TODAY’S PEOPLE Snapshots of you out and about at community events.

65

NOT A LOVE STORY Local author Modesta Tonan has always had her pen to paper, slowly evolving, unbeknownst to her, into a bona fide writer. Her passion project, I Belong To You is currently in bookstores across Canada.

69

IGNITE A BETTER YOU Dr. Plaskos encourages readers to embrace change this season with advice on how to navigate the colder and darker months by embracing change.

73

MONEY TALK David Somerville tackles the uncomfortable topic of seeing the value in estate planning and guidance on how to do it.

todaymagazine.ca 15


Live Entertainment Nightly Niagara’s Largest TV Open Daily From Noon Located in Hilton Hotel & Suites Niagara Falls/Fallsview directly across from Fallsview Casino Resort 6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 3V9 +1 905 354 7887 spycelounge.ca |

spycelounge

Complimentary parking for our dining guests.

authentic italian cooking — and brick oven pizza — located in hilton hotel & suites niagara falls/fallsview directly across from fallsview casino resort 6361 fallsview blvd, niagara falls, on L2G 3V9 +1 905 353 7174 pranzoniagara.com |

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complimentary parking for our dining guests.

children eat free restrictions apply. ask server for details.


//FOOD & DRINK

PIZZA

SOUP

BREAD

deliciously

UNCOMFORTABLE

THIS FALL, TURN COMFORT FOOD ON IT’S HEAD. ELEVATE FAMILIAR DISHES WITH RECIPES THAT ARE BOTH SOULFUL AND IMPRESSIVE. >>

FEATURING RECIPES FROM TIEGHAN GERARD WANT MORE? GET INSPIRED AT HALFBAKEDHARVEST.COM

todaymagazine.ca 17


PREP TIME: 20 minutes COOK TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 40 minutes SERVINGS: 4


Ingredients

DIRECTIONS FOR SWEET POTATO SOUP 1.

• • • • • • • • • • • •

3-4 medium sweet potatoes (I used 3 medium) 1/2 cup pure maple syrup 2 teaspoons cinnamon OR 1 cinnamon stick 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken or veggie broth 1 cup apple cider 1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg pinch of cayenne to your taste 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional) 1 cup heavy cream or full-fat canned coconut milk 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded (optional) 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F

2. Poke a few holes in the sweet potatoes and

orange flesh to the bowl of a food processor or high powered blender. Add 1 cup of broth

bake for 1 hour or until soft and tender. When

and puree until smooth. Slowly stir the sweet

the sweet potatoes are cooked, slice them in

potato mixture into the thickened maple

half and allow to cool. 3. Meanwhile, add the maple syrup and

syrup. Add the remaining 1 1/2 cups broth, the apple cider, thyme, nutmeg, cayenne and a

cinnamon to a large soup pot, bring to a boil

pinch of salt + pepper. Cook over medium

and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer

heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes.

for 10-15 minutes or until the maple has

Stir in the bourbon (if using) and cream.

thickened and reduced to a syrup. Be careful

Continue to cook another 5 minutes and

not to let it get too thick, you just want it to

then add the cheese + butter, cook until the

thicken to a honey consistency.

cheese is melted and the soup is silky smooth.

4. Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel away the skins and add the

If the soup seems too thick, add more broth to thin. Keep over low heat until ready to serve.

DIRECTIONS FOR CHEDDAR CINNAMON SUGAR TWIST 1.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two baking

pastry into long 1/2-inch-wide strips. Gently

sheets with parchment paper.

twist each strip several times. Repeat with

2. Add sugar and cinnamon to small bowl and mix to combine.

remaining puff pastry strips until everything has been used. Place finished twists on prepared

3. Open one sheet of puff pastry on cutting board.

baking sheets. Brush twist with melted butter

Ingredients • 1 package frozen puff pastry thawed • 6 tablespoons butter melted

Brush surface lightly with the melted butter.

and sprinkle generously with cinnamon sugar.

Sprinkle surface generously with cinnamon

Bake 12-15 minutes or until puff pastry is golden.

sugar, leaving some for sprinkling on just before

Be careful not to over bake. Serve with the

• 1/2 cup granulated sugar

baking.

warm soup.

• 2 teaspoons cinnamon

4. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese to evenly cover

* the soup can be made up to two days in

entire surface. Use your hands and press

advance and store in the fridge. Simmer over

cheese into puff pastry to adhere. Cut puff

low heat until warmed through to serve. >>

• 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese finely shredded

todaymagazine.ca 19


PREP TIME: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 45 minutes TOTAL TIME: 1 hour SERVINGS: 1 (9X5) loaf


Ingredients • 2 medium zucchini, grated (about 1 1/2 - 2 cups grated) • 3 medium over ripe bananas, mashed • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil • 1/2 cup real maple syrup • 2 eggs • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 1 1/2 cups white or whole wheat flour • 1 cup all-purpose flour • 2 teaspoons baking powder • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Young’s Catering Catering For All Events

• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon • 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS 1.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9X5 inch loaf pan and line with parchment paper.

2. Lay a clean kitchen towel on the counter and spread the zucchini out on the towel, cover with another clean towel and let sit for 10 minutes, then squeeze out any excess water. 3. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the banana, olive oil, maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and zucchini.

TAKE OUT OR ORDER ONLINE

CALL US TO SET UP A FREE CONSULTATION FOR ALL YOUR CATERING NEEDS Food cooked fresh, on-site, in our mobile kitchen Bridal showers, weddings, private functions from 20 – 500 people In-home catering for your private event Includes rentals, service, setup and cleanup

4. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until center is set. If the top begins to brown, tent the bread with foil. Remove and let cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting (or just eat it warm). Bread will keep (covered) for 3/5 days. >>

905-394-2462 www.youngscatering.net 11256 Golf Course Road, Port Colborne ON


PREP TIME: 15 minutes COOK TIME: 45 minutes TOTAL TIME: 1 hour SERVINGS: one (10-12 inch-ish) pizza


Ingredients •

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups cubed butternut squash or pumpkin

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon chili powder divided

1/2 pound store-bought pizza dough or (homemade | https://www.halfbakedharvest. com/apple-and-caramelized-onion-pizzawith-pumpkin-seed-pangrattato/)

2 tablespoons of fig preserves (optional)

1 honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced

8 ounces burrata cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto torn

1 large handful baby kale or arugula

leaves crispy sage for topping

toasted pumpkin seeds for topping

DIRECTIONS 1.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

2.

Spread the butternut squash out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Drizzle the olive oil, honey, chili powder, salt and pepper, toss well to coat. Roast until butternut squash is tender, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking. Remove and set aside.

3.

Grease a large baking sheet with olive oil. On a lightly floured surface, push/roll the pizza dough out until it is pretty thin (about a 10-12 inch circle). Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet. Spread the dough with fig preserves (if using) and layer on the apple slices. Break the burrata cheese over the apples and divide evenly among the pizza. Evenly sprinkle on the roasted butternut squash and then add the parmesan. Next add the prosciutto. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Place in the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden, the cheese has melted, and the prosciutto has crisped. Remove from the oven and top with a handful of baby kale, sage and toasted pumpkin seeds. Slice and eat!

Why settle for ordinary, when you can have extraordinary !

ST. CATHARINES SHOWROOM 443 EASTCHESTER AVE. E. • 905-688-8887


CASA MIA SERVING AUTHENTIC ITALIAN FARE – IT’S A FAMILY AFFAIR. By Gabrielle Tieman - Lee I Photos: David Haskell

E

dison bulbs hang from the ceiling, illuminating the timeless white marble bar. Adorned with copper and matte finishes, coupe glasses and an impressive wine collection, Casa Mia Ristorante’s elegant and chic décor could leave any restaurant attendee with the sense that they were sitting at any high end restaurant in the world. >>

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Head chef and family matriarch Luciana Mollica enters the Niagara Falls based restaurant – a determined smile on her face as she lets a quick “buongiorno” out as she heads straight to her domain, her home, her coliseum: her kitchen. With this, the feeling of the restaurant shifts; a sense of family envelopes the modern-styled establishment and a warmth radiates from the kitchen along with the clanging and shifting of kitchen pots and pans preparing for the rush of the days hungry traffic. “It’s a love story how it all started,” says Domenic Mollica, the eldest son of the family, one of the owners and operators of Casa Mia and the head of the front of house. “My mother is a phenomenal chef and the whole driving force [behind Casa Mia]. “She is not just a cook - that is for sure,” said Domenic. “She is so dedicated and so consistent we don’t know how she does it.” Following the family’s immigration in 1968 from Frosinone, Italy, Luciana spent years working in restaurants throughout Niagara Falls; working in the back of house, fine tuning her culinary skills and discovering her knack and talent for the kitchen. This included time spent cooking alongside some of the best chefs in the world at the Skylon Tower, where she became very familiar with fine dining and high volume restaurants. “We took on any work we could,” said Domenic. “My dad is a stone mason and when we came here, he couldn’t get a job; brick layers were on strike. So we all went to work.” Casa Mia was born in 1984, over a cup of coffee at the kitchen table, when an opportunity arose at a perfectly located and current standing restaurant that had gone up for sale. Luciana, fondly known by her family as “the energetic optimist” and her husband Gino – remarked as the grounding force – opened the establishment with high goals to evolve the current restaurant into something more. Together, the Mollica family embarked on a journey that had always been an ambition and one close to their hearts – to establish a very local, farm to table restaurant and one that could offer an authentic Italian experience to the locals. Today, Casa Mia has become famous well past the Niagara border; a favourite amongst tourists and locals alike, the full service fine dining ristorante now proudly displays the internationally recognized Wine Spectator Award of Excellence for their wine services and offerings, and a rare internal combination of a more casual, gastropub style wine bar on one end with a private white table cloth adorned fine dining area on the other – both providing a diverse, seasonally based menu to please any hungry patron. “We are a highly searched restaurant and we are located in a perfect place: an international city [Niagara Falls], on the brink of Niagara Wine Country, in a historical part of the village – we have so much to offer and it is something people come looking for,” said Domenic. And though the restaurant has had incredible success for over 25 years, the Mollica’s values of family and respect have remained strongly the same as the day they first opened their doors. “Same goal, different role,” said Domenic. “We run our business just like a boat – you always have to be ready and no one person is more important than the other.” This respect extends as well to their finely crafted dishes. Respect for all ingredients is paramount for the Mollica family and this founding principle is the driving force behind every flavourful dish. The menus are reflective of this: showcasing a combination of Roman Country style cooking tapped in with international flair. All recipes are family based and authentic [crafted by both Luciana and her son and talented chef Claudio], and are always fine-tuned with the seasons in mind and crafted from local, or-


ganic and made in house ingredients. “Everything has its time and its place,” said Domenic. “I hate eating tomatoes in the winter but we love eating tomatoes fresh out of the garden with fresh mozzarella. Soups tend to change, how hearty they are in the winter as compared to the summer; the salads as well. Everything is seasonal always.” Pan-seared provimi veal chop with truffle infused demi-glace, house cured deli-boards adorned with rich local cheeses, Cortoccio style spaghetti with lobster, shrimp, crab and mussels wrapped and oven baked in parchment paper, house made cannelloni stuffed with spinach and ground veal and topped with their humble and famous tomato sauce and so much more that could make your heart sing. All ingredients are either sourced locally, when possible, or delivered fresh/frozen straight from Italy; including a selection of their truffles and a variety of mushrooms both of which are key ingredients to a number of their dishes. Selections of their ingredients are even cultivated closer to home; Casa Mia Farm is located in Niagara on Thorold Stone Road and is a beloved hobby of both Domenic and Gino’s. “We farm our own tomatoes, beans, hot peppers, onions, garlic, zucchini, all the staples,” said Domenic. “Everything is organic. It’s how the two of us bond.” Apart from touting the fresh ingredients and incredible skills of his brother Claudio and mother in the kitchen, Domenic remained humble – refusing to brag too much about the incredible food. “People need to come and experience the food,” said Dominic. “We don’t like to brag but actions speak louder than words.” Apart from their staple menu, Casa Mia also hosts a number of special menus throughout the week which run in tandem with their weekly events. Their famous Date Night for Two held every Wednesday continues to be a regular favourite, at only $69 dollars a couple and includes a starter, main course and dessert for two. For a more casual dining experience, Casa Mia also offers a casual bites menu exclusive to their Wine Bar – featuring genuine Italian cuisine and traditional West Coast flare. “Our goal is stay more local,” said Domenic. “This is why we did the bar; it’s more approachable and there is less of a commitment. There is no need to make a reservation - you can come in and enjoy simply a glass of wine and some cheese at the wine bar without commitment.” Their Five Dollar Fridays, held between 3-6 p.m., is quickly becoming an after work favourite for employees in the region. A mix and mingle style event, it allows patrons to try a bite of a variety of favourite dishes, with food and drink specials at only five dollars apiece. “Today, it is all about being social – and this is the perfect pre-dinners, management meetings, casual social gatherings,” said Domenic. “We used to do wine dinners and it was very formal, very structured and very expensive; with the mix and mingle events, we can really present our wines and show our antipasto and let people mix and wander and try more of what we can do.” “Where in the past we would do these kinds of wine dinners for 12-20 people, now we can have 50, 60 up to 100 people very comfortably,” said Domenic. “It becomes very lively and interactive.”

These mix and mingle events help Casa Mia showcase their extensive and impressive wine list [which almost reads like an exclusive collection due to its variety], as people can try and sample more of a variety than they would traditionally pair with their dinner. Casa Mia offers both a friendly and easy to drink house wine list program and a cellar list for the wine aficionado; combining for an over 700 label strong wine list which can feature over 83 local wineries at one time, again, there is no lack of options. “There is a price point really for everyone,” said Domenic. “High value is what we strive for. $25-$30 dollars per house wine bottle is an average.” This strong fusion with Niagara Wine Country even goes a step further than their impressive wine collection; Casa Mia has also crafted their own brand of Casa Mia Wines through their wine and food alliance with local wineries Konzelman, Legends and Reif – whom all produce and make the Casa Mia wines on site for the restaurant. “We have dedicated vineyards solely for our wines and each year we produce a new vintage,” said Domenic. The family motto goes as well for their much loved customers who they cater to with the utmost level of service. “Everyone always likes to say ‘tourist or local tourist or local’ but to us, the whole world has become local,” said Domenic. “Niagara Falls is very special in that way.” Along with the wine bar and fine dining room, Casa Mia also houses intimate rooms for private corporate events, family functions and celebrations – of which can host between 14- 60 people. Casa Mia also offers restaurant buy outs – ideal for weddings or large scale events – which can accommodate up to 165 people. For tourists visiting Niagara and not familiar with the outer parts of the city, Casa Mia has made it more than easy to visit their establishment and enjoy an authentic meal while on vacation. For a number of years, visiting customers would have to look up directions on how to get to the restaurant, and Domenic said many were discouraged by the lack of accessibility and the need to drive. Casa Mia has partnered for a number of years with the Fallsview properties in the tourist district of Niagara Falls to offer a complimentary shuttle to hotel guests in order to get them to and from Casa Mia and their hotel with ease. “Whether you’re a party of two or up to 165, we will transport you right into the restaurant,” said Domenic. “So if you’re at the casino or staying at any of the Fallsview hotels, we will pick you up and take you to and from.” “This simplifies everything,” said Domenic. “And then if you’re a big group it makes transporting everyone easy. You can have a second glass of wine and enjoy yourself and not worry about getting home. We take care of that for you.” “We want to offer an experience to people visiting Niagara,” said Domenic. “So when people go back home, they aren’t talking about a franchise or a voucher experience. They are actually being treated as a guest and people love that. We try to make it as local as possible - very much like Niagara-on-the-Lake does - with no franchises; we try to brand it a little better.” Visit www.casamiaristorante.com to preview their menus, peruse the specials and make your reservation today.

