Friar’s Travel Guide to Northern Ontario

Location
First, let’s get things straight.   Northern Ontario (or “The North”)  starts at North Bay, and includes anything north or west, thereof.

Anything south of this boundary is considered “Toronto” and is worthy of scorn.   (Feel free to make fun of Toronto at any opportunity, it’s highly encouraged up here.).  In fact, making fun of Toronto is encouraged everywhere else in Canada, too.

And never mind cities like Ottawa or Pembroke.   Even though they’re pretty much the same latitude as North Bay, they are NOT “The North”.

Never mind why…they just AREN’T.

Local Customs
Common courtesy dictates that in The North, you must wear a baseball cap.   It’s proper to say “youse” a lot.

And (unlike Toronto) a beer belly is not something to be ashamed of. Rather, it’s a status symbol.  Younger apprentices will have a small paunch.  The seasoned veteran will proudly sport a huge gut, which is a badge of honor.  Here’s a man that’s spent many a fine weekend fishing/hunting/drinking with the boys.

Women tend to be tough as nails (they have to be, to put up with their yahoo men).   A Northern woman will think nothing of opening a beer bottle with her teeth, while standing on shore, fishing next to her man.

The ladies tend to be have 1980’s feathered hairstyle, with lots of blue eyeshadow.    Young girls get pregnant at age 20.   Preferably more than once.  After which, they’ll become waitresses at the local restaurant, where they’ll finish off their careers.    Older women in their 50’s tend to become round in shape.  Possibly to conserve body heat during those cold winter months.

The difference between Northerners who live there, and the Toronto yuppies who come up to vacation, is that Northerners do everything “Motorized”.     Motor boat, versus canoe.    Snow-mobile, versus cross country skiing.     4-Wheeler, versus walking.

The only way to earn a living up here is mining, or logging.    So every town has some kind of “Mill”, where everyone works.   The Mill is the region’s sole source of economy.

Unfortunately, a lot of “Mills” are shutting down, and businesses arent’ doing well.   Things are rough here. You can pick up a house for $30,000 in some of these towns, if you want to move here.

DSCN5713

Folks make extra pocket money selling wild blueberries off the side of the road.    Definitely worth stopping and buying some.  These aren’t store-bought farm berries from the States.  These are wild-blueberries hand-picked picked in the bush, bursting with flavor.

Don’t be thrown off by the signs, though.   Ontario Bylaw 15-C1 dictates that “blueberry” must always be misspelled.

Bluberry

Lots of huntin’ and fishin’ up here.    Obviously.    Whether you got your Moose Tag or not is a frequent topic of conversation.

So Vegans or members of Peta might consider staying south of Huntsville, for their own Safety.

Distances don’t mean anything up here.  Driving 60 miles to the next town is the equivalent of going to the corner store for a pack of smokes.  Hornepayne, HearstWawaKapuskasing…just neighbors down the street.  They’ll probably have a cousin there.

Talk to someone from Manitouwadge about a good fishing lake 300 miles away, and he’ll know about it.  In fact, he’s probably been to that lake and fished for walleye.  Along with everyone else within a 100 radius trying to do the same thing.

Because the main fish to catch here is WALLEYE.    Everyone wants walleye.   All other fish is considered junk (with the exception of trout, which is reluctantly deemed an “acceptable” alternative).

Never mind that the lake a mile down the road is full of pike, and nobody’s fishing there.

Never mind that the other fish taste just as good and are more fun to catch.

That’s BESIDES the POINT.

You want WALLEYE and you’d kill your grandmother to have one.

Which you’ll then fry up for shore lunch (the fish, I mean).   With a fire you started with gasoline.

Getting Around
Unlike the States, which is criss-crossed with major Inter-States,  21-st Century Canada  still does NOT have a continuous 4-lane highway.    Sure, we have sections here and there, but not in too many places.  Especially in The North, where it’s essentially single-lane for at least 1000 miles.

So good luck getting around cities like Sudbury, where you have to stop every 2 miles for a traffic light.   And the same railroad track that crosses the highway multiple times.   This is especially fun when a train comes by.     Get to know that 18 wheeler in front of you…because you’ll be following him for the next 30 minutes.

Oh, and in North Bay, there are six traffic lights.   You will get at least FIVE of them red (with the advanced green against you).   Always.   Just accept it.

At least this is the Trans-Canada Highway (our one major east-west artery through which all commerce and trade passes).

But hey, at least we built it.  Canadians have been able to drive across Ontario since 1960. (Seriously, I’m not kidding..that’s when they completed the last section of road).

There are only three types of vehicles on the road:   Pick-up trucks, 18 wheelers, and those Freaking Land Yachts (those slow RV’s driven by seniors as they inch their way across Canada).   Who hold up the traffic for all the rest of the us.

