Ahh.. nothing like a wine trip in the spring
We visited the Twenty Valley wine region in Jordan, Ontario. Tasted a whole bunch of beautiful wines all over the area during our two-day visit and decided to make a reservation at Inn on the Twenty for dinner.
We had emailed twice in advance, asking to have some information sent back about the vegan options. I noticed that a couple of the appetizers looked promising (a couple things looked like they could be veganized easily, and worst case scenario there was a definitely-vegan salad that didn’t sound too boring). For entrees, I saw a vegetable risotto on the menu. That’s what I was mostly concerned about. Would there be cream, butter or cheese in the risotto? I was basically wondering, would I have to get two apps? Or could I have a “normal” dinner and have an app and an entree like the rest of my party.
The restaurant ended up not emailing or calling us back, but had definitely received our email. As soon as we sat down, the server let us know she knew who we were, and had heard that there was a vegan in the party. She ran down the menu letting me know which items were vegan and understood my restrictions perfectly. (For some reason, I guess this is a bit tricky for some people… “You mean you’re not gluten-free? What’s the difference? What do you eat?”…. )
She was very helpful and wonderful, and I decided to try the Heirloom Beets without the goat cheese. Thyme-roasted yellow, candy-striped and red beets, toasted hazelnuts, sorrel and sherry vinaigrette. It was served on a little black slab that kind of looked like a blackboard. I added a touch of extra salt because I like salty food, I think a little bit of fancy salt flakes or crystals would do well here. The beets themselves were quite good. I’m sure the soft tanginess of the goat cheese goes very well here to complement them.
Did you know there’s such a thing as vegan goat-cheese-style cheese? It’s usually made with cashews, and you can create the same realistic cheesy-tanginess by culturing it the same way you make real cheese. I bet it would work really well here, too.
It turned out the risotto was, in fact, totally vegan. As-is. No substitutions or omissions necessary. I was very pleasantly surprised to hear this and ordered the risotto. It’s made with watercress puree, sweet peas, spinach, toasted quinoa and radish.
It was very springy and fresh. Very light-tasting, so I was actually able to eat the whole thing. It was cooked to perfection – creamy, but with each grain separate, and slightly al dente. Not too much liquid but not dry. Just exactly right.
I felt very fancy and mature eating this perfectly cooked risotto and sipping on a glass of nice wine in such a nice restaurant.
For dessert, I believe sorbet was the only vegan thing on the menu. Since I wasn’t completely stuffed after finishing my risotto and we were still finishing our wine, I decided to try all three flavours of sorbet they had that night. Since I didn’t write them down, I couldn’t tell you exactly what flavours they were, other than that they were the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Very delicious.
I had an excellent dinner at the Inn on the Twenty restaurant. Everyone we talked to during our trip raved about this place and how much they love it. The staff treated us like gold, and you can tell everyone who works here takes their job very seriously. It’s the little things that can take a dining experience from good to great, so when the staff is professional, welcoming and genuinely nice, you know you’re going to have a wonderful evening. I could tell just from the way we were greeted when we first walked in that the food was going to be excellent, just because they obviously take care with every little detail in this place.
And of course, not batting an eyelid when I ask what on the menu is vegan is always an extra 20 bonus points in my book.
If you love good wine and good food, consider making a reservation at Inn on the Twenty next time you’re in the Niagara wine region.