Category North American

Summer Road Trip: The Beach House, Port Dover

Oh, there’s no getting over the fried perch of Dover.

#thebeachhouse #portdover #lakeerie #beautyview #greatfood #greatlake #roadtrip

Fried perch at The Beach House in Port Dover, ON. So tender and sweet. And the view of the lake is mesmerizing.

Fried perch at The Beach House in Port Dover, ON. So tender and sweet. And the view is mesmerizing.

The Beach House
2 Walker Street
Port Dover, ON N0A 1N0
Telephone:(519) 583-0880

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Holiday Traditions: Crawford’s Village Bakery

UPDATE: Crawford’s Village Bakery is closing November 30, 2014. 

My first memory of Crawford’s Village Bakery is of the sweet fragrance of their still warm pies as we stocked them in the Cheeseboard Café’s cooler when I waitressed there back in the 80s. Alison made frequent trips to Crawford’s to keep up with the demand for their delicious, freshly baked fruit pies, like Strawberry Rhubarb and Cherry. I fondly recall the elderly lady who routinely struggled to get to the Cheeseboard just for a prized piece of Blueberry Pie.


My favourite memories of Crawford’s are the trips my Mom, sisters, and I used to make there every holiday. At Thanksgiving we’d pick up our order of Pumpkin and Dutch Apple Pie (my favourite!).


At Christmas we ordered Butter Pecan Pie and our Easter order often included Quiche.


Mom and I loved to browse the shelves for gourmet goodies to embellish our feast,


stuff in Christmas stockings, or hand out as charming hostess gifts.


(Top photo) Suc’ Aromatisé flavoured sugars from France – can’t wait to try the Violet. (Middle photo) Martin Pouret French mustard, Safinter Smoked Spanish Paprika, and Terre Exotique Flower Salad from France. (Bottom photo) Guelph, Ontario’s Kitchen Connaisseur.

Our cookie trays included Aunt Maud’s Christmas Fruitcake. Lucy Maud Montgomery was related to the Crawfords. Elaine and Kelly Crawford published Aunt Maud’s Recipe Book from Lucy’s original recipes, which were passed down through the family. You can buy it at Crawford’s.


Mom always placed a festively-shaped, handcrafted Chocolate Sucker on each grandchild’s plate.


We often picked up little treats for ourselves to enjoy later like German Chocolate Brownies. In those days, we’d linger over a homemade lunch that Crawford’s used to serve in the adjoining room.


(Photo) German Chocolate Squares, Butter Tart Squares, and Date Squares.

I still adore going to Crawford’s for pies and gourmet goodies, cherishing the traditions that Mom and I started. Crawford’s was founded in 1967 by Bob and Elaine Crawford who still run it today, with the help of their daughter, Kelly, and friendly staff.


(Top photo) Some of the happy bakery staff: Angela, Katie, and Jennifer. (Middle photo) Andrea, the talented jam and jelly maker. (Bottom photo) Corry, one of the lovely chocolate ladies.

Throughout all of these years, the quality of Crawford’s products has remained consistently excellent. We have never been disappointed.

The classic fruit pies (Blueberry, Cherry, Dutch Apple, Strawberry Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb Cream Cheese, and Butter Pecan) are usually regularly available throughout the year. Summer seasonal pies (available on certain weekends) include such delights as Luscious Lime, Lemon Chiffon, Double Lemon, Lemon Sour Cream, and Blueberry Lemon Crumble.


Luscious Lime Pie

Apple is available all year until summer’s celebration of Peach. Raisin Pie is available by special order. Butterscotch Pie is baked about six times a year, usually around a holiday or long weekend. Pumpkin and Crimsonberry are available weekly except during the summer.


Crimsonberry Pie

Lemon Meringue is available on weekends only from fall to spring. Mince and Mincekin pies (pumpkin with a bottom layer of mince) are the joys of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Crawford’s usually features lighter pies at Easter to celebrate spring. Stay tuned to Crawford’s Facebook page for pie schedule announcements. All pies are lovingly made from scratch with a perfect crust and delectable fillings. Crawford’s pies remain the gold standard for pies in our region and are worth every calorie!