North of the Soo, things start emptying out.   If you want tunes, you might be lucky to get some American radio station from the Upper Peninsula.   But often, the only damned thing you’ll be able to get is the CBC.   So enjoy listening to some pony-tailed tortured intellectuals read poetry while you drive between Marathon and Rossport.

If you drive at night, watch out for Moose.    Seriously, these huge fuckers love to cross the road at dusk, right in front of you.   If you’re not in a rush, try follow a truck.  At least he can act as a line-backer, and clear the road of any potential Bullwinkles who might smash into your windshield.

And don’t expect to find too many McDonalds.    There aren’t any in the 400 mile stretch on the North Shore of Superior.   (There are at least two A&W’s that I know of, though).    Just no Rotten Ronnies.

DSCN5704

If you’re low on gas, look for the “Esso” and “Shell” signs.   Don’t trust signs advertising for a “Gas Bar” in the next small villages.  You don’t know how old that sign is…you might be in a town where The Mill has shut down, and you’ll be disappointed with deserted gas-pumps with grass growing out of the pavement.

Heading north of Superior, you might come across a sign saying “Arctic Watershed”.   (There’s one halfway between Sudbury and Timmins).    I always think this is pretty cool.  Which means, that you’ve crossed the drainage boundary.   The lakes and rivers at that point no longer will drain into the Great Lakes, but will now drain into Hudson’s Bay. (At least, I take their word for it).

If you’re driving across the country, and you’ve reached Thunder Bay, don’t count your chickens just yet.    You aint ‘done with Ontario.   You still have another 5-6 hours of trees and lakes before you hit the Manitoba border.  (Ontario is one Big-Ass province).

One Final Note
Be aware of the “500 series” of highways on the map.    Normally, around Toronto, these tertiary highways are paved scenic back-roads.

But up here, should you decide to take a scenic detour, you might find yourself committed to driving the next 90 minutes with gravel and trees.

DSCN5726

And when they say “No gas for 80 km”, they MEAN it.

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52 Comments on “Friar’s Travel Guide to Northern Ontario”

  1. Donald Mills Says:

    Welcome back Friar.

    A perfect guide – well done.

    I haven’t seen as much of Northern Ontario (I was told it started at the French River) as I’d like but I hope to get the chance someday soon.

    I’ll be sure to keep an eye peeled for Bleuburries.

    All the best,

    Don

  2. Brett Legree Says:

    Course, even though places like Pembroke (and Splat Creek) are not “True North” like North Bay, we do have more in common with “True North” towns than North Bay does.

    I actually travel to North Bay when I can’t find something in Splat Creek, because Splat Creek has the same selection of stuff – nothing! – as the “Northern Butt-Frak Nowhere” towns 🙂

    Imagine that – we have stores that sell two things, Jack and Shit, and yet, we don’t get isolation pay. Talk about getting the shaft twice.

    At least if we lived in Hearst there’d be a reason why we had to wait for the next floatplane into town to buy our Kraft Dinner…

    You know what I mean, we’re a hop, skip and a jump from the capital city of Canada for frak’s sakes, and every damned store in town closes at 5 pm…

  3. Ann Ono Mus Says:

    Yup, that says it. Now, I gotta go out back and fix that ole Dodge.

  4. Friar Says:

    @Don

    Actually, I think you’re right. I believe the French River is the boundary, if you want to apply for a Northern Ontario tax credit.

    If there’s one thing you should see if you go, it’s Lake Superiour. That alone is worth the trip.

    The Bleuberries are quite good too. And they help keep you regular. (At least for me, they do!)

    @Brett
    It’s amazing. I was in Wawa (which has the same population as we do). Saturday night. Grocery store still open at 8:00 PM. Food selection and shelves stocked better than over here. Restaurants (several of them) open till 10:00. And they re-fill your coffee without you asking.

    Splat Creek could learn a thing or two, from these places.

    Just once, I’d like to be able to buy more than Jack, and Shit. And have the stores open long enough to be able to do so.

    @Ann
    Northern Ontario is addictive…it grows on you. That’s why I’ve kept coming back for almost the past 20 years.

  5. seestor Says:

    I like wild bleuberys, wild bluberrie pie and wild blubery muffins. Verry taysty.

  6. Friar Says:

    @seestor

    You’ve been reading the signs around Kaladar too much!

  7. Kyddryn Says:

    Welcome back, Friar – I missed you.

    Everyone knows that a bluberry is far superior to a blueberry in flavor and vitamin content – it’s on account of the bluberry doesn’t have that extra “e” in it, so there’s more room for the good stuff.

