Country Elegance

I like to think of myself as a country girl at heart. I'm happiest on dirt country roads, surrounded by nature, and eating home grown food.

This weekend we took off an hour outside the city for a weekend of incredible local fare.

We arrived at Hockley Valley Resort in the late afternoon, settled into our room, and I took off to the garden to take some photos.  I walked past rows of planted basil, rosemary, carrots and kale and felt right at home.

Afterwards we relaxed on the patio with an aperitif, a salad picked from that very garden for me, and a burger for John.

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I was smart to eat light, because I spent the next few hours in the kitchen with a Top Chef eating some of the most beautifully prepared dishes I've ever had.

Details to come in an article!

Top Chef Dinner

The next day we lounged by the pool before taking off on a food adventure in the country.

A couple we met at the resort were food enthusiasts and told us that we had to go to Mono Cliffs Inn restaurant a 15 minute drive away.

"Try the pâté!"

"Go down to the wine cellar!"

"People fly all the way from New York to go here!"

With broken reception and our GPS not registering the address, the country roads eventually led us to Mono Centre, where we found the Mono Cliff Inn, a small shop and a church.

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We settled ourselves on the patio with a few other tables and were presented with a daily menu.

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This was not the kind of food you'd expect in a small country town. The menu was thoughtfully put together, included a lot ethnic twists and some of my personal favourites (calamari with sriracha mayo, escargots, kale salad...)

I started with a glass of house Riesling.

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And we orded the chicken liver pâté to share.

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It was rich and smooth and tasted like pure country elegance. Accompanied by pickled onions with caraway seeds, pickled cucumber, radish, cauliflower, a hot pepper, olives, capers, and crispy bread, it was the perfect way to start our meal.  Sweet, salty, savoury, and enough to wet our appetites without weighing us down.

For my main I ordered the beautifully marinaded kale salad with grilled cauliflower and topped with fresh cheese while John went all out for the bison burger.

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We seemed to be surrounded by regulars, with one elderly gentleman very dissapointed that his usual quiche wasn't on the menu that day.  He settled for his favourite Caesar salad instead.

We drove home happy, myself a little tipsy from my second glass of Riesling, and ready to come back for dinner on another weekend.

We never did make it down to the wine cellar after all.