Niagara Falls Blog

Eat Your Heart Out in Abruzzo (in Niagara)

NFHblog1One of the most exciting aspects of any vacation is getting to eat three square meals a day in a brand-new place. From Chicago to Paris to the outback of Australia, food is one of the best reflections of history, culture, people, and place.

While it’s true that almost any trip will afford you new dishes to taste, for the visitor to Niagara, taste is an experience that is second to none. From the many excellent restaurants gracing the city of Niagara Falls to the farm-to-table establishments in the towns and wineries that make up the Niagara Peninsula, eating in Niagara need never be an afterthought.

Nowhere is this truer than in the Rainbow Room, a fine dining Italian restaurant operated under the watchful and creative eye of celebrity chef, Massimo Capra. Born in Italy, Capra routinely offers specialty culinary events at the Rainbow Room centered on the regions or towns of his homeland, and on Friday, March 4th, he’s highlighting Abruzzo.

About Abruzzo

Abruzzo is a region in Italy that covers just over 4,000 square miles and is home to some 1.3 million people. Known as a land of poets and artists, the people hold fast to many forms of traditional artisanship including their pasta making. Considered the greenest area in all of Europe, roughly one third of the area has been set aside as protected nature preserves and national parks. Abruzzo’s parks and reserves are, in many ways, responsible for assisting in the survival of up to 75 percent of the wildlife in Europe, including many rare species such as the Golden Eagle, the Apennine Wolf, and the Small Wading Dotterel. It is a diverse and fertile place, and, of course, it’s known for its cuisine.

Abruzzo Cuisine

True to form, the region of Abruzzo has fantastic food that differs in many ways from other parts of Italy. For instance, roast lamb is a common regional ingredient and is enjoyed in a wide variety of incarnations. Some of the area’s most popular dishes include:

  • Maccheroni alla Chitarra, a pasta that is similar in shape to spaghetti that is formed when pressed through a chitarra.
  • Gnocchi carrati, a dish that includes bacon, pecorino, and eggs.
  • Pastuccia, a polenta stew that features eggs, cheese, and sausage.
  • Pecora al cotturo, which is lamb that has been stuffed with a wide variety of mountain herbs before being cooked in a copper pot.

The Rainbow Room Event

NFHblog2The cuisine of Abruzzo will be on full display during the night of the March 4th culinary event, and each course will be paired with wine from the region as well. Masciarelli Winery is a fantastic winery that started with a vineyard that covered just 2.5 hectares. Today, it boasts over 300 hectares scattered across the Abruzzo region, which allows for wines that aren’t just distinct to Abruzzo but distinct to the many different terroirs within the region. Abruzzo, then, is honored in every bite and sip taken throughout this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

For a taste of Abruzzo while you’re in the heart of Niagara, reserve your seat at the Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra now.


Pairings and Icewine: How to Get It Right

nfnblogj7.jpegTo many people around the world, Niagara’s claim to fame begins and ends with the stunning trio of waterfalls for which it is named. What other reason could there possibly be to travel to the Niagara region except to gaze upon such a majestic and unparalleled onslaught of water?

Well, you could list the restaurants, festivals, biking, fireworks, parks system, and entertainment, but if you want to give a single, simple answer: icewine will suffice. Known as “liquid gold,” icewine is the crown jewel of Niagara’s viticulture in many ways. Delicate, delicious, and difficult to make, icewine is harvested during the winter months but easily enjoyed all year long — especially when you know what to serve it with.

Cheese

Cheese is an ideal companion to icewine, so long as you use cheeses with strong flavor. Milder cheeses tend to disappear in the presence of icewine’s sweetness and complex acidity, which is why you can always choose blue cheeses like Roquefort or Gorgonzola. If you don’t like blue cheese, hard, aged cheeses also work well. Go for a Parmigiano Reggiano or a very aged Sharp Cheddar.

Spicy Foods

Spicy food is another fabulous pairing for icewine’s sweetness. Whether you’re eating Thai, Indian, Mexican, or Creole, the spicier the dish, the better your glass of icewine will taste. Besides the way its sweetness balances the spices present, icewine — because it’s best served chilled — can also serve as a bit of a cooling presence should your mouth start to feel feverish.

