A Lunch at Langdon Hall

20170816_144448 (2)A trip to the elegant and luxurious Langdon Hall has been on my “must do” list for something like….forever! The beautiful Relais & Châteaux designated estate (the only such property in Ontario) offers a unique hotel, spa and restaurant experience. Based on a strict criteria for the highest order of service, character, and cuisine, it is a favoured destination for special anniversaries and birthdays. The perfect place to pamper your body and your belly.

After months of hint dropping about this gourmet food heaven, the boy planned a funventure escape to Cambridge with a lunch reservation in the Main Dining Room of the Hall. With the sun high in the sky, we made the one hour drive that concluded with a treelined winding drive to the 75-acre estate and the mansion on top of the hill.

The massive main house sits surrounded by woods, an orchard, and private seasonal gardens that are a primary source for the Langdon kitchen. As we made our way around the estate, a soft murmur of conversation drifted from the area around the sparkling lily pond where guests engulfed in fluffy robes flitted between the spa, the pool, and the former stables turned guest suites. This is what I call “la dolce vita” – the sweet life.

20170816_115656 (2) 20170816_115907 (2)20170816_115913 (2)But the boy and I headed for the dining room of the 120-year-old main house and the star attraction of Langdon Hall, the seasonal creative cuisine that I had been salivating over for months.

Although most of the guests chose the sunny patio for their lunch spot, we sat in the cool of the dining room and feasted on beautifully presented mains and gloriously rich desserts served with tea from Langdon Hall’s extensive tea collection (they offer 48 varieties!). With prices representative of the quality of ingredients and service, the cost of a meal may be prohibitive to some but I have three words for all those considering a visit….ALL WORTH IT!20170816_120510 (2)20170816_120335 (2)     20170816_120515 (2)20170816_120249 (2)20170816_124848 (2)20170816_124918 (2)20170816_124932 (2)     20170816_132801 (2)20170816_121834 (2)20170816_121629 (2)20170816_121808 (2)      20170816_121734 (2)20170816_121741 (2)20170816_121714_HDR (2)20170816_121700 (2)    20170816_121705 (2)20170816_121608 (2)20170816_143148 (2)20170816_143006 (2)20170816_143011 (2)     20170816_143405 (2)20170816_143713 (2)20170816_143951 (2)20170816_143840 (2)20170816_144252 (2)20170816_144235 (2)21640622_10154686451466046_1358031544_oWe were blown away by all aspects of what Landgon Hall has to offer.  Not only were we treated to an exquisite meal and attentive service, but the buildings and the grounds reflect the the highest level of care and attention to detail. A visit to Langdon Hall truly feels like an escape into luxury…even if for a few hours. I hope you experience it yourself soon!

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Birthday Surprises in Chatham

Retro Suites Hotel, Chatham, OntarioAnyone who knows me knows how much I love birthdays (especially my own)! Every year, I take a fiendish delight in planning a birthday scavenger hunt for the boy, a trip into the unknown filled with food and fun. All he has to do is follow Brigitta’s (our appropriately christened dictatorial gps) directions to the surprise destinations. The boy’s birthday is usually accompanied by a beautiful autumn sun and vibrantly hued foliage as we wind our way through Ontario’s back roads.

Unfortunately, my birthday doesn’t have the same fate. Falling smack dab in the middle of January, I’m lucky if the world is covered by a white blanket of snow and the crisp air pinches my face with frost. More often, grey slush coats the streets under heavy ashen clouds. Apparently, this year, in the first 26 days of January, we were lucky to see 12 hours of sunlight. Yikes!

Although the boy makes every attempt to make my birthday special, the weather foils most of his elaborate surprises. Curse you snow belt! That is why this year, I was shocked when he instructed me to pack an overnight bag for a birthday escape! Beside myself with all the suspense, I peppered him with questions and begged for clues. I did get 3. None of which came close to discovering our final destination, Chatham, Ontario.

Retro Suites Hotel, Chatham OntarioFacade of Retro Suites Chatham, ON         Fire Escape at Retro Suites in Chatham, ON              Front Door of Retro Suites in Chatham, ONIn the heart of downtown Chatham sits a remarkable getaway destination. The Retro Suites Hotel. It is exactly what a surprise escape should be. A turn of the century building conversion that preserves historic architecture and combines it with a wonderland of modern art, vintage artefacts, and 45 individually styled rooms. Within an hour drive of London, it is the perfect place to work, play or stay.