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ON THE TABLE BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN-LEE I BY JILL THAM

Chef Vaughn Bulganian / photo: The Kasbah

photos: Benchmark Restaurant

photo: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

The Kasbah, Benchmark & Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse In this issue, we feature three very different chefs and restaurants. From the Mediterranean delights of The Kasbah in Niagara Falls to the mouth watering steaks at the elegant Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse to culinary creativity at work at Benchmark in Niagara College, we’ve got all aspects of the Niagara dining scene covered. >>

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GLOBALLY INSPIRED & LOCALLY DRIVEN The Benchmark by Jill Tham

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illions of visitors are attracted to the Niagara Region each year. Executive Chef, Alex White and his wife were always visiting the Region when a job opened up at Niagara College. “My wife is a graduate from Niagara College and on my days off we would go out of the Toronto area and come to visit,” says White. “We like the area: it’s growing and calmer. When the opportunity came up, I had to jump on it,” says White. Originally from Mississauga, White “fell into” culinary studies. “I graduated the year of the double cohort, so when I graduated there was twice the students. That year, my father passed away and I decided to teach myself to cook while trying to get through that rough patch,” says White. “I thought at least at the end I will know how to cook.” White graduated from the Culinary Management Program at Humber College and started his career in various restaurants and hotels, working his way from the bottom up. Not only was Chef White attracted to Niagara College for the beauty of the region, but also for the diversity of the position. “This is not your average chef job,” states White. “You are teaching a lot of students and integrating all of the different programs around one table. It makes it a unique opportunity for a chef.” White is fascinated by the local produce, wine, and tourism in the area. He describes it as the “Whole Niagara Culture.” “It is an interesting place to have a restaurant operation and be able to do the things we are able to do,” says White who enjoys taking advantage of what the entire Niagara Region has to offer to the food and beverage industry. “We make our own wine and beer, at the College. We also have a greenhouse where the students grow our own produce,” says White. “For the most part of the summer, we have a garden out front that is just for the restaurant.” From the berries on the dessert to the flowers on the table, all aspects of the gardens are incorporated into the Benchmark experience. The college also has an orchard that includes 160 fruit trees, 30 hives that produce 3000 pounds of honey, and two acres with 16 different varieties of hops for the brewery. Niagara College is committed to offering their students a well-rounded education that includes blending traditional cooking practises with hot food trends. “We just spent over nine million dollars and built a lab for the butchery program,” says Gary Torraville, Associate Dean, Niagara College Canadian Food and Wine Institute. “Restaurant Canada recently conducted a chef survey and charcuterie was among the top three hot food trends,” explains Torraville. “It shows we are spending the money in the right place and tending to the needs. We feel quite good about that.” “Meat cutting and those techniques are a dying art, and we have expanded programs to fi ll a void in the lack of butcher’s trade,” explains White. With pork being an ingredient that White enjoys working with, he is at home teaching the students whole animal butchery. “They get to see where everything comes from and use the whole animal to create unique dishes,” says White. Being a chef certainly isn’t the only career option for a Niagara College graduate. “We are not just supplying graduates to restaurants. We are supplying them to hotels, grocery stores, and all other branches of the food and beverage industry,” says White. “Students of the College spend part of their education in an intense culinary and food science training. We have four high tech labs. The students get a chance to see food production all the way through product development, nutritional analysis, quality control, and packaging,” explains White. Over the years, White has seen a shift in customer trends. “A few years ago fi ne dining was the thing. Now it is casual dining that people want,” explains White. “They want to eat out, but somewhere they can afford each week not once a month.” Although White’s fl avour profi le is Mediterranean, he doesn’t stick to one genre of food. “Anything goes in the kitchen or classroom. We like to say our food is ‘globally inspired and locally driven’ because we have students from all over the world,” says White. The program teaches the traditional and classic ways to cook, while encouraging students to add their own spice profi le. “We challenge them to use their inspirations and the ingredients in front of them to influence what is produced,” says White. “You get that fusion into it and it is a lot

of fun.” From Tandoori Smoked Salmon to Tempura Fried Ontario Apples, the College is living up to their motto as many student inspired dishes appear on the menu. With a locally inspired menu of modest, yet succulent dishes, White enjoys the challenge of running a fully functioning kitchen with a staff of eager students. “The seasons don’t line up with the class schedules,” says White. “We are constantly training them, but not to stay and work with us like a regular restaurant, but to leave and join the workforce.” White enjoys the ability to showcase not only great food, but local wines. “We put high quality wines on the list from our own batch and from wineries where our graduates work,” says White. Attending food and beverage competitions is always a proud moment for White. “Our graduates, who have gone on to gain employment across the province win a lot of medals. I look at the podium and it’s always {pointing} grad, grad, grad. Well, we kind of won anyways,” laughs White. For the past 12 years, Niagara College has remained on the forefront of ingenuity. Construction is underway for Arts in Distillery, a creative new program designed to teach artisan distilling. “We have been developing the curriculum with Dillons Distillery and Wayne Gretzky Estate Winery & Distillery,” states Torraville. Niagara College is defi nitely regarded with high esteem among the culinary institutes. “We have doubled in size and continue to grow,” says Torraville. “It shows that we are really doing something right here,” adds White. “We are always looking to innovate, keep up with industry trends, and push the envelope.” Benchmark Restaurant at Niagara College is a unique experience. There are few places that are student run with produce grown on site, a brewery, winery, and restaurant all rolled into one. “Niagara College brings together a variety of people. It’s an interesting conversation at the water cooler: a chef, a brewer, and a culinary scientist all talking. The ideas and things they come up with in one conversation is unbelievable,” says White. For more information visit ncbenchmark.ca.

‘TENDER,JUICY & SIZZLING’

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse by Jill Tham

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magine planning a dinner party with your friends. It should be pretty simple no? What if one of your friends in attendance was a chef? One who cooks the most succulent steaks in the Niagara Region. Would that change things for you? Would beads of sweat begin to pour down your forehead? “People are intimidated when I come over for dinner,” laughs Andy DiPietro, Head Chef at Ruth’s Chris Steak House in Niagara Falls, ON. “I enjoy fi ne dining and I learn from that, but when I come home I am very simple. Give me a hungry man dinner.” Not a single friend or family member was surprised when DiPietro enrolled in Culinary Apprenticeship Program at Niagara College. “I’ve loved food ever since I was a young kid making my fi rst tomato sauce,” says DiPietro. “It’s in my blood. My mother is a phenomenal cook and I wanted to replicate her skill and passion for food.” The Ruth’s Chris chain originated in New Orleans when single mother, Ruth Fertel, followed her instincts and re-mortgaged her house to fund the purchase of Chris Steak House in 1965. With hard work and determination, Ruth’s Chris Steak House became a household name, expanding and growing to include over 80 locations worldwide. General Manager, Zoli Palinko has had the honour of travelling to eight different Ruth’s Chris locations across North America. “If Ruth Fertel was still alive today I think she would be proud of our Niagara Falls location,” says Palinko. “By far, ours is the most elegant. Here, in the tourist area, we are not just open to people in fancy suits, we are open to everyone.” “Our restaurant is broken down into different sections to accommodate all types of customers,” explains DiPietro. “Our dining hall is split into two sections. The smaller area has tables and the larger area of the restaurant is perfect for parties or functions,” says DiPietro. “We have enough space that we don’t need to mix the families with the bachelorette parties.” Enjoy an intimate dinner listening to the music and hearing the sizzle of the steaks as the tantalizing food passes by your private booth. “At Ruth’s original restaurant there was only one curtained booth for intimate dinners. With upcoming renovations we will have over 50 curtained booths,” states Sous Chef, Adir Ozer. >>


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Located in the Four Points Hotel by Sheraton, just a short walk to the Horseshoe Falls, Ruth’s Chris Restaurant is not just a restaurant, it is a place designed to cater to a variety of special events. Their new lounge is perfect for receptions, celebrations, or corporate events. “We are also expanding the dining hall and adding a second line in the kitchen,” says DiPietro. “We can host a variety events from eight to 300 people while maintaining the high standards of Ruth’s Chris.” Their motto, “Tender, Juicy, and Sizzling” accurately describes the steak: cooked to temperature and seasoned perfectly. “Our steaks are impeccable. They are the highest quality and served on a 550 degree plate. That sizzle makes a big difference,” explains DiPietro. With ingredients made from scratch and purchased locally when in season, the restaurant focuses on providing customers with the ultimate dining experience. The well balanced fl avours in the Spicy Shrimp appetizer and the crab cakes made from 98% crab with zero fi ller are a testament to the high standards of the restaurant. “Every plate has to be fl awless. Our expectations in the kitchen are always very high,” says DiPietro. “150% satisfaction for our customers.” “Perfection, hospitality, and atmosphere, are our priorities here at Ruth’s Chris,” states Palinko. Along with a variety of local and imported wine and beer, the bar and lounge is stocked with all the necessities for Ruth’s favourite cocktails. Sip a Vintage Manhattan or a Moscow Mule while listening to new age jazz music in the lounge and you will feel like you’re on Bourbon or Canal Street in New Orleans. “I am very proud of working at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, but what really makes it is the people I work with. I have never experienced a team that is so close,” explains DiPietro. “I can call up the chef in Orlando and chat about the menu. We are one big happy Ruth’s Chris family.” “Ruth herself has an incredible story, I am very proud to be a part of her legacy. She was very hospitable. We make every effort to emulate her standards,” says DiPietro. “Our product is worth every penny. You have to come down and try it,” concludes DiPietro. For more information visit ruthschrisniagara.com.

TASTE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN The Kasbah by Gabrielle Tieman-Lee

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APPLIANCES • ELECTRONICS • FURNISHINGS BRAND NAME CLOTHING JEWELLERY • MATTRESSES • AND MORE 5515 STANLEY AVE. NIAGARA FALLS, ON. 905-354-1853 HOURS: MONDAY-SATURDAY 10AM-7PM SUNDAY 10AM - 6PM

erving homemade farm to table Mediterranean delights from Greece, Lebanon, Armenia, Italy and France, the Kasbah Mediterranean Qsine brings authentic fl avours and an incredibly diverse menu sure to please every hungry traveler visiting Niagara’s tourist district. Inspired by his upbringing and travels as well as extensive and diverse culinary background, owner and head chef Vaughn Bulganian has crafted a vast and flavour fi lled menu designed to celebrate unique Mediterranean food. Born in historical Armenia, Bulganian was raised in a monastery in Jerusalem; it was there where he was taught the true art of Middle Eastern cooking and real Mediterranean food. To this day, Bulganian says he will not waver from how he was trained. “If you are going to say it is Middle Eastern or Mediterranean and serve it to customers, you better make sure it is only made the authentic way,” said Bulganian. After immigrating to Canada and being in the restaurant industry for over 25 years – he has spent time in kitchens in Montreal including Ida’s Falafels, the Double V. Middle Eastern Kitchen and the Sunset Restaurant – Bulganian branched out on his own and opened Vaughan’s International Cuisine on St. Paul St. in St. Catharines in 2000 which focused on Middle Eastern food. Following a few successful years in St. Catharines, Bulganian decided it was time for Niagara Falls to experience true Mediterranean cuisine. He relocated to Dunn street in Niagara Falls in 2013, renovating the expansive restaurant which today features over six thousand square feet of dining area including: a 100 seat formal dining room, a casual 60 seat bar and lounge, a 40 seat plant trimmed patio and a private 30 seat broad room ideal for intimate weddings, family gatherings, bus tours and corporate events. The menu options are endless for the adventurous: the vegetarian Armenia Zahtar pizza


spiced with thyme and oregano, Greek hot mezes plates and marinated bacon wrapped scallops decorate the extensive appetizer menu. The dinner entrées are just as culturally diverse, placing Mediterranean staples and long loved classics at the forefront including: mussel, tiger shrimp and baby clam fettuccine, specially spiced shish koftee skewers, vegan sarma and eggplant casserole, souvlaki, gyro and shawarma option plates and so many more. The side dish options are also endless: Greek, Caesar, garden or tabbouleh salads, house made soups which revolve daily, French fries, rice pilaf, Greek potatoes and more to complement the extensive entrées. For those who simply cannot decide, the Kasbah also offers combination plates which allow patrons to start with a selection of cold and hot appetizers, including: hummus, Baba ghanoush, garlic pudding, tzatziki, sarma, spanakopita and falafel, followed by your choice of salad (garden, Greek, Caesar, or tabbouleh), and choice of entrée: chicken and beef souvlaki or chicken and beef shawarma. Both entrées are served with rice pilaf, and lemon or garlic potatoes. And if that was not enough, the menu concludes with a choice of baklava, rice pudding or ice cream for dessert. But the plain-Jane stomach must not back away; the Kasbah also offers a Canadian style menu as well, featuring chicken strips, classic personal pizzas, jumbo chicken wings and bun and cheese burgers – for kids and those who cannot be tempted by the middle eastern spiced Zahtar or Lahmajoun sandwich, vegetarian falafel burger or spiced Greek style burger patty. “We found that people were always asking for different things and we were not getting the full business by focusing in on one [cuisine],” says Sharon Redding, Vaughn’s wife. “So we decided to do the full Mediterranean menu; we wanted to be diverse in that regard.” “So now we do Italian; we have food from Lebanon and Greece and a Canadian style menu as well,” said Redding. “We can provide for every group with this kind of menu. Our homemade gnocchi is so good.” Every menu item, sauce, pasta, dip, dressing and component in-between is also made 100 per cent in house and crafted from locally sourced ingredients; with Redding reminding customers that sauces are made at time of order, so entrées may take a little longer to arrive at the table, but are well worth the wait. “We don’t open a jar and pour it in,” said Redding. “The prep work is amazing – it takes longer to prep than anything else.” “We were tired of going to restaurants that were pre-processed; if people had allergies they couldn’t eat there because it was already pre-made and you couldn’t make changes to it,” said Redding. “Vaughn – being from Armenia – everything is made from scratch. So he wanted to bring those flavours here and we couldn’t find a restaurant that brought those Mediterranean flavours.” Alongside the extensive menu, the restaurant is also able to work with every dietary concern, allergy or food aversion posed against them; offering vegetarian and vegan options and, in a rarity, a thoroughly Celiac friendly establishment -- with a special portion of their kitchen dedicated to cooking for those with gluten allergies, to ensure no cross contamination takes place.  “We have a huge kitchen which allows us to have separate cooking stations [for Celiac] orders,” said Redding. “We have separate toasters, we have separate grills – so they won’t cross contaminate. Our servers have a full list of what is gluten, what has dairy in it, so they can advise people what they can and cannot eat.” Later in the year, the Kasbah will also be introducing Mezza Time, their twist on a Tapas menu, in hopes that locals will use this opportunity to visit the restaurant and try a wide variety of menu items that they would generally shy away from. “It’s not just Middle Eastern food,” said Redding. “We really offer something for everyone. But the tapas menu will be perfect because if they are afraid, they can come and try a little bit of everything.” The Kasbah also hosts a variety of daily features that showcase a different style of their cooking with a dedicated menu. Travel from Armenia on Monday to Greece on Wednesday, and return for the Kasbah’s regionally famous Fish Fry night on Friday; allowing diners to experience a taste of each culinary destination each day of the week with a set menu at a very reasonable price.

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WHITE 92

Château des Charmes Blanc de Blancs 2014, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($32.95)

Wow! Just wow! Made from low yields and fermented in old barrels, this wine is an absolute beauty with toast, honey, flowers, yeast, white peach, apple and cream. Full in the mouth there is good mousse and a superb finale. Perfect for celebrating the upcoming holiday season. (ES)

If you’ve ever walked into the LCBO, only to stand confused in the wine section because there are so many different options, this is a great place to start! Evan Saviolidis, one of Niagara’s leading wine experts, gives us some insight into some of our local Niagara wines.

