Monday, September 17, 2007

Bison And Buttertarts

One glorious summer afternoon we visited outside patio of the Lion's Head Inn on the Bruce Peninsula. The restaurant lives in a century old building (circa 1879) in the busy lake port village of Lion's Head. We knew that the Inn had locally sourced Cape Chin Bison Farm burgers on the menu and were definitely in the mood for a burger after all the delicious local fish we'd been gorging on. And we weren't disappointed, the burger was excellent. There's someone experienced in the kitchen that knows not to overcook lean bison meat.


Both when we started our Bruce adventure and when we eventually had to leave the peninsula, we passed through Wiarton. And both times we stopped and ate at the outside patio of the Wiarton Inn, (519-534-3400) right on main street at the northern end of town. Very friendly service and what I vote as the best cooked fish batter (tempura style) that I've ever had. No greasy aftertaste and the batter was so light it simply dissolved in the mouth. I tried both their halibut and cod and now I need to go back and see what they can do with Georgian Bay whitefish.

The cooler became valuable again when I loaded it up with fresh garlic and onion sausages and some spicy home-made smoked pepperoni from Sullivan's Butcher Shop (519-534-3074) on Wiarton's main street. They make 15 different kinds of sausages! I might have to make the trip back for the Turkey & Cranberry sausages for Thanksgiving (as well as pick up more freshly caught Georgian Bay Whitefish).

The sausages will have to wait until we get back home because we plan to fill ourselves up at Ted's Range Road Diner, [map] just north of Meaford close to Georgian Bay. They have a special reputation for serving game and other exotic meats. This is the place to go when you crave a musk-ox steak or a caribou stir-fry. We almost missed the tiny unpretentious sign that directs you off the main highway onto the Range Road, named because the military use the area as an artillery range. I knew that in the winter the restaurant is a famous as a touring snowmobile stop, and also that the Blue Mountain Ski Resorts bus their customers here for meals. But unless you had some previous knowledge of the place I doubt that you'd just stop for lunch based on the outside looks. As soon as you stop and get out of the car the quirkiness intrudes. An interesting wooden sculpture integrating itself into some pear trees heavily weighted with fruit borders the road. Farmland and roaming pigs add to the aura of the place. Inside was busy and I knew we should have made reservations, but luckily they managed to squeeze us in. Sitting, I faced the menu board and salivated while I read the food offerings and listened to a guitar player somewhere from the darkness behind me. Since I've replaced supermarket beef with local, grassfed bison as my red-meat of choice for home cooking, I wanted to try their bison sirloin dinner. The meat was sourced from Grandview Farms, also known as Canadian Meat Tech Inc., whose headquarters in Thornbury is very local to the restaurant, but Grandview meat comes from all over Canada, which becomes obvious when you see musk-ox on the menu. Our food, which was most likely a grain-finished bison, came fast and hot and perfectly cooked. The peppercorn wine sauce accompanied the meat without overwhelming. I think I just breathed in the meal because suddenly it was gone! But while I ate, my focus made time last forever. Amazing Taste.

We had one final weekend trip left in September to a friend's wedding in the Haliburton Highlands area. They had the event at the Wigamog Inn Resort on Lake Kashagawigamog and it was a really nice celebration, unfortunately the food offerings, like the resort itself, were simply worn-out and conventional. We stayed across the lake at the Halimar Resort. After all the wedding festivities we barely managed to get back to enjoy the wood fire in our cottage before we fell asleep. We woke to a view of a cloud decked lake while sipping the complimentary coffee we found in the on-suite kitchen. On our drive home we stopped in the village of Haliburton and checked out the Ingoldsby Junction Buttertarts Cafe (705-457-4800). I am a total sucker for butter tarts. These tarts, which I was told are being sold at Bruno's in Toronto, had a thick, clear, sweet liquidy filling with about a 1/4 inch of crust on top where the raisins and nuts are found. Their claim to fame is a Chocolate Chip Butter Tart, and that's just such an obvious taste combination that they deserve the fame just for imagining and making it real.

1 comment:

Ferdzy said...

Wow, my mom lives in Thornbury so some of these suggestions are definitely going to be followed up! I was unaware of most of these places. Thanks for posting.