The shelves are brimming with artisanal treats and fine imported products like olives, oils, vinegars, pastas, and sauces.


Local products include The Garlic Box, Credit Valley Gold Honey, and Temple’s Sugar Bush Maple Syrup.


And of course, Crawford’s homemade Jams, Jellies, and Sauces. Oh, I think I’ll make my Dad’s day and pick him up a jar of Crawford’s Chili Sauce and a Meat Pie.


I bought my son an old-fashioned Chocolate Cake from Crawford’s for his birthday this year and it was really good. Crawford’s handmade and dipped Chocolate Truffles are far too tempting to resist!


Leave enough time to hunt for a vintage treasure to buy amongst the antiques that have replaced the little café. Check out the Lucy Maud Montgomery Museum in the same space.


Businesses like this, run by families like the Crawfords, are an absolute pleasure to write about. Thank you to the Crawford family for years of continued excellent service.

Call ahead to reserve your favourite pie or to place a chocolate order.

Open 7 days a week:
Monday to Saturday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sundays from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Open Thanksgiving Day, Easter Day, Christmas Eve, and New Year’s Eve.
Crawford’s Village Bakery & Distinctive Foods
2809 Bovaird Drive West
Brampton, ON (Norval)
Telephone: 905-451-0347

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Easy Summer Dinner: Michael-Angelo’s Sumptuous Crab Cakes

The cats are away so this mouse spent a busy afternoon testing recipes. After, I slipped out on to the patio (leaving my kitchen disaster behind me) and treated myself to a simple but sumptuous dinner: a Snow Crab Cake from Michael-Angelo’s grocery store. I like it cold on a bed of mixed greens with herbs, topped with chopped avocado, and squirted with lemon.


A dollop of cocktail sauce adds a classic, tangy bite. Amp up the wow factor even more with a hit of zingy cilantro pesto (Jamie Oliver’s Coriander and Cashew Pesto is brilliant) mixed with crème fraiche (both sold at Michael-Angelo’s) or mixed with creamy labneh (Middle Eastern strained yogurt that you can make yourself or purchase from Adonis).

Michael-Angelo’s Snow Crab Cakes are made in-store. A thin layer of light, crunchy breading embraces a generous mound of delicate, sweet crab flecked with minute pieces of sweet peppers and parsley.

Crab_Cake_Jamie_Oliver_Coriander_Cashew_Pesto Labneh

Snow Crab Cakes are available year round in Michael-Angelo’s prepared food counter. The quality has been consistently great. The ladies behind the counter tell me that their Portuguese Cod Cakes are also delicious. Well done ladies!

Mississauga location:
4099 Erin Mills Parkway
Mississauga, ON L5L 3P9
Telephone: (905) 820-3300

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Homemade Cookies Delivered To Your Door: Bridget’s Bicycle Bakery

Have a hankering for some freshly baked, homemade cookies? No problem if you live in Port Credit, thanks to the drive of Bridget Leon, a self-professed foodie and first year University of Guelph Food & Nutrition student. Bridget and her siblings (Madeline, Mary Frances, and Justin) are building up their own business from scratch. Their tools of the trade? Mom’s signature oatmeal chocolate chip cookie recipe, their bicycles, and some creative business savvy.


A simple phone call or e-mail order is all it takes to have a batch of freshly baked oatmeal chocolate chip cookies arrive at your doorstep, delivered with a warm smile and a sense of nostalgia by Bridget or her siblings on their bicycles.


Baked by Bridget using her Mom Marg’s family-favourite recipe, these soft and chewy oatmeal cookies with hits of rich, dark chocolate and hints of coconut are seriously addictive. Marg’s recipe has always been the hit of the ‘hood. Neighbor Cobi Ladner confessed “The cookies are so amazing that I hide them if Marg sends them over to our house. We’ve been eating them at every school event, birthday, and neighbourhood party for years.  Everyone loves them and requests them.”


The presentation is beautiful: packaging is labeled with a charming old-fashioned bicycle sticker and tied with gorgeous Tiffany-blue ribbon. Order by the dozen and choose from one of three attractive packaging options. A handwritten bicycle-stamped card is included with Option 3.


