Experience the Brand New Niagaralicious Culinary Series

Posted on

niagaralicious-2Experience the very best in Fallsview dining and accommodations with Falls Avenue Resort’s brand new Niagaralicious culinary series. This unique hotel and dining experience offers guests the opportunity to choose from specially crafted menus at amazing Fallsview restaurants such as the 4-Diamond Windows by Jamie Kennedy, The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra, Fallsview Buffet Restaurant, and high-energy themed dining at Hard Rock Café Niagara Falls. And to get the most amazing and well-rounded Fallsview experience, guests can pair their dinner with accommodations at the Sheraton on the Falls or Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview. Niagaralicious is a unique and exciting dining opportunity that showcases the very best of Niagara Falls.

How to Tour Umbria, Italy via Ontario, Canada

Posted on

NFH1.jpegMost travelers looking for sunshine and Italian cuisine think first of Tuscany, high on the leg of Italy’s boot. However, Tuscany has become incredibly popular in recent years, and excessive numbers of world tourists are stamping out the region’s provincial charm.

Just to the south, the tiny region of Umbria is quietly being heralded as Tuscany’s successor in terms of food and feel — and there is no better place to get a taste of Umbria than in good old Niagara Falls, Ontario.

On Friday, March 6, world-renowned Italian chef Massimo Capra is paying his respects to the unique culture found in Umbria with an Umbrian-inspired menu and wine list. Read on for more information on this one-of-a-kind culinary adventure you can only find in Niagara Falls.

Umbria’s Delights

Affectionately named “The Green Heart of Italy,” Umbria is the country’s fourth smallest region — bordered neither by coastline nor by mountains — yet one of the biggest and best Italian producers of olive oil and wine. Because of its lack of popularity among tourists when compared to its northern neighbor Tuscany and the southern metropolises of Rome and Venice, Umbria has retained a large amount of its stunning natural landscape, which remains somewhat mystical in light and atmosphere to travelers and locals alike.

Landlocked, Umbria’s traditional foods are not influenced by the sea as is more familiar Italian cuisine. Instead, food critics explain that Umbrian cooking is particularly rustic, governed now as always by the earthy foods grown in the region’s fertile soils. For example, standard Umbrian recipes rely heavily on whole grains like barley, wheat, faro, and spelt mixed copiously with fresh, rich fruits and vegetables; Umbrian olives are notoriously luscious — which is why the region’s olive oil industry is booming — and black truffles are a common delicacy as they grow bountifully in the region’s forests.

NFH2.jpegNiagara Falls’ Homage

Massimo Capra is well-known as one of the world’s top chefs in Italian cuisine, which is why Niagara Falls is so proud to claim his iconic restaurant, the Rainbow Room.

Every day, the Rainbow Room in Crowne Plaza serves up unparalleled Italian cuisine crafted from Niagara’s fresh produce raised in the local landscape; guests can enjoy succulent lobster bruschetta, chicken alla diavola (roasted chicken breast), and black truffle gnocchi, among dozens of other sumptuous dishes. Most Niagara Falls visitors simply cannot miss a meal at the Rainbow Room any time of year, but in March, guests will receive a special treat.

In continuation of Capra’s tour of Italy’s varying regional cuisines, the Rainbow room will spend the evening of March 6 wholly transformed into a vessel for the delights of Umbria. Guests are welcome to come for cocktail hour and enjoy the company of the illustrious chef in person, as well as mix and mingle with fellow food and wine lovers from across the globe. Capra will prepare a night’s worth of dishes, including a handful of canapes and a five-course dinner, exploring the intricacy and extent of Umbria’s cuisine.

Additionally, the evening will celebrate masterful winemaker Marco Caprai of Arnaldo-Caprai Winery, who has won countless awards for his efforts with the sagrantino grape. Each dish will come perfectly paired with a traditional glass of wine, and certainly no one will leave the table disappointed with Umbria or Ontario.

Quintessential Canadian Cuisine

Posted on

nfh7.jpegNot many people immediately think of Canada when they are asked to name countries with excellent cuisine. However, though Canada may not include particularly exotic ingredients, the food produced here is certainly some of the world’s best.

