For the August long weekend we headed to Kingston. In the interest of getting these posts written, now that I have the training of the dog occupying a lot of my time, I am going to try to combine them all into one post.
First stop: Burger King at the Port Hope ONroute stop on the 401.
A while back I decided that if I was going to eat fast food, whenever possible, I would switch out the meat patty for a veggie patty so that is exactly what I did. I ordered a BBQ bacon Whopper with added crispy onions and a veggie patty. I wondered, after the fact, if anyone noticed I had asked for bacon on a veggie buger?! I can tell you though, that from now on, this is exactly what I will be doing. I really enjoyed my veggie Whopper! It was not nearly as greasy, it never caused my stomach to do that infamous fast food flip, and it tasted no different than the meat one. Veggie burgers from Burger King from here on out for this girl!
We also ordered a poutine to share. For fast food gravies there are others that I prefer and this one was packed full of giant cheese curds, too many if you ask me!
The cost of my veggie Whopper plus a double Whopper meal, with poutine instead of fries, was $19.26.
Second stop: Kingston Brewing Company
I have been coming to Kingston about once a year for most of my life. What I have dubbed the KBC (I’ve never heard locals say it) has always been a favorite stop for me. This is mostly due to the fact that they brew their own beer, sans preservatives! This makes it so much better. Usually I get a Pooh’s Hunny Brew and the chicken parmesan, but this time I decided to try the Framboise Royale (a raspberry wheat beer) and the fish and chips. I’ll be honest and say that the beer was not my favorite. It was very sweet, which the waitress had warned, but it also had a strong bitter taste to it. It barely tasted like beer to me at all.
The fish was delicious though! I ate each bite with some tartar sauce and some dill coleslaw. I love when coleslaw is done right and actually suits the dish. I also added gravy to my fries, which was your average gravy.
We also got a small caesar salad to share. I love shaved parmesan, but there was no bacon and the croutons were just inconvenient, especially when the salad was bursting out of the bowl. It was a little bit tricky to eat, but otherwise tasted great.
After a long day of driving we thought we’d stay and sit a while and try some desert, along with their house root beer. I wasn’t overly keen on either. Unfortunately it was dusk when I took this photo so it turned out quite dark, but you can still sort of see the distinction between brownie and icing on the chocolate buttercream-frosted brownie with caramel maple drizzle. The split was pretty well 50/50. I have never seen anything made with this quantity of icing before! And I’m not sure I can say it was as good as it looked. The icing was pretty much just super sweet, it had very little actual flavour, it just tasted like sugar. I could barely tell that it was buttercream. The drizzle had very little impact, if any. I can’t say I ever noticed even a hint of maple or caramel. The brownie itself, on the other hand, was just how I like them; moist, dense, chocolately, and nut-free! In the end I scraped off most of the icing and ate it without it. The root beer was also very sweet, almost syrupy, and I did not notice much bite as you do with other root beers.
So, I have lived and learned to stick with what I know I like here! This meal, including a small caesar salad, fish and chips, side gravy, chicken parmesan, brownie, root beer and two pints, came to $75.23.
Third stop: The Sleepless Goat
This is another of my somewhat usual Kingston stops. It is very much a hippie joint, almost to the point of being off-putting. Though I suppose the way the vibe feels to you will largely depend on your own lifestyle choices. I can certainly see how a person might feel very out of place and uncomfortable in this setting, no matter how inclusive they believe they are. It is certainly a busy place though. So much so that there was no where to sit when we swung by, but that did not phase us as I was just looking for a little something to stave off my hunger and I was hoping to find something that would be easy to carry with me. I was very pleased to find perogies in the display fridge and had a couple heated up for me, grabbed a napkin, and off I went! They were the simple potato cheddar sort that had been fried with some nice herbal seasoning. They were exactly what I needed! And the seasoning was a great touch. I am going to have to try this at home sometime.
The two perogies were $1 each, plus tax.
