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Mad Michael's - BBQ near Midland

m
magic Jul 22, 2008 11:01 AM

Anyone else been to Mad Michael’s Tree Art Cafe in Wyebridge? On Hwy. 93 I think, near Midland.

Delicious BBQ!!! This guy is serious about BBQ. He smokes his meat with Oak that he chops himself! Insane. The food is wicked (for the most part). Smoky (but not overly so) lovely pulled pork, possibly the best cornbread I’ve ever had, gorgeous mashed potato salad. I think he even pickles his own baby carrots that accompany the potato salad, which is a nice surprise when you bite into what you assume is a plain old baby boring carrot. Speaking honestly, in visits past I wasn’t thrilled with the brisket (kinda dry, but like good promising BBQ is hopefully a work in progress), but the pulled pork has always been lovely. North Carolina styles. Very little to no sauce, with a chopped perfectly balanced tangy cole slaw on top. This guy does everything from scratch, he even bakes his own buns that house the sandwiches. I like the sweet potato roll (doesn’t taste like sweet potato). And my god, that cornbread.

Keep on meaning to try the ribs but always end up ordering the pulled pork. His menu is relatively small but very interesting. Everything is handmade with love, you can tell. Makes his own baked good desserts as well.

Not open all year round (I’m pretty sure), but wow, in the warmer months this place is awesome. Gorgeous patio, bright natural surroundings. It’s kind of an experience going there as Mad Mike also does wood and twig art which is everywhere, has a treehouse-style kitchen/smokehouse out back, and a giant teepee (which you can go inside). Not to mention a pretty stream running through the property.

This is a very cool place, totally unique. Love the food, love the passion, love the made-from-scratch fanaticism that rules the roost. Is the food perfect? Nope. But most of what I’ve tried is damn good, and I look fwd to trying more. Totally worth the drive if you aren’t in that area.

http://www.madmichaels.com/

  1. j
    jammy Aug 30, 2013 02:26 PM

    I recently tried Mad Michael's and was very disappointed. The ribs were tough and fatty, with little flavour. The pulled pork was dry and greasy (it is a fatty cut, but this was extreme), the baked beans that came as a side were bitter and so undercooked they were crunchy, the cornbread left your mouth coated with oil and the potato salad was very sweet, more like a dessert.

    For $30, the quantity of the food was also terribly overpriced. Sadly, the entire order was thrown into the trash.

    Perhaps this was an off day, but if so, it was about as off as it could get. The place looks charming, the staff is friendly, and I'm a strong supporter of small business, so I really wish I could say something good about the food, but I can't. Hopefully things improve, but I can't justify making the drive to try them again.

     
    2 Replies
    1. re: jammy
      estufarian Sep 2, 2013 09:34 PM

      While not excusing any quality issues, it looks mighty like you did take-out from a restaurant. No indication of how long you kept it, or whether it was reheated - in fact not even a mention of you not eating this at the restaurant.
      Surely this (and all) restaurants should be judged on what their food is like as intended to be served. They sell pies (and cornbread) for take home and heating, so comments on that would be fair.
      Again, badly cooked food shouldn't be excused, but please try the food as sit-down (as intended) - which should be a fairer assessment of quality. This year, I also found the pulled pork less interesting (although I wouldn't call it 'dry and greasy'). But the cornbread seemed less moist this year (although still very tasty; again conflicting with your 'oil coating'). And the ribs were excellent - they have 'bite' - I dislike 'fall-off-the-bone' ribs; much prefer some texture, so perhaps here we have different preferences - but that's not a measure of quality. The smoke line was perfect for me.
      And again, I like a texture to my beans - al dente if you like (I wouldn't go as far as crunchy). These are the attributes that draw me back to Mad Michael's - and indeed it isn't always perfect - it's not chain food - for me it's food with character - and I took 3 new people there this year, and all 3 were astounded at the low prices (at least compared to Toronto) for both the quality and quantity received.

      1. re: jammy
        d
        disgusti Sep 2, 2013 10:57 PM

        wow that food looks so incredibly shitty

      2. m
        magic Jul 8, 2013 12:26 PM

        While at Elmvale Bakery pick up some of their iced lemon cakes. To die for.

        1. j
          julesrules Jul 8, 2013 03:33 PM

          Should have mentioned in the other thread - apparently you need to specify you want whipped cream in your chocolate donuts (and you do - I do believe it's real!) because they fill them to order.

          1. j
            julesrules Jul 7, 2013 04:39 PM

            Went twice last week, as good as ever, may even better (I swear the pork rib plate has doubled up on meat?).
            Oh and you can get a small soup for $4 with your sandwich now. Nice!
            One more edit - tried the smoked meat sandwich this time. Quite good, just found the bread (homemade rye) a titch heavy for the amount of meat. Well and I just wanted more of the meaty goodness!
            Having tried most of the lunch items at this point, the pork rib plate is definitely my favourite, go hungry!

            5 Replies
            1. re: julesrules
              m
              magic Jul 7, 2013 04:54 PM

              Nice one. :)

              1. re: julesrules
                Davwud Jul 8, 2013 05:19 AM

                The more a BBQ pit is used the better the product. So it would make sense that it's getting better. As well, BBQ is about finesse as much as anything. They more you do it, the better you will be.

                DT

                1. re: julesrules
                  estufarian Jul 8, 2013 09:28 AM

                  I made it there over the weekend too.
                  Indeed the 'Texas Pork Rib' was the highlight this time. Perfectly spiced and the texture seemed denser (wonder if it was brined?). Also wonderfully smoked - seemed a little stronger smoke than last year. It reminded me of New Mexico style, which isn't lauded so much on these Boards, but is my personal second-favourite (after Kansas City).
                  The brisket seemed a bit duller than usual and the sauce (still the best sauce EVER IMO) seemed a bit less buttery than last year.
                  Enjoyed the soup - great mushroom texture, although I thought it a bit under-seasoned. And the cornbread was a bit patchy - mine was perfect (still the best I've had anywhere - including southern USA), but AmuseGirl's was a bit dried out.
                  So, if they'll do it, my recommendation would be to order the 'Texas Pork Rib' with the Boubon Sauce ( usually served with the brisket).

                  And a caution for any newbies to Mad Michael. Their pork is NOT the typical back or side ribs. Think of it as a pork chop that's been BBQ'd and you'll be much closer to the presentation.

                  1. re: estufarian
                    j
                    James Cristinian Jul 8, 2013 03:27 PM

                    There is nothing Texas about that pork "rib."