92 Wescott Vineyards Lenko Old Vine Chardonnay 2014, Beamsville Bench ($32.95)

Made from Ontario’s oldest Chardonnay vines which were planted back in the 1950s! Golden colour with impressive richness and a good amount of oak as support. Vanilla, toast, pineapple, honey, baking spice, golden apple and cream are in play. Excellent length with bright acidity and long aftertaste. (ES)

91 Tawse Robyn’s Block Chardonnay 2013, Twenty Mile Bench ($35.80)

Another excellent Robyns Block Chardonnay! Only 12% alcohol, but there is depth and elegance combined. Vanilla, sweet apple, cream, fig, banana, white flower, earth and mineral are all wrapped together. Fine length. (ES)

90 Reif Estate Winery Gewürztraminer 2015, Niagara River ($19.95)

Alsace meets Canada. The juice spent 24 hours in contact with its skins to give more flavour and aroma. Turkish Delight is the driving force here with honey, peach, spice, mango and cream weaving in. Long finale and off-dry, so serve with Peking Duck or chili chicken. (ES)

90 Trius Showcase Wild Ferment Chardonnay

Oliveira Vineyard 2014, Lincoln Lakeshore ($36.00)

Banana, cream, peach, golden apple, spice and hints of hazelnut are all present in the wine. There is a rich mouthfeel, with creamy notes intermixing with freshness. Long lasting and a brilliant match with shrimp risotto. (ES)

89 Reif Estate Winery Kerner Reserve 2016, Niagara River ($18.95)

Kerner is an aromatic white grape that is a crossing between Riesling and a red grape called Trollinger. Huge peach, honeysuckle, lime, sweet apple and spice. Off-dry and ideally suited for sushi. (ES)

89 Niagara College Teaching Winery Balance Dry Riesling 2015, Niagara ($13.95) Gold Medal Winner at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards. Aromatic, with copious amounts of lime, apple, bergamot, honey and mineral, which carries through onto the extended finale. Pair with ceviche or chilled shellfish. (ES)

88 Château des Charmes Riesling Old Vines 2014, Niagara-on-the-Lake ($17.95)

Mineral, lime, apple, white peach, honey, flowers are all present in this taut Riesling. There is a dash of residual sugar, but with all the brisk acidity, it comes across as a dry wine. Pair with Choucroute Garnie or fresh water fish. (ES)

87 13th Street Winery Burger Blend Riesling/Pinot Grigio 2016, Niagara ($13.95)

Aromatic, there is peach, fresh flowers, honey, lime and citrus on the nose; this meets up with notes of nectarine and orange on the palate. Very good length, off-dry and 11.5% alcohol. (ES)

87 Eastdell Riesling 2016, Niagara ($13.95)

A lovely Ontario Riesling at a friendly price! White peach, lime, honey, bergamot, mineral and green apple flavours are supported by acidity. Off-dry and ready to go with Sushi. (ES) >>

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RED 91 Malivoire Small Lot Gamay 2016, Beamsville Bench ($19.95)

Besides being Winemaker of The Year at this year’s Ontario Wine Awards, Shiraz Mottiar, is without a doubt making Ontario’s best Gamays - period! This vintage features strawberry, raspberry, plum, black pepper and purple flower. There is a sense of sweet fruit on the lips, this before Gamay’s lovely acidity sweeps everything up. Great stuff! (ES)

91 Trius Showcase Red Shale Cabernet Franc Clark Farm 2014, Four Mile Creek ($45.00) Another impressive rendition of this wine! Full bodied and complex, there is cassis, raspberry, smoke, roasted pepper, violets, pencil shavings, dried earth, tobacco and chocolate. Concentrated and ripe, there are good tannins, which make me want to pair with rack of lamb. Drink until 2023. (ES)

91 Kacaba Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Niagara Escarpment ($44.95) An impressive red with lots of sweet oak in the form of chocolate, coffee bean and vanilla, which meshes with raspberry, plum, cherry, spice, cola, roasted herbs and violets. Concentrated, ripe and full on the palate. Long finish with firm tannins. Drink until 2024. (ES)

90 Creekside Estate Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, St. David’s Bench ($39.95)

From the fabulous 2012 vintage, this robust red spent 32 months in barrel and 18 months in bottle before being released. Cassis, raspberry, violets, herbs, vanilla, dark cocoa and spice are built on 14% alcohol and masses of tannins. That said, my preference would be to drink it over the next seven years, with some medium rare beef. (ES)

90 Tawse Chery Ave Vineyard Pinot 2012, Twenty Mile Bench ($48.95)

This Pinot packs quite a punch as there is lots of extract as well as elevated, dry tannins. Cherry, raspberry, plum, spice, dried earth and flowers are all in play. Excellent length. This wine needs food, so duck breast will do the trick, quite nicely. (ES)

89 Flat Rock Cellars Gravity Pinot Noir 2013, Twenty Mile Bench ($29.95) Lovely and seductive, this Pinot beguiles with red berry fruit: cherry, raspberry and strawberry. Add red flowers, spice and herbal notes, and you have a complex wine ready to paid alongside Boeuf Bourguignon or grilled quail. (ES)

88 Kacaba Cabernet/Syrah 2015, Niagara Escarpment ($29.95)

A unique blend of 66% Cabernet Franc and 34% Syrah. Tobacco, raspberry, cassis, violets, dark cherry, black pepper, herbs and vanilla are built on a medium body. Tannins are present, and there is fine length. Pair with grilled sausage. (ES)

90 Two Sisters Vineyards Eleventh Post 2012, Niagara River ($39.00)

88

Fielding Cabernet Franc 2015, Niagara ($21.95)

This blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon is an impressive and seamless red which exudes dark cherry, cassis, raspberry, plum, chocolate, herbs and hints of graphite. Full bodied, ripe and long lasting, it is ready to drink now but can easily handle another 6 years of cellaring. (ES)

88

Red House Wine Co. Cabernet Shiraz, Niagara ($13.95)

90 Two Sisters Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2013, Niagara River ($48.00)

Considering the challenging nature of the vintage, this wine is somewhat of a minor miracle. It clocks in at a natural 14.2% alcohol and is classic Cab Franc with vanilla, raspberry, cassis, red pepper, cocoa and smokey tobacco attributes. Low yields provide a sweet/ fruity palate with fine tannins. Drink until 2023. (ES)

90 Ravine Vineyard Cabernet Franc Nancy’s Block, St. David’s Bench ($55.00)

A beautiful Cabernet Franc with cassis, raspberry, cherry, tobacco, baking spice, graphite and violets. Tannins are ripe, but non-obtrusive and support the medium body. Excellent length and very refined. (ES)

90 Henry of Pelham Old Vines Baco Noir, Ontario ($19.95)

HOP continues to prove they are the Baco-masters! The heat of the 2016 vintage has produced an elegant Baco with blackberry, raspberry, smoke, chocolate, anise and scorched earth. Medium to full body with splendid length and enough tannins to allow five plus years of aging, if so desired, but it is ready to drink also. (ES)

From one of my favourite wineries in Niagara ! Accessible and cheerful, this Franc features raspberry, red flowers, cassis, mint/herbs and chocolate. Medium body and ready to drink. Solid value! (ES)

This wine delivers well above its pay-grade. Medium plus body, it provides a rich mouthful of plum, blackberry, raspberry, violets, tar, spice, and chocolate. There is fine length with ripe tannins and just a hint of residual sugar. Steak time! (ES)

88 Coyote’s Run Cabernet Franc 2015, Niagara ($24.95)

This is a pretty, red fruit scented Franc – raspberry and cherry – as well as tobacco leaf, turned earth, leather and violets. Medium body with beautiful freshness, which makes for a perfect pairing with red sauce dishes and grilled vegetables. Reminiscent of a fine Saumur-Champigny! (ES)

88 Thirty Bench Double Noir 2015, Niagara ($19.95)

This blend of 60% Gamay Noir and 40% Pinot Noir is Thirty Bench’s answer to a Bourgogne Passe-Tout-Grains – but vastly superior! Cherry, raspberry, pepper, spice, cocoa and earth are built on a soft and easy drinking texture. (ES)

87 13th Street Winery Burger Blend Gamay Noir/Pinot Noir 2016, Niagara ($14.95) This wine is aptly named as BBQ fair (as well as pasta/pizza) would be brilliant with this juicy red. Black pepper, raspberry, carnation and herbs are supported by soft tannins and fresh acidity. (ES)


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in good In Good Taste showcases a variety of Niagara’s most melt in your mouth, show stopping, delectable dining establishments and wineries. Whether their menus are unique to a restaurant or a familiar food that is prepared in a way you’ve never tasted before, it’s evident that Niagara is home to a food culture that is growing every day, and while it can be hard to choose where to engage your taste buds first, we hope these profiles give you a good head start.


IN GOOD TASTE

Lang Vietnamese Hot Pot & BBQ griLL

MEGALOMANIAC JOHN HOWARD CELLARS OF DISTINCTION

Canada’s 1st All You Can Eat Vietnamese Hot Pot & BBQ Grill.

The cellars and vineyards of Megalomaniac sit on a 96 acre site in Vineland. The winery boasts a newly completed 30,000 square foot winemaking and hospitality facility with gorgeous views of the Toronto ad Niagara Falls skylines. Of note to try are the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay crafted by winemaker Sebastien Jacquey and his dynamic cellar team.

The word Lang means ‘Village’ in Vietnamese. What we’re trying to do is give the experience of Authentic Vietnamese Food here in Canada. Vietnamese cuisine is unique, and besides the different spices and flavours, the methods of cooking are unique as well. For dinner, there can be a grill in the middle of the table or a boiling pot. Whether you’re barbecuing your meal on a fire or cooking your food in the aromatic broth, you’ll get the full Vietnamese experience at Lang. Choose between our AYCE Vietnamese BBQ, or AYCE Vietnamese Hot Pot.

LANG VIETNAMESE HOT POT & BBQ GRILL

161 Church St, St. Catharines, ON 289-362-2288 | langrestaurant.com

Email admin@megalomaniacwine.com

NIAGARA LANDING WINE CELLARS

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

Peter Smith, a third-generation owner, oversees winery and vineyard operations today, in vineyards dating back to the late 1800’s.

The memory of a great meal stays with you long after the table has been cleared. This is why at Ruth’s Chris we thrive on our great food and service. Our menu offers a variety of dining options that will please all of our guests. Our passion lies in our high quality ingredients, attention to detail and that special sizzle. Inside Ruth’s Chris Steak House you’ll also find Niagara’s hottest bar and lounge. Treat yourself at this high-end lounge with your own private booth surrounding the bar and dance floor and a personal host to cater to your every need.

Niagara Landing Wine Cellars was the first winery to open in Niagara County, NY in over a decade and the first winery on the Niagara Wine Trail. We currently produce 31 varietals ranging from very dry to very sweet, as well as a unique Hot Pepper wine. Our wine can be sampled in our tasting room on Van Dusen Road, as well as many area liquor stores and wine tasting events throughout New York State. We invite you to stop in and sample our award-winning wines. Mention this ad and receive 5% off your purchase.

MEGALOMANIAC

3930 Cherry Avenue, Vineland, ON 905.562.5155 | megalomaniacwine.com

WINEMAKER DOMENIC CARISETTI

4434 Van Dusen Rd., Lockport, NY 716.433.8405 | niagaralanding.com

RUTH’S CHRIS STEAK HOUSE

6455 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.357.1199 | ruthschrisniagara.com


WILLIE JOHN’S BIG EASY

HERNDER ESTATE WINES

koutouki greek cuisine

Located in Downtown Niagara Falls, Willie John’s Big Easy brings you the music, ambiance and cuisine of the French Quarter. From Crab Cakes to New Orleans style Gumbos, our chef ’s will serve up the best of Louisiana with a Cajun flair. Experience some of Canada’s top recording artists, direct from the Rhythm Ranch Studios featuring a spectrum of great music from Blues to Zydeco to good ole Rock n Roll. Enjoy our dining room, unique stand up bar, VIP section, and dance floor. Look for the Gator in the heart of the city and find that a night in Niagara doesn’t mean you have to get wet to have fun. Watch for our opening in October!

A quiet country road, the gentle swell of vineyards beneath the brow of the Niagara Escarpment; turn down the lane, through a unique wooden covered bridge up to an immense, perfectly restored 1867 Victorian barn. Open 7 days a week, year round for complimentary tastings and weekend tours at 1pm. 30 different varieties of VQA wines, fruit wines and icewines keep Winemaker Angela Kasimos busy year round. Licensed patio, wine boutique and two floors of rustic beauty for weddings, private parties and dinners. Hernder also houses Niagara Vinegar a quality line of grapeseed oil, vinegars, reductions, hot sauce and homemade jellies. Come and explore all the good things at Hernder Estate Wines.

Take a break from your busy schedule! Come in and enjoy a glass wine or a pint of local craft beer. at our magnificent bar. We offer select wines from Greece and the Niagara region. Savour the flavours of our unique cuisine,carefully prepared by our chefs daily. Choose from an array of appetizers as a light snack or indulge in one of our traditional rustic entrees. Immerse yourself in our warm and cozy atmosphere. Our friendly and knowledgeable staff await you. OPA!

WILLIE JOHN’S BIG EASY

HERNDER ESTATE WINES

“InspIred by Tr adITIon”

4683 Crysler Avenue, Niagara Falls, ON 905.354.2362 | williejohnsbigeasy.com

1607 Eighth Ave. Louth, St. Catharines 905.684.3300 | wine@hernder.com

Something is always sizzling at Koutouki! Reservations Reccommended | Free Parking

5745 Ferry Street, Niagara Falls, ON 905.354.6776 | koutoukiniagara.com

Quietly tucked away in a small strip-mall in uptown Niagara on the Lake is one of Canada’s best restaurants. Backhouse offers a continuously evolving menu with a commitment to integrated cool climate cuisine and enlightened hospitality. Upon finding Backhouse, the aroma of peach wood burning in the brick oven and glow of the wood-fired grill lets guests know that they are not out for dinner but rather that they are embarking on a culinary journey of somewhereness. Boasting a finely curated local and international wine list dedicated to low intervention winemaking, craft cocktails, and tasting menus, guests are assured to have one of their best dining experiences.

ProPrietors CHeF ryan CrawFord & Bev HotCHkiss

242 Mary Street, NOTL 289.272.1242 | www.backhouse.xyz


IN GOOD TASTE

DOC MAGILLIGAN’S RESTAURANT & IRISH PUB Recently nominated, as a top 10 Irish Pub in North America by Irish Pub’s Global. The entire pub was built in Ireland and shipped lock, stock and beer barrel to its Lundy’s Lane location. Doc Magilligan’s consistently delivers an authentic experience. Combine a stunningly-accurate interior design with great food, drink, music and, most of all, people. Guests are immersed in another world of warmth, conversation, laughter and fun. What the Irish call ‘the craic’…. real fun. Scratch made, comfort food at its best, inspired by heritage Irish recipes. Family owned, one-of-a-kind and open for breakfast, lunch & dinner.

Maureen Magilligan Cade, Managing Owner 6400 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls, ON L2G 1T6 | 905-374-0021

Brickyard BrEWiNG cOMPaNy

FRONTIER BBQ & SmOKEHOUSE

THE WATERmARK

Located just minutes outside scenic Niagara Falls in the heart of historic Lewiston, N.Y., Brickyard Brewing Company is the village’s latest and greatest attraction. With an eye on the latest in brewing trends and the attention to detail of old world style this modern brew pub is serving brews and food to please. Chef Vincent Pallaci and Brewmaster John Paul Meteer are helping anchor Lewiston as a premier culinary attraction in Western New York.

Niagara’s first, Southern-style all-you-can-eat restaurant. We draw our inspiration from our neighbours to the South who have mastered the art of BBQ and serve locally-inspired sides for an authentic smokehouse experience. Our meats are smoked in a variety of woods including apple wood, mesquite, and hickory, lending to our unique Frontier flavour. Enjoy house-seasoned smoked meats direct from the grill served by our pit masters; plus over 50 hot and cold seasonal items including our ultimate potato bar with five types of potatoes and over 20 topping choices. Be sure to try our signature brisket and our house-made BBQ sauces.

As the signature restaurant in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites, the Watermark elevates guests’ dining experiences to new heights. Voted most romantic, the Watermark’s inventive cuisine, extensive wine selection, and stylish design is only surpassed by its stunning, panoramic views of both the American and Horseshoe Falls. Decorated in shades of blue and white, and located on the 33rd floor, the Watermark’s elegant, contemporary ambiance is reminiscent of the majestic Niagara Falls itself. Our Executive Chef lovingly crafts his creative dishes by using only fresh and seasonal ingredients, from finecrafted Niagara Region wines to prosciutto from a local Niagara Falls artisan.