In honor of February’s celebration of the 26th annual Cuvee festival, a gathering where Niagara’s most talented chefs and winemakers present their fare to locals and visitors, here are some of Canada’s most iconic foods to sample during your next trip to Niagara Falls.

1. Maple Syrup

It isn’t just coincidence that put the maple leaf on Canada’s flag — it is Canadians’ profound love of the sticky, sweet sap the tree produces. As versatile as it is iconic, maple syrup isn’t just for breakfast foods; natives will drizzle it on just about anything, from pancakes to bacon. Cooked into candy and mixed into marinades, maple syrup shows up in Canadian recipes you’d least expect. Make sure to try as many maple goodies as you can while you’re north of the border, and bring back a bottle, or five, of the sap to experiment with your own maple creations.

2. Poutine

This monstrosity of a meal is becoming more famous in the United States, but it remains a recognizably Canadian dish. French fries slathered in gravy and littered with cheese curds makes for a salty, gooey treat that will fill your calorie requirement for at least two days — but somehow, it’s always worth it. While there are many variations on poutine, you should start out with the traditional three ingredients for the real Canadian experience.

3. Beaver Tail

Though Canada developed into an important colonial holding due to its profitable beaver trade, this noteworthy treat has nothing to do with the dam-building rodents. Instead, a beaver tail is a huge, sweet pastry, perfect on cold Canadian days. Shaped like their namesake, sweet pastry dough is then topped with the diner’s preferred garnishes, which can include chocolate syrup, fruit, sprinkles, or, of course, maple syrup.

4. Nanaimo Bar

Another favorite Canadian dessert, the Nanaimo bar is much simpler to make at home than the beaver tail, but the real thing can only be tasted at a Canadian bakery — though they require no baking whatsoever. The treats are layer cookie bars, and like poutine, they have spawned several hundred varieties due to their popularity. However, the traditional Nanaimo bar as first created in Nanaimo, British Columbia, features a graham cracker base, vanilla custard filling, and chocolate ganache top.

nfhj8.jpeg5. Bannock

Every culture has its own type of bread: Jews have challah, the French have baguettes, and the American South has cornbread. Canadians enjoy a quick, biscuit-like bread called Bannock that is incredibly adaptable to any meal. Covered in icing and sprinkles, bannock tastes just like a doughnut. Wrapped around a hotdog, bannock is buttery and crisp just like a toasted bun. During at least one meal in Niagara Falls, you are bound to find bannock sitting next to your plate.

6. Ketchup Chips

Americans enjoy dipping potato chips in a variety of sauces — from French onion to Mexican bean — but very few would ever consider slathering their crisp in bright red ketchup. However, ketchup is such a popular topping for potato chips in Canada that familiar chip vendors in the states, Frito-Lay for example, produce (and frequently sell out of) ketchup-flavored varieties. While these snacks won’t win a culinary award anytime soon, you won’t find a bag of Ketchup chips in America, so you should sample them while you have the chance.

February Frights: Where to Be Scared When It’s Not Halloween

Posted on

nfh5.jpegOctober is well known as the month to be scared. Halloween allows for at least 31 long days of ghosts, goblins, and the like lurking in the shadows for the perfect opportunity to make you jump. For a large portion of fall, haunted houses abound around the country, and those who enjoy everything creepy and crawly can feel comfortable. However, as soon as the sun rises on November 1, it all goes away.

Not many places offer year-round frights, but Niagara Falls is one of them. The region might be recognized primarily as a romantic place to be with your significant other, but its ancient and tumultuous history has made the city and surrounding region into a veritable wonderland for those yearning to be scared. This February — or any month you need a good jump — head to Niagara Falls to feel chills in any of the following places.

Haunted House

Legend has it that the proprietor of a successful coffin factory, Abraham Mortimer, was killed one night as a band of rowdy youths taunted the eccentric man, and while giving chase, a stack of completed oak coffins collapsed on top of him. Not long after his funeral, Mortimer’s grave was found disturbed and his final resting place completely empty. Following his death, the factory went defunct and fell into disrepair — but locals still attest to Mortimer’s protective presence in the place.