                    1. re: James Cristinian
                      estufarian Jul 8, 2013 03:59 PM

                      It's more 'Texas' than 90% of the so-called Texas BBQ in Toronto!
                      However, my point was SPECIFICALLY that they were unlike anything else (I don't care what they're called). And I believe that my post clearly pointed that out. I even put the 'name' in quotes.
                      Do you disagree?
                      If so please provide a description that's helpful to other readers.

                2. estufarian May 13, 2013 09:27 AM

                  Just a heads up.
                  Reopens this Thursday (16 May) for the season

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: estufarian
                    m
                    magic May 13, 2013 10:10 AM

                    Yayyy! Thanks!

                  2. j
                    julesrules Oct 9, 2012 09:00 AM

                    Didn't make it for 2012 until this past weekend. The bad news for our pork-loving family was that they were only serving Thanksgiving food ie/ an all-turkey/harvest veg menu. The good news was that the food was great. There was a full Tgiving dinner for $29, but the hot turkey sandwich for $14 also covered the basics with mashed potatoes, delicious stuffing and cranberry sauce, the turkey itself served on sweet potato bread. There were a couple of other turkey-based sandwiches, a vegetable stew, and 2 soups available. My only wish being that at lunch they would serve a small cup of soup on the side of a sandwich for a few bucks - I love soup but it doesn't work to be the only person ordering multiple courses at the table, and I don't need a roll/bread when I'm also having sandwich. Same issue last year when I had both tomato soup and Fried Green Tomato BLT - an ideal combo to me but not as separate orders. The cranberry grand marnier cheesecake was very good, I think I prefer their cheesecakes to their pies overall.

                    1. estufarian May 28, 2012 08:16 AM

                      2012 UPDATE - OPEN AGAIN

                      Made it for dinner - can only order after 5:00 - lunch menu applicable until then (same overall hours 12-8 on Thur-Sun).

                      First the familar news - the cornbread, spring salad and summer salad are all terrific. Confirmed the cornbread as my favourite ANYWHERE.

                      A new item (special on the past weekend) was 'Macau Sole'. Not sure what the Macau relates to - but the sole itself was very moist - mild flavour with a hint of smokiness - good alternative to the meat-heavy menu for those looking for something different.

                      The brisket semed a little less smoked than I recall - although the smoke ring was clearly visible. I found the sauce 'different' this year - MUCH more Bourbon and seemingly more watery (I used to rave about the buttery mouth feel). Mentioned this to Michael, as he cleared our (completely empty) plates, and he revealed that we had been served the botom of the jar. When refrigerated the butter tends to separate to the top, with the alcohol on the bottom. But he usually shakes it up before serving - and speculates that the earlier (lunch?) diners ended up with a more buttery version, as he hasn't changed the formula. He guarantees a 'shake-up' for my next visit.
                      Still a worthwhile detour if you're in the general area.

                      Rhubarb and Banana Pie was OK - rhubarb flavour dominated the taste, but the texture was interesting.

                      1. y
                        ylsf Oct 3, 2011 07:29 AM

                        I am going to mark on my Calendar to remind me of this place for next season. Even if I have to make a day trip up to Midland to try it. Likely in the summer when I can go for a swim too :)

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: ylsf
                          m
                          magic Oct 3, 2011 08:01 AM

                          Pick a nice sunny day, and you shouldn't be disappointed : )

                          1. re: magic
                            s
                            shpToronto Oct 3, 2011 07:18 PM

                            When do they generally open for their season? We go to a cottage just outside Wyevale almost every summer and usually get to Wyebridge but not this year. My husband is always on the lookout for good BBQ so maybe next summer. Also -- do they have take out? I have a relative who lives in the area and occasionally comes down to TO -- was thinking maybe he could bring us something to try?

                            1. re: shpToronto
                              m
                              magic Oct 3, 2011 07:38 PM

                              They are open from The May 2-4 Victoria Day weekend until Thanksgiving weekend in October. Then they shut down for the fall/winter I believe.

                              I've never done takeout but I couldn't see why they wouldn't. I might want to call ahead to make sure - especially if it's a big order. PoppiYYZ above bought a whole wheel of cornbread to take out so I'm betting takeout is available on the whole menu. Unless someone can make a liar out of me....??

                              1. re: magic
                                n
                                nuts4food Oct 7, 2011 10:29 AM

                                I have done takeout from there and they were quite accomodating.

                        2. estufarian Oct 3, 2011 06:43 AM

                          Wrapping up 2011 (they're open next weekend - but it's a special Thanksgiving menu only).

                          Of course, I was back on Sunday - but for lunch (rather than evening which I prefer). Because the only version of the brisket (the best dish they serve IMO) is a sandwich, that was my choice. Served on a sweet potato bun - which puts almost everybody in Toronto's version to shame (I except Black Camel which uses a Portuguese bun), but this includes the sauce, which as a matter of form I prefer on the side. However, it's the best brisket sandwich I've had in Ontario (ahead of Black Camel). The brisket is good, but that sauce is still the highlight.

                          Plus a serving of the cornbread - so far ahead of #2 that it's a one-bread race. (I had Acadia's a week ago and although 'good' it's waay behind Mad Michael's).

                          Start making plans for next year!

                          -----
                          Black Camel
                          4 Crescent Rd, Toronto, ON M4W1S9, CA

                          Mad Michael's
                          8215 93 Hwy, Wyebridge, ON L0K1E0, CA

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: estufarian
                            m
                            magic Oct 3, 2011 06:58 AM

                            Honestly, I've yet to have cornbread in the Canada or the States that was close to Mad Michael's. Already looking forward to next season. Uggh, do I have to wait that long?!

                            1. re: estufarian
                              j
                              julesrules Oct 3, 2011 07:41 AM

                              That sauce is really good, and probably the least sweet BBQ sauce I've ever had (while still being tomato-based BBQ sauce!). Last time we went I got away from the BBQ to try a delicious special, fried green tomato BLT. With an app of tomato basil soup. Really good.
                              I'm getting more mixed results with the desserts lately. Still good but not all amazing (for example we got a slice of fruit and custard pie that had crust gone totally limp). I might get cornbread for dessert next time!

                              1. re: julesrules
                                m
                                magic Oct 3, 2011 08:10 AM

                                Not to divert focus but if you are ever in search of a great dessert, this place is a 4 minute drive from MM on Hwy. 93. Crazy good butter tarts.

                                http://www.therealestatecafe.ca/

                                1. re: julesrules
                                  estufarian Oct 3, 2011 10:27 AM

                                  I've commented before on the pies - the crust is bizarre. The locals love it - I just don't get it!
                                  I've termed it the 'Midland Crust'!

                                  1. re: estufarian
                                    m
                                    magic Oct 3, 2011 10:45 AM

                                    I had a brownie there that was DELISH though....

                              2. estufarian Aug 30, 2011 01:50 PM

                                2011 Supplementary Update
                                I wrote above about the beef being the best I've had.
                                Now for the rest!