    One of these days I’ll look at an atlas and see where the heck all these furrin places are you keep talkin’ about. I’m especially interested in places with moose. Are they all chocolate, or are there some lemon ones, too??

    Shade and Sweetwater,
    K (who thought walleye referred to an unfortunate ocular condition)(No, not really…she’s not THAT fluff-headed!)

  8. Kelly Says:

    Yay for Friar-ness!! Welcome back, Friar and Junior!

    Love it. ‘Specially the part about the pony-tailed tortured intellectuals reading poetry. So what’s different from what I normally listen to, if I’m up north?

    All’s right with the world again. Friar’s mocking everything, and Splat Creek, as always, comes up even shorter than what’s being mocked. Ahhhh. 😉

    Regards,

    Kelly

  9. Kelly Says:

    P.S. Your links are faux. So I shall remain ignorant re: the geography, because searching on my own would be work. Thank you.

  10. Friar Says:

    @Kyddryn

    You’d need a detailed map to look up a lot of these towns. A lot of Atlas(es)won’t show these hick towns.

    And Walleye are actually walleyed. They have these big bulgy eyes with huge pupils. Especially the bigger fish. (All the better for seeing their prey with).

    @Kelly
    Our CBC is just like your NPR. In fact, I think the radio hosts are inter-changeable.

    I dunno what’s up with the faux links. (I even linked back to one of my own posts). I think it must be a glitch in WordPress.

    So regregrettfully you shall remain ignorant of Northern Geography (not unlike a Torontonian, who’d have no clue where these places are).

  11. Karen Swim Says:

    Welcome back Friar! Well Northern Ontario sounds ahem “interesting.” Glad you made it back safely.

  12. Brett Legree Says:

    “And when they say “No gas for 80 km”, they MEAN it.”

    This of course depends on whether or not you ate “the special” at the last truck stop.

  13. XUP Says:

    This post made me really happy. I have no desire to visit the wilds of northern Ontario, but I’m glad they still exist. I think we forget sometimes how much of this country is NOT citified. Or how much of this country is downright primitive and rugged and brutal and virtually uninhabited. It’s a big, beautiful effin’ country.

  14. Brett Legree Says:

    @XUP,

    I believe the 2006 Census reported that over 90 percent of Canadians live within 50 km of the Canada-US border… that says a lot about us, and as you say, shows just how much *isn’t* populated.

    If I can either a) become self-employed or b) find someone to pay me to work from home, I will *not* live where I live now, if I stay in Canada. Most likely somewhere on the coast of BC, about half way up (think Bella Coola or something like that).

  15. hannah78 Says:

    Ontario is indeed one “Big ass province”! Takes forever to get out of it! But at least the scenery is nice. 🙂


  16. Wow, quite in depth Friar!

    Just to elaborate on the 18-wheelers — they are especially your friend during a winter white out. Just follow their lights, and they’ll take care of things like blind corners, snowploughs, and stray moose… Plus you’re less likely to be passed by another semi — not a fun thing in the middle of a blizzard, let me tell you!

    Another important distinction in Northern Ontario: we go to our camps, they go to their cottages.

    For the coffee drinkers out there — you’ll be more likely to find a Robin’s Donuts than a Timmy’s. As far as I know, there are still none between Soo and Thunder Bay.

    One little nit-picky thing though Friar — you misspelled “pickerel”. (Maybe that’s just a Northwestern Ontario thang…)

    All in all, a great little guide! (And glad to see that teddy came for the ride!)

    ~Graham

  17. Friar Says:

    @Karen
    You should really go visit…It’s not that far, actually. Lots of Americans from Ohio and Michigan come up to the fishing lodges.

    Think of it as an exercise in “Cultural Anthropology”.

    @Brett
    Like our own little truck stop that has the Piggy Burger, eh?

    @XUP
    Yeah, there’s a whole lotta Ontario out there to see, beyond just Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto.

    I like the wildness and emptiness of it. That’s what keeps drawing me back.

    @Brett
    But..on the other hand, if you like snowmobiling, ice fishing, hunting and fishing, you can settle in one of these small northern towns. And buy an house for the same price as a mini-van.

    @Hannah
    I love the Canadian Shield country. But admittedly, after 20 hours of it, I sometimes get tired of it.

    @Graham
    Thanks! Thought I’d write this little guide (for the benefit of my readers in the lower 48). And any Torontonians who might consider venturing North of the French River.

    Actually, there’s a Timmy’s in Wawa. A brand new one..state of the art…Just opened up a few years ago. It’s one of the biggest ones I’ve seen, to accommodating all the trucks and land-yachts, etc.

    But that’s the only one north of the Soo that I’ve seen. The rest are all Robins Donuