Lakes Superior and Huron road trip in October 2012
Finally getting back to Canada after too many years. I will be predominately using two lane roads and have been known to sidetrack over 150 KMs for food. I can get all the Indian, Thai, BBQ, etc. between Florida and Thunder Bay. Am looking forward to Finnish. Any local or regional specialties I should not miss?
Will not be stopping in the Toronto area, but heading back to family in Wisconsin via Sarnia.
Bless your heart. When I was last in the UP, I pronounced it incorrectly and she told me where I could get that type of product.
When I go through in the fall months, I will gladly render a trip reprt.
And who does the best pastries or donoughts along the Huron shore?
Never could spell those deep fried confections of bliss.
If you drive across the UP, take a side trip to Hancock on the Keeweenaw Peninsula and stop at the Kaleva Bakery (it's been 15 years since my last visit, but the place was an institution and is probably still there). They had table service as well as a bakery counter and specialized in Finnish pastries and UP (as opposed to Cornish) pasties that were wonderful. BTW, order gravy with your pasties if you want to stand out as a tourist. Yoopers eat them with ketchup.
The hot tickets in the Sarnia - Port Huron zone, and then up the U.P. to the south shore of Lake Superior are:
- Pasties - cornish / finnish miner's pies traditionally made of beef with rutabagas, potatoes, carrots and onions, but in the UP they can come stuffed with anything, and savoury or sweet.
- anything cherry - cherry pies, cherry wine, jam, etc.
- Cudighi - local, italian-inspired sausage sandwich with a unique style of marinara sauce and cheese.
- Vernor's Ginger Ale - some regional distibution elsewhere, but its local to MI, and I'm addicted to the stuff http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/11/soda-the-dubious-history-and-great-flavor-of-vernors-ginger-ale.html
- smoked or fried local fish - fried lake trout or lake perch at roadside joints, and especially smoked whitefish and lake trout, when available - Gustavson's is a great spot for smoked fish and real beef jerky, too. Trust me, skip the salmon, etc. and either fried or smoked go whitefish, lake trout, lake perch, in that order :-) http://www.yelp.com/biz/gustafsons-smoked-fish-moran
Fried chicken at either The Chicken Shack or Palm's Krystal's 'Chicken in the Rough' in Port Huron.
The Chicken Shack - Old-school lightly-dusted pressure-fried chicken, or fried lake perch and their "shack potatoes" which are halfway between a home-fry and a french fry, broasted without a coating then brushed with butter - it's all insanely good! http://www.chickenshack.com/menu.php
Palms Krystal Chicken in the Rough - great food, great retro joint - go! http://bloatedbelly.typepad.com/the_bloated_belly/2006/02/palms_krystal_b.html
ALSO legit Michigan-style chili dogs at "Coney Island" in downtown Port Huron - tastes and looks exactly like a greasy-spoon coney-chili hot dog joint from the 50's :-) http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Restaurant_Review-g42607-d458871-Reviews-Coney_Island-Port_Huron_Michigan.html
Motz's Sliders in Detroit: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/12/motzs-burger-sliders-review-detroit-mi.html
In WI: Best fast-food chain anywhere - Culver's Butterburgers. Yeah, I know it's just a chain, it;s not gourmet, but compared to McDiddlers, etc. this place rocks. http://www.culvers.com/
If in Thunder Bay, go to The Hoito (Finnish Pancake house) - ot's been many years since I have been, but Finn friends in Thunder Bay tell me it is still as good.
In addition to the fish mentioned above, if you find fresh pickerel (walleye), I would highly recommend it. There was (is?) a shack on Hwy 17 just outside of North Bay towards Sudbury whenre I had it first and it was so melt in your mouth.
Fish and Chips huts by the lake should still be open in October, at Tobermory, Wiarton, Goderich, and Purdy's under the Blue Water Bridge.
Also a good one in Killarney.
Just ask for the catch of the day; also, look for smoked trout, bannock, and soups sold by First Nations.