                                Was in North Carolina earlier this month and tried both east and west styles (with mixed results). Honestly, Carolina-style is not my favourite (it's Kansas City) but that seems to be the style usually offered around here (some exceptions).

                                So back at Mad Michaels, AmuseGirl and I shared the platter - and asked for extra Bourbon sauce on the side!
                                Beef Brisket was spectacular - sauce was astounding - I bought the last jar of sauce thay had available for purchase! (see comments in above 'beef' review).

                                The pork ( two ways; Texas Pork Ribs (almost a pork chop) and the Carolina Pulled Pork) got very good reviews - but some differences of opinion. The Texas Pork Ribs are quite dense and chewy - NOTHING like fall-off-the-bone, so a VERY different texture. I like the firmness, but 'regular' rib fans will indeed find these tough. For me it balanced the other meats - AmuseGirl prefers ribs. Paired with the beef BBQ sauce, EVERYTHING goes well! (So much for purity of BBQ). The pulled pork was AmuseGirl's favourite - I found the texture a bit too soft with not enough 'bite' - also found that the vinegar tends to 'bleach' the flavour a bit. Cole Slaw was fairly coarse - certainly compared to the very finely chopped Carolina versions.

                                The jerk chicken was.... OK - not really jerk but certainly not the worst I've had.
                                The cornbread was again pretty good (I've had better at Mad Michaels - maybe the later harvested corn isn't as flavourful as the early harvest - or sat around longer).
                                But a shout-out to the salads - both the Spring and Summer versions were excellent.

                                Again - if you're in the area (or close enough to make a detour) - this is WELL worth a visit.

                                -----
                                Mad Michael's
                                8215 93 Hwy, Wyebridge, ON L0K1E0, CA

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: estufarian
                                  petek Aug 30, 2011 04:18 PM

                                  Damn it!! I'm gonna be up that way tomorrow.Looks like they're only open Thurs-Sunday.Just my luck..:(

                                  don't want to hijack this thread but.. is there anything else worth while in that neck of the woods?

                                  1. re: petek
                                    PoppiYYZ Aug 31, 2011 05:57 AM

                                    Just hit MMs, it's great. However, there are a couple of other threads for the area:

                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/716780
                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/763757

                                    1. re: PoppiYYZ
                                      petek Sep 2, 2011 03:00 PM

                                      We were in Midland on Wednesday so MM's wasn't open(Thurs-Sunday) so we ended up at Lillys for lunch.Not bad...

                                2. w
                                  Whats_For_Dinner Jul 12, 2011 12:14 PM

                                  Does anyone know what time they close on weekends? I'm hoping to have a chance to get there in a couple of weeks, but time will be an issue...

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: Whats_For_Dinner
                                    p
                                    Pizza Lover Jul 12, 2011 12:20 PM

                                    Last sitting is around 7:45 pm or so.

                                    1. re: Pizza Lover
                                      w
                                      Whats_For_Dinner Jul 12, 2011 12:26 PM

                                      Thanks!

                                    2. re: Whats_For_Dinner
                                      estufarian Jul 12, 2011 12:30 PM

                                      Official opening hours are 12-8:00 on Thur-Sun ONLY!

                                      http://www.madmichaels.com/

                                      It appears the pulled pork is a lunch item only and the brisket is a dinner item only.

                                      1. re: Whats_For_Dinner
                                        JamieK Aug 4, 2011 07:27 PM

                                        If you go, make reservations for the patio, weather permitting. Inside is okay if need be but you want to be on the charming river-side patio if possible. Haven't been this summer yet but when I drove by earlier today the patio was full. Glad he's doing well.

                                        1. re: JamieK
                                          PoppiYYZ Aug 5, 2011 07:44 AM

                                          I actually like the inside. Kind of a cross between a family dinner, a general store, and wacky boutique - in a good sorta way !

                                          1. re: PoppiYYZ
                                            m
                                            magic Aug 5, 2011 09:19 AM

                                            Oh I do too. I think the inside is actually beautiful.

                                            But I'm indoors 8-9 months of the year and Mad Michael's has maybe one of the nicest patios ever.

                                            So given all that, it's not even a contest. For me at any rate :)

                                      2. estufarian Jul 12, 2011 10:21 AM

                                        2011 Update

                                        Still my favourite place in the area!

                                        Over the past month I've spent half that time in Texas, touring around between Fort Worth and Austin and points west (and a little south). Have tried some of the most-reputed places for BBQ in the area and learned VERY quickly to avoid pork and just eat beef. So it was brisket most of the way - and Texas is reputed to do it best. Well, I'm not TOTALLY convinced! Certainly the smoking (for me) was consistently excellent - even the mini-chain places get the smoking right. BUT, overall, I wasn't knocked out by the flavour of the beef - certainly brisket - but what grade of beef are they using? It was also (mainly?) served fairly cold - OK barely warm - and that caused a strange mouthfeel - almost like congealed fat (the feel, not the taste) that bothered me. Plus most sauces were sweeter than I prefer (but that's obviously not an issue for those who prefer sweet). Bread I'll not comment on as my aversion to Wonderbread (although traditional in many BBQ styles) has been documented several times. I also found the sliced brisket to have a better mouthfeel than the chopped brisket, which seemed mushy to me (albeit some versions included some hard, black, crackling(?) for texture contast).

                                        So, returning to Ontario I immediately tried Buster Rhino's brisket - and found the smoking to be lighter than most I tried in Texas, but the beef itself had more flavour. Sauce was slightly tangier than Texas too.

                                        So up to Mad Michael - and had to try and compare the brisket this time around. And overall this was my favourite - just (but not perfect - for me that is).

                                        The smoking - just a little more than Buster Rhino - but less than most in Texas. Flavour - clearly Ontario gets better beef (or at least better brisket is used for BBQ) - approaching Buster Rhino's and MUCH superior to that in Texas. But two 'extras' clinched it for Mad Michael. His sauce is SPECTACULAR (and properly served on the side). He wouldn't reveal the formula, although it certainly includes Bourbon and Maple Syrup (neither traditionally associated with Texas!) but it was the spiciness that hooked me. One of the finest sauces I've had. I'm pretty sure that when I return for pork ribs that I'll request more of this beef sauce too.

                                        AND no Wonderbread - I'm not usually a cornbread fan, but Mad Michaels is by far the best I've ever had, and it seems I'm not alone as he's now advertising it for sale as a takeaway in large rounds.