Salty Foods

Another great way to enjoy icewine with a meal is to serve it alongside salty dishes. From anchovies to olives and capers, enjoying icewine in conjunction with salt will enhance your experience of both the food and the wine.

Rich Foods

Finding a sweet wine to compliment rich foods such as foie gras, pate, or a meat such as duck can often be tricky. These types of food are higher in fat, and therefore, the dish doesn’t give up much room to the sugars present in a lot of sweeter wines. However, icewine isn’t just a sweet wine; it also has a welcome amount of acidity in it. This complexity allows icewine allows to complement rich food very well.

nfhblog8.jpegDesserts

It may seem counter-intuitive to add a sweet wine to your dessert course, but icewine pairs exceedingly well with sweeter dishes. Because there is such a wide range of icewine available, you can also get remarkably picky about what type of varietal you serve with what type of dessert. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Vidal icewine pairs quite well with a wide range of fruit-based desserts, whether you’re serving a banana pudding, a peach cobbler, or a pineapple upside-down cake.
  • Riesling Icewine is also prefect with citrus, pineapple, honeydew, and kiwi.
  • Cabernet Franc icewine complements berry-centered desserts whether you’re working with strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries. Or, if you’re serving a rich dessert like chocolate, custard, or a crème brulee, look for a Cabernet Franc icewine so that the wine and the creamy richness of your dish won’t be in competition with one another.

Whether you serve it on its own or as an accompaniment to these many food pairing suggestions, Niagara icewine is a treat of exceptional range and quality.


Where to Get a Great Cocktail in Niagara

nfhblog5.jpegNo matter what time of year you visit, vacationing in Niagara will afford you ample opportunity to relax and enjoy yourself. From the casinos and the shopping to the simple pleasure you’re sure to get from taking in the region’s eponymous waterfalls, there is so much to see and do that almost anyone can have a good time here — even the lover of quality cocktails.

While Niagara certainly doesn’t have the speakeasy and prohibition-style cocktail reputation enjoyed by larger urban areas such as New York City, that doesn’t mean the spirits snob will suffer. Here are a handful of places where you can get a great cocktail in the Niagara region, whether you’re enjoying it along with dinner or as the precursor to even more cocktails.

The Rainbow Room

One of the finest restaurants in the region, The Rainbow Room by Massimo Capra also boasts an excellent wine list, a full bar, and a delightful cocktail selection. Whether you make a reservation for dinner or you come in for a mid-afternoon drink and snack — something light and fresh-tasting that will pair well with a salad, for example — you simply cannot go wrong with this establishment. Everything from the food and decor to the view is top-notch, which makes the cocktails taste that much better.

nfhblog6.jpegThe Keg Steakhouse

A chain that has numerous locations throughout Canada, The Keg Steakhouse is a great place to get a steak or a martini. Especially if you like your martinis made in line with the classic style — a.k.a. gin-based — their Cucumber Collins is a must. Hendrick’s Gin is shaken with simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, muddled English cucumber, and fresh rosemary before being topped with a bit of 7up.

Two Black Sheep

Located in St. Hamilton, this small and hip space is the perfect place to grab an unusual and expertly crafted cocktail. Charcuterie plates, local wine, chocolates, oysters, and booze abound. If you’re looking for a cocktail experience that feels like it’s a direct homage to Brooklyn, Two Black Sheep will fit the bill. They’re open every day from 4 p.m. until 2 a.m., and they also feature dollar oysters between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. every day. It’s the perfect place for an early evening hangout or an after the party nightcap.

Avanti Bar and Grill

An Italian restaurant in Niagara Falls, Avanti Bar and Grill can be counted on to provide a good cocktail, regardless of the type of liquor you’re seeking. A simple establishment that features excellent fare, you can easily sit down at the bar and enjoy everything from a Manhattan or a Negroni to a Chocolate Martini. Should you also be hankering for a meal, their pizza is excellent, too. They also offer plenty of beer specials for whenever you decide you need to pace yourself a bit.

