What started out as a cold and rainy Saturday morning, turned out to be one of our better weekend getaways this year. We had been sitting on a charity auction item we had the winning bid on for almost a year now (4 rounds of golf at Bluewater in Bayfield along with a Mini Cooper rental). We had booked plans with good friends of ours to play a round of golf Saturday afternoon and then go for dinner and stay the night at the Red Pump in Bayfield. The weather was not in the mood to cooperate. My golf game is suspect under the best of conditions – 60 km winds and a driving rain would spell a long afternoon on the links! Thankfully, the good folks at Bluewater gave us a rain check for next year.
So we decided to make the best of things and do a little shopping and grab a cocktail and some apps on the Bayfield strip. We stopped by an old favourite, the Black Dog Village Pub & Bistro. If you have never been, it is highly recommended. It’s not your usual pub – in addition to a great selection of beers (20 on tap and a good handful of unique bottle selections), the food is also outstanding. I went with a Bavarian classic – Erdinger Weissbier, the world’s #1 wheat beer. My buddy Richie went with Czech standout – Pilsner Urquell. To complement our tasty beverages, we ordered escargot and the addictive salt and pepper calamari. You really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. Always lively with attentive service – the Black Dog is definitely worth stopping in for lunch or dinner when in Bayfield.
We then headed over to the Red Pump to check in. Although we have dined at the restaurant on several occasions, this was our first time we booked a room. We usually stay at the Little Inn, but they have a silly rule that you have to book a room for more than one night on weekends. The folks at the Red Pump are far more accommodating. And I’m glad they were – the rooms are fantastic! Do yourself a favour – if you ever stay in Bayfield, get a room at the Red Pump. Our friends had a lower suite and we took the upper loft suite. Both rooms were huge with tons of natural light and stylish decor. High ceilings with exposed beams, great artwork and eclectic furnishings – and a super duper comfortable king size bed. What more could you ask for!
For our dinner reservations, we ended up hooking up beforehand with Chef Mike and made arrangements for him to create a custom tasting menu with wine pairings for the four of us. I love nothing better than a long meal with good friends and good conversation. We were at the restaurant for the better part of three hours and sampled some incredible dishes. Some of our favs included a wonderful pumpkin ravioli with smoked bacon, a beautifully prepared salmon fillet and a melt in your mouth beef cheeks with parsnips mash. All dishes were served with perfect wine pairings – a couple from one of our favourite California vineyards – Beringer. All in all, an excellent dining experience and wonderful accommodations for the night! But our night didn’t end there – we joined the lively crowd at the Docks Bar in Bayfield to rock to an AC/DC tribute band. But that’s a story for another time. For now, back to the cage.