Open daily at 4 P.M. Open Saturday at 11 A.M. Sunday Brunch at 10 A.M. - 2 P.M.

Brickyard BrEWiNG cOMPaNy 432 Center St. Lewiston NY,

716.754.7227 | brickyardbrewingcompany.com

FrontiEr BBQ & sMoKEHoUsE

6519 Stanley Avenue, Niagara Falls, ON 289.296.6367 | frontierniagara.com

Hilton niagar a Falls

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.353.7138 | watermarkrestaurant.com


SPycE LOUNgE

PRANZO RISTORANTE ITALIANO

BRASA BRAZILLIAN STEAKHOUSE

WINERY OF ELLICOTTVILLE

Street level and in the heart of Niagara Falls’ entertainment district, you will be in the center of the action. Spyce Lounge offers a sophisticated and lavish escape from life’s hustle and bustle with live entertainment every night and a full lounge menu. Whether you want to savor a signature cocktail mixed to perfection, mingle with friends, or watch live sporting events on Niagara’s largest TV, Spyce offers customizable services to help cater your every whim. Spyce is the perfect way to start, end, or enjoy your entire night.

Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites and in the center of the Niagara Falls’ Entertainment District, Pranzo Ristorante Italiano offers flavorful, hand-crafted favourites prepared to order in a lively open display kitchen. Be sure to try our signature brick oven pizzas and authentic Italian cuisine in a warm, inviting atmosphere. Children eat free with the purchase of any adult meal. There’s something for everyone at Pranzo.

Located in Hilton Niagara Falls/Fallsview Hotel & Suites and across from the Fallsview Casino, Brasa showcases the flavours and cultural flair of Brazil. Following a centuries-old tradition of cooking on an open fire, diners can experience endless cuts of succulent beef, pork, lamb, and chicken carved tableside in the style of authentic Brazilian gaúchos. The gourmet buffet features over 70 hot and cold items to accompany your meal including some Brazilian fare like Brazilian-style potato, seafood buffet and grilled pineapple. It is also home to a sophisticated wine collection with a fully enclosed, wine room containing an extensive selection of world-renowned wines. Brasa is the best place to experience a taste of South America.

Nestled in the foothills of the Allegany Mountains, the Winery of Ellicottville is surrounded by first class skiing, incredible outdoor recreation, and first class restaurants. The Winery boasts over 20 varieties of award-winning wine that are enjoyed by visitors and residents alike. All winemaking for the Winery of Ellicottville takes place on-site by a family of second- and third-generation vintners. They use only local grapes and natural ingredients to craft wine their Italian predecessors would be proud to serve. Tastings are available daily and the knowledgeable staff will help you select the perfect wine for any occasion.

Hilton niagar a Falls

WINEMAKERS BETH & SAM SHEEHY

Hilton niagar a Falls

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.354.7887 | spycelounge.ca

Hilton niagar a Falls

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.353.7174 | pranzoniagara.com

6361 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.353.7187 | brasaniagara.com

14 Monroe Street, Ellicottville, NY 716.699.1055 | wineryofellicottville.com


IN GOOD TASTE

FALLS MANOR RESORT & RESTAURANT Falls Manor Resort and Restaurant has been part of the Niagara Falls landscape for more than six decades. Customers count on us to serve up delicious, home-cooked meals at affordable prices. Drop in today and experience award-winning cuisine guaranteed to satisfy even the pickiest of palates. At Falls Manor Restaurant, we are renowned for our Gourmet Broasted Chicken. Niagara Region’s Original Home of Broasted Chicken. We’ve won the Reader’s Choice award for Breakfast! Try our Golden Dipped Pancakes or sample one of our Scrumptious Omelets. We offer take-out service for your convenience. Skip the cooking and pick up dinner today!

FALLS MANOR RESORT & RESTAURANT

7104 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls, ON 905-358-3211 ext. 1 | fallsmanor.com

JOHNNY ROCCO’S

CREEKSIDE ESTATE WINERY

CASA MIA RISTORANTE

Gusto at Johnny Rocco’s means savour. Savour the flavours of Italy. From our succulent hand rolled Zia’s Rice Balls, to our hand tossed pizza dough, cooked to perfection in our 600 degree wood fired oven. Pair our traditional dishes with our vast array of Italian and local wines. At Johnny Rocco’s gli amici sono la famiglia –Our friends are all family.

Nestled in the quaint Jordan Village, Creekside Estate Winery consistently delivers a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and exceptionally complex, bright wines. Celebrating 20 years, winemaker Rob Power crafts decidedly bold wines with Syrah being awarded Ontario’s Best Red Wine in 2016 and awarded Platinum in 2017. Enjoy unique tasting experiences year-round, with private event space available. The Deck @ Creekside is home to Chef Nathan Young of In The Smoke Cookery. For more information call us at 905.562.0035 or visit www.creeksidewine.com

Casa Mia showcases their new casual bar! Owned and operated by the Mollica Family for the past 32 years, offers an outstanding dining experience, regardless of the occasion. And serves as a gathering place for food lovers who pay homage to the creativity, flair and culinary expression that defines matriarch and chef Luciana Mollica. The diverse menu abounds with creations, each imbued with vibrant colour, life and flavour. Located in the heart of Historic Stamford Village and gateway to Niagara’s Wine Trail. Niagara’s favourite local neighborhood Italian Restaurant. Complimentary shuttle service from Fallsview District Hotels. For reservations and more info call us at 905-356-5410.

CREEKSIDE ESTATE WINERY

CHEFS CLAUDIO & LUCIANA MOLLICA

St. Catharines 271 Merritt St. | 905.680.9300 Niagara Falls 6889 Lundy’s Lane | 905.358.0004

CHEF JOSHUA DAVIS

271 Merritt St., St. Catharines, ON 905.680.9300 | johnnyroccos.com

2170 Fourth Ave. | Jordan creeksidewine.com

3518 Portage Road, Niagara Falls, ON 905.356.5410 | casamiaristorante.com


CAFFE GATTI

STRADA WEST EAT & SIP HOUSE

COCO’S STEAKHOUSE

BUCHANANS STEAK & SEAFOOD

Sisters Clara and Sarah GATTI welcome you to CAFFE GATTI. SMILES and friendly service await you as soon as you arrive. Serving Artisan Roman style pizza, salads, soups, gourmet sandwiches and ITALIAN cakes/ pastries to go along with your choice of beverage.Serving all day Breakfast, Lunch, some Evening events. The cafe’s atmosphere was born, when the GATTI family travelled EUROPE extensively. It’s relaxed with beautiful music, while enjoying great food and local/imported beer or wines. The finishing touch fresh Italian cakes,pastries, and GELATO to compliment our freshly brewed locally roasted coffee, espresso, cappuccino, lattes, and ORGANIC teas. CAFFE GATTI caters in house or to your next EVENT!

Hosts, brothers, Anthony and Tom Roberto welcome you to Strada West, centrally located on Lundy’s Lane. In keeping with family traditions the food is all prepared in house! Their menu features homemade pasta, sauce, hamburger patties and meatballs. The menu also features specialty burgers and sandwiches using bison, lamb, lobster and veal. Pasta dishes include fettuccine, gnocchi and ravioli. Plus they have a great wine selection & 9 beers on tap! Winners of the Reader’s Choice, Best Overall Restaurant Award and Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence. Strada West, Eat & Sip House. Located on the WEGO Red Line and plenty of on site parking, reservations are suggested.

Coco’s is a very popular restaurant destination for tourists and locals alike. Guests rave about our famous wood-fired steaks and gourmet pizzas. Watch our staff prepare your fresh pizza from start to finish, it’s a cooking show right in front of your very eyes.

Given it’s twelve years of service, this local hot spot was ready for a refresh, a reawakening if you will. Renovated dining room reopens with a blend of modern steakhouse and chic lounge – new menu items mixed with classic favorites like shrimp cocktail and French onion soup. This home-grown restaurant offers an appealing selection of hand-cut steaks charbroiled to your liking, tasty seafood, pasta & fresh salads. Lunch $12 – 16, Dinner $16 – 38. Savour Niagara Menu features $5 VQA Niagara wines & craft brews, $5 appetizers – daily noon – 6 pm. Live dinner music select Fridays/Saturdays. Complimentary on-site self parking. Event space for up to 250 guests. Located at the DoubleTree Resort on Stanley Avenue.

CAFFE GATTI

3 Race Street, St.Catharines, ON 905.641.5009 | caffegatti.com

ANTHON Y AND TOM ROBERTO

7805 Lundy’s Lane, Niagara Falls, ON 905.371.2272 | stradawest.com

Enjoy the awesome ambiance under the starlit Niagara skies as we offer nightly entertainment on the Terrace from 7:00pm onwards (in season only). Best of all, we offer ample free parking for all our guests! So visit Coco’s next time you’re in Niagara Falls and enjoy good times and great food that only Coco’s can deliver.

COCO’S STEAKHOUSE

5339 Murray Street, Niagara Falls, ON 905.356-1333 ext. 171 | cocosniagarafalls.com

BUCHANANS STEAK & SEAFOOD

6039 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.353.4111 | niagarafallsdoubletree.com


IN GOOD TASTE

MEDITERRANEAN QSINE THE KASBAH

THE KEG STEAKHOUSE + BAR

The Kasbah Mediterranean Qsine features the incredible cuisine of Vaughan Bulganian who was born in Armenia and grew up in a monastery in Jerusalem where he learned the true art of cooking Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food. The Kasbah features homemade farm to table Mediterranean delights from Greece, Lebanon, Armenia & more. All menus include vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. The Kasbah is fully licensed with a total of 230 seats (patio, party room, dining, bar & lounge). Come join us for an incredible evening with amazing food, service, wine and Mediterranean music.

Dine overlook ing Niagara Falls in The Keg Steak house + Bar, located on the 9th f loor of the Embassy Suites Niagara Falls Fallsview. This landmark location offers guests f loor-to-ceiling panoramic views of the famous Falls and the highest qualit y steaks and seafood for a dining experience to remember.

VAUGHAN BULGANIAN

6130 Dunn Street, Niagara Falls, ON 905.357.1000 | thekasbah.ca

FIND YOUR FAVE SPOT

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FALLSVIEW/EMBASSY SUITES

6700 Fallsview Blvd, Niagara Falls, ON 905.374.5170 | fallsviewrestaurant.com

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Your Perfect Day Beautiful • Exceptional • Flawless Receptions

8444 Lundy’s Lane, NF • 905-356-8444 weddings@americananiagara.com

AmericanaWeddings.com


//LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

FOOD for

THOUGHT Food culture is alive and well - but can be overwhelming at times. Whether you are an accomplished ‘foodie” or you are just flexing your culinary muscles, we can help you find your ‘spirit food’ and get back to basics with a few helpful tips and tricks of the trade. by Megan Pasche & Tina Lanzillotta

why you WOOD CA R E

There’s nothing quite like cooking with a good wooden utensil…it just feels so nostalgic. But as comforting as they are to hold in your hands, wooden utensils also tend not to hold up as well as some of their silicone or stainless silver counterparts. Here are some tips for making sure you extend the life of your wooden utensils.

• Always wash with soap and warm water. Never put them in the dishwater. •Dry wooden utensils as soon as you wash them. If you let them air dry, extra moisture will get absorbed into the wood, causing it to swell and crack with time. •Avoid using wooden spoons to stir raw meat (or even eggs), as bacteria can get into the little cracks of the spoon and multiple. • Once a month or so, use a cloth to rub your wooden utensils with mineral oil..this will help keep them smooth. Use only about a teaspoon of oil at a time. >>

todaymagazine.ca 49


WEAR YOUR

SPIR IT FOOD

Are you a foodie with a favourite ingredient you just can’t get enough of? You might just fall in love with a new line of jewelry by Delicacies. Even better? Embracing the spirit of giving, every piece purchased gives a portion of the proceeds to non profit charities that are fighting hunger. Check out delicaciesjewelry.com for more info. photo: courtesy of delicaciesjewelry.com >>


OLSEN-SOTTILE

INSURANCE BROKERS INC.

OLSEN-SOTTILE.COM YOUR FREE PERSONAL, AUTO & HOME OR COMMERCIAL INSURANCE QUOTE NIAGARA FALLS 905-357-2140

| 905-984-4266 ST. CATHARINES


simple spice stars

GARLIC. ONION. SALT. For the new age foodie there is a seemingly endless amount of exotic, sexy, spice options and flavours so much so that it can be quite easy to overlook the staples that we grew up with. Remembering to unleash the star power of these faithful standbys will empower the simplest dish to shine.

CA R A MELIZED ONIONS

This delightful treat is actually super easy to make yourself! They are tasty in a wide variety of recipes, everything from quiche to pizza to burgers to sandwiches. The process of making them is easy, but a bit time consuming. The first step is choosing your onions. Yellow, white or red will work, but yellow is probably the most popular choice. Two or three onions should work well for a large skillet. Chop up the onions and cut them into slim slices (approx. 1/8 inch

ROASTED

GARLIC

Not only will roasting your own garlic fill your house with the yummiest smell, but it’s great to cook in advance, as it will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks and in the freezer for up to three months. Roasted garlic is great for a wide variety of things, including spreading directly on bread, in salad dressings, sauces, dips, potatoes, pizza or even on sandwiches (mix it with mayo). All you need is garlic (however many heads you plan on doing), olive oil, a knife and some foil. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

thick…too thin and they could burn). Add fat to your skillet: olive oil has a higher burning point, so most people suggest using either just olive oil, or a combo of olive oil and butter, but never just butter). 2 or 3 tablespoons should be enough. Heat your pan over medium low heat, then add onions, along with a pinch of salt. Now, just let the onions slowly cook. Use tongs to turn onions so they cook evenly during the process. Keep cooking them until they reach a golden brown colour. If the onions start to stick, add in a tablespoon

Take off all that loose garlic skin, but leave the clove itself in tact with all the cloves attached. Cut off the top of the garlic head to expose the top of the cloves. Drizzle olive oil over the top, allowing the oil to sink down into the cloves. Wrap the whole thing in foil and roast for 40 mins. After 40 mins, check on the progress. You’ll know it’s done when the centre clove is soft and can be pierced with a paring knife. You can keep roasting for a bit if you’d like a more caramelized flavour. Just check on it every ten mins to make sure it’s not burning.

of balsamic vinegar…it will help pull up the sticky pieces, as well as add some flavour. This process is known as “deglazing” and can also be done with beer, wine or stock…you can pick the flavour you think goes best with your dish. Continue stirring the onions until they reach the colour that you’d like. Now, you can eat them immediately or store them in the fridge. You can refrigerate caramelized onions for three to four days, or freeze them for up to three months.


FL AVOUR ED

SALTS

GET STA RTED... Below are some basic recipes to get your started with making your own salt.

WH AT YOU’LL NEED: •measuring cups and spoons • airtight containers • salt of your choice • flavouring of your choice • mortar &pestle or coffee/spice grinder or food processor

Adding a little gourmet touch to your kitchen is actually way easier than you may think! One of the best places to start? Making your own flavoured salts.  All you’ll need is salt, and whatever flavouring you want to try. Typically, you’ll use 1 teaspoon of flavouring for every 1/4 cup of salt. The best kind of salts to use are kosher salt, course sea salt, or course Himalayan sea salt. For flavourings, you can get as creative as you like: herbs, spices, chili peppers, citrus peel, mushrooms, dehydrated fruit..whatever you choose, just make sure it’s dry, so that the salt doesn’t end up clumping. Get your flavourings prepared by drying anything in the oven that needs to be dried (i.e.…fresh herbs, garlic). This can be done on a low temperature (150 to 200 degrees F) Combine the salt and the flavouring with either your finger, a mortar and pestle, or pulse it in a coffee or spice grinder. Mix it well, but make sure not to completely pulverize the salt. Taste along the way and see if you want to add any additional flavourings. Store your salt in an airtight container, and let it sit a day before using it. Although the flavour will decrease over time, it can last for up to a year if it is stored properly. >>

R ECIPES:

VANILLA-CINNAMON SALT 1/4 cup salt + the seeds from one vanilla bean + 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon.

CHILI-LIME SALT 1/4 cup salt + 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes +1 teaspoon dried lime zest + 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika

LAVENDER SALT 1/4 cup salt + 1 teaspoon dried lavender buds

For more ideas, check out our Pinterest page.

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THYM E FOR SOME SAGE ADVICE

Cultivating your own herb garden is fairly easy, even if you aren’t blessed with the greenest of thumbs. The best part is, herbs can be grown either outdoors in the garden, or indoors, in containers. As long as you have a space where they can get approximately five hours of sunlight a day. You can start your plants from seedlings, which are very young plants that you can transport into your garden or container, or you can buy seeds, which are cheaper, but take longer to grow.  

Once you have all your herbs planted, you’ll need to water them at least once a week, or whenever the soil is dry to the touch. Almost all the plants will grow new leaves, as long as you don’t pick the stems completely bare. Fresh herbs can be used directly in food, provided you rinse them first. You can also pick them, and store them for later by either drying or freezing them. To air dry herbs, you cut the stems where the soil is, and hang upside down in bunches, and let them dry for about one

or two weeks. Once they are dry, you can take the leaves off the stems and keep them in an airtight container for up to a year. If you decide to freeze your herbs (the benefit of which is that they retain more of the “freshly picked” flavour), you can do this by placing the picked herbs directly into freezer bags, then just thaw as you need them. Stored properly, they can last up to a year in the freezer.

1. If your herbs are indoors, regularly rotate them in regards to the sunlight, so they don’t just grow in one direction. 2. Make sure you have containers that drain appropriately to avoid water logging the roots. 3. Plant herbs according to water preference, for example, rosemary and thyme both prefer dry soil, so keep them together. 4. Clip the herbs back regularly. If the herb starts to flower, that is a sign that they are not being clipped back enough.


HERBS 101 BASIL: This can be added to salads, sandwiches and wraps in its raw form, or it can be cooked into soups and sauces, chopped onto pizza or pesto. You harvest basil by clipping the upper leaves first, only taking a few leaves from each stem at a time. PARSLEY: This takes a little bit longer to grow than other herbs, but when it’s finally ready, you can use both the leaves and stalks for salads, soups and in various Mediterranean inspired dishes. Harvest: cut the outer stalks that are just above the ground, which helps the plant continue to grow. CHIVES: This is one of those plants that can be eaten from top to bottom. The bulbs taste like a milder version of an onion, and the leaves can be used in salads, and various other dishes. Harvest: cut the leaves off with scissors, but make sure to leave about two inches at the bottom. CILANTRO: Cilantro, an acquired taste, can be used in salads, wraps, and lots of Mexican recipes. This plant can be a little fussy, and does not like the hot weather. If the soil gets too hot (generally above 75 degrees), the plant will go to seed. To make the best use of it, make sure to prune frequently for immediate use or storage. Harvest: Either wait until the plant gets about 6 inches high, and then remove the outer leaves with scissors, or wait until the plant is fully grown, and pull the whole thing from the soil to use all at once. ROSEMARY: It has many uses in food, as well as a healing herb. It is often easiest to start this particular plant from a seedling, as opposed to just buying the seeds. This plant can get over watered easily, so just remember that rosemary likes soil that is a bit on the drier side. Harvest: Cut pieces off the stem as needed. THYME: Great to use as flavour in soups, stews and in meat dishes. This is another herb that is easier to start from a seedling as opposed to seeds, and like rosemary, it prefers drier soil. Harvest: Cut pieces off the stem as you need them. DILL: Another herb that prefers drier soils, dill is great for using as flavouring in fish dishes, on potatoes, in dips and in salads. Harvest: When the plant is at least 12 inches tall, and never harvest more than 1/3 of the leaves at one time. SAGE: Sage can be harvested by picking off the leaves as you need them, and is great for use in numerous dishes including roasted meats, in butter or other sauces, and in pasta. It can also be used for teas and in other herbal remedies. >>


COFFEE IS THE SECOND MOST CONSUMED BEVERAGE IN THE WORLD AFTER WATER BUT MOST OF THE COFFEE WE DRINK IS A FAINT NOTION OF WHAT COFFEE COULD BE.


A TOAST TO FR ESH ROAST

SO MUCH MORE THAN A MATTER OF TASTE by Gerry Hotson When I make apple pie from scratch, the first thing I do is plant an apple tree. I make pickles, tomato sauce, hot sauce, salsa, and pasta all from their root ingredients (and love), that’s the kind of guy I am. It’s been a busy summer with little extra time to spend on new hobbies or interests, but when I came across Asher Yaron’s TEDtalk called “What You Didn’t Know About Coffee”, I knew I was about to dive down that rabbit hole. I encourage you to watch his video. The gist of his talk is that coffee, once picked and dried, can be stored for up to a year. Coffee, once roasted, is a fresh, living food that loses its vitality and dies in about a week. Coffee is the second most consumed beverage in the world after water but most of the coffee we drink is a faint notion of what coffee could be. Sure, it has bold flavour and a caffeine kick that gets most of us on our way each morning. It has health benefits, it’s an antioxidant, it’s credited with ushering in the age of enlightenment, but it can be even better! So after I planted an apple tree for a pie I’ll be bringing to Thanksgiving dinner 2021, I started Googling raw coffee bean sales and how to roast them. I ended up at a Canadian site, u-roast-it-coffee.ca, where I ordered half a pound of Organic Costa Rican-Finca La Amistad, Fair Trade Organic Peruvian Green Beans-Cajamarca, Fair Trade Organic Guatemalan-Solola Renacimiento Cerro, and they threw in a half pound of Mexican beans just because. Now, how to roast them? My first inclination was to roast the beans on a tin pan over an open fire like indigenous coffee consuming cultures do around the world. As cool as that would have been, remember, it’s

been a busy summer. More Googling had me convinced that a hot air popcorn popper was the best choice without spending money as I already had one. First, I’ll walk you through the process, then I’ll share the results. I turned on the popper and added the green beans slowly. At first the air had them floating around. I kept adding beans until the air was still bobbing the beans about, but too much more and they would have just sat there under their own weight. At this point the beans were percolating around and getting evenly heated. There is a chaff that starts to come off and blow around, all good. The beans started to turn light brown and smell like they’re burning, keep going, they’re fine. They started to make snapping noise, this is moisture being released, still good. At that point they started to get to the rich, walnut brown, you expect. Roasting too long will burn them so this is a crucial time. If you stop now, you’ll have a light roast, more fruity flavour with high caffeine. Keep going and the flavour gets richer and less caffeinated. I let them go until my anxiety level was maxed out. Experience is what’s necessary to roast the beans to perfection but this is a journey, I wish I could tell you more. I put the beans on a plate to rest. They need to rest for 10ish hours so I roasted in the evening for a morning coffee. I got up then next day, ground the beans, put them in the percolator, and waited with enthusiasm. A splendid cup of Joe! Not bitter at all, citrus notes, lively acidity and a smooth finish. My efforts were rewarding and the coffee; lush. I’m hooked and can’t go back. I would be amiss if I didn’t mention the caffeine; remember Johnny Depp in Blow? This is disco s#!t!!!

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The cost of higher learning

They’ve picked their program. They’ve said goodbye to their high school friends. They’re excited to kick start their future at college or university. They’re also a bit nervous. Let’s be honest, so are you if you are the parent of a post-secondary student. Why? Because transitioning to post-secondary education is a big step. Many see it as the first step into adulthood – a trial run. If your student is moving to a new city and leaving home for the first time, it is definitely more than a trial run. This is not a drill. I repeat. This is not a drill. Get the tissues handy, because it could be a difficult goodbye. It could also be a difficult year as your student learns to schedule their time, navigate their new world, manage their demands and stressors, and balance their budget. This piece can be particularly stressful for students and parents alike. Knowing the costs. This is where your financial advisor can help! Budgeting properly will help your student avoid starving when they’re busy cramming for exams. Let’s start by looking at the typical costs at college or university. This will give you an idea of what your student will need to cover and balance. The top costs your students will incur at college or university are outlined below: Top costs of post-secondary education TUITION – This cost varies by program, school, and province. In 2014 the average cost of tuition at a Canadian university was $5772. Check school websites to find out current tuition costs. Be sure to check on any extra fees too (like athletic facility or computer equipment fees)!

BOOKS AND MATERIALS. Again, this cost depends on your

program and school, but you can count on it being a significant amount of money. Average costs range between $800-$1500/ year. To help estimate your costs, talk to someone in your program of choice.

BASIC COSTS OF LIVING. Rent, food, phones, transportation, clothing, coffee, etc. These basic costs can add up quickly, especially in larger cities. If you choose to live in residence, two terms will cost an average of $4500 to $6000. If you choose to rent, consider electricity and other utility costs. FUN. What would your first crack at adulting be without a little

fun? I won’t tell you not to have fun, just have the fun that fits in your budget!

EMERGENCIES. Just like every other stage of your life, emer-

gencies will pop up while you’re at school. Whether your car breaks down, your apartment floods and you need to move, or you run out of coffee money, you can count on something happening. Post-secondary education is not cheap. It is an investment in your student’s future and an exercise in learning to live within one’s means.

Covering the basics. Once you and your student understand the costs they’ll be dealing with at school, you can figure out how you’ll cover them. Yes, you. As in together. Because often parents are the Kickstarter or GoFundMe of post-secondary dreams. There are plenty of ways to fund those dreams:

• Government assistance programs • Savings • Scholarships, grants, and bursaries • Employment • Student loans (or lines of credit) from financial institutions

Although your student may qualify for some government assistance, not everyone does. Also, they may not qualify for enough assistance to cover all those costs I just explained above. What happens then? RESPs to the rescue! Your student may also have some savings for school, but not everyone has enough. What if they need more? Full scholarships! Right? Suuuuuuure. If your student is lucky, they may earn a partial scholarship, or win private funding, like PenFinancial’s Sprowt scholarship. Although these are a great help, it’s uncommon for scholarships or grants to cover all post-secondary and living expenses! No problem, your student will just find a job while they’re at school. What happens if they can’t earn enough through employment though (because often school takes up more time than they expect)? Student loans may be right for your student. Student Loans. High tuition fees and related costs make personal loans a necessity for many students, especially those who do not qualify for government assistance. Student loans are a great option because they allow students to borrow what they need with flexible terms and great interest rates. They don’t need to borrow a maximum amount to get through their year. Students can borrow just what they need to avoid increasing their debt. Our student loans offer additional features to help students manage their debt load: • Pay interest only while in school • Principal payments commence 6 months after graduation • Repayment terms up to 7 years

For some immediate budgeting help download a good online budgeting template. It might not be as exciting as picking out new outfits or courses for school, but it will help your student plan for all of the exciting stuff they want to do to make the most out of their post-secondary education.

Catherine Palmer is a Financial Services Specialist at PenFinancial Credit Union


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//LIFESTYLE & CULTURE

BODY LANGUAGE MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE

B Y M A R I A N A B O C K A R OVA

As I sat at a small restaurant waiting for what would be a very late friend, I tried not to stare at the table next to me, bemused. Sitting to my left was a man and a woman, in their early 30s. They weren’t dressed quite the way one would expect two business professionals meeting - the woman was wearing a flower-patterned sun dress and had on peach lipstick with her hair carefully arranged in a bun, and the man wore a relaxed t-shirt and jeans. I couldn’t quite place what they were doing there, together, however, because they were sitting quite far from one another, and the entire ordeal reminded me of an interview I had had ten years prior. While the restaurant was a beautifully rustic and intimate place, it played pop music rather loudly making it hard to hear, meaning the only ability I could rely on to satisfy my curiosity was my eye sight. >>

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There's language in her eye, her cheek, her lip, Nay, her foot speaks; her wanton spirits look out At every joint and motive of her body. - William Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida

W

hile the woman animatedly gestured with her hands while she spoke to him, she would clasp them together tightly whenever he responded. The man she was with fidgeted quite a bit as she went on, stretching back in his chair and tapping his foot wildly. In about a half hour, while he moved on from tapping his foot to drumming his fi ngers on the table, her animated hands gently fell; one running along the V-neck collar of her dress, which slightly revealed her décolletage, and the other tracing the top of her wine glass. Suddenly, his fi nger drumming stopped, and he leaned forward eagerly. It was not a business meeting, but a fi rst date. What appears at fi rst glance sometimes is the story, albeit not the full one, according to Marcel Danesi, a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, known for his work in language, communications, and semiotics (the study of signs). For Danesi, however, author of “The History of the Kiss”, any true passion between the two would be apparent in examining their kiss. A peculiar act for some, Danesi has spent the majority of his career observing and interpreting the meaning behind signs in our verbal and non-verbal communication - whether it’d be romantic, practical, and even murderous - and has published hundreds of articles and books on the subject. In the scenario above, the woman’s nerves got the better of her, or she was attempting to win him over, yet as he tapped his foot - a non-verbal cue that he was desperately trying to run away from a situation in which he couldn’t actually do so - she clasped her hands tightly - a non-verbal gesture suggesting she was soothing herself from nerves. Only when she indicated sexual interest by slowly tracing her finger on the rim of her wine glass mimicking sensual activity, and running her hands along her collar towards her bust, indexing where he should look, did he return her interest.

We often throw around the term “body language”, but what is meant by it, really? By any standard definition, body language, more technically, kinetic communication, is the use of any part of the body to communicate something; it is different from vocal-written language in that it is based on bodily or facial forms (units, structures, etc.) to emit messages. It can be unwitting, signalling that is instinctive, such as facial expressions conveying basic emotions, or witting, such as a wink of the eye which has a specific meaning in a cultural setting. The difference between the two also comes out in the difference between gestures and gesticulants. The former involves the use of the hands intentional to convey something, such as the pointing finger to indicate location; gesticulants, on the other hand, are spontaneous movements of the hands that accompany vocal speech. These generally depict in the gesture spaces concepts that are being spoken in specific ways. For example, cupping the hands often accompanies words such as “receive” “capture” and the like. How much of body language then can be considered culturally dependent, such as the wink, which I presume says one thing in Western culture, and something entirely different in another? As mentioned, some is unwitting and common to other species, as well. The witting one is where culture steps in. For example, not looking into the eye of an investigator is interpreted as guilty avoidance in many English-speaking cultures, but it is a sign of respect in many others. What about when it comes to gender roles? How much of our gendered behaviour is cultural? Some cultures expect gender roles to be marked by different kinetic, proxemic, clothing and other modes. Like language, we use non-verbal modes to convey gender, class, ideologies, and so on and so forth. I suppose this could be similarly understood with not only the use of vernacular, but a particular accent could also signal class, which I believe is quite apparent in Britain. So, would you say our ability to signal how we feel via non-verbal communication a product of nature or nurture, then? Or is it similar to the experiment made on Eliza Doolittle in the fi lm ‘My Fair Lady’; are the witting forms solely the ones that are learned? To reiterate, it is both. Some are natural and others are learned. The natural ones, such as smiling, are interpretable across cultures (hence for example the use of the smiley emoji across the world), others are coded culturally, such as the distances people maintain as they talk to each other. Insofar as there are interpretable body languages that exist between two cultures (for instance, upon researching for this piece, I noted that the facial expressions that are recognizable around the world are those of happiness, sadness, fear, disgust, surprise, and anger, as first noted by Charles Darwin, the founder of evolution, in his book The Expressions of the Emotions in Man and Animals) can non-verbal communication be called an exact science or is it a matter of subjective interpretation?

There are actually three types of non-verbal communication sciences: kinetics, which studies bodily movements, facial expressions and gestures; proxemics, which measures the zones people maintain as they interact; and nonverbal semiotics which examines how dress codes, food rituals, and the like convey social and cultural meanings. The techniques used vary from linguistic ones in kinetics to physiological ones in the measurement of proxemic zones. It has been found that the data accumulated from research is actually very reliable in many domains, from criminal investigations to simple assessments of orators. For the lay person and not a research scientist, then, are they capable of interpreting body language and why is it important to take note of a person’s outward appearance and gestures? Can you, for instance, spot a criminal based on how he or she acts? In the same vein, how can you tell if someone is lying to you, or sexually interested in you? Th is is a tough question, because clothing and grooming are coded in specific ways and acceding to context, age, station, era, and so on. However, there is now an ipso facto science of lying that tries to map bodily actions (including eye movements and head tilts) to the words and the credibility of a communication. Much like a lie-detector test, these observations go beyond the merely anecdotal, documenting statistically-significant patters across variables and cultures. They could similarly apply to sexual interest or aiding in criminal investigations. As for interpretation, it depends on the level of analysis. For instance, most people in Western society can correctly interpret a wink and similar signs, or know an awkward situation when they see one. In that sense, if you understand the science and signs behind something like lying, can your own body reveal to others as much as theirs does to you? Can a person be capable of faking their own body language? Yes, and faking is only partially possible, since, as the cliché goes, the body does not lie. When we do “put on” an act, our unconscious mind is able to detect an asymmetry between what is said and how it is communicated non-verbally. I suppose then gestures -faking or not - are essential to communication? Gestures can replace vocal language as they do in American Sign Language, for example. Some cultures, such as some Native American ones, have developed parallel vocal and gesture languages: the form is used within the tribe and the latter across tribes for more universal interpretation. Given the new digital world in which we currently reside, I wonder whether emojis may be the new way of expressing ourselves in place of non-verbal communication in written, textual communication. Yes, it would seem so. But the mode’s eye is already accustomed to seeing a hybrid visual-textual language in comic books, in advertising and the like. So, emojis are simply manifestations of a growing use of visual modalities and other modalities in written communications.


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a love story BY JULIE TANOS

‘THIS IS NOT A LOVE STORY, IT’S A STORY OF LOVE. THIS WOMAN (THE MAIN CHARACTER) IS ALL ABOUT LOVE; THE LOVE OF HER FAMILY, THE LOVE OF HER FRIENDS, THE LOVE OF AN OLD LIFE SHE THINKS SHE’S LOSING AND THE LOVE OF A NEW LIFE AT THE GRASP OF HER HANDS.”

Modesta Tonan has always had her pen to paper, slowly evolving, unbeknownst to her, into a bona fide writer. It was never a specific dream or ambition, just a pastime which eventually turned into a passion and a novel, “I Belong To You,” currently selling in bookstores across Canada. Tonan has certainly amassed a trove of life experiences and stories from which to draw inspiration. Hairstyling being her main profession for over 30 years, she has listened to countless hours of clients sharing about their opinions, life events and personal chronicles, and in turn shared her own. “I always felt like I was some type of story teller. I say now: write to heal, write to feel.” She continues, “every time there’s something major in my life, I tend to write. It feels good to me; for some reason when very big things happen in my life, whether they are extremely happy things or extremely sad things, it makes me write.” One of those extremely happy events would be raising her three children, Lucas, Isabella and Ava. Logging pages upon pages of journal entries to her young ones as she watched them grow, she explains: “when I had my babies I thought, I have to write to them, and let them know how I feel at this moment… sometimes it would be a sentence or sometimes it would be three pages. Each one of them has their own journal.” Through personal struggles, Tonan found catharsis in expressing her raw emotions in the form of the written word and it was through inspiration from her mother and a particular trip through Italy, that saw her vision of becoming an author, come to fruition. >>

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B

orn in Calabria, Italy, Tonan moved with her family across the Atlantic to Niagara Falls, Canada when she was only one year old. She has maintained strong ties to the ‘old country’ ever since, explaining that her father’s promise to her mother was to always take her home. Thus every summer was spent visiting and living with relatives back in Italy, making memories that would reside deep inside her heart. Once Modesta and her husband, Marino, settled in Grimsby and began their own family, the trips back to Calabria slowed as the focus was shifted to fostering her own family and making new memories. After several years once her children became young adults, Tonan along with her two sisters and a few friends, decided to make a trip back to Italy happen, despite many hectic schedules and commitments. This trip was a defining moment in her life, because it was this trip and all of its indulgent scenery, cuisine, and stories, which inspired Tonan to write her very fi rst novel. The accompanying women ranged from all walks of life: widower, divorcée, business owner, mom of little ones, and as she describes her book as “autobiographical-fiction,’ she notes that “all those stories are in this book. It’s writing about other people’s experiences through my character.” Tonan defines it by saying “this is not a love story, it’s a story of love. This woman (the main character) is all about love; the love of her family, the love of her friends, the love of an old life she thinks she’s losing and the love of a new life at the grasp of her hands.” She felt compelled to write about somewhat unknown territory: a woman in a once loving relationship which has turned tumultuous, leaving their future uncertain, takes a trip with her closest female comrades in search of something more, and fi nds herself the object of a local’s attraction. While “I Belong To You” focuses on the experiences abroad from the viewpoint of one woman, Julia, it is her supporting cast of friends that will get their stories told further in Tonan’s anticipated sequel: “I Love You Still.” She explains that in writing the second book, her objective is to reveal more about the secondary characters to appease her readers. “The fi rst book is about the journey and introducing all the characters. You can’t write about eight people in 200 pages, so I had to zero in on one woman and talk about her life and just introduce all the other women.” In addition to her follow up, Tonan is also penning a book entitled “See Me,” which came to be from a culmination of book signings, meet and greets and even experiences drawn from her own life. The author passionately recounts, “When I go to my book signing, I have all these

people opening up to me. I have people telling me that they have cancer. I have people telling me that they’ve left their husbands. I have a woman from Singapore who has my book and messaged me and asked if I would write her story. It makes me feel like I need to do something more.” She continues by saying, “writing ‘I Belong To You,’ has helped me heal. I feel like it is now my responsibility of healing these women – maybe not forever but for that bit of time that they’re opening up to me and I need to listen. We all have stories… when you look at someone you assume things, so ‘See Me’ is see me outside of my label of who I am … actually see the person without their label on.” Certainly, Tonan herself is proof that everyone has a story and to never judge too quickly. On the day we meet, she is wearing a stylish, summer outfit, her hair is long and lush, and just below her beautiful smile is a necklace adorned with the word ‘love.’ She had recently returned from another trip to Italy, this time with just her husband, and regaled her followers on social media with pictures and video from her latest adventures. But beneath the surface, Tonan shares a very difficult time she endured not too long ago. Only five years before, her terminally ill mother had to be placed in hospice care. While heading out of town to help her son move away to university, she got the call that her mom had passed, so immediately she and her husband turned around to make their way home. Feeling unwell during her travels, Modesta’s husband brought her directly to the hospital, and she was soon diagnosed with a life threatening infection and required emergency surgery. Tonan describes this time as very painful, but more so emotionally painful, despite the physical ailments with which she was faced. She tearfully realizes the therapeutic release of writing after this dark period, “I think this book helped me through that. I think between my mother and that trip, I went ‘you need to write about this.’ ” However with every dark cloud, there comes a silver lining, or in Tonan’s case, the silver screen. With Chapters/ Indigo selling out and requesting more copies of her book, and audiences gathering for her book signings and motivational speeches, it was a matter of time before her story would catch the eye of someone who would make this bigger, and give it a life of its own. With “I Belong To You” currently being written into a screen play, and being shopped to studios in the New Year, her hopes are set high. “When I wrote this book I saw it as a movie. Italy, and its views ... this (story) is meant to be on the big screen. We’re going big with this,” she states with a genuine blend of enthusiasm and confidence. “We want it to be a Niagara/Italy production, so it will be fi lmed in Niagara as well as Italy. It’s a perfect storm for a movie; it has women, intrigue, romance, wine, relationships. We need something like this, a good life/love story.” Many lessons can be learned from the story of love by Modesta Tonan. And that is that love is not always frilly and pretty and romantic, it can get messy and tough; but if there is respect and support for one another, that is the best foundation for love to grow. “I have to live my life with love, and in love. I wouldn’t want it any other way.” You can find out more about Modesta Tonan and her projects by visiting her at modestatonan.com or connect with her directly at gina123@live.ca


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IGNITE A BETTER YOU //COLUMN

Embrace change this season.

We need to be able to find that sweet spot where we are consistent with our routines but flexible enough to adapt as we change from year to year, says Dr. Christina Plaskos. With summer now in our rear-view mirror and win- our waistlines, mental health, and skin complexion do not have to suffer. Forter fast approaching, our routines need to be adapt- tunately, there is a solution to each of these problems. Here are 4 action steps able to the changing seasons if we are to maintain we can take to prevent these changes from happening each year: our soft skin, healthy weight, and strong immune systems that we enjoy through the summer months. Mix up the exercise routine. Frequency of exercise declines with the temperaEstablishing simple daily routines such as making ture as the outdoors become frigid—but it doesn’t have to! Create a weekly exthe bed are important as they start the day with a ercise plan and have someone hold you accountable. Use the winter as a time of good decision, which can lead to many more good adventure to try all kinds of new classes at your gym or get excited about winter decisions throughout the day. Over time, the rou- activities. Winter is much more enjoyable once we lose ourselves skiing, skattines we establish result in habits, these habits eventually turn into our lifestyle, ing, snow-shoeing, or on long winter hikes. Spending time in nature, no matter which then causes changes at the DNA level. I am passionate about educating the weather, has also been shown to increase levels of happiness, so you will be my patients that being aware of this progression, how we are ingraining habits improving your physical fitness and your mental fitness with this simple action. as patterns that make up our lifestyle and change our genetic expression, can be Be sure to wear protective clothing over your face to preserve your skin health. harnessed to produce favourable results in our lives, with the right plan in place. We need to be able to find that sweet spot where we are consistent with our Find the sleep sweet spot. Sleep is essential to mental clarity and healthy agroutines but flexible enough to adapt as we change from year to year. What ing but excessive sleeping can make depressed moods worse through overproduction of melatonin. Stick to a regular sleep time worked for us 5 years ago may not work for us now. and wake up earlier, rather than later, at a consistent Having a trusted team of health professionals is crucial in helping guide you through a plan and take “We need to be able to find time every morning. Develop a soothing morning routine to help bring you joyfully and gratefully into a lot of the guess work out of the process. In regards to seasonal change, I want to bring that sweet spot where we are the start of your day. awareness to certain internal changes that occur, so that we are armed with the knowledge to consistent with our routines Follow well-balanced nutrition into the colder months. During winter we take comfort in warmer, make the best decisions possible. Let’s start with physical activity: research shows but flexible enough to adapt as more calorie-dense foods. The holiday season presents an extra challenge, but if we can eat portion that an average weight gain over the winter months is 5 - 7 pounds. That can be a very scary pill to swalwe change from year to year. controlled meals that are high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and good fats 80% of the time, then low for many people but we do not have to accept this statistic as fact. From an evolutionary perspec- What worked for us 5 years ago we can give in to some holiday temptations without too much consequence at the waistline. Do your tive, it made sense to gain weight and increase our best to not show up to holiday events famished as fat reserves as insurance if famine were to strike may not work for us now.” it makes it next to impossible to eat sensibly. High during the cold months. However, with more food Glycemic Index sugary foods can also wreak havoc available to us now more than ever before in human history, we really have no excuse to let our guard down and over-indulge on our skin health in acne prone individuals. Be sure to include foods high in without having the balance of exercise and nutritional awareness to support beta carotene (carrots, sweet potato, dark greens), as they will give your skin a healthy tanned appearance that has been rated more attractive than a tan our food choices. In addition to weight gain, the colder months and shorter days can bring caused by the sun! on increased feelings of sadness in some. In higher latitudes, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) causing mild to major depressive episodes related to Maintaining humidity in your home and place of work is essential to the seasons affects 10-20 percent of our population. SAD victims can have keep your skin hydrated. Invest in a humidifier for your room. Switch from abnormal secretions of melatonin throughout the winter compared to summer a lighter moisturizer in the summer to a thicker more hydrating cream in nights. This can make it more difficult to rise in the morning with a feeling of the winter. Winter is a great time for hydrating facials and lasers treatments to reduce the effects of excess sun exposure in the summer months. You restfulness. Last but certainly not least, our skin can suffer in winter due to the drying may also need to increase your dose of a well balanced essential fatty acid effects of lower humidity levels, drastic changes in temperature from indoors blend to hydrate your skin from within. Small changes in our lifestyle as the seasons grow colder and darker can to out, harsh winds, even very hot showers can strip our skin’s outer protective barrier leaving it more sensitive to flare ups of acne and rosacea. Trans epider- go a long way to maintaining all of the benefits we enjoy in the summer mal water loss (TEWL) increases significantly meaning that we need a skin months. So, next time you feel like pulling the covers over your head, pull the curtains open instead! Remember the simple tips above, get outside and care strategy that controls water loss from the inside and out. Don’t despair…as the seasons change from hot and sunny to cold and grey, start moving!

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MONEY TALK//COLUMN

The most priceless financial gift to your children? – Being organized.

We all know that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. The good news is that with guidance, both certainties can be minimized if not eliminated, says David Somerville. I came across a Gallop poll this week asking the question...” Do you feel the passing of your estate is well planned,” 88% of respondents said yes to the survey but on further review, only 8% of respondents have accurately prepared. That startling figure is less than 1 in 10 families that have properly prepared for the transfer of the family wealth when that fi nal day comes. Another startling fact is that 55% of adult Canadians don’t even have a basic will. We do know that over the next 10 years there will be over 750 billion dollars of assets changing hands via inter-generational wealth transfers. With this in mind, shame on the lawyers out there and shame on the financial advisors as well for not helping clients see the need and value of this eventual reality. We all know that there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. The good news is that with guidance, both certainties can be minimized if not eliminated. The majority of families aren’t prepared so I’m going to suggest a few ideas to help in this area. There are four major reasons most families need to plan for this phase of estate planning. COST - When planning for estate organization the long-term cost is dramatically lower and your heirs will retain more of your hard earned money and assets. The unprepared estate is at the mercy of the law fi rms who the heirs retain to help settle. Prices could range from $250 per hour and up. If an estate is unprepared and has complexity, the final bill could in the tens of thousands. Being prepared can dramatically reduce this cost. TIME - Every family is extremely busy these days and with the backlog and delay with lawyers and the vast number of estates to settle, families are looking at up to 2 years to finalize the closure of Mom and Dad’s estate. I believe that a defined process can reduce the time delay dramatically. One lawyer we use frequently said to us that “if a family is not prepared and organized, we simply don’t have time to help them.” How would that be, trying to settle an estate and not being able to find a lawyer who has time to help? COMPLEXITY - An unprepared estate would leave your executor and heirs in a state of total confusion. Where is this and where is that? Who really wants to go through each of Mom and Dad’s drawers looking for bank statement and clues as to where things are located? CONFLICT - Th is is the final reason for having a structured estate plan. The last thing a parent wants is the children and heirs fighting and arguing over the distribution of assets. Every heir has their own agenda with the settlement and usually when the estate plan is non-existent then almost with certainty will you find a family confl ict. With all of the challenges dealing with the passing of a loved one and all the responsibility that comes along with being an executor, I highly advise that you have an advisor with a specialty in this type of planning. Our fi rm has built an efficient platform in helping families prepare for and execute this critical stage in the transfer of a loved one’s wealth and belongings. David Somerville CFP Certified Financial Planner Capital Wealth Management


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N I A G A R A O N - T H E - L A K E C U L I N A R Y T O U R BY GABRIELLE TIEMAN-LEE

todaymagazine.ca 75


Canada has long been admired for its cultural diversity – particularly when it comes to the country’s melting pot of cuisine; from farm to table Italian to the layered spices of Thai cuisine, fresh rolled Japanese sushi and delicate British pastries – all can commonly be found on a single street nestled within the country’s own historical towns. Niagara is no exception – long having embraced this melting pot along with the belief that there truly is no better way to learn about an area than to eat what is grown in their fields and enjoy what is commonly made in their kitchens. Niagara Culinary Tours has created a new way to experience local cuisine and enjoy some of the best and diverse Niagara owned and operated restaurants, breweries and bakeries. Blending culture and food with Niagara’s rich history and authentic charm, this culinary walking tour – or as co-founder Kimberley Gunning fondly likes to think of as speed dating with restaurants – is the perfect way to experience a little bit of everything in a single visit. “No matter where you travel, you have to eat,” said Gunning. “Many people like to go on tours when they travel to new places; so why not merge the two? It is a fantastic way to start a trip – then you have an idea of where to go for the rest of your trip. We started adding [food tours] to every trip we went on, so we thought why not give people coming to Niagara the same opportunity.” Catering to both locals and tourists alike, Niagara Culinary Tours has created walking tours in Niagara Falls, downtown St. Catharines and the historic old town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Each Niagara Culinary Tour visits several local restaurants, giving participants a chance to try a generous portion of one of the establishment’s signature dishes as well as the opportunity to meet chefs, owners and friendly hospitality professionals. Each guide is as well trained to give a unique perspective on the history, architecture and heritage sites–making for a wonderful distraction during the relatively lengthy walks between stops. “You’re trying these places and deciding ‘Do I like this place? Will I come back later?’,” said Gunning. “They all offer

photo: Gabrielle Tieman-Lee

photo: Gabrielle Tieman-Lee

W E H A V E S O M A N Y C H E F S K N O W N F O R B E I N G L O C A L - V O R E S , W E L I V E I N A N A R E A S T E E P E D I N H I S T O R Y A N D W E A R E S U R R O U N D E D B Y W I N E . I T W A S J U S T A P E R F E C T M A T C H .

something different. You might pop back to Willow Cakes to get something for your road trip home or a great breakfast; you might feel like a beer after dinner and go back to the Exchange [Brewery]. Or maybe you’re looking for something different; we have worked with the Oban Inn, Bella Vita … and so [people] might say ‘Let’s go back there for a nice dinner,’ because they know what they can do now.” Niagara Culinary Tours began after Kimberley and her husband and cofounder Steven Lovelace decided to take a road trip for their 20th wedding anniversary. Fate came knocking when a pamphlet for a food tour found its way into Gunning’s hands while in Charleston, South Carolina. Following an amazing tour, they were both inspired to create their own company and bring this experience back to home with them. “On the way home, we starting chatting, and getting a little excited, because [the tour] was nothing we had ever done before,” said Lovelace. “There are not a lot of food tours in Canada – and certainly not in [Niagara], apart from one other, but they focus more on retail – so we had more of a vision to focus on as many restaurants as we could and more the culinary side of it.” “We love wine and food and [Steven] being a wine agent, he works with a lot of restaurants, so we started to talk to a few close friends that are in the food and wine industry and ask what they thought about it and the response was really good. So we said okay let’s do this,” said Gunning. “We have so many chefs known for being local-vores, we live in an area steeped in history and we are surrounded by wine. It was just a perfect match.” They have rapidly become a permanent fi xture in Niagara’s tour circuit; winning the Ontario Culinary Tourism Experience Award in 2015 – only a year after their inaugural walking tour took place in St. Catharines in November 2014. Today, the tour includes leisurely stops at a number of restaurants throughout the region – though there are no permanent fi xtures on their tour; keeping it fresh and new for

returning walkers. “We like to find partners that share the same kind of passion for food as we have,” said Gunning. “There are so many great restaurants we could work with, but we want to maintain the tour as a walking tour.” Currently the Niagara-on-the-Lake tour includes stops at the new craft beer hotspot The Exchange Brewery, the long loved Willow Cakes & Pastries Bakery, a local hotspot, The Butler Bar and Grill, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s latest arrival Niagara’s Finest Thai and Il Gelato di Carlotta – which features 100 per cent sugar free gelato as well as vegan options and plenty of flavours. The Niagara Falls tour – which prides itself as very family friendly and a draw for all ages – currently features pit stops at Il Sorriso Cafe and Pizzeria, the Old Stone Inn and others. The St. Catharine’s tour – the founders favourite – boasts stops at local favourite Beechwood Doughnuts, European inspired Caffe Gatti, the deliciously vegan restaurant Rise Above, Mahtay Café and Lounge and the luxurious Wellington Court. Tours run year round – with seasonal and weather limitations for some – and cost $55-$65 dollars per person. Each tour caters to every demographic, every age group, every allergy, every foodie and culinary enthusiast. The tour group also hosts seasonal tours in Niagara-on-theLake throughout the year; including their Winter Wonderland tour and the very popular Ugly Sweater Holiday Food Tour – held annually throughout the month of December. Gunning and Lovelace also host a variety of special events and one time tours throughout the year, focusing on unique facets of Niagara’s culinary world that are outside the parameter of their usual walking tour circuits. Past events have included foraging excursions and culinary photography workshops where participants learned how to shoot their food and plate for social media purposes. For more information on the tours or to purchase tickets visit www.niagaraculinarytours.com


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BY LYNN OGRYZLO t was late on a Friday afternoon, exhausted from an intense weeks work I plopped onto the couch. The phone rang. “Want to go out for fish and chips?” Yvonne asked. Fish and chips is an English dish and the English aren’t known for their food, so why is it that when someone asks that question, you’re only too eager to go? I wondered which little fishing village fish and chips originated from but contrary to this romantic notion, fish and chips were actually invented in the big city of London. That makes it the brainchild of a chef more than a creation of its surroundings. As the story goes, fish was plentiful on the island nation and workingmen needed a quick and inexpensive meal to sustain them during a hard day of physical labour. A creation of necessity, this new fried meal was an instant hit and became the most popular dish throughout the entire country, not just for the working folk, but for everyone. Former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously called fish and chips “the good companions”. Who would disagree? Fish and chips are a good, honest meal made from four key ingredients: fish, potatoes, flour and oil. Simple, right? Wrong! How many times have you had greasy, soggy fish and chips? Ok, now that I’ve made my point, let’s hear from someone who knows how to make the most glorious fish and chips. “We’ve been making fish and chips for over 23 years, we should know what we’re doing,” laughs Diane Lee. Diane along with her husband, Brian Strain, own Joeys Seafood Restaurant on Ontario Street in St. Catharines. Together they’re insanely passionate about serving up lip-smacking, melt-in-your-mouth fish and chips and have built a huge cult following to support their self-proclaimed title of “best fish and chips in town”. At Joeys, fish and chip dinners come in three different options: halibut, haddock and cod. Haddock it seems has a better price point, a milder flavour that’s not too fishy and is still firm and flaky; an important characteristic of great fried fish. Cod on the other hand is more of a traditional

todaymagazine.ca 79


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choice. It’s the favourite fish used in Eastern Canada, it’s a little heartier, denser, just as flaky but with a stronger taste that gives the dish a wonderfully unique Eastern character. Halibut seems to be Niagara’s favourite fish for fish and chips. “It’s creamier more like a chicken texture, sweeter in flavour, ” explains Diane. Just like meat, halibut comes in various quality grades and Brian boasts “our halibut is top grade, we have no interest in buying anything else. It’s like a Triple-A steak. We buy the best and our customers don’t mind paying the little extra for it.” The Halibut dinner at Joeys runs $22 for a dinner that includes two large pieces of fish. All of this boasting had me ordering the Halibut dinner. Sweet and succulent, flaky fish, enrobed in crispy batter – not too thick, not too thin, cooked throughout and – no oily residue on my fingers or plate. Even the chips were super crispy on the outside and soft on the inside – perfection! Joeys diner is a comfortable throwback to a 1970’s diner complete with arborite tabletops, banquets running the length of the wall and practical décor. Lining the walls are photographs of Niagara’s most stunning water features from the Welland Canal to the Port Dalhousie docks. They really are something to look at so I walked the diner like a gallery admiring the photography of Eric Baloga, a long-time customer of Joeys. The job of perfection at Joeys falls to the kitchen manager, Kim, who has the nasty job of managing the oil. Apparently fresh oil for frying is part of their secret and they always keep the fish in a dedicated fryer while the chips are cooked in another. “It needs to be fresh, it needs to be at the perfect temperature and the fish needs to be cooked for the perfect length of time,” says Diane who points to the large kitchen clock. “It has a second timer, that’s how precise we are.” Working more like an army regiment than a casual kitchen Diane continues, “the fish fryer is the hottest in the kitchen and on a busy night, it’s really hard to keep the temperature constant”. It was Friday night, the busiest night of the week and we did have to wait a few extra minutes for our fish, but better perfection than soggy fish with uncooked batter. “We just can’t cook any more fish than the temperature allows us to,” says Brian who goes on to explain that it’s like an assembly line that gets backed up with volume. Each piece of fish must cook for the exact amount of time and that’s why Kim constantly has her eye on the second hand of the clock.

While Brian and Diane lament the problems of a busy night, I’m starting to appreciate their uncompromising attitude toward their fish and chips. So cooking aside, why does it taste so good? Apparently, the batter is a proprietary blend, a recipe that is unique to Joeys. Even though Joeys looks like an independent restaurant, surprisingly it’s a franchise (headquartered in Calgary). “Every restaurant across Canada will have the same batter,” says Brian. “Like Kentucky Fried Chicken, it’s a secret recipe, but it does have a beautiful flavour doesn’t it?” Ha, a man who stands behind his product! What I could glean from our conversation is that Diane and Brian mix the batter with an active ingredient that acts just like CO2 bubbles, aerating the batter to make it very light. Then they test it almost hourly to ensure the viscosity remains perfect. Batter too thick takes too long to cook and you get raw batter on the inside. Batter too thin and the fish doesn’t cook properly. It’s the batter-to-fish ratio that Brian and Linda have perfected and the reason why everyone comes to Joey’s to eat fried fish on a Friday night. There are over 229 million portions of battered, fried fish sold in England each year. Surprisingly, Canada doesn’t keep similar fish and chip statistics but I would imagine we’ve got a long way to go before we can claim it as a national dish like the English do. After more than 2 decades in St Catharines, Joeys has become a fish and chip institution. “We’ve seen a lot of fish and chips shops go and we’re still here,” says Diane proudly. “We must be doing something right.”

Niagara is full of places that serve up delicious fish and chips. Here’s a couple more to get you started:

905-354-8000 | LOCATED IN ORCHARD GROVE PLAZA 8123 LUNDY’S LANE, UNIT #7 | NIAGARA FALLS, ON


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Olsen-Sottile Insurance Brokers Inc. is a familyowned and operated insurance brokerage that has been offering personal and commercial insurance in Niagara since 1980. We are Niagara’s Insurance broker! Thirty years after founders Phil Sottile and Brian Olsen opened the door for business, our company continues to be a leader for personal, life and commercial insurance products in the Niagara Region with offices in Niagara Falls and St. Catharines. With Olsen-Sottle, your needs are our #1 concern... and we are committed to providing reliable and affordable service to our clients. Founding partners committed to careers in insurance. Phil Sottile started his insurance brokers career at the age of 19 in Sudbury, Ontario working at one of the oldest Insurance Agencies in all of Northern Ontario. He was well respected in the area and quickly became a part owner, working and building up the business for the next six years. During this time he married and had three sons. Needing a change and looking for another adventure, the Sottile family decided to move to the Niagara Region. While Phil had several lucrative offers, he ended up taking a position at R.C. Young’s Insurance in Niagara Falls. He eventually became Vice-President at R.C. Young’s Insurance, which then became Young’s Insurance, then Young’s – Graves, and then eventually bought out by Dale Insurance. Brian Olsen was born and raised in Saskatoon, moving down to the Niagara Region as a young adult. He started working at R.C. Young’s Insurance before Phil arrived in Niagara Falls. In 1980, Phil and Brian decided it was the right time to open their own insurance brokerage to provide everyone in the Niagara Region

with affordable auto, home and commercial insurance. They started working with a staff of three dedicated people. Almost 35 years later... and still growing! Today this firm now has offices located in Niagara Falls and St. Catharines with a staff of over 25 people. We are the largest writer of Hospitality Commercial Insurance in the area. Our specialty is also Contractors Insurance including Surety Bonding. We handle all lines of insurance including homeowners, auto and commercial lines. We also provide life insurance, travel insurance, health insurance and employee benefits. Brian passed away in 2013, but will always be fondly remembered by everyone that worked with him. Phil is still very active in the everyday insurance business and his three son’s have followed in his footsteps. Our offices in Niagara Falls and St. Catharines have many long standing dedicated employees, some that have been with us for over 20 years. We have a long history in Niagara... and a long history with our clients. We bring history, experience and knowledge to the table to service our clients. We live in the Niagara Region and work in the Niagara Region. Our clients are our neighbours, so it is important to us to take care of customers like we would family. Most of our clients have been with us since day one, because of the reliable and affordable service we provide in the Niagara Region. We pride ourselves on personal service to all our clients. We always go the extra mile for our clients because there is nothing more important to us than serving the Niagara community; a community that we have always supported such as:

At Olsen-Sottile, we are constantly evolving and providing the latest training to our dedicated staff so that we can give our clients the best service possible!


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//HERE. SEE. DO.

Eventful CULTURE DAYS

SEPTEMBER 29TH TO OCTOBER 1ST

Culture Days is a Canada wide celebration representing the largest ever public participation campaign undertaken by the arts and cultural community. The event is meant to raise awareness, participation, accessibility and engagement of Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities. Several communities in Niagara, will be participating in this event! WELLAND Welland Civic Square September 30th Hand Loom Knitters: 12pm to 1:30pm October 1st: Ukrainian Egg Painting: 12pm to 1:30pm Paint Party with Wendy Maloway 2:00pm to 4:00pm. Kids can paint a picture of a furry friend. FONTHILL September 30th Cabar-EH Theatre and Improv Games workshop for kids, 2pm to 3pm Pelham Hub: Celebration of Visual Arts, 1:30pm to 3:30pm Writing Your Life Story, a New Approach, 9:30am to 12:30pm

LISTINGS FOR ENTERTAINMENT. ART. CULTURE.

GRIMSBY September 30th Comics with Nate, from 10:30am to 11:45am 40 Yarns, Unraveled, from 1pm to 3pm October 1st WomEnchant Drummer Circle, from 2pm to 3pm

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE September 30th Community Collage at The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre from 11am to 4pm Impressions-Steve Knapp, 11am to 4pm October 1st Community Collage at The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre from 11am to 4pm Impressions-Steve Knapp, 11am to 4pm ST. CATHARINES September 30th Emotional Garbage Disposal at the St. Catharines Central Library, from 1:30pm to 5pm Chaos and Form in Arts and Life, from 2pm to 3:30pm Make Your Own Artisan BoHo Dreamcatcher, 1pm to 4pm Making A Play, 2pm to 4pm October 1st OWL You Need is ART! From 1pm to 4pm Sculpture with Model Magic Creative Workshop, 2pm to 4:30pm Emotional Garbage Disposal at the St. Catharines Central Library, from 1:30pm to 5pm >>

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MEDIA REBEL FILM SERIES NIAGARA FALLS HISTORY MUSEUM SCHEDULE:

September 28th: Good Night and Good Luck, 7pm to 9pm October 12th Sweet Smell of Success, 7pm to 9pm October 26th Network, 7pm to 9pm November 9th Pirates of Silicon Valley, 7pm to 9pm November 23rd Julie and Julia, 7pm to 9pm

COMMUNITY YOGA SERIES OCTOBER 5TH UNTIL DECEMBER 14TH, NIAGARA FALLS HISTORY MUSEUM

Enjoy free community yoga classes, which are geared towards reducing stress and anxiety, improving sleep quality and maintaining or regaining health. No experience is necessary, all you need to bring is comfortable clothing, a water bottle and a yoga mat.