Whatever it is that calls you to Niagara, don’t neglect the cocktail-loving side of yourself. Whether you find yourself in Niagara Falls proper or in St. Catharines, the region has plenty of restaurants and bars where your love for fine spirits can be both awakened and sated.


Experience Live Spoons Performance this New Year’s Eve!

HRClub_NewYearsPosterNew Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls is always an exciting time and this year’s celebration is going to be one of the city’s best with a special live performance by legendary Canadian band Spoons at the Hard Rock Club!

Spoons will be playing an exclusive show on December 31st in the one-of-a-kind Hard Rock Club located just steps away from the incredible Niagara Falls. The show is a 19+ event with doors opening at 8pm on December 31st. You can get your tickets now from the Hard Rock Café Niagara Falls or by visiting TicketScene.com. And if you’re a guest at one of four Falls Avenue Resort hotels including the Sheraton on the Falls, Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview, Clifton Victoria Inn, or Skyline Hotel and Waterpark then you’ll also receive $15 off the price of your ticket.

Ring in 2016 with live music and an unforgettable celebration at the Hard Rock Club Niagara Falls and make this a New Year’s Eve you will never forget!


Ring in 2016 with the Kids in Niagara Falls!

balloon-dropThere’s no better place to find family-friendly New Year’s Eve fun than at Adventure City’s exciting Balloon Drop celebration taking place on December 31st! Kicking off at 8:30pm, this exciting event will feature music, dancing, and snacks for children to enjoy as well as an amazing line-up of character mascots including SpongeBob SquarePants, Pink Panther, the Rainforest Café’s Cha Cha the Red Eyed Tree Frog & Ozzie the Orangutan, and the very sweet Miss Kiss Hershey’s Kiss!

All children in attendance will also receive a special gift and will have the chance to watch a New Year’s Eve balloon drop at 8:59pm followed by spectacular fireworks which can be safely and comfortably viewed from inside Adventure City Arcade.

So gather up the kids and head on over to Adventure City this New Year’s Eve for a unique celebration featuring non-stop excitement and fun in a world-class destination!


New Year’s Eve in Niagara is an Experience Like Nowhere Else

fireworksnfSpend a spectacular New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls with family and friends at Niagara’s annual free New Year’s Eve concert in Queen Victoria Park. The picturesque setting, world-class entertainment, and spectacular fireworks show make this an incredibly worthwhile and unforgettable event for locals and visitors alike who are looking for one-of-a-kind New Year’s Eve experiences in direct view of the beautiful Niagara Falls.

This year’s concert starts at 8:00pm and will feature live performances from Tom Cochrane & Red Rider, Dennis Deyoung and the music of Styx, Down With Webster, and Alan Doyle & The Beautiful Gypsies. This musical celebration is a unique event that makes the city come alive with excitement and offers unforgettable Niagara Falls experiences for people of all ages. Ring in 2016 in spectacular style by checking out this amazing free concert in Queen Victoria Park, and kick off 2016 with great music, good company, and breathtaking sights in Niagara Falls!


Celebrate New Year’s Eve In Niagara Falls

image003Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Niagara Falls !

Ring in the New Year in Niagara Falls and join one of Canada’s longest running New Year’s Eve celebrations!

This year’s concert line-up will feature musical performances by Down with Webster, Alan Doyle, Dennis DeYoung, and Tom Cochrane and Red Rider. This highly anticipated free show will begin at 8:00 p.m., in Queen Victoria Park. The outdoor celebration also features a variety of food and beverage options, as well as an outdoor licensed area. Two magnificent fireworks displays will also be launched from the Niagara Gorge and the Skylon Tower, at 9:00 p.m. and again at midnight.


Spotlight on the Niagara Brewing Company

NFHblog3.jpegWine enthusiasts the world over have been taking notice of the Niagara Peninsula for over three decades now thanks to the region’s remarkable wine makers and grape-friendly terroir. It’s a trend that seems to show no sign of slowing as, every year; more and more people realize that Niagara wine is some of the finest in the world.