                                        PS The peanut butter pie is back in quantity. Not really my thing but AmuseGirl likens it to an Eatmore Bar

                                        -----
                                        Mad Michael's
                                        8215 93 Hwy, Wyebridge, ON L0K1E0, CA

                                        Buster Rhino's
                                        2001 Thickson Rd S, Whitby, ON L1N, CA

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: estufarian
                                          p
                                          plug Jul 12, 2011 10:49 AM

                                          "albeit some versions included some hard, black, crackling(?) for texture contast)"

                                          Are you sure this isn't what they call "Burnt ends"?aka bbq gold

                                          1. re: plug
                                            estufarian Jul 12, 2011 12:07 PM

                                            I've had burnt ends before (Kansas City? - and may have been pork as well) - but not "as such" in Texas. It was probably the same thing chopped up as part of the chopped beef - and was the only thing I liked in the chopped version. I was trying to think of the word 'bark' but blanked out as I was typing.

                                          2. re: estufarian
                                            j
                                            julesrules Jul 12, 2011 12:11 PM

                                            Was thinking of trying the beef this time around - but he has two beef sandwiches on his lunch menu, one sounds like what you had (BBQ sauce) and the other one is on rye with mustard, so it sounds more like deli.. but maybe he uses the same beef product for both?

                                            1. re: estufarian
                                              m
                                              magic Jul 12, 2011 12:13 PM

                                              Thanks for your post, very interesting comparisons!

                                              I also just want to throw out some love for the potato salad.

                                              Just as the cornbread is the best I've ever had, so to is the potato salad. People, myself included, give so much focus to his unreal cornbread that sometimes the potato salad plays second, even third or fourth fiddle in the experience.

                                              But I just would like to say it is absolutely the best potato salad I've had so far anywhere, and it's a good thing the portions of it are not that big as I would just keep eating.....

                                            2. estufarian Aug 23, 2010 08:27 AM

                                              Made it to Mad Michaels on the weekend – first time this year.

                                              Overall very good, but some slight differences (or reactions).

                                              First a shout-out for the TEXTURE – which was outstanding for just about everything. Not melt-in-the-mouth/fall-off-the-bone, but a nice ‘give’ (al dente?) texture that I prefer to the ‘baby-food’ version that’s all-too-common.

                                              The Texas-Style Ribs (that I liked last year) were stand-outs this year. And the cornbread is still the best I’ve ever encountered ANYWHERE.
                                              The brisket was excellent and the accompanying sauce was a knockout. Just enough heat to tingle my tongue.
                                              The pulled pork was a little disappointing. Great texture (as I mentioned above) but the flavour was subdued. Maybe needed a little more smoke. And the jerk chicken (despite the great texture) was just bland – and the sauce didn’t really work for me either.

                                              The sides were competent – if anything the beans had a ‘darker’ flavour this year which gave them more personality. And the salads were very impressive – but who goes for salad at a BBQ?

                                              And I still don’t get the ‘Midland crust’ – just too firm for me – but my companions almost fought over it.

                                              I’ll DEFINITELY be back – and soon.

                                              -----
                                              Mad Michael's Bbq
                                              8215 93 Hwy, Wyebridge, ON L0K1E0, CA

                                              12 Replies
                                              1. re: estufarian
                                                m
                                                magic Aug 23, 2010 10:11 AM

                                                It's great that you made it there this year. I've only been once so far but as my post above noted it was excellent as ever. Too bad about the subdued pp flavour. Mine was great. I look forward to going back on the upcoming long weekend.

                                                1. re: estufarian
                                                  JamieK Aug 23, 2010 04:02 PM

                                                  I can't believe the summer's almost over and I haven't been to MM's yet. Will try to get there this weekend.

                                                  I may be missing something but what do you mean by "Midland crust"?

                                                  1. re: JamieK
                                                    estufarian Aug 23, 2010 05:05 PM

                                                    It was a reference back to a previous post of mine on this thread, where the 'locals' in my party almost fought over the pie crust, whereas I found it both tough and chewy (if that's possible). Seems to be a local preference in style. I leave mine and a feeding frenzy ensues.
                                                    Sorry, I guess not everybody has memorized this whole thread!

                                                    1. re: estufarian
                                                      JamieK Aug 23, 2010 05:38 PM

                                                      Ah well that explains it. I pride myself on usually remembering that kind of colourful description but I should have searched the thread for enlightenment.

                                                      You will be shaking your head in disapproval but we made our usual annual jaunt to Henry's Fish House on Ogden's Beach Rd a couple of weeks ago and had a great time. BUT you are right, it's not a destination but more of nostalgia thing for me -- the batter on the pickerel does not come up to my usual standards but still good. The baked beans though I just love -- beans from scratch with onions and a smokey pork flavour underneath, yum! The coleslaw is pretty good too. And the pickerel is fresh and so tasty.

                                                      Our guests were disappointed with their pan-fried pickerel -- too heavy on the flour/seasoning they said.

                                                      The service was efficient and friendly as usual. Although an odd thing happened -- we were asked nicely to move to (a better table) to make way for an unexpected group of 16 including at least five children (some infants) which we gladly did.

                                                      Then as soon as this ungainly group staggered in and seated themselves, they got up within minutes and left the restaurant.

                                                      All I could get out of our server was that "ignorant behaviour" was overheard (not directed at staff but seemingly internal criticism). Such drama! So puzzling.

                                                      -----
                                                      Henry's Fish House
                                                      3282 Ogden's Beach Rd, Tay, ON L0K, CA

                                                      1. re: JamieK
                                                        estufarian Aug 23, 2010 07:00 PM

                                                        I've not had any recent experiences there, so can't really comment (knowledgeably) any more.
                                                        It's still a tradition - but some traditions aren't really followed by me any more (my relatives still swear by the Dock Lunch too).

                                                        -----
                                                        Dock Lunch
                                                        , Penetanguishene, ON L9M2E7, CA

                                                        1. re: estufarian
                                                          JamieK Aug 24, 2010 04:32 PM

                                                          Now if only Dock Lunch were licensed. I wouldn't mind sitting by the water with a cold brew and scarfing down some fries, even if they are frozen or whatever.

                                                          1. re: JamieK
                                                            f
                                                            farmgirl1836 Aug 25, 2010 10:00 AM

                                                            I'm so sorry I'm just now reading this thread. My husband and I went up to the Penetanguishene area a few weekends ago, unfortunately to visit a friend who is at the Mental Health Centre out there. We had no idea where to eat lunch, but ended up at Dock Lunch because there was a crowd and we figured that a crowd meant that the food was good. We were wrong! The food was mediocre at best. It wasn't a particularly nice day, so even the atmosphere didn't help. My guess is that Dock Lunch is just an institution up that way, so people just flock to it.

