As much as I’m a homebody I am also a travel bug. I love curling up with a good book at home or the beach just as much as I enjoy taking in the scenery of someplace new. I love every element of travelling, particularly the new perspective you gain from being somewhere new.
After some epic travels in 2009 and 2010, spanning 4 countries, 7 provinces, 6 states, 2 islands and including THE OLYMPICS, my travel schedule this year seems low key. We’re not even taking a group road trip like we’ve done every year since the summer of 2003. Instead we’re taking quickie trips with whoever can make it and planning for some epic road trips over the next three summers.
While I saw Mel for a hot (err – really cool Froyo) second on her way from Chicago to Lake Placid for a skating competition I was headed in the opposite direction to The Mitten (aka Michigan) and Jules.
The nice thing about returning to a place you’re familiar with is going back to favourite places and being laid-back instead of trying to fit in as much sightseeing as possible. Of course that’s not to say we weren’t bizzzay!
Jules’ long-time friend Marti had invited us for dinner and I was pretty excited to finally meet someone I’d heard so much about over the years. Marti put together a delicious spread which happened to include a lot of my favourite foods. A gorgeous salad with homemade Lebanese inspired dressing was perfectly complimented by pita, hummus, FETA (makes it betta), olives and tabule. Paired with a smooth Malbec, iced-tea* and hilarious conversation this dinner was a yummy one. Yum yum yum yum yum.
*please note, you know you’re south of the 49th parallel when there is iced tea (as in cold tea) in the fridge. You are also above the Mason-Dixon line when it’s unsweetened. Who needs geography when you’ve got food to identify location? For the record, you’ll know you’re in Canada when you see bottled iced tea at the store and hot tea in people’s homes.
Aren’t our glasses amazing? I think so!
Secret mission accomplished we drove up to Clare for Jules to attend a family funeral.
While Jules was at the visitation I went off to commune with the Amish….
…or I just stole wifi from the McDo’s (McDonalds) while a cute little Amish girl sat near her buggy selling quilts and gorgeous baskets. Ironic?
Eventually I went back to Main st. and paid a visit to Cops and Doughnuts, a bakery owned by real cops known for their fab doughnuts. I bought a cinnamon roll the size of my head and then bought a latte up the street.
I enjoyed both treats sitting outside on the main st. enjoying the weather.
You know you’re in a small town when:
1) The coffee shop owner greats you and knows you’re not a local
2) The coffee shop closes at 4pm on Saturday
3) The town has one main street and they play music on outdoor speakers.
Just as I was about to turn into a puddle it was time to join J and her family for the cookout that following the memorial service. We spent a couple of hours with the fam, snacked a little and then headed south to meet some friends for authentic BBQ.
As a rule, Jules and I are either exactly identical (ie. Buy the same clothes unknowingly, love the same things etc) or diametric opposites. When it comes to BBQ we both Love. It. so I knew she meant business when she said Beale Street had even better BBQ than Blue Smoke in NYC.
As soon as we walked into the tiny restaurant in Fenton that’s sandwiched between a gas station and a gravel company, I began to drool and tweeted that I wanted to lick the air; it smelled soooo good!
Being a Saturday night they had a great jazz band belting out the hits, which, while entertaining, made it a little hard for the 7 of us to talk
I started the night with an Oberon.
Garnished with an orange slice it’s a local brew that was smooth, light and not too hoppy. A definite winner I’ll order again!
The real star of the show was the BBQ! (please ignore the awful photos)
The pork arrives slow cooked to perfection but nekkid, waiting to be dressed with one of the four or five options on the table, House, Sweet, Hot etc… After a little sampling I unscrewed the lid of the Sweet bottle and just drank it straight… I mean I just did that in my head, in reality I doused my pork in that sweet sweet nectar and went to town.
This BBQ sauce is so amazing it’ll make you sing to the bottle…
I know this is going to sound weird but I don’t really like BBQ sauce. I love BBQ but I don’t want to use BBQ sauce on a burger, in pizza, on a stir-fry etc. That is until I tried this sauce, it’s so amazing I wish they sold it because then my life would be complete. Seriously, it’s that good.
They will also make you a massive martini if you ask, now that’s service!
Overall I give Beale st. Smokehouse 5 billion stars. The portion I had was just perfect, the coleslaw was super fresh and the bite of cornbread I snagged was creamy and delicious. The only problem is they don’t deliver to Toronto.