This emphasis on wine and wine culture can sometimes make the beer enthusiast on vacation to Niagara wonder if there’s anything of merit regarding his or her alcohol of choice. The answer is a resounding, “Yes.” While craft beer brewing is relatively new to the Niagara scene, the results are nevertheless worthy of drinking and praise. Throughout the region, beermakers of all kinds are flexing their muscle and honing their craft, and the Niagara Brewing Company is one of the finest.

The Brewer

Located less than a half mile from the waterfalls, the Niagara Brewing Company finally opened their doors in June of 2015. Located at the site of the former Foxhead Inn, Niagara Brewing Company started in order to fulfill a quest to create daring and memorable beers. And to accomplish that goal, they’ve put a veteran brewer in charge of their brewing operations.

Gord Slater has been working in breweries and brewpubs for over 30 years across all of North America. Seen by many as the founder of Ontario’s craft brewing scene, he was actually one of the people who, in 1984, led the charge to convince the government to move forward with legislation that would legalize brewpubs in the province. Since that time, he has crafted numerous recipes, the most notable in his mind? A hopped German lager that won Best of Show at a beer show in Germany. He brings all that expertise to bear on his efforts at the Niagara Brewing Company.

nfhblog4.jpegThe Beer

The Niagara Brewing Company routinely makes one-of-a-kind beers, but their staples also shine. The Beerdevil IPA honors the daredevils of Niagara Falls with a flavor that is not for the faint of heart. Hoppy and malty, it’s well-balanced, but also just a little bit off its rocker. The Amber Eh? Ale is a traditional ale that’s light and toasty with just a hint of hops. The Niagara Premium Lager is exactly what you’d expect from a smooth, clean, and crisp lager, but it gains just enough specificity from its slight sweetness and hint of citrus.

Beer on Ice

Another great thing about the Niagara Brewing Company is they don’t content themselves with simply conducting business as usual. Beer on Ice, a beer-centered event slated to take place on February 5th, couples Niagara icewine with specialty chocolate beers crafted for the event by Gord Slater. For anyone who loves beer or wine — or both — it promises to be an evening unlike any other. Guests can meet Gord Slater, and, in addition to tasting the brews, they can also enjoy food pairings selected exclusively for the event.

Beer may not yet be as synonymous with Niagara as wine, but with the help of breweries like Niagara Brewing Company, it soon will be. So the next time you come to Niagara, be sure to spend some time exploring the taps.


2 Must-See Niagara Musical Events Just Around the Corner

NFHblog1.jpegWhen people consider taking a vacation to a city in order to get the most out of its musical entertainment, thoughts of Las Vegas, Toronto, and New York spring readily to mind. After all, the music offerings in such towns are some of the most storied in all of North America. For the individual, couple, or family headed to Niagara Falls on a vacation, thoughts of entertainment certainly abound, but they may not stray far from waterfalls, arcades, casinos, and wine, and while those opportunities are abundant, so is world-class music.

If you’re a music lover headed to Niagara Falls this winter, don’t assume music won’t make it onto your vacation’s itinerary. Here are two must-see Niagara musical events that are second-to-none and right around the corner.

Songwriters

On January 23rd, John Oates will be the featured headliner of the Songwriters series curated and showcased at Fallsview Casino. John Oates is one of the founding members of Hall & Oates, a duo that has sold millions of records around the world thanks to wildly popular songs like “Kiss on My List,” “Man Eater,” “Every Time You Go Away,” “Rich Girl,” “Private Eyes,” and many more. John Oates has also put out numerous solo records, and for the Songwriters event, he will share his journey as a songwriter with the evening’s audience.

Stories will be told. Inspiration will be discussed, and plenty of songs will be sung. For anyone who wants to better understand the inner workings of one of the world’s most acclaimed pop songwriters, while also being thoroughly entertained with some of the best pop music of the last 30 years, this event should not be missed. The evening starts at 8:30pm, and ticket prices are just $40.