                                                            Anyway, we attended again this past weekend and ended up at Blue Sky Restaurant & Tavern, a suggestion from the lady at the tourist bureau near the dock where you can take the boat tour. Our lunch was absolutely delicious! The place is what I would call a "dump". But, my steak and pepper and onion wrap was out of this world, as was the side Greek salad that came with it. My husband ordered a Canadian burger with peameal bacon and mozzarella cheese on it and he was thrilled! Anyway, we did drive by Mad Michael's on our way up and it had a Closed sign outside at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. On our way home, at 5:30 p.m., it was Open, but we were rushed to get home. I had no idea what Mad Michael's was, but we will definitely make a point of stopping there the next time we are in the area! Thanks for the hot tip.

                                                            -----
                                                            Mad Michael's
                                                            8215 93 Hwy, Wyebridge, ON L0K1E0, CA

                                                            Dock Lunch
                                                            , Penetanguishene, ON L9M2E7, CA

                                                            1. re: farmgirl1836
                                                              JamieK Aug 25, 2010 11:07 AM

                                                              That sign is unreliable. And, it's a good idea to call ahead and make reservations if you want to sit on the patio, especially on a weekend.
                                                              http://www.madmichaels.com/

                                                              1. re: farmgirl1836
                                                                estufarian Aug 25, 2010 11:46 AM

                                                                Not on this thread, but Blue Sky was (and is) our consistent 'diner' in the area (and our regular Sunday morning breakfast spot) - and has been mentioned in the past.

                                                                I think the Mad Michael hours are 12-8 on Thur/Sun, but someone may be there earlier.

                                                                And our other favourite is Explorers Cafe (in Midland) - set a little back from the street, so easy to miss. Undoubtedly the best wine list in Midland and the food varies from 'fine' to occasionally 'exceptional' - menu changes every couple of months and reservations are essential.

                                                                Hope the need to visit finishes - but if not, you can, at least, dine well!

                                                                -----
                                                                Mad Michael's
                                                                8215 93 Hwy, Wyebridge, ON L0K1E0, CA

                                                                1. re: estufarian
                                                                  m
                                                                  magic Jul 3, 2011 07:53 PM

                                                                  Am happy to return for the 2011 season.

                                                                  My visit this weekend was possibly the best ever.

                                                                  No words.

                                                                  Just pictures. (those carrots are pickled!)

                                                                   
                                                                   
                                                                  1. re: magic
                                                                    j
                                                                    julesrules Jul 4, 2011 05:17 AM

                                                                    Looking forward to our yearly visit as well. Of note - the butter tarts are excellent too! Make a great gift if headed to someone's cottage. Or just treat yourself. The woman said something about a family recipe with (red?) currants. They are NOT runny, however, if that's your thing.

                                                                    1. re: julesrules
                                                                      PoppiYYZ Jul 4, 2011 06:48 PM

                                                                      I took a whole amazing corn bread from Mad Michael's to a cottage get together last year. It was devoured with dinner, as evening snacks, and for breakfast. Expensive, but we were the heroes that weekend !

                                                  2. j
                                                    julesrules Jun 25, 2010 06:41 AM

                                                    Bumping this up again for the season. Friends went recently and enjoyed it. Hope to get there next weekend.

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: julesrules
                                                      m
                                                      magic Jun 25, 2010 07:34 PM

                                                      Will be going for the first time this year on later on this week. Can't wait!!

                                                      1. re: magic
                                                        m
                                                        magic Jul 2, 2010 03:24 PM

                                                        Made it there this week. Everything was its usual brilliance. Sooo good. Pulled pork on sweet potato roll, cornbread, potato salad (best ever), etc.

                                                        They even had a complimentary "amuse bouche" of sorts. Smoked egg pate (really a spread) on homemade crackers! Delicious.

                                                        Still can't get over how nice the patio and surroundings (and the staff) are too....

                                                        1. re: magic
                                                          j
                                                          julesrules Jul 10, 2010 09:11 AM

                                                          We went yesterday - I liked it even better this time. Potato salad was not gummy and I really loved the beans and cornbread this time. The ribs were also good, great smoke, but I do think I prefer a fattier cut. No peanut butter pie but raspberry cheesecake was great. And as you mention the staff and Mad Michael himself are so nice. Great place to go with kids (especially at an off time) because you can wander the beautiful grounds. Only about 15-20 minutes from Elmvale zoo too. Left with butter tarts and rhubarb relish.

                                                          -----
                                                          Mad Michael's
                                                          8215 93 Hwy, Wyebridge, ON L0K1E0, CA

                                                          1. re: julesrules
                                                            m
                                                            magic Jul 10, 2010 11:22 AM

                                                            So glad you liked it better this time...

                                                            Right on.

                                                    2. j
                                                      julesrules Jul 2, 2009 08:32 AM

                                                      Had lunch there on Sunday. Highly recommend the ribs - excellent smoke and spice. The pulled pork, we found to be "subtle". Probably would not order it again, in fact. Of course we are used to overly sweet and saucy Toronto versions but we could not taste much smoke, and it just did not compare to the ribs. Or stand out much against the sweet potato bun and coleslaw - just not a great sandwich. Other standouts were the cornbread - it is quite sweet, but it works because nothing else is particularly sweet (not the BBQ, potato salad/coleslaw or beans) - and the homemade ginger beer. I ordered the iced tea instead because I don't like my drinks to be spicier than my food, but I tasted my husband's and it was mild but tasty. Did not love the potato salad (kind of gummy) or coleslaw, but I have pretty specific preferences on both of these.
                                                      Desserts are decent. Good flaky pastry. Again my husband's order won, he got the peanut butter pie which had a sweet and salty baked filling, unique and tasty.
                                                      Love the atmosphere of the place, and it is also kid friendly, with a couple of kid's menu items, crayons, and lots of interesting things to look at for all ages.
                                                      It is about half an hour drive from Wasaga beach, and a very pleasant drive mostly past farms.

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: julesrules
                                                        estufarian Oct 15, 2009 12:45 PM

                                                        Just to close off the 2009 season as MM's is now closed until the spring (Victoria Day, 2010). It's still my favourite in the area, but I've now tried Buster Rhino's (which I hadn't at my last post), and which is mostly considered the best in the GTA (based on opinions on this Board).

                                                        In comparison with BR's, I find the smoking comparable - it's been a little inconsistent at MM's but I haven't trekked way out east to BR enough times to know what his is like. But the main difference between the two is that MM's has a bit more of a 'firm texture' to it, whereas BR's is more 'fall-off-the-bone'. I'm more in the 'texture' camp, but that's just a personal preference - BR's seems to be (only tried once) the best of the 'softer' style.

                                                        I also prefer the choices at MM's. Certainly the ribs are the star attraction, but I can also enjoy Bison, Lamb and Pulled Pork there (in a combo plate too). Also it's a dining destination (by cottage country standards) rather than an industrial park setting.

