Saturday, September 15, 2007

Regional Food Adventures

It's been a busy month so I'll get right into it. Much time was spent in the Grey/Bruce area of Southern Ontario. It's an area with an amazing variety of landscapes and communities. One special highlight was Tobermory, at the northern end of the Bruce Peninsula where the waters of Georgian Bay and Lake Huron are deep and clear, with an awesome range of colours.

Many of the restaurants in the region take advantage of the bounty of local fish, available directly from the freshwater ocean all around. As a quick snack while wandering around the harbour and browsing the village shops, we tried the whitefish and and chips cooked British style at the Fish And Chip Place restaurant where the patio overlooks Little Tub Harbour. I would have preferred home cut french fries, but the frozen ones served adequately. The fish was a touch watery, but still quite delicious and with an above average quality batter coating. Although licensed for alcohol, they also had Beck's amazing tasting non-alcohol beer on the menu.

The real fish highlight, though, was the freshly caught Georgian Bay Whitefish, that we bought from Raney's Fish Store (519-596-2492) which we found on the south shore of Tobermory's Big Tub Harbour, just before the sheltered harbour breaks out into the open bay. We put the fish into our 'always ready' cooler and took it back with us to our room for the night at the Crystal Springs Place Motel north of Wiarton. This was a friendly, economical place to stay that also welcomed our Siberian husky, Sasha.

I pulled our small propane camp stove out of the car and set it up on the picnic table. First task was to heat up a little unsalted butter in the traditional cast iron frying pan (which I found for sale for $3 at the motel store). I had a nice big bulb onion that I'd picked up from the Canal Road Farmers Market Store at the edge of the Holland Marsh after we left Toronto. It got quickly chopped up and added to the hot pan. After a few minutes I added the whitefish. The smells were starting to get us all excited! Only a few minutes on each side to bring out a little brownness and the fish was ready. A touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper, some squeezed lemon juice and a spoonful or two of organic red pepper soup added some colour to the plate and contrasting flavour to the meal. It was a memorable supper totally enhanced by being eaten outside on a beautiful summer evening in the Ontario countryside.

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