NFHblog2.jpegWorld Rock Symphony Orchestra

Not too long ago, North America experienced something called The British Invasion, and it had nothing at all to do with a military. Instead, the reference referred to music from across the pond that was so compelling and popular it seemed to completely take over the airwaves, so that anything from American or Canadian rock and rollers was — in contrast — seemingly ignored.

Well, the World Rock Symphony Orchestra is a tribute to that era of exceptional British rock and then some. With more than 50 members, the WRSO boasts a full gospel choir, an orchestra’s entire brass, woodwind, string, and percussion sections, a six-piece rock and roll band, and six lead singers. It’s an experience of the best in British rock set to a true rock and roll symphony, and it will feature songs from The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Supertramp, Elton John, The Zombies, and many, many more.

For eight days, the World Rock Symphony Orchestra will take the Fallsview Casino stage, which means so long as you’re in Niagara between January 22nd and January 30th, you should be able to catch the show. Matinee and evening shows are available, and tickets start at $25.

No matter why you’re in Niagara Falls this January, be sure to set aside time for music, so you can enjoy a British rock and roll symphony, an intimate night with an esteemed songwriter, or both.


4 Lesser-Known Niagara Museums Perfect for Low-Key Afternoons

NFHBlog7.jpegAs any local or regular visitor to Niagara can tell you, the place is full of entertainment options. Arcades, nature hikes, bird watching, musical theater, indoor water parks, concerts, and more— from sun-up to long past sun-down, there really is always plenty of fun to be had. In fact, there’s so much fun to be had in Niagara that it’s hard to keep track of all of it — especially when what you need is something to do on a low-key afternoon.

If you’re planning a trip to Niagara in the next little while, and you’d like to partake of some of the lesser-known entertainment options so as to not exert too much energy before nightfall, here is a closer look at four museums that are sure to delight.

The Wedding Museum

Since Niagara Falls is known as the Honeymoon Capitol of the World, it’s only fitting that a wedding museum should also exist within its city limits. Visitors will enjoy looking over wedding dresses and tuxedos that reach from the present day all the back into the 1870s. In addition to wedding attire, there is a large collection of other women’s and men’s clothing dating back into the 1830s. The Wedding Museum is also the home to an impressive hat collection that spans almost two centuries, and many of these pieces are on display, too.

Lundy’s Lane Historical Museum

NFHBlog8.jpegLocated in a historic two-story limestone building that’s almost 150 years old, the Lundy’s Lane Historical Museum marks and commemorates the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, the Battle of Chippawa, and the War of 1812 overall. An expansive collection of artifacts related to the time and the war is housed in the museum, including numerous rare prints of Niagara Falls over the years. Open to curious visitors and researchers alike, the museum offers hours throughout the year in an attempt to keep the history of the region — and the early 19th-century war that affected it so greatly — alive. The museum also includes artifacts and displays related to the African Experience in Niagara Falls, as the region was an important stopping point for escaped slaves from the United States before the Civil War.

The Willoughby Historical Museum

While it’s only open to tours during the offseason by appointment, a visit to the Willoughby Historical Museum will afford you a chance to see artifacts from around the region, as well as insight into what life would have been like a hundred years earlier in Willoughby and Chippawa when Canadians lived a much more rural existence. In addition to preserving history, the museum also houses genealogical records that reach back generations. For anyone with ancestry local to the area, it’s a fascinating and unparalleled resource.

The Battleground Hotel Museum

Another museum to mark the Battle of Lundy’s Lane, the Hotel Museum sits on top of a portion of the Lundy’s Lane battlefield directly across from the Drummond Hill Cemetery, where some of the worst fighting of the War of 1812 occurred. Visits to this museum are guided and include tours of rooms that look much the same way a tavern would have looked back in the early 19th century. Open daily from May until November, visitors during the winter months are still able to book a tour through appointment.

Whether you love exploring more of the region’s history or you’re just looking for a lazy and interesting way to spend an afternoon, these four museums offer a unique look into one of the world’s most fascinating regions.