                                                        -----
                                                        Mad Michael's Bbq
                                                        8215 93 Hwy, Wyebridge, ON L0K1E0, CA

                                                        1. re: estufarian
                                                          CeeQueue Oct 15, 2009 01:44 PM

                                                          When I had BR's ribs the first time I went there, they were definitely not "fall off the bone" texture. A little gnawing was definitely required, lol. I haven't had the ribs again, though, because I can't get enough of their brisket. It's insanely good, with just enough chewiness but melt-in-the-mouth fat marbelling. Mmmmmmm.

                                                          I don't get up to Midland area often, but next time I am I'll definitely check it out. I head up to Haliburton for a week the odd summer, and a road trip to MM's will be in order.

                                                          1. re: estufarian
                                                            m
                                                            magic Oct 15, 2009 03:04 PM

                                                            Sad how quick the summer goes by. Wow. Thanks for the update!

                                                            Can't believe I only made it there once this summer:( Pulled Pork was just as good as ever. I def prefer BR's ribs (though I've personally never found them fall off the bone, really, but I know what you mean by MM's more firm texture, which I agree with), but for pulled pork I'm still giving it MM's. Regardless, it continues to be a really beautiful and unique spot, and definitely a good day trip destination. Especially on a sunny day.

                                                        2. estufarian Jun 22, 2009 01:13 PM

                                                          Somewhere in the middle of this thread, I promised to report back on 2009.

                                                          If anything it's even better (although the prices may have crept up a bit - don't recall last year's exactly).
                                                          Was there on Fathers Day - and had the best BBQ I've ever had in Ontario (to be fair I haven't tried Buster Rhino, who many recommend). Between us we had the Buffalo Rib (special for Fathers Day, Beef ribs, Texas-style Pork ribs (mainly meat, very little bone) and the pulled lamb. All of these were 'tender with a bit of chew' - definitely not 'fall-off-the-bone, no texture'. And the conbread is still the only version I'd wolf down - maybe a little sweet for some people but great texture as well. And two types of salads that were both excellent (Spring & Garden) - as well as the more usual fare (yams, beans, potato salad etc.
                                                          And NO Wonderbread - (which for me is a plus, albeit potentially inauthentic).

                                                          The pastry on the home-made desserts/pies was a litle tasteless for me but AmuseGirl and Dad-in-Law both enthusiastically consumed that (maybe it's a special Midland recipe), leaving the guts of the pie for me - so I guess everybody won. And it was the first rhubarb pie I've seeen this season - although I haven't really been looking.

                                                          For me now, the ONLY place to eat when in the Midland area.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: estufarian
                                                            m
                                                            magic Jun 22, 2009 01:39 PM

                                                            Nice! I can’t wait to go. I’ll be up there next week for the first time since last summer. Sooooooooo looking forward to it. For ribs I gotta give it to Buster Rhino. I’ve only had Mad Michael’s pork ribs once and they were good – but BR’s are insanely good. For pulled pork I’m giving it to Mad Michael’s all the way. Anyways, you should def check out BR. Worth the trip. Mad Michael’s is an all around very special spot, can’t wait to get there next week!

                                                            Agreed, MM’s desserts can be hit and miss. Bit plain. But hey, it’s cool he even makes them! Most BBQers just BBQ. This guy is doing it all himself (with the help of some staff too I’m sure), desserts included. Practically running a full on bakery he offers so much in terms of desserts. VERY Impressive.

                                                            Thanks for your report!

                                                            1. re: estufarian
                                                              JamieK Jun 22, 2009 04:03 PM

                                                              Good to hear. I was up this weekend too and we were planning to go Saturday but much prefer to eat out on the patio, so what with the rain, decided to hold off for another day. Hope the weather is better in a couple of weeks. Can't wait to have some of that cornbread again.

                                                            2. j
                                                              julesrules Apr 23, 2009 09:15 AM

                                                              I am bumping up this thread because I missed it first time around and just read about this place deep in the Highway 61 thread. Cottage season is coming, I can't be the only person interested! Will be making the drive from Wasaga, I hope - the one chow experience I can get my husband on board for is BBQ.

                                                              10 Replies
                                                              1. re: julesrules
                                                                estufarian Apr 23, 2009 09:23 AM

                                                                I'll be posting as soon as it reopens. Victoria day weekend (I expect - the sign says "in May").

                                                                1. re: estufarian
                                                                  m
                                                                  magic Apr 23, 2009 09:41 AM

                                                                  Ya I think I remember a waitress telling me Victoria Day long weekend was it's usual reopening time. Thru to Thanksgiving in the fall I think.

                                                                2. re: julesrules
                                                                  JamieK Apr 23, 2009 03:09 PM

                                                                  That's a bit of a trek from Wasaga. If you're in the area, you might consider bringing a cooler & icepacks and stopping by Mueller's meats to pick up some fabulous made-on-site German style sausages (the hot is my favourite). They also have great double-smoked bacon and other interesting meats and items.

                                                                  You'd have to go north from Mad Michael's, which is on Hwy 93, and then left at Balm Beach Rd aka County Rd 25 and travel along for a mile or two. After you stop at Mueller's you can continue in the same direction to Simcoe County 6 and turn left to take you back down to Hwy 7 (the scenic route).

                                                                  (if you do go to Mueller's, grab a number as soon as you walk in).

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Mueller's
                                                                  150 Balm Beach Rd, Tiny, ON L0L, CA

                                                                  1. re: JamieK
                                                                    m
                                                                    magic Apr 23, 2009 06:08 PM

                                                                    It's actually not that bad a drive from Wasaga. Maybe a half hour or so. Totally worth the drive in my opinion. I drive in from Collingwood, which is even further than Wasaga!! Love every second of it too. Hey, it's summer, country driving! Beautiful.

                                                                    Thanks for the Mueller's tip btw. Sounds good.

                                                                    1. re: magic
                                                                      JamieK Apr 23, 2009 08:46 PM

                                                                      From Collingwood that must take more than an hour. Dude, I can see Collingwood, on a clear day from across the bay near Lafontaine/Christian Island -- maybe you should take a boat!

                                                                      You're right -- from Wasaga to Wyebridge/Perkinsfield/Midland isn't that bad. We sometimes drive all the way from Midland area to the village of Creemore for the day and it's about an hour but this is better.