Perfect to celebrate life’s milestones, cheer up life’s rainier days, surprise a special someone, or act as the secret weapon in a promposal. Beautifully packaged, baked-from-scratch goodness can be delivered to your door, when you want, in the Port Credit area seven days a week. Special arrangements and customer orders are possible. Amendments can be made to the ingredients listed on the website. Click here for ordering instructions and contact information.

Bridget’s Bicycle Bakery
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Canada Day BBQ: Kansas City-style BBQ Chicken

Kick off summer with a Canada Day celebration featuring Olive’s finger lickin’ Kansas City-style Barbeque Chicken. We used to steer away from barbeque sauce and chicken – a combo that left the poor bird burnt on the outside and flavourless on the inside. But over the years I have researched, tested tips, tweaked my method, and ended up with a recipe that we love (scroll to the bottom).  Hope you will too.


Finish off your barbeque with the quintessential Canadian dessert: the all-Canadian butter tart. I overheard some American tourists wondering why we Canadians love these gooey, runny tarts so much (they don’t have them in the US). I suggested they head straight to Kate’s Town Talk Bakery for the answer. Small batch, baked from scratch, using a tried and true recipe passed down from Kate’s Grandma Doris. A tasty crust that doesn’t collapse and spill filling all over you. Filling that isn’t all drippy nor cloyingly sweet, but caramelizes around the edges into chewy, toffee bliss. Now that’s my idea of a great butter tart! Available plain or with raisins or pecans; mini or regular sized.


Olive’s Kansas City-style Barbeque Chicken

Serves 4 (2 small pieces of chicken each – recipe easily doubled)

Part of my method comes from a recipe clipping that I think appeared in one of my favourite cooking magazines, Cuisine At Home, a few years ago (Root Beer Barbeque Chicken). The chicken is fully roasted in the oven first and then dipped in the barbeque sauce to absorb the flavours, and then grilled immediately.

I pour my Kansas City-style Barbeque Sauce recipe over the hot roasted chicken, put it in the fridge for several hours to marinate and chill the meat, then grill it cold out of the fridge, dipping it back into the sauce each time I turn it on the grill, building up a caramelized crust while I warm the meat. Most of the work is done ahead; it just takes a few minutes on the grill. The end result is flavourful meat with a lovely caramelized crust. The perfect barbeque party chicken.

If you want to serve my Kansas City-style Barbeque Chicken with my Kansas City-style Barbeque Ribs, make my Big Batch Kansas City-style Barbeque Sauce and prepare the ribs in the oven the day before. The next morning roast the chicken and chill it in the sauce. Just before serving, take the ribs and chicken out of the fridge and put them straight on the grill for a few moments, as directed.


4-5 chicken drumsticks (bone-in, skin-on)
4 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups Olive’s Big Batch Kansas City-style Barbeque Sauce (see August 2013 post)

Two to six hours before grilling:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Arrange chicken pieces on a parchment-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Brush oil on chicken to coat evenly. Season well with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast chicken at 375°F until juices run clear and skin is golden brown, about 40 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over low heat, heat the barbeque sauce gently, stirring occasionally.
  3. As soon as chicken is cooked, put the hot chicken in a heat-proof casserole dish; immediately pour warm barbeque sauce over hot chicken to coat evenly (use all of the sauce). Cover. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours but preferably up to 6 hours.

Just before serving:

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high. When ready to grill, place chicken in sauce next to grill. Remove each piece with tongs, let excess sauce drip off, and place directly on a clean, well-oiled grill (keep tray of sauce beside grill to dip again). Grill for a few minutes.
  2. Remove each piece from grill and dip in sauce again. Return chicken to grill, turn over, and grill for a few minutes. Grill just until sauce has caramelized, skin is slightly charred, and chicken is hot throughout, about 5 to 10 minutes (dip chicken back into sauce each time you turn it on grill). Serve immediately.
Kate’s Town Talk Bakery
206C Queen Street South
Streetsville, ON
L5M 1L3
Telephone: 905-821-1166

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