Decor at Retro Suites in Chatham, ONFull View of the Retro Suites Front Lobby - Chatham, ON        Eccentric Decor of Retro Suites in Chatham Ontario           Fornasetti lamp at Retro Suites in Chatham OntarioFun Decor Details in Retro Suites - Chatham, ON      Feather Pink Lampshade in the Lobby of Retro Suites in Chatham, ON         Front Lobby - Retro Suites in Chatham, ONLooking Down at Retro Suites Front Lobby - Chatham, ON3D Art Inside Retro Suites - Chatham, ONRetro Suites in Chatham Ontario     Cobblestones and Cappuccinos at Retro Suites in Chatham, ON          Vintage Elvis Microphone in Retro Suites - Chatham, ON With a great deal of squeeling and a million ohs and ahs on my part (boy, did he get this right!), we checked into room 217 “The Study”.

The Study - Retro Suites in Chatham, ON  Design Details of the Study - Retro Suites in Chatham, ON    Close up of Books Inside The Study - Retro Suites - Chatham, ONBookcases Inside The Study - Retro Suites in Chatham, ON       Door Leading into The Study of Retro Suites in Chatham, ON          Cobblestones and Cappuccinos inside The Study - Retro Suites in Chatham, ONArtwork in a Hidden Hallway - Retro Suites in Chatham, ONArtwork in the Halls of Retro Suites in Chatham, ONTennis Racquet Art Inside the Chilled Cork restaurant in Chatham, ON    3D Toy Car Art inside Retro Suites - Chatham, ON      Rolling Stones Inspired Artwork - Retro Suites in Chatham, ONUnique Artwork - Retro Suites - Chatham, ON    Red Sculpture - Artwork Inside the Retro Suites in Chatham, ON      Art in the Retro Suites - Chatham, ONColourful Sculpture Inside Retro Suites - Chatham, ON   Colourful Artwork at Retro Suites in Chatham, ON                Vintage Milk Dispenser - Retro Suites Decor in Chatham, ONI woke up on Sunday morning (my official birthday) to golden streamers of sunshine creeping in through the blinds. It was the perfect start to the day.

And since I’m a breakfast girl, we took in a lazy brunch at the Chilled Cork Restaurant & Lounge, the hotel’s equally eclectic restaurant. The place slowly filled with hotel guests and locals, a morning symphony of chatter, clanking utensils, and sighs of culinary delight followed. The menu, like the space, did not disappoint in either innovation or taste. The boy and I tucked into a cheese and ham omelet, hash potatoes, and strawberry and chocolate french toast. It was worth the linger.

Tables Inside the Chilled Cork restaurant in Chatham, ON     Vintage Poster in the Chilled Cork restaurant in Chatham, ON         Closeup of Tennis Racquet Art Inside the Chilled Cork restaurant in Chatham, ONInside the Chilled Cork restaurant in Chatham, ONInside the Chilled Cork restaurant in Chatham, ONBack Room of the Chilled Cork restaurant in Chatham, ON      Sunday brunch, Chilled Cork Restaurant, Chatham, Ontario           Chilled Cork Restaurant, Retro Suites Hotel, Chatham OntarioRetro Suites Hotel, Chatham OntarioWe took off for London shortly after brunch. The streets of downtown Chatham were quiet and still as we wove our way toward the highway. It was a beautiful and sun-filled drive back home. Birthday 2017 totally rocked!

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A Morning Date with Edgar & Joe

Edgar and Joe's Cafe Interior | London, ONI am a diehard advocate of, in my humble opinion, the most important meal of the day – BREAKFAST! Whether hot or cold, at home or out, I always start my day on a full stomach.

The boy is, by now, familiar with the sound of my alarm clock gently tinkling in the darkness. It urges me up at 6am (two and a half hours before I leave for work) so that I can indulge in my ritual of a steaming cup and a warm breakfast. Always warm! My tastes run from a smooth egg scramble with bacon to warm apple and cheese filled crepes. Sunday is always a Dutch Baby extravaganza! All a bit time consuming in my bleary eyed state. But well worth it.

However, I cherish the days when I can hand over breakfast making duties to the experts. Enter my other favourite boys, Edgar & Joe‘s. Edgar and Joe's Cafe Sign | London, ONIt’s a little spot that has found a firm hold in London’s blossoming downtown.

