We didn’t take much vacation this summer, but one of our more memorable trips was to the Drake Devonshire in Prince Edward County. Five of us left Toronto in the late morning, driving the two hours to the Drake Devonshire for lunch. The inside dining area was rather empty as it was a beautiful sunny day and most of the patrons were on the patio overlooking Lake Ontario. We had to wait about ten minutes to get an outdoor table too, but we made the most of the wait by exploring the hotel.
There was a small outpost of the Drake General Store next to the reception desk. Unfortunately for me they didn’t have any of those Canada 150 provincial flower t-shirts that looks so pretty.
The Living Room, just off the lobby, is a cozy, funky place to hang out. Several comfy chairs surrounded the fireplace, which I can imagine adds a very cozy feeling during the winter months.
It also didn’t hurt that there was a David Bowie artwork on the wall! Every piece of furniture and decor seemed to have been specially selected for this room. I guess that’s true of all hotels, but it seemed like the designers of the Drake Devonshire actually cared.
The entryway had an old-fashioned photobooth, perfect for a souvenir.
As we sat in the Living Room, however, the adjacent games room caught our eye. Obviously we just had to explore.
The games room, called the Glass Box, has floor to ceiling glass and views of Lane Creek. A foosball table, a ping pong table, and a board game table in addition to seating areas made me want to spend an weekend here.
Ryan and I could only fit in one foosball game since our table was ready!
Friday at lunch happened to be an excellent time to dine on the patio. I expect the weekends would be much, much busier and the wait for an outdoor table much, much longer.
The gardens surrounding the restaurant patio were well equipped for relaxing – there was a giant puzzle-by-number, a hammock, and a yoga platform. I could definitely while away the afternoon out here.
The dining patio overlooked Lake Ontario, and Tomiko even saw a loon!
Tasty-sounding dishes filled the menu and I had a hard time choosing what to get. I was glad we were a party of five and could order at least five items!
The Drake food truck was open, so we had an addition menu from which to order. Ryan ordered the Devonshire Burger, a cheese-covered beef patty topped with bacon, lettuce, red onion, pickle, and Russian dressing served on a milk bun. Instead of having regular fries, he upgraded to the special fries with cheese and truffle salt.
The fries were so good we ordered a dish for the table to share.
I ordered the Cavatelli Verde, a bowl of pasta served with pumpkin seed pesto, pea shoots, sugar snap peas, and lemon ricotta. It was light and refreshing and oh-so tasty! I’d love to try and make this pesto at home, as well as a similar pistachio pesto that Ryan and I had in Italy last summer.
I had a hard time deciding whether or not to get the pasta, since the trout also sounded so good. Luckily Tomiko wanted the trout and offered me a few bites. Roasted red peppers, fermented green beans, zucchini, green onions, and sauce gribiche accompanied the crispy trout.
Donatello ordered another dish that I had my eye on, the Drake Reuben. This fat sandwich was stuffed with house-smoked brisket, sauerkraut, onions, Swiss cheese, and grainy mustard and served on marbled rye toast. Although both Reubens, this sandwich was so good but on a different level than the ones from the Carnegie Deli in New York. The Reuben is a sandwich I like to make at home, too, especially when I have a batch of homemade sauerkraut on the go!
Our dad ordered a grilled avocado off the food truck menu. This was topped with Kewpie mayonnaise and what seemed to be toasted rice. The crunchy topping nicely offset the creamy smoothness of the avocado and the eggy tang of the mayo – an unusual yet delectable combination. I wonder how I could make this at home; the toasted rice (or barley?) wasn’t like Rice Krispies since it had a smoky flavour and better texture. It seemed like popcorn, but made with a grain other than corn.
After our leisurely lunch, our dad ordered a cappuccino with chocolate – a mochaccino?
And then the five of us shared two desserts – a boozy tiramisu and a fruity strawberry rhubarb custard pie topped with vanilla ice cream.
After lunch, we had more time to explore the grounds of the Drake Devonshire.
The indoor seating area was just as stylish as the rest of the hotel; we especially loved the tiled wall! The seats looked really comfortable and the upholstered banquettes would be great in Tomiko’s new apartment.
It also seemed like yellow and turquoise were the signature colours of the Drake Devonshire, since hits of these colours popped up throughout the hotel. The white floors and white chairs added to the beach-house feel of the dining area.
We didn’t order any cocktails at this lunch, but I’d love to try some of their signature drinks.
The original Drake Hotel in Toronto was one of the first modern boutique hotels on Queen Street West, where separate designers could design rooms according to their own aesthetic. That artistic theme carried through to the Drake Devonshire on their outdoor Art Walk. Murals of birds decorated the property fence in a happy, colourful manner.
They even had tetherball! Would this be for the kids of the guests, or for the adult guests themselves? I know that if I stayed here, I would totally challenge Ryan to a game.
This neon (or fluorescent?) light sculpture greeted us after we crossed the bridge over Lane Creek.
We really enjoyed our lunch and loved exploring the Drake Devonshire grounds. One of our future plans is to visit again, but next time we want to rent rooms at the hotel! Obviously we’d need to get more than one room so we could see the different interior designs and views.