Fourth stop: From You Gotta Eat Here, Harper’s Burger Bar
As we do, when we head out on the road, we looked up any YGEH stops that we may cross paths with. There were two that appealed to us, but this was the one that fit our eating needs on our trip. It was a good thing we were on vacation and had no where to go. I don’t believe that I have ever had to wait so long for food to arrive! Our legs welcomed the break from all the walking so we were not immediately perturbed, but really?! When a restaurant is serving basically one thing – a meat patty on a bun with some condiments and fries on the side – all day long, the wait time was pretty inexcusable. But moving past that, this was my first official burger on a pretzel bun! I chose to build my own burger. Starting with the 6oz beef patty. I then added applewood smoked bacon, crispy onion straws, swiss cheese, roasted garlic-rosemary mayo and South Carolina BBQ sauce. Upon arrival, I added the tomato, pickle, lettuce and onion to it as well. It was a good burger, but when choosing all the condiments myself, it should be hard to go wrong! My only qualm was that I really couldn’t tell that the mayo was on it. I asked for my fries to be made ‘gourmet’ style (with parmesan, rosemary and sea salt) and to have cheese sauce to dip them in. I could not see (or taste) any rosemary, but the parmesan was nice and soft. The cheese sauce made me wish I had some tortilla chips to dip in it instead.
We lucked out and they were having a holiday-Monday special of $4 pints of select beers. We both ended up having two pints each, add to that both of our burgers and fries and our bill came to $55.29.
Fifth stop: Morrison’s Restaurant.
This restaurant has been in Kingston forever, or so it would seem. It is definitely not a fancy place. And I would never come here expecting a fabulous meal. It is a dive of a diner. What I would come here for is breakfast. Since it has been here for so long it is not surprising that the facility itself is not in tip-top shape, but I would expect the service to be better. If you are looking for a smile and some friendly service, don’t come here. If you are looking to simply eat and leave in a hurry, then this is your place. My eggs were done over medium as requested, though my mate received brown bread instead of the requested white. I enjoyed the ‘mushy’ home fries (that was the waitress’s word!) and I was happy to find syrup on the table because I like it on my ham and it gets tiring receiving funny looks when I ask for it on the side.
We were not given a copy of the receipt, but if my memory serves me correctly the ham, egg and toast meal was $4.99 and the home fries were an additional $1.
Sixth stop: Frankie Pestos
Although they have apparently been around for a while, previously I had never noticed this place. But I do not typically watch for Italian restaurants. One thing I do know though, is that downtown Kingston you are unlikely to find anything like the masses of family-type chain restaurants we have all over the place here in KW, so I was more than happy to check this place out. I ordered what was called Nonna’s Comfort Food, and by golly! was it comfortable! It made itself right at home inside my mouth, down my throat and into my belly! I have never encountered anything like it before; a pasta with meat sauce and meatballs?! With a hardboiled egg in it?! Why not? This was my favorite meal of the trip! The meatballs we moist and flavourful and there wasn’t too much sauce. My one complaint was that the cheese basically melted into one big chunk in the middle of it all, but that is what a knife is for.
A caesar salad was also included with my meal. It came with a house-made dressing and croutons that I wanted to eat straight from a bag! They were very buttery and delicious!
For my Nonna’s Comfort food, one lasagna and one coffee our total came to $38.99.
Seventh, and final, stop: Reid’s Dairy
On the way up to Kingston I had hoped to stop here. I thought that, during my childhood, we were able to see the Reid’s Castle from the highway before hitting the exit, but my memory could be wrong. Although now there are so many big box stores surrounding it that I would not be surprised if they have ruined the view. No matter, we managed to not miss the exit on the way home! This is a stop I will always remember with fondness. We used to always swing by here on our way to Kingston to go through the drive-thru and each of us would get one of their dollar milkshakes. The drive-thru is still there, and they still do one dollar shakes, only now they have more than just your typical chocolate, strawberry and vanilla flavours! After a small sample I went with cappuccino. I feel like in the past the milkshakes were colder, but they are still just as smooth as they always have been.
One regular milkshake was $1 plus tax!