Nightmares Fear Factory offers visitors the chance to test their courage against the terrifying menace of Mortimer’s spirit and all else that lurks in his ill-fated factory.

nfh6.jpegWax Museums

Cities all over the globe contain wax museums — locations that house wax reproductions of famous people and events — and nearly all of them offer some kind of freak factor. The uncanniness of the figures coupled with their stiff, corpse-like positions is enough to make anyone’s skin prickle. Niagara Falls’ wax museums are no different. The city boasts two magnificent sites housing some of the best wax figures you are likely to ever see, all in easy walking distance within Niagara’s tourist district.

Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks specializes in famous faces of today and presents more than 100 recognizable figures in 16 distinct displays. Visitors are welcome to take photos alongside their favorite celebrities, including Hilary Clinton, Arnold Schwarzenegger, John Lennon, Oprah, and more.

Movieland Wax Museum proffers a completely different atmosphere: one of fantasy and Hollywood excitement. Instead of capturing celebrities as the really are, this museum prefers to show them in the roles that made them famous. Visitors can step into a tropical jungle and snap photos of Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones; then, they can wander onto Elm Street for an encounter with the villainous Freddy Kruger. There is even a special House of Horrors for thrill-seekers eager for a more intense scare.

Ghost Tours

From the expulsion of natives to the bloody battles of the War of 1812, Niagara Falls has been the setting of some gruesome historical events.

Paranormal experts attest that the trauma of these events lives on in the plethora of truly haunted locations in the city and surrounding area. Those looking for a guided tour of the region as well as a chance to see active paranormal sites may wish to investigate Niagara’s various ghost tours to find the perfect experience.

3 Reasons to Take Your Valentine to Niagara Falls

Posted on

nfh3.jpegIt’s nearly February, which means there is precious little time left to plan an extravagant Valentine’s Day celebration for the person you love. While rumors and legends abound regarding this holiday’s exciting origins, Valentine’s Day remains one of the few days a year devoted to observing the wonder of steady relationships, which makes it especially sacred among loving, committed couples.

If you have been negligent in the planning of your Valentine’s Day, don’t fret: Niagara Falls is a romantic paradise year-round, which makes it a perfect destination for you this February 14. Read on to find out why you simply can’t miss out on Niagara’s Valentine’s splendor.

1. Legendary Destination

It is no fluke that Niagara Falls has long been heralded as the Honeymoon Capital of the World. The concept of the honeymoon got its start in the 19th century, when recently married couples were sent away to exotic or exciting locales to spend time with only each other. Niagara Falls became a haven for starry-eyed lovers around the same time honeymoons were becoming common practice; a handful of famous faces, including Aaron Burr’s daughter Theodosia, have made the trek to experience this wonder of the world, and since then, countless committed couples have visited the region after saying “I do” to revel in the power and serenity of the Falls. You and your honey would be another important couple in the long legacy of lovers in Niagara Falls.

nfh4.jpeg2. Thrilling Views

Niagara Falls, which includes both Canadian Horseshoe Falls and the two American waterfalls, can rightfully claim an astounding breadth of adjectives, though most visitors’ favorites are: breathtaking, awe-inspiring, majestic, and — no surprise here — romantic. Simply setting eyes on the waterfalls makes most travelers’ hearts skip a beat, and sharing the experience with a close lover may cause unending fibrillation (figuratively, of course).

You and your sweetheart can enjoy views of the Falls from a variety of angles. The Niagara Parks system offers lookouts all around the escarpment and valley, and a handful of vendors provide unique looks at the Falls from below and behind. For a new heart-stopping experience, consider bringing your valentine along on a helicopter tour of the region. You’ll see birds-eye views of the waterfalls and surrounding areas and make memories to last your lifetime together.

3. Nighttime Strolls

Niagara Falls is as beautiful at night as it is during the day. While the sun is up, the bright, natural rays glitter on the fast-moving water and highlight the mysterious mists, creating an ambiance unlike anywhere else. However, after sunset, the landscape definitely doesn’t fall into distressing darkness. Instead, the city and Falls shine even brighter.

While the appealing attractions of the city twinkle in the background, couples can stroll along any of the walkways overlooking the Falls to see them illuminated in all colors of the rainbow — including passionate reds and pinks for Valentine’s Day. Is there anything as romantic as a simple stroll with your darling on a bright night?

Brand New Microbrewery Set to Open May 2015 At Falls Avenue

Posted on

Niagara Brewing Companybrewery-profile-no-circle is a brand new microbrewery opening in May 2015 on Falls Avenue Resort, in the heart of the Niagara Falls tourist district. This unique property will offer guests first-rate craft beer, developed on-site by brewing industry veterans. Niagara Brewing Company will utilize locally sourced ingredients in carefully crafted brews in order to offer a truly unique Niagara Falls experience.

Niagara Brewing Company is the latest addition to the local craft beer movement and is committed to offering guests first-rate beer in an amazing setting, just steps away from the spectacular Niagara Falls.

Culinary Canada: Niagara’s Cuvee Weekend

Posted on

nfh1.jpegNiagara Falls and the surrounding regions are known for their abundant fertility, which is why so many foodies journey to the area to experience it. Every day in Niagara is a celebration of the Earth’s bounty and the talent of food and beverage artisans, as countless restaurants and wineries showcase the region’s local flavor.

However, at the beginning of every year, Canada’s most illustrious chefs and winemakers pay homage to the area in the annual Cuvee festival that takes place right in the middle of Niagara Falls. This year, you too can taste the best of Niagara Falls during Cuvee in late February.

What Is It?

Cuvee is a celebration — of the glorious food, wine, and company available in Niagara Falls. However, more specifically, Cuvee is comprised of three events that beckon foodies from all walks of life.

The first is the Grand Tasting. With an atmosphere not unlike an outdoor fair, this event offers guests samplings of the region’s best wines and foods, freshly prepared and poured at countless live cooking stations around the room.

Directly following the Grand Tasting is a less formal and more moving event: an after-party entitled Apres Cuvee. After becoming sated on the award-winning food and wine, guests are welcome to dance off their meals to live entertainment and enjoy sparkling wines and craft beers well into the night.

Finally, the largest and most flexible event of the festival is Cuvee en Route, which takes guests directly to the region’s best wineries and restaurants for specially prepared flights of wine and meal pairings. The list of participating vendors changes and expands every year due to the popularity of Cuvee.

When Is It?

In 2015, Cuvee will take place during the last weekend in February. That means from Friday, February 27 to Sunday, March 1, visitors will be subject to some of the best food and wine on the continent.

Arguably the most exciting event, the Grand Tasting, occurs the very first night, February 27, from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Apres Cuvee then spans 9:30 p.m. to midnight. However, Cuvee en Route can be enjoyed at all times during the following two days of the festival.

nfh2.jpegWhere Is It?

Niagara Falls is more than a city — it is an entire culinary region waiting to be explored. While the kick-off event, the Grand Tasting and its accompanying after-party, is held in the Fallsview Casino Resort, the vast majority of the festival’s activities take place all around Niagara country. Cuvee en Route will take you to various wineries and restaurants to sample specially prepared meals in iconic spaces.

How Do I Get In?

Tickets are currently on sale for any of the events of Cuvee. The Weekend Ticket grants permission to all of the festival’s attractions, including the Grand Tasting, Apres Cuvee party, and Cuvee en Route. Alternatively, for less expense, visitors can purchase only a Passport for Cuvee en Route to gain access to the special services at participating wineries. Note that attendees must be at least 19 years old to purchase tickets.

While the festival is meant to be enjoyed as a cohesive unit, guests are allowed to opt out of certain events in favor of exploring other areas of Niagara Falls, like the verdant parks or thrilling attractions. After all, foodies may be devoted to high-quality meals, but that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy a boat ride or an arcade game while on vacation.

What’s Happening in Niagara Falls in January

Posted on

NFHblog8.jpegA new year has arrived, which means Niagara Falls can celebrate with a whole month’s worth of festivals and events themed for winter and new beginnings. Instead of ringing in the New Year by going back to your same-old humdrum lifestyle, take a vacation to Niagara Falls for one of these unique experiences.

1. Icewine Appreciation

The Niagara region is world-renowned for its fantastic soils and climates ideal for winemaking, but one varietal stands out from the rest as Niagara Falls’ signature wine of choice: icewine. This spin on riesling, a more familiar Old World varietal, requires vintners to actually freeze their grapes in their fields, which is why the Niagara region is so perfect for icewine. Despite the chilly process in which its made, icewine boasts strong smells and flavors of warm, tropical fruits like papayas and pineapples, making it delectably sweet yet balanced with a fortifying acidity.

In Niagara Falls, January is dedicated to icewine, with events and festivals throughout the month commemorating its creation and reveling in its taste. Visit with expert chefs and master winemakers as they share their culinary delights in tribute to the region’s most famous wine. Every weekend there is something to see or do, so you can’t miss the icewine festivities if you come to Niagara Falls in January.

2. Zero Gravity Circus

At the very end of the Winter Festival of Lights, Niagara Falls is hosting a circus bound to dazzle and amaze. The Zero Gravity Circus isn’t a tented, three-ringed spectacle full of goofy clowns like you may first think. Instead, high-flying acrobats, jelly-boned contortionists, and veritable masters of fire will take over Queen Victoria Park, transforming it into a wonderland of mystery and peculiarity.

3. Musical Visitors

NFHblog9.jpegEvery month, musical artists from all genres pass through Niagara Falls, playing some of the best shows of their tours, and January is no different. During the next four weeks, we have one of the most exciting lineups of the year, and it would be a shame to miss any of these talented musicians’ exciting and sonorous acts.

  • Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone: January 2-3
  • John Legend: January 5-6
  • Supertramp: January 8
  • Smokey Robinson: January 8-9
  • Rick Springfield: January 29-30
  • Hotel California: January 30
  • Fresh Horses: January 31

Tickets are going fast, so if any of these artists catches your eye, you should reserve your seats as soon as possible.

4. Nature at the Museum

January marks the beginning of a brand-new exhibit at Niagara Falls History Museum. Entitled “Nature,” this exhibit aims to impart upon visitors the importance of maintaining natural biodiversity throughout the world. With a series of displays explaining crucial links between species, different types of habitats, the threat of globalization, and the benefit of preservation and restoration, the museum hopes visitors will leave with a newfound sense of responsibility for the environment. Running only from January through to April, this exhibit won’t last long, and if you come in January, you’ll be able to participate in any of the other exiting events on the schedule for the month.

How Niagara Falls Can Help With Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted on

rickynelsonrememberedMaking lasting change in your life is never easy, which is why we often save resolutions for January 1, when we have a brand new year and a clean slate of opportunity. However, when you’re surrounded by your regular friends and activities, it can be exceedingly difficult to break the cycle and construct a new you. If you are looking to actually fulfill any of your resolutions in 2015, here’s why you should head to Niagara Falls.

You Can Save Money and Still Enjoy a Vacation

A popular resolution is to get out and see the world, but that is often difficult for those with tight budgets. So why not start out with a trip to Canada? Niagara Falls offers one of the most budget-friendly vacations in the world. There are hundreds of activities and attractions that are completely free and completely worthwhile.

For example, it costs nothing to view the city’s most popular sight, which also happens to be internationally recognized as a Wonder of the World, Niagara Falls itself. On top of the Falls, there are miles of free nature trails through parks and forests to explore on foot, as well as miles more of scenic cycling or driving roads weaving throughout the region.

Because Niagara Falls is most popular among budding families and young couples without much income to spare, even paid attractions won’t break the bank. Lodging in the middle of the action will actually save you the expense of transport, so you will be able to afford to see any number of award-winning shows or dine at top culinary spots in the city. Come to Niagara Falls for a fulfilling vacation, and put the rest of your earnings in a savings account for future use.

