Winter Road Trips in Windsor Essex
Jessica Dennis|January 27, 2018
January. The Christmas decorations are finally packed away and thoughts of sugarplums dancing in our heads has turned to images of beaches and slushy Pina Coladas. Luckily, I was granted the gift of autumn weather and sunshine in January, as I toured across Windsor Essex, experiencing what the city has to offer this winter season.
I firmly believe brunch is the best meal of the day, so starting off at Stacks, a popular brunch spot in the city, made me not only hungry but uber excited. The pancake options are truly for the wild child in all of us, although they do have original classics for those who like to keep it traditional. I’m never one to say no to a challenge, so I opted for “The Elvis”, a stack of pancakes layered with chocolate ganache, bananas, whipped cream, peanut butter and crispy crumbled bacon (yes bacon!). Stacks also has other popular breakfast foods and delicious smoothies like the Peanut Butter Chocolate or Pumpkin Spice.
After feeling a mixture of both complete satisfaction and total gluttony, I made my way to the next stop on the tour, the Art Gallery of Windsor and Chimczuk Museum. The AGW and Chimczuk Museum have fascinating exhibits ranging from their History of Autos, for people who are passionate car lovers, to Breaking the Colour Barrier, which is a travelling exhibit about the Chatham Coloured All Stars, who were the first African-Canadian baseball team to win an Ontario Baseball Amateur Association in 1934. I was also lucky enough to view the Triennial of Contemporary Art exhibit, Downtown/s-Urban Renewals Today for Tomorrow, before it closed, which featured 22 artists from across Southern Ontario and Detroit. The theme of the pieces is downtown destruction and renewal in both Windsor and Detroit. It was nostalgic to see what these cities were able to overcome economically and the transformation that’s been made within the last decade.
Viewing art for a few hours had ‘worked me up an appetite’ for something that Windorites are proud to say they’re famous for. Pizza! The next stop on the tour was to one of Windsor’s new downtown hot spots, Downtown Pizza Co. The exposed brick and welcoming atmosphere create the best kind of pizza experience, not to mention the house brewed beer and Walkerville Brewery on tap. What more could you ask for? Everything on the menu looked so delicious, so after asking for some guidance I decided on the Bucca Brothers pizza with marinated zucchini, roasted garlic, fior di latte, ricotta, lemon and mint. This is a pizza with topping combinations that might sound a little strange, but the result is extraordinary. I recommend paring this pizza with an ice-cold Night Market Pale Ale brew from The Willistead.
With sweater weather and the sun shining, I hopped in the car for a little road trip to the next anticipated spot on the tour, Vivace Estate Winery in Amherstburg. Small and quaint, the inside is covered wall to wall in large brown barrels with a classic farm-like essence. I was able to sample all of their reds, whites and even ice wines, which they make on site. After much deliberation, I decided on a full-bodied, fruity bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy at the end of the tour.
My next stop was just 10 minutes down the road to another family owned and operated winery, Muscedere Vineyards. They’re not only known for having spectacular wine, but also for their mouth-watering wood-fire pizza. Wine tastings are located in the lower level, with walls and cellars lined full of Muscedere wines. I got to sample three of their top selling reds and I know that I’ll be going back this summer for the wine, pizza and their stunning outdoor patio.
The sun was starting to set so I made my way to the last stop on the tour, Wolfhead Distillery. Wolfhead has made a name for itself across Ontario for having some of the best small-batch and ultra-premium spirits. They are also the region’s first premium craft distillery, so it was a no brainer to get the tasting flight. I decided on their banana caramel and grapefruit flavoured vodka, along with coffee whisky and apple caramel whisky. Both the whisky and vodka had unbelievable flavour and taste that you can’t find in most spirits.
After this tour it’s safe to say that I stopped dreading winter like a Game of Thrones character and am ready for my next adventure in Windsor Essex!