Thursday, 8 June 2017

Conversations Cafe & Bistro - Beamsville

4995 King Street

Conversations is a casual, comfortable space that has steadily grown in its offerings since it arrived in Beamsville. There are a variety of seating arrangements available including sunny tables in the front window, cozy armchairs surrounding the fireplace, big booths for larger groups, and small tables tucked into nooks. In nicer weather, there is a covered patio area beside the back entrance.

When I asked specifically about vegan options, the response was enthusiastic:  "if you ever want to order a personalized salad ahead of time (with / without certain items) we are happy to accommodate that–if you call, we could make it for you ahead of time and have it ready for you when you arrive."

They offer almond milk that can be used in any of the tea or coffee beverages listed. For breakfast, they have a vegan fruit cup. For lunch or dinner, they have an assortment of salads available that are anything but your regular greens and a cherry tomato, including:

- The Classic Chef Salad
- The Spinach & Walnut Salad
- Greek Salad (without feta)
- Asian Chicken Salad (without chicken)
- Roasted beet salad (without feta)
- Arugula salad (without feta)
- Quinoa Salad (seasonal)

They were unable to guarantee that all of the salad dressings were vegan, but suggested, "if you wanted to bring your own confirmed-vegan dressing in, we would just need to know your name ahead of time so that we can record the "outside food's" entry into the restaurant, due to health & safety regulations."

They do seem eager to accommodate as best they can. Further, they said, "Always let our staff know your dietary needs; we will be happy to do our best to make salads without cross contamination, and also will know not include any cheese or chicken

Here is their full menu.

The bathrooms are clean and spacious.

There is a parking lot at the back entrance with additional street parking on King Street and a city lot 100 metres up North Lane.

Monday to Saturday - 7am to 10pm
Sunday - 8am to 6pm

How to Connect:
Phone: 289-566-9365

Thursday, 1 June 2017

The Lemon Tree - St. Catharines

A1-395 Ontario Street
St. Catharines, ON

Phone: 289-362-4000

My first thought is just to say "wow". This little gem has been in this location for 2-1/2 years, and somehow, I had never ventured in. I'm so glad that I finally did.

The Lemon Tree is a Mediterranean bistro with a decidedly Greek leaning. Greek salad, hummus, tzatziki, pita bread. All kinds of deliciousness. Check out their menu.

I started off sharing the bruschetta and really enjoyed it.  I don't know the brand of mozzarella that was used, but it was delicious; no chemical aftertaste. For my main entree, I had the veggie skewers. They were perfectly caramelized on the grill and especially tasty when I dipped them in the tzatziki sauce. The meal also came with roasted lemon potatoes (my favourite), and steamed veggies (broccoli, cauliflower).

The lunch options were even more plentiful:

Bruschetta, cheese platter, hummus dip, tzatziki dip, and Mediterranean pizza.
Salads, Soups, and Fries:
Soup of the day, Caesar salad, Greek salad, Garden salad, fries, poutine.
Vegan wrap, Chick'n wrap, Open chick'n sub, vegan burger.

The service was great (thanks Nicole), just the right tempo.

We didn't stay for coffee and dessert, but they do offer soy milk if you want.

Washrooms were ample and clean. Parking is mall parking, free and plentiful.

They also have takeout (phone as above) and delivery as well.

Sunday to Thursday - 11am to 9 pm
Friday & Saturday - 11am to 10 pm

How to Connect:

Monday, 29 May 2017

Easy Homemade Salad Dressings

Here are a couple of homemade salad dressing recipes that take less then 4 minutes to make and are delicious:

Greek Salad Dressing:

3 parts lemon juice
4 parts red wine vinegar
6 parts olive oil
sugar, to taste
minced garlic to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Mince those garlic gloves and then combine everything else. Give it a good shake and you're ready to dig in. I like to use a small mason jar for mixing the vinaigrette, to ensure that the seal stays tight when I shake it.

Balsamic Vinaigrette:

5 parts balsamic vinegar
5 parts olive oil
1 part dijon mustard
pinch of dried basil
salt and pepper to taste

Combine, shake well.

Next week, how to create your own salad bar.