MOVIE NIGHTS AT OLD FORT ERIE RUNNING UNTIL DECEMBER 21ST

Every Thursday evening until late December, Niagara Parks Heritage will be presenting award-winning classics and culture significant films. Movies start at 7pm, and doors open at 6:30. Drinks, popcorn and snacks will be available to buy. Some movies which will be screened include: Mars Attacks!, Eight Legged Freaks, The Blair Witch Project, Shaun of the Dead, The Badadook, Addams Family Values, Paranorman. More info at niagaraparks.com VOICES OF FREEDOM FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 28 TO OCTOBER 6 PARTRIDGE HALL, FIRST ONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE

This inaugural festival will commemorate and celebrate Canada’s significant black history as well as highlight the ongoing journey to freedom. The festival is set to include educational musical performances, symposia and programming for youth. More information can be found at voicesoffreedomefestival.org

LAUGH OUT LOUD COMEDY SERIES WITH JOHNNY GARDHOUSE OCTOBER 6TH SENECA QUEEN THEATRE

Join Host and Emcee, Mark Matthews, Bryan Hatt and main headliner, Johnny Garhouse, a comedy veteran who has spent over two decades in the business making people laugh with a blend of comic takes on current events and storytelling. Part of the proceeds will go towards Komedy for Kidneys. More information at senecaqueen.ca BALL’S FALLS THANKSGIVING FESTIVAL OCTOBER 6 TO 9 BALL’S FALLS CONSERVATION AREA

Over 150 artisans, food vendors, demonstrators and entertainers take part in this traditional four day festival. This event has been going strong since 1975! The festival will run from 10am to 5pm each day. More information at thanksgivingfestival.ca. NIAGARA FALLS OKTOBERFEST OCTOBER 13 TO 14 SCOTIABANK CONVENTION CENTRE

This 2nd Annual event celebrates German heritage, Niagara Falls style. During this two day festival, celebrate everything German, including German food, such as bratwursts and schnitzel, and of course, delicious German beer. There will also be live music and entertainment. The event is 19+. More info at niagarafallsoktoberfest.com

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CEMETERY TOURS OCTOBER 20 TO 28 DRUMMOND HILL CEMETERY

Visit one of the most historic cemeteries in Canada! These tours are led by a costumed guide, who will tour guestsaround the cemetery, regaling them of tales of the cities history. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Niagara Falls History Museum. Ages 12 and up. 14TH ANNUAL PUMPKINFEST

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OCTOBER 21ST HEARTLAND FOREST

This event will feature local artisans, food trucks, children’s activities, pumpkin carving, rides and much more! This event will be happening rain or shine, and will run from 11am to 4pm. More info at heartlandforest.org


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HALLOWEEN THEMED BALLROOM DANCE SOCIAL

PETS ALIVE NIAGARA ANNUAL HALLOWEEN TRIVIA

OCTOBER 28TH, 7PM - 10PM THE OLD PELHAM TOWN HALL

You can come in your regular clothes, or come in costume! There will be complimentary snacks, tea, coffee, water. Tickets are available at the Pelham Town Hall for just $10.

OCTOBER 27TH, 7PM

Pets Alive Niagara hosts their second annual Halloween music trivia event! Dress up and come out for a fun night of music and laughs, all while raising money for a great cause! Tickets are $20 each, or $150 for a table of 8. More information at petsaliveniagara.ca

NIGHTMARES FEAR FACTORY HALLOWEEN FRIGHT NIGHT OCTOBER 31ST TO NOVEMBER 1ST NIGHTMARES FEAR FACTORY

If you are a sucker for a good scaring, where better to celebrate Halloween than Nightmares? If you think Nightmares is scary the rest of the year, you should check it out on Halloween! Visit nightmaresfearfactory.com for more info. HOLIDAY HANDMADE MARKET NOVEMBER 3 TO 5

Friday, 5pm to 9pm, Sat and Sun, 10am to 5pm Featuring 180+ artisans, a cafe and wine bar, and artists alley and live music! Entry fee is $10. More info at handmademarket.ca

TASTE THE SEASON CREATE YOUR NEW FAVOURITE HOTSPOT.

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WEEKENDS IN NOVEMBER, 11 AM TO 5PM

At this event, you’ll be able to celebrate Niagara’s bounty, by enjoying pairings of local wines with local prepared dishes! Visit wineriesofniagaraonthelake. com for tickets and more information about the event.

NIAGARA FALLS SANTA CLAUSE PARADE NOVEMBER 18TH AT 11AM

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This year, there will be 12 marching bands, as well as superheroes, stilt walkers, local schools, Santa Clause, and much more! The route starts at 11am on Victoria Avenue at Armoury Street, and travels along Victoria Avenue onto Valley Way, then Queen Street, ending at Niagara Falls City Hall. After the parade, you can enjoy live entertainment at city hall. More info at niagarafalls.ca

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This outdoor winter market, will feature Niagara food and beverages, choirs, workshops, performances, as well as lots of family friendly activities. In addition, there will be a select number of vendors selling handmade goods. More info at niagaraparks.com.

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PRESENTS

VOICES OF FREEDOM FESTIVAL SEPTEMBER 28OCTOBER 6 2017 Concerts, lectures at historic sites, educational youth programs, and more!

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“SONGS OF FREEDOM”

“THE AFRICAN STING”

SEPTEMBER 29, 2017

OCTOBER 6, 2017

7:30 PM, Partridge Hall

7:30 PM, Partridge Hall

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BRAVONIAGARA.ORG FOR TICKETS AND INFORMATION OR CALL (289) 868-9177 JOHN & LIZ HAWLEY

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2017-08-29 5:46 PM


by Jill Tham I photo: Richmond Lam

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 18TH WAREHOUSE CONCERT HALL, ST. CATHARINES For over 20 years, Juno nominated Canadian band, The Dears, has toured the globe engaging fans with their unique “Orchestral Pop Noir Romantique” sound. Originally from Montreal, Quebec, the husband and wife team of Murray Lightburn and Natalia Yanchak enjoy singing their hearts out for fans. Their November performance at the Warehouse Concert Hall will be a special time for band member, Jeff Luciani, as he returns home to perform for the first time.

THE DEARS Where did the name “The Dears” originate from? Murray Lightburn (ML): My friend (and original member) Andrew and I were on the phone and settled on that name. We wanted something simply yet meaningful...and endearing. Where do the ideas  for lyrics come from? ML: Literally everywhere and anywhere. A lot of people take stuff we sing about very literally, as if we are always singing about ourselves. But we try to paint in an abstract way and we take from both our own experiences and observations of others as well. 

How has parenthood influenced your music and/or shows? ML: Well we rehearse during the day while the kids are at school. We try to play our shows earlier so we’re not destroyed when the kids wake us up in the morning. Sometimes we write about our experiences as parents that hopefully others will relate to. What can fans expect from your shows? ML: A lot of sweat, some experimentation and sing-a-longs. 

What is your proudest moment as a group? ML: We’ve been around for over 20 years. There are so many proud moments. It would be impossible to simply choose one. However, I suppose the day {Our Album} Times Infinity Volume Two came out would be the latest one. What is it like to play music together as a couple? ML: Bliss and heaven. Wouldn’t want it any other way.

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SHANE KOYCZAN NOVEMBER 21, 2017 FIRST ONTARIO PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE, ST. CATHARINES BY JILL THAM I PHOTOGRAPHY KAARE IVERSON


If you’d like to boldly go where no man has gone before, then you will thoroughly enjoy the captivating and riveting performance of spoken word artist and writer, Shane Koyczan. Koyczan is a gifted performer who reaches the audience by tapping into their thoughts and emotions; transporting them to another place and time. His writing is witty, enlightening, and raw. Raised by his grandparents, his story is all too familiar; the unpopular student who was bullied until he became the bully. It’s these memories and experiences that Koyczan draws upon. His poem “To This Day “ is a recount of his school days and the bullying he endured. After winning a few poetry writing contests, Koyczan’s interest in poetry and spoken word had been sparked. “My college political science professor had encouraged me to look closer at writing. It just snowballed into this,” says Koyczan. His first big break came when he performed at the Vancouver Folk Festival and the Vancouver Writer’s Festival. “They finally took me seriously and not just some guy who shows up at open mics,” says Koyczan.

The strength of Koyczan’s words allows him to reach his audience at a different and deeper level. He receives countless emails from fans discussing their own mental health needs. “You have taken people to an emotional space and you can’t leave them there. You can’t abandon them there,” explains Koyczan who admits he often seeks the advice of professionals to assist him in what to say when he receives letters from fans who want to take their own life. “I take it very seriously. It is a lot to carry. I feel like my brain is an echo chamber and all these things stay with me,” explains Koyczan. Koyczan takes his success in stride. “There are still things I need to complete to consider myself successful,” he says. “I try to push the gate back.” Koyczan is currently working on a web series and a feature film. “It’s a goal I have been working on for a while,” explains Koyczan. Despite an accident that has affected Koyczan’s memory, he has continued to perform and plod on against adversity. “On stage my hands shake when I am nervous. I didn’t want to use a paper I wanted my hands to be free so no one can notice my hands shake,” says Koyczan. “ I had to find ways to work within those parameters, so I use an iPad on stage.” Koyczan describes his shows as a place where stand up comedy meets storytelling. “There are a lot of elements you are already familiar with and I just combine them,” says Koyczan. “ I have a wide range and I talk about a variety of different things at my shows.” “My performances give people permission to be emotional creatures again. We live in a world where everyone is told to shut that off,” explains Koyczan. “I like the idea of people coming to my shows to have that release.” Be prepared to laugh and cry while you sit back and say, “Beam me up, Shane!”

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For its 35th Season the Winter Festival of Lights will host its most vibrant season yet T

his winter the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights (WFOL), will be celebrating thirty-fi ve years of lighting up Niagara Falls for the holidays! The up-coming Festival of Lights season will open on Saturday, November 18th and run through to January 31st, 2018. If you haven’t been to see the lights in recent years, put the WFOL on your to do list this winter because the Festival has evolved significantly in recent years. The WFOL Illumination Route was expanded from fi ve to eight kilometres long with many new displays added along the way. In addition to new light displays, programming has also been expanded with new events and innovative light shows. Featuring over two million lights, the Festival’s 8km long illumination route travels through the Niagara Parks, past the roaring Falls, into Dufferin Islands and surrounding tourist areas. To see all the Winter Festival of Lights displays, its best to hop in a car and tour the route, but don’t forget to make stops along the way to get

OPG WINTER FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS OPENING CEREMONIES Saturday, November 18, 2017 • 6 PM & 7 PM Queen Victoria Park, (6345 Niagara Parkway) FREE Join us as we kick off the Festivals 35th anniversary year! Featuring two LIVE thrilling Entertainment shows with a flip the switch celebration topped off with fireworks! Two shows 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Brianna@wfol.com www.wfol.com/events/opening-ceremonies/ OPG WINTER FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS DECK THE FALLS December 1 & 2; December 8 & 9; December 15 & 16 Niagara Falls Venues - COST TBA Self-guided outing that allows you to view the beautifully decorated venues while partaking in exclusive interactive experiences. Brianna@wfol.com www.wfol.com/events/deck-the-falls/

a closer look or to take a selfie next to your favourite illuminated display. Th is winter the WFOL will sparkle brighter than ever with huge celebrations planned for the Festival’s 35th anniversary. “Th is season is going to be one to remember, we have so many exciting plans,” says Tina Myers, OPG Winter Festival of Lights Executive Director. “New lights, new entertainment, free programming plus our signature events, our 35th season will be a celebration you must experience!” As one of North America’s premier illumination festivals, the Festival of Lights is attended by over one million visitors a year, a trip to see the lights in Niagara Falls is a festive winter tradition for people of all ages. The OPG Winter Festival of Lights has become famous for its

many iconic illuminated displays including the Zimmerman Fountain with its sparkling white lights, the illuminated Skylon Tower, the light show on the century-old Toronto Power Generation Station, Noah’s Ark plus the many Canadian themed displays and trees wrapped in lights in the Dufferin Islands nature area; just to name a few. The Festival will be hosting a variety of special events and programming including Opening Ceremonies, Weekly Fireworks, Deck the Falls, Sparkle Lighting Awards and the New Years Eve Concert. Opening Ceremonies in Niagara Park’s Queen Victoria Park on November 18th will feature a fi re and lightning performance where mythical characters will bring the elemental forces of nature to life in a spectacular

EVENT BRIEFS

OPG WINTER FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS LASER LIGHT SHOWS December 22nd, 2017 to January 7th, 2018 5:30 PM, 6:30 PM, 7:30 PM & 8:30 PM Victoria Avenue (across from Louis Tussaud’s Wax Museum) FREE Bring your friends and family to a FREE interactive laser show featuring a spectacular show with a chance to draw a picture or write a message in laser lights! Brianna@wfol.com www.wfol.com/events/laser-light-shows/ FALLSVIEW SOUND AND LIGHT SHOW Nightly The Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls (6546 Fallsview Blvd.) FREE The Winter Festival of Lights takes over the façade of the Oakes Hotel Over Looking the Falls to present projection mapping shows and holiday features. Brianna@wfol.com www.wfol.com/events/niagara-sound-light-show/

production. The Borealis Laser Light Show will be returning to the WFOL with shows taking place nightly from December 23rd to January 7th on the Victoria Avenue Promenade at the Top of Clifton Hill. The second annual edition of the Deck the Falls Holiday Walking Tour will take place each Friday and Saturday night over the fi rst three weekends in December. There will be over ten venues participating throughout the tourist district each featuring festive décor. Venues along the tour a variety of fun activities such as culinary & gourmet food sampling, holiday beverages, deserts & treats, fun photo opportunities, life size games, live music entertainment, craft workshops & demonstrations and more, tickets go on sale in September! Be sure to also take-in the Fallsview Sound & Light Show which is a show that is projected onto the Oakes Hotel, a twenty storey tall hotel on Fallsview Blvd. For more information about WFOL events, including a map of the 8km route, please visit wfol.com.

//NOV. 18, 2017 - JAN. 31, 2018

SPARKLE LIGHTING AWARDS Wednesday December 13, 2017 (Sparkle Light Judging Night) Throughout Niagara Falls / Niagara Falls neighborhoods FREE The Sparkle Lighting Awards presented by CogecoTV Niagara recognizes the best residential and commercial holiday light displays in Niagara Falls. Award winners will be announced on December 15th. Brianna@wfol.com www.wfol.com/events/sparkle-lighting-awards/ DUFFERIN ISLANDS November 18th 2017 – January 31st 2018 • Dusk to midnight Dufferin Islands loop, along the Niagara Parkway FREE – DONATIONS ARE ACCEPTED Dufferin Islands is decorated with beautiful illuminated displays wrapped trees, 3D Canadian Wildlife displays and the Sylma. WFOL Volunteers greet visitors at end of the loop! Brianna@wfol.com www.wfol.com/the-lights/dufferin-islands/

WINTER FIREWORKS Queen Victoria Park November 18, 2017 (during Opening Ceremonies) EVERY FRIDAY NIGHT AT 9PM November 24th 2017 – January 26th 2018 BONUS SHOWS NIGHTLY December 23 – December 29 at 9PM. FREE Presented by Fallsview Casino the winter fireworks series includes shows Fridays throughout the Festival at 9PM. Plus bonus shows Dec 23-29th for the holidays! Brianna@wfol.com www.wfol.com/events/niagara-falls-fireworks/


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TODAY’S PEOPLE

SHARING THE LAUGHS, CELEBRATIONS & NEW BEGINNINGS

WITH VIVIENNE DINEEN & TRACY DURU, MOKSHA YOGA

CARM LENARTOWICH, BADRI RICCI, CRYSTAL D’CUNHA & BARBARA DEVINE

GNCC BUSINESS AFTER 5 @ THE OUTLET COLLECTION August 15 – The Outlet Collection at Niagara hosted the GNCC monthly series at their Curbside Community Space.

CAROLA MITTAG & ROSEANN WATERS

Jana Webb and Andrew Nicholson of the Portland Trailblazers

Brandon Tataryn & Amanda Terry Fran Pasco, Joshua Pasco, Daniel A. Pasco, (CEO of Rev Publishing Inc.) & Isabella Pasco

Shelby Kwiatek & Sherry Bolen Ryan Redwood, Jana Webb, Vanessa Montenegro, ( JOGA Operations Manager) & Allie MacIntyre (JOGA Marketing Manager)

JANA WEBB – MEET & GREET August 12, Niagara Falls – Jana Webb the creator/founder of JOGA and Real Housewives of Toronto star dines with fans & colleagues at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

Photos: David Haskell

Jack Villella & Veronica Rudan

Jim Barker, former general manager of the Toronto Argonauts & Jana Webb

HAVE AN EVENT YOU WANT TO SHOWCASE? Contact us and you could be part of our next Today’s People! todayspeople@revpublishing.com • 905.356.7283 ext.120


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