                                                                      1. re: JamieK
                                                                        m
                                                                        magic Apr 23, 2009 08:50 PM

                                                                        Ya it probably takes me just shy of an hour to get there from Collingwood. I don't mind! It's worth it and fun for me. If I had a boat I'd probably take that, that would be awesome : )

                                                                    2. re: JamieK
                                                                      j
                                                                      julesrules Apr 24, 2009 06:50 AM

                                                                      We like a road trip and it gives us an excuse to go in a different direction (since we generally go to Creemore, Collingwoord, Thornbury or even across the peninsula to get to the other family cottage). Thanks for the tip - we have a favourite butcher, Sullivan's, in Wiarton when we are at that cottage so like the BBQ, Mueller's is right up our alley.

                                                                      1. re: julesrules
                                                                        JamieK Apr 24, 2009 10:28 AM

                                                                        Road trips are great. I just realized a typo above -- meant to say "back down to Hwy 27".

                                                                        Another interesting place in the area is Wendy B's Fine Foods in the village of Lafontaine. Great sandwiches and salads, so you could do a lunch there. But she also has an array of on-site prepared foods, such as pot pies, lasagna, kebobs, etc. Baked goods as well.

                                                                        It's about 10-15 minutes north of Perkinsfield and on the way, there's a good farmer's stand with fresh, local veggies and fruits.

                                                                        Also near Lafontaine is a fishmonger where you get can get fresh pickerel (when available) and other fresh fish straight from Georgian Bay. The family holds one of the last commercial fishing licences in the area.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Wendy B's
                                                                        339 Lafontaine Rd W, Penetanguishene, ON L9M1R3, CA

                                                                        Lepage Fishery
                                                                        6 Lafontaine Rd W, Tiny, ON L9M, CA

                                                                        1. re: JamieK
                                                                          torontovore Apr 24, 2009 03:49 PM

                                                                          Great tips. Thank you!
                                                                          Bring on the summer road trips.

                                                                          1. re: torontovore
                                                                            JamieK Apr 24, 2009 05:11 PM

                                                                            but please everyone, make sure you remember those all important extra-large icepacks and a good-quality cooler!!!

                                                                            Happy chow road-tripping!

                                                                  2. JamieK Sep 2, 2008 04:09 PM

                                                                    Yes! Finally made it to Mad Michael's this weekend and we were very pleased. I had the pulled pork sandwich and it was a winner! Since I know squat about "Carolina" style, any inconsistencies didn't bother me. It was a tasty juicy sandwich, and the sweet-potato bread was delicious.

                                                                    My friend had the buffalo burger and loved it. I had a taste -- moist and juicy and flavourful, the cucumber relish was really tasty.

                                                                    We sat out on the patio, since this weekend finally offered the weather we've been waiting for ALL summer. The bugs weren't bad at this time of year. The smoke didn't bother me. I actually wished they had bigger and more umbrellas because I hate eating in direct sun (we kept squishing around our table as the sun moved).

                                                                    Another quibble is that we yearned for more than what was on offer as far as beer goes. Even Creemore would be welcome.

                                                                    So with 1 pulled pork sandwich, 1 buffalo burger, 1 beer, 1 glass of wine, the total came to $40 including tip. The service was great and Mr. Mad Michael himself is quite the interesting character, amusing and down-to-earth.

                                                                    I would definitely go back, looking forward to trying out other items on the menu.
                                                                    http://www.madmichaels.com

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Mad Michael's
                                                                    8215 93 Hwy, Wyebridge, ON L0K1E0, CA

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: JamieK
                                                                      m
                                                                      magic Sep 3, 2008 07:17 AM

                                                                      I’m really glad you guys liked it. I got there 4 times this summer, on weekends. Loved every time. I started going 2 summers ago and have watched the food improve and improve. I dream about that cornbread.

                                                                      My last weekend up I finally tried the buffalo burger. Wow was it ever good. It was a bit curious though, cuz it tasted a lot like beef! Wasn’t very gamey I thought, and I was kind of expecting and in the mood for something ‘gamier.’ The only other buffalo burger I’ve ever had was considerably gamier than Mad Michael’s. I brought this up and they acknowledged their buffalo burger is not very gamey (agreed about the staff btw, they are all so nice and take such pride in their work, it’s refreshing). Don’t get me wrong it was a damn good burger; very tasty, not dry, and that homemade relish and mustard were gorgeous. Would definitely order it again. Also, tried a bite of my friend’s Portobello burger (really a grilled Portobello sandwich). Delicious. Also, gotta love their use of beautiful tomatoes and fresh produce. Even though they take a backseat to the BBQ the produce is still fresh and wonderful. Why can’t Toronto places follow suit? Why is that so difficult?

                                                                      Can’t wait to get back again. I may have to make a trek up there in the fall, before winter sets in. What a wonderful and interesting place.

                                                                      1. re: magic
                                                                        JamieK Apr 23, 2009 03:02 PM

                                                                        My friend found the same thing regarding the issue of gaminess. He had never had buffalo before and was hesitant I think because he was leery of possible gaminess but one bite and he was off to the races, almost had it finished before I could have a taste.

                                                                        1. re: JamieK
                                                                          m
                                                                          magic Jun 22, 2009 08:14 PM

                                                                          Ya, I was expecting, and hoping for, something gamier. No real complaints though as at the end of the day it was a delicious burger.

                                                                    2. estufarian Aug 5, 2008 05:56 AM

                                                                      Indeed an excellent find.
                                                                      Tried it over the weekend and was reasonably impressed (although not a life-changing experience). Certainly better than anything I've had (so far) in Toronto.
                                                                      Apparantly they were inundated on Friday night (busiest ever) so on Saturday they only had a few BBQ items available - actually a good sign - the smoker was full.
                                                                      I settled for the "Texas Style Pork Ribs" (a new item for me - I usually prefer beef brisket with Texas-style). Sort of like a cross between a pork chop and ribs. The smoking was good - not perfect as the centre part hadn't received any smoke, although the edges had. I actually quite liked the contrast; it added interest. the beans were overcooked - not my favourite, but that was more than compensated for by the cornbread - this was also slightly smoky and had some of the sweetness of corn - perfectly complementing the pork (and I'm not really a corn fan). AmuseGirl had the Carolina pulled pork sandwich (served on a paper plate - my choice used a regular plate!. Creditable (as BBQ) but I'm not a Carolina-style fan - but I hve to say it was the best carolina-style I've had - but those of you who like Carolina-style might find it a little tame. The slaw topping was unusual - chopped up more like chopped onions and almost dry (which didn't make the bun soggy - one of my top peeves with BBQ is soggy buns). And the bun was spectacular - a sweet-potato bun was used - a far cry from the wonderbread-style often served with BBQ.
                                                                      So overall, GREAT breads - actually better than I've found with BBQ anywhere in my worldwide travels. Pretty good BBQ too - definitely worth a detour and it's only 5-10 minutes from Midland, and is now my choice for best dining in that area.
                                                                      Oh, and I'd choose to sit inside. Although the patio was great on the weekend, you have to contend with ants, flies and smoke from the smoker. And the Lemonade (home-made) was pretty good too - always a smart choice if you're driving (sort of essential to even get there).
                                                                      And a minor picky point. They claim it's 'Southern' BBQ. My standard of wood is hickory - all my favourite places use that - not sure if oak really qualifies. But it does work well.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: estufarian
                                                                        m
                                                                        magic Aug 5, 2008 06:27 AM

                                                                        Nice! Glad you liked it. Enjoyed your review estufarian.

