Tag: steak

    Best of Access Niagara – My visits to Canyon Creek Chophouse

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    This is a continuation of my “Best of Access Niagara” series. This series looks back on popular posts, highly commented posts, my favourite places, etc.

    It looks like my first mention of Canyon Creek Chophouse was in April 2007 as a result of a newsletter from the city talking about how they had opened. To tell you the truth, I had never set foot in either Casino before, and had no idea there was a big shopping area inside the Fallsview Casino. I had heard about the buffet, but I assumed everything was connected to the gaming floor somehow.

    Anyway, at some point I was contacted by someone who worked there and they offered me a complimentary meal in exchange for writing about the restaurant. I took my family there (5 of us) and had an amazing dinner. It was so good, that my wife and I continued to go for many years (and we paid our own way!). Whenever someone would ask me about a good restaurant in the area, I would always tell them about Canyon Creek Chophouse.

    The restaurant is situated right up against the windows on the back side of the Fallsview Casino building, so you get a great view of the Falls.

    The menu has changed quite a bit. We went a year or two ago, and they didn’t have the same items, and we were both really disappointed. We tried a couple of other things, and just didn’t care for them. I’m sure it is still a popular restaurant, but it’s not really one that we’ll go back to again.

    Here is a post I put up about an anniversary dinner I had there with my wife.

    My anniversary dinner at Canyon Creek Chophouse

    Visit other pages from the “Best of Access Niagara” series:

    Dinner at Sparks Steakhouse – Part 2

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    If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check out the Dinner at Sparks Steakhouse – Part 1 posting…

    As I mentioned, a couple of weeks ago my wife and I went to Sparks Steakhouse for dinner. We were expecting to go in, order a couple of meals, and then be done. To our surprise, we were given the opportunity to try many items on the menu, and were thoroughly impressed

    Note: The meal was courtesy of Sparks Steakhouse. I hope that you accept my comments here honest, and not just because they offered me a complimentary meal. The food truly was amazing, and the service was exceptional.

    You can see the Sparks Steakhouse menu on their web site.

    MEDITERRANEAN BRUSCHETTAWhen we first sat down, we were given a bread basket and small plate with olive oil and seasoning that you could put on the bread. It was very good. They then brought us some Mediterranean Bruschetta. My wife and I are not big tomato eaters, so we did take a few of the tomatoes off. It is made with naan bread, and has a Mediterranean sauce drizzled over it. It was delicious.

    We then had a plate that had a sampling of Nova Scotia Lobster Cakes, Calamari Fritti, and Garlic Shrimp. They were all tasty, but I was most impressed with the shrimp. It truly was “jumbo” with the meaty part of the shrimp being as thick as my thumb. If you like shrimp, these would definitely be for you.

    Then came the Onion Soup. Our server made sure to emphasize that the broth is all homemade. The cheese on top was perfect, and the soup was great.

    Our sampling of the various entrées included Stuffed Chicken, Filet Mignon, and New York Classic (steak). We love chicken dishes, and thought the Stuffed Chicken was truly amazing. The chicken was moist and the stuffing of spinach, peppers, and goat cheese added the perfect flavouring. I love a good piece of beef and these did not disappoint. The Filet Mignon almost melted in your mouth, and the New York Classic was as good a piece of steak I’ve ever had. These came with some yummy mashed potatoes and candied squash. As you can see by the menu online, these entrées can be pricey, but they really are delicious. If you have a child with you, they eat free with any of these entrées, so you can save a bit of money there.

    We don’t drink alcohol, so I can’t comment on their wine/spirits selection. We did have a virgin raspberry daiquiri, which was great. We had water with our meal, which was served in a glass bottle with a snap lid (it looked very nice). We also had a bottle of S Pellegrino sparkling water.

    Throughout the meal, our server Walter kept coming by to make sure everything was fine, and to answer any questions. He was very knowledgeable about the food and we were quite happy to have him as the server for the evening.

    Finally, to top it all off, we shared an Apple Blossom for dessert.

    I am not a professional food critic, so I don’t always have the right words to describe what I’m tasting and feeling. All I can say is that we left Sparks Steakhouse that night, having just enjoyed the best restaurant meal we’ve ever had. If you like good food, and don’t mind paying a premium for it, then you should definitely check it out.

     

    Dinner at Sparks Steakhouse – Part 1

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    Back in August I blogged about a new restaurant in Niagara Falls, Sparks Steakhouse. This used to be the location of The Beef Baron on Centre St, but at some point it had re-opened as two separate restaurants. One portion of the building is Maharaja Grand which sells South Asian (Indian) food, while another part is Sparks Steakhouse.

    A couple of weeks ago I received an email from the General Manager. He had seen my posting, and invited me to come and check it out. Well, about two weeks ago my wife and I went and had the most wonderful meal.

    Note: The meal was courtesy of Sparks Steakhouse. I hope that you accept my comments here honest, and not just because they offered me a complimentary meal. The food truly was amazing, and the service was exceptional.

    Seeing as I was there on a cold night in late Fall, the restaurant was not very busy. This gave me lots of time to chat with our server, Walter, as well as one of the owners. Jordan, the General Manager, was not there that night.

    The original owners of The Beef Baron sold the restaurant to someone several years ago. The restaurant continued under that new ownership until this past Spring, when the current ownership bought it. I commented that I hadn’t really seen any promotion for the new restaurants, and they said they originally had some plans, but then were delayed. Despite the lack of advertising, they had a very good summer.

    The new owners have the rights to The Beef Baron name, but decided to go a different direction. With plans to open part of the building as a restaurant selling South Asian (Indian) food, they wanted to  choose a name that was less “beef” themed (cows are considered sacred in the Hindu faith). They decided on the name Sparks Steakhouse, and decided to use a mobster theme. There are prints on the walls of John Gotti and others.