Part of the Goodwill Industries, it touts itself as a cafe with a purpose, serving fresh, local, and affordable food that keep the patrons coming back.

Chalkboard Menu at Edgar and Joe's Cafe | London, ONInterior of Edgar and Joe's Cafe | London, ONDecor Lighting at Edgar and Joe's Cafe | London, ONCoffee Preparation at Edgar's and Joe's Cafe | London, ONItems for Sale at Edgar and Joe's Cafe | London, ONItems for Sale at Edgar and Joe's Cafe | London, ON   Table and Decor at Edgar and Joe's Cafe | London, ONDecor at Edgar and Joe's Cafe | London, ONBarista Preparing Coffee at Edgar and Joe's Cafe | London, ONCappuccinos at Edgar and Joe's Cafe | London, ON      Cappuccinos at Edgar and Joe's Cafe | London, ONBreakfast at Edgar and Joe's Cafe | London, ONSo if your tummy starts to rumble at the sight of the last pic, grab a spot at Edgar & Joe’s and start your day off right!

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Dipping into Delicious at Revive Kitchen

20160806_173043 It has been a little more than a week since the end of another successful Londonlicious event. Although the boy and I popped into a few favourites, Revive Kitchen, a new kid on the restaurant block, was the best of the lot.

We had passed by the location on Wellington a number of times, staring at the paper plastered windows and wondering what would take the place of the former Organic Works Bakery.  To my delight, the new restaurant anchoring the up and coming SoHo neighbourhood and headed by the gracious and affable Executive Chef Alfred Estephan and Chef de Cuisine Ashton Gillespie, not only incorporated the delicious treats of Organic Works but upped the ante on innovative, elegant cuisine in London, Ontario.

Lighting, Revive Kitchen, London Ontario       Patio, Revive Kitchen, London Ontario, View from the kitchen, Revive Kitchen, London OntarioRevive sign, Revive Kitchen, London Ontario        Restaurant interior, Revive Kitchen, London OntarioWine selection, Revive Kitchen, London OntarioChef Alfred Estephan, Revive Kitchen, London OntarioView of kitchen, Revive Kitchen, London OntarioGenerous portions of seasonal and locally-sourced ingredients blend into offerings that are at once comforting and familiar, yet have a contemporary twist in preparation techniques, combinations of flavours, and presentation. And the light filled restaurant has a quiet elegance that doesn’t take away from the food. I personally enjoyed the huge window that allows for a theatrical view into the kitchen where the magic happens (although my highlight was taking a sneak peak behind the scene with Chef Alfred…it was an honour!).

Beef sirloin dinner, Revive Kitchen, London Ontario      Lamb shank dinner, Revive Kitchen, London OntarioTomato appetizer, Revive Kitchen, London OntarioCappuccino semi fredo, Revive Kitchen, London Ontario     Strawberry short cake, Revive Kitchen, London OntarioRestaurant interior, Revive Kitchen, London OntarioAlthough I encourage all of you to reserve a spot for lunch or dinner and indulge in Revive Kitchen‘s offerings, if you only have a moment for a coffee and a quick treat, stop in at the coffee bar for a warm cup  and a fresh, organic, gluten and allergen free sweet delight.

Coffee bar, Revive Kitchen, London Ontario

I hope you take the time to visit this new addition to London. It is well worth it!

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Railway City Arts Crawl, St Thomas

Fox painting by Katelyn Tippin featured at The Railway City Arts Crawl in St. Thomas Ontario

Original art work by Katelyn Tippin

 

With temperatures this weekend showing some signs of warming up, it’s the perfect time to head outside and explore. The boy and I love finding ways to celebrate local art and culture, and after receiving a tip I knew I had to share this with all of you!

Just 15 minutes outside of London, a FREE winter event will spark your creativity and imagination. The St. Thomas Railway City Arts Crawl features 40 artists in a dozen locations displaying paintings, installations, scultpture, and even jewellery. There is nothing more exciting than meeting talented people who produce original artwork and having the opportunity to chat with them in person.

The event starts tonight from 6 -9 PM and runs until tomorrow afternoon 11-5 PM. Be sure to pick up the event passport, which also serves as a guide to the venues and artists, and collect stamps at each location. A stamped passport will qualify you to win some amazing prizes!!!

And if that wasn’t enough, a firework display and a deliciously catered After Party with live music at the Midtown Tavern will cap off the night! So I urge you to find some FUN in FEBRUARY and head out to the Arts Crawl!