edible adventures from the centre of the universe

13 August 2007

A Weekend in Tobermory

Dave and I decided to get away from the city last weekend to check out a new (to us) part of the country. We headed North up the Bruce Peninsula, and landed in Tobermory for two days of wildlife, relaxation, and beautiful sunsets. Here are some capsule reviews on the spots we ate while we were there:

Stone Orchid Eatery & Shoppe
Stone Orchid specializes in Indonesian cuisine, which is difficult (if not impossible) to find in Toronto. As such, we were eager to check this place out. The service was quick and friendly, but also distracted. Dave and I each ordered a small Rice Tafel (pictured above), which included 6 Indonesian dishes served on a large platter: garden salad with coconut dressing, nasi goreng (fried rice), bami goreng (fried noodles), gado gado (veggies in a peanut sauce), satay (chicken for dave, tofu for me), and curry (fish for dave, tempeh for me -- I was happy to find that Stone Orchid is very willing to accomodate vegetarians). Our food came out with a small caddy of unique condiments, which included flaked coconut and roasted peanuts, as well as sweet reduced soy sauce, and a spicysweet peach chutney. Everything tasted amazing, but the standouts were definitely the bami noreng, which was salty and savoury, and the satay, which came in a delicious rich peanut-based sauce. The one low point of the meal for me was the curry, which I found to be bland. We finished with a simple, yet fabulous Indonesian dessert: vanilla ice cream with fruit (mango or berries) and a splash of Cointreau. Dave and I were super happy with our meal at Stone Orchid, and the cherry on top was when I found a 1980 IKEA cookbook in the eclectic "shoppe" attached to the restaurant. Score!

The Fish and Chips Place
Located right on the harbour in Tobermory with almost exclusively outdoor seating, The Fish and Chips Place was continuously packed with Abercrombie & Fitch-sporting out-of-towners while we were there. It's therefore not surprising that the service is extremely rushed, and a little grumpy. Nevertheless, Dave and I happened to indulge in some wonderfully fresh-tasting battered local Whitefish on our visit, which beats any deep-fried fish that I've tried in the city. The chips are perfectly crisp-on-the-outide/fluffy-on-the-inside and, even though they clearly come from a bag in the freezer, taste great doused with the malt vinegar provided on each table. The Fish and Chips Place is definitely not a "pleasant" place to go for dinner, but it does serve up some good, casual comfort food if you can put up with throngs of tourists and their small children.

The Sweet Shop
Located on the harbour, a few doors down from the Fish and Chips Place, the Sweet Shop sells a variety of sweets (natch) and houses a large ice-cream counter. After purchasing some wasabi pea white chocolate to take home with us, Dave and I were craving some ice cream. The portions at The Sweet Shop are huge, so I picked out a kids-sized "Reese's Peanut Butter Cup" scoop. Dave ordered a frozen yogurt with Oreo. My ice cream was amazing: peanut butter ice cream, with chocolate sauce streaks and chunks of peanut butter cups. I savoured every bite. Dave was a little dissapointed to find that the Sweet Shop uses very tangy yogurt for its frogurt, which doesn't combine very well with sweet Oreo bits. Strawberry or another fruit would have probably worked better.

Setting Sail B&B
While we visited Tobermory and the surrounding area, we stayed at Setting Sail B&B with our very gracious and accomodating host Louise and her adorable dog Glory. Each morning, Louise would fill our bellies with fruit and yogurt parfaits, followed by multigrain toast with preserves, perfectly-cooked eggs with fresh herbs, crisp sauteed baby potatoes, and ham or sausage (or soy "meat" for me). We would leave the house stuffed, with loads of energy. In the evening, we would wander down from the B&B to the rock shoreline to enjoy the wildflowers that grow there and watch the breathtaking sunsets (left). Dave and I enjoyed our time at Setting Sail immensely, and I highly recommend it if you need a place to stay on the Peninsula.

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