    Although the two restaurants are in the same building, they are two distinct restaurants. The large doors are for Maharaja Grand, and a smaller door on the right is for Sparks Steakhouse. On the evening we were there, since business was slow, they were using only the main doors (you can get from one restaurant to the other from inside). As we walked into Maharaja Grand, you could smell a hint of spices that would be used when cooking South Asian (Indian) food. However, as soon as we walked over to the Sparks Steakhouse side, the smell was gone. When the separate door to Sparks Steakhouse is used, I would assume you wouldn’t notice the smell of spices at all. We asked about this, and was told that they are very aware that people may have concerns about going into a steakhouse and they won’t smell the steak. We were told that food is cooked on different stoves/grills in the kitchen, and that the exhaust fans are always running to minimize the smell. I’m not sure what it would be like when the restaurants are a lot busier, but it seemed fine when we were there.

    The restaurant is very nicely decorated. My wife said it was “classy, but comfortable”. We enjoy good food, but overly “fancy” restaurants kind of make us uncomfortable. Sparks Steakhouse is definitely on the higher end of restaurants that we would go to, but compared to others we’ve been to, felt quite comfortable there. The lighting was low, but not too dim. Since we were there near the beginning of the Christmas season, there was some nice classic Christmas background music.

    Here are a few other pictures I took while inside the restaurant:

    Be sure to read the Dinner at Sparks Steakhouse – Part 2 posting…

    $189 Gourmet Casino Package

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    Last week I received the latest newsletter from Niagara Hospitality Hotels, the operator of the The Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls.

    To subscribe to the newsletter, click on the Email Deals link on the main page of their site.

    Couple’s Getaway Packages

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    Last week I received the latest newsletter from Niagara Hospitality Hotels, the operator of the The Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls.

    To subscribe to the newsletter, click on the Email Deals link on the main page of their site.

    Gourmet Getaway & Magic Show

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    Last week I received the latest newsletter from Niagara Hospitality Hotels, the operator of the The Oakes Hotel Overlooking the Falls.

    To subscribe to the newsletter, click on the Email Deals link on the main page of their site.

    Our latest stay at the Doubletree Fallsview Resort & Spa by Hilton – Niagara Falls

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    In the middle of April, I had the opportunity to stay at the Doubletree Fallsview Resort & Spa by Hilton – Niagara Falls with my family. We had stayed there about 2 1/2 years ago (see here, here, and here), and enjoyed it quite a bit. It seemed that almost every time we drove into Niagara Falls and we saw the Doubletree, my kids would always ask when we could stay again. Our stay this time was just as enjoyable as before.

    We checked in around 4 pm and were greeted by friendly staff. My kids loved the warm chocolate chip cookies. They also each got a very nice kids backpack (the kind that only has one strap), a Frisbee, a hacky sack, binoculars and more. The binoculars were just these little plastic things, but they worked, and the kids loved them. In fact, they had them out yesterday playing with them. The backpack had the Doubletree name on it, but I’m not sure if all kids get them or if you only get it with certain rooms/packages.

    As indicated before (it was the same room as last time… 1901), the room was huge, and beautiful. All of the features that were there before, were still there. There were 2 king-size beds, as well as a pull-out couch. The WiFi Internet worked well. The rooms were quiet, and provided a great view of both the Falls and the city.

    After checking out our room, we got changed and headed down to the pool. We were the only ones there, which is probably good since my kids are pretty loud! The pool is a saltwater pool, which I thought might be a problem for the kids (not used to it), but I think they liked it better as there was no complaining afterward of stinging eyes or itchy skin. We same for around an hour, and then headed to Buchanans for dinner.

    My wife had the Panko Crusted Chicken and I had a beautiful T-Bone Steak. I wasn’t much of a steak connoisseur before going to Buchanans last time. However, my steak last time was so good, that now I love a good steak. The kids meal menu is pretty good as well. One of my children had the cheeseburger and complained that it was too big. The macaroni and cheese was a big hit with another, and the chicken tenders were enjoyed by our youngest. We all had pop or juice to drink. The kids each got an ice cream sundae with their dinner. My wife and I opted not to have anything.

    After dinner we headed down to Clifton Hill. We went to a couple of attractions and got some more ice cream. We then stopped at 7-11 on the way back to the hotel for the kids to get a couple of treats.

    After a wonderful night sleep, we got up and went back to Buchanans for breakfast. I’ve been told that their breakfast buffet is incredible, but at this time of year it is only available on weekends, so we missed out again. The regular breakfast menu is still excellent, and comes with huge portions. My 7-year-old son usually has 2 eggs when he has breakfast at home. We were going to order him one of the meals that came with one egg. We were worried that it wouldn’t be enough, so we asked for a second scrambled egg. When the meal came, once again my son complained about getting too much. The plate was half full of eggs. We joked that if that was 2 eggs, they must be ostrich eggs! Between us, we had eggs, toast, bagels, and juice. We were all quite full, but ready to go swimming again.

    Since the pool is such a big hit with the kids, that is what we finished off with. We swam for another hour or so, and then went up to the room to shower, change, and get our things together.

    As always, I took some pictures. You can see thumbnails below, and then view the entire collection and full versions in the Doubletree Fallsview Resort & Spa by Hilton – Niagara Falls in Spring 2010 image gallery.

    Note: there are now 2,950 total images in the Niagara Falls Image Gallery.





    I had intended to take several videos, but was having too much fun. I did get an HD video of the pool area which you can see on YouTube or below.

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