                                                                        Haha, I too was there on Saturday. For lunch. I was there around 2 – I wonder if we shared patio space? I don’t think we did. I was outside too. Personally, I love the patio. The smoke from the smokehouse doesn’t bother me at all. I find it pleasantly smoky, certainly not overbearing or an interference. I think it’s charming, it’s not like I get to dine on BBQ with smoky oak perfuming the air every day. It’s a treat. I also like that their patio tables have big umbrellas for protection from the sun. Cuz while I like eating outside, I don’t like roasting in the sun. And their padded seats make dining there real comfortable. I didn’t have any bug issues on Saturday, too bad about your pests… although I did notice the bugs were out in full force in Georgian Bay this weekend, which is rare (it’s not like this area is the Muskokas…).

                                                                        I also got the Texas style pork ribs! First time getting those – previously my outings there had been limited to the pulled pork sandwiches mainly. You are dead on, the ribs were almost a hybrid between pork chops and ribs. I’d never seen that cut before. I like them a lot. I’m not sure if I loved them, but they were certainly very good. Almost excellent. Won’t find anything like that in Toronto. I could’ve used maybe a BIT less smoke in the ribs as the taste of the pork itself was a bit hard to detect amid the smoky taste. But overall it was very good. I didn’t find my pinto beans overcooked at all. They were perfect. Like a meatless chili. Very nicely done. The potato salad was its usual wonderfulness but I chose to add a little extra S+P myself. Usually I don’t have to. But it’s not like it’s a big deal to do that. The cornbread was a little too browned for me this time around but it still tasted great and was nowhere close to dry. Delish. It’s odd that your ribs came on a regular plate. Mine came on a paper plate. Which I love, I must say.

                                                                        Ahhh, going up there is a real treat. A real summer thing. Look fwd to going up again….glad you enjoyed.

                                                                        1. re: magic
                                                                          estufarian Aug 5, 2008 07:31 AM

                                                                          I think we may have been there together. We got there around 1;30, but as I wasn't wearing a watch (hey it was supposed to be a holiday) I don't know the exact time. Saw someone wearing an 'In 'n Out' Burger tee shirt - was that you - it's the sort of thing a Chowhound would wear. And if you've never read the classic posting from Joe H (Joe Heflin) on In 'n Out Burger (a few years back) then seek it out. It was also referenced in one of the 'greatest all-time threads' discussions (I think Joe had a couple in there).
                                                                          Next time I'll break anonymity. AmuseGirl is a Midland Lass.

                                                                          1. re: estufarian
                                                                            m
                                                                            magic Aug 5, 2008 07:59 AM

                                                                            No way, that was totally me!!! Haha, wicked! Now that you mention it I think I do vaguely remember somebody eyeing my shirt. Taller fellow. Brown hair. Or, more of a "older" gentleman. Silver hair. I could be remembering wrong, plus I guess I wasn't being superattentive.

                                                                            That is too funny.

                                                                            Thanks for the 5,000 Mile Hamburger rec. Great read....

                                                                        2. re: estufarian
                                                                          Dr Butcher Aug 5, 2008 02:07 PM

                                                                          estufarian, much of texas BBQ is prepared using using oak, post oak actually. You'll also find mesquite but I do agree that much of the cooking done in the southeast is prepared with hickory. It's a more intense flavour. You do find folks that are in love with fruit or nut woods like apple, cherry, peach, pecan etc. I feel that the vast majority of people can't really tell the difference between smoke woods anyway and only balk when they've found out it wasn't cooked with a certain wood....

                                                                          I feel that southern BBQ is more of a preparation and cooking style, slow and low using any number of woods. I can't agree that southern BBQ means hickory.

                                                                          Thanks for the review, I will have to check it out in my travels.

                                                                          1. re: Dr Butcher
                                                                            estufarian Aug 5, 2008 02:22 PM

                                                                            Thanks for the explanation. All of my favourites (in US) have been hickory - so I assumed that might be the reason. Indeed I did detect that Mad Michaels had a different smoke flavour and 'magic' mentioned the oak in particular. In the past 2 years I've visited Memphis, Dallas/Ft Worth and Kansas City - all of whom used hickory (when I asked), so mine was certainly a biased sample.
                                                                            But whatever is used, the food at Mad Michaels is certainly worth a visit - if you're in the area - certainly (for me) better than anything I've had in Toronto.

                                                                            1. re: estufarian
                                                                              h
                                                                              hungryforquality Sep 2, 2008 02:50 PM

                                                                              Thank you, thank you Chowhound. Mad Michael's was an absolute delight. Atmosphere was low-key charm, Mrs. Mad was delightful to talk to, and Mad Michael's energy was infectious. And the food was superb. I had the pulled lamb which was moist to the last bite and the smoked flavour kept overwhelming my taste buds right to the end. The sides were above average and not a disappointment. Nothing like it in T.O. that I've come across including Phil's. Worth the drive from Toronto, but I've scored anyways, because my cottage is 15 minutes away.

                                                                        3. JamieK Jul 22, 2008 02:57 PM

                                                                          I drive through Wyevale all the time and used to go there before Mad Michael owned it. It really is an amazing place with charming patio and outdoor setting. I've been meaning to try it since he started BBQing (and got a licence) but haven't got around to it. I'll make an effort to try this place when I'm next up in August.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: JamieK
                                                                            m
                                                                            magic Jul 23, 2008 05:23 AM

                                                                            Right on, I think you'll be in for a treat!

                                                                            (As an aside, since you mention you go through Elmvale, hit up the Elmvale Bakery and get their glazed lemon cakes and apple fritters. A few doors down, Pieces of Olde makes really yummy pork schnitzel sandwiches and other lunch items.)

                                                                            1. re: magic
                                                                              JamieK Jul 23, 2008 06:44 AM

                                                                              Sorry, I meant to say Wyebridge. Mad Michael's is in Wyebridge on 93.

                                                                              I'm hardly ever in Elmvale but will keep those suggestions in mind. thanks

                                                                              1. re: JamieK
                                                                                m
                                                                                magic Jul 23, 2008 06:51 AM

                                                                                Yeah, Elmvale is like 15-20 mins away so if you're ever there remember those spots, sure.

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