You Can Get Fit

NFHblog7.jpegVacations aren’t always the most conducive to weight-loss goals, but Niagara Falls has a built-in fitness center that will keep you moving while you relax. Just minutes from the hubbub of the tourist district of the city are the miles of hiking trails and walking paths that will take you into the heart of Niagara Falls wilderness. Simply by meandering through the pristine parks and fantastic forests throughout Niagara Falls and the surrounding region, you can burn calories and stay true to your fitness goals without even realizing it. Here are two sights you can only spot by adventuring on foot:

  • Whirlpool Rapids. Regarded as some of the most dangerous rapids in the world for their speed and intensity, Niagara River’s Whirlpool Rapids can be seen up-close and personal on a short three-mile hike.
  • Niagara Falls Botanical Gardens. Encompassing more than 99 acres, these stunning gardens are crisscrossed with walking paths for visitors to enjoy the rotating arrangements of local and imported flowers. The most popular spot is the rose garden, which is world famous for its more than 2,400 blooms.

You Can Quit Smoking

Believe it or not, Niagara Falls can help lifelong smokers finally work towards kicking their habit, too. Canada as a whole has a lower percentage of smokers than the United States; less than 17 percent of Canadians regularly buy cigarettes (and that number continues to annually decline), while more than 20 percent of Americans smoke. Coming to Niagara Falls, cigarette smokers will find a fresh, natural environment generally free of common smoking triggers, like stress and fellow smokers. Thus, a vacation to Niagara might be just the thing to help you in ending that dangerous, lasting addiction.

How Niagara Falls Came to Be

Posted on

NFHblog3.jpegEvery fantastic place needs a fantastic origin story. Indigenous groups all over the world have extraordinary mythologies explaining the creation of a region’s landmarks, the existence of the moon and stars, the birth of humankind, and more. Niagara Falls is no different; ever since the first Native Americans set eyes on the unbelievable intensity and beauty of the Falls, people have been telling stories about how they became what they are today. However, while traditional stories may involve gods and magic, the truth behind Niagara Falls’ creation is just as amazing. Learn more about the origin of the region so when you visit Niagara Falls this year you’ll fully comprehend their majesty and power.

Precambrian Niagara

More than 600 million years ago, the area we recognize as the Great Lakes region, including Niagara, was buried beneath a vast, shallow sea. For more than 100 million years, the forces of nature churned the waters of this North American sea until the hard rocks below became fine, soft sediment resting on top of hard bedrock. The sea held all types of life, including vast tropical reefs filled with fish, but the violent commotion of waves caused by storms often destroyed the beautiful marine communities and left their limestone skeletons at the bottom of the waters.

During this time, the rest of the North American continent underwent extreme topographical shifts. The Appalachian Mountains shot up out of the ground, new rivers wound their way around the landscape, and different types of geology appeared all over.

Phanerozoic Niagara

NFHblog.jpegAfter 300 million years, the great sea dried up, leaving layer upon layer of various sediments. While animals all over the world started to grow and develop — and the first dinosaurs started stretching their legs — the fledgling rivers from the Precambrian Era grew to massive sizes and carved their names into the ground. The machinations of these rivers eventually formed the basins later inhabited by four of the Great Lakes: Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario.

Meanwhile, the landmass migrated farther and farther northward, so temperatures dropped and the environment changed. In quick succession, four major ice ages cut into the continent, their glaciers leaving huge scars upon the landscape. The final ice age, at its peak around 25,000 years ago, was particularly rough on the Niagara region, as the Wisconsin glaciation covered most of Canada in dense ice more than a mile thick. This ice mercilessly crushed everything in its path, from forests to mountains.

Then, roughly 12,000 years later, the glacier reversed its movement. Melt from the retreating glacier was channeled through the deep cuts carved in the earth, and the rivers we recognize today — the Hudson, the Ohio, and the great Niagara — were formed.

Eventually, the last ice age ended and the water levels dropped, revealing the freshly cut Niagara Escarpment. Originally, the Niagara River appeared to be a series of massive lakes spilling into one another. Indeed, Lake Erie fell from the top of the escarpment into the small Lake Tanawanda, which in turn spilled into Lake Iroquois. However, as the water tapered off, the ancient lakes took the shape of a river, and the spillways transformed into Niagara Falls.

Niagara Falls has been in formation for thousands and thousands of years, and the landscape continues to change and move with complete disregard to the majesty and wonder it currently inspires. In fact, the
Falls themselves are working to fundamentally alter the scenery, as the rushing waters carve inches off the escarpment every year. Still, all humankind can do is sit back and take note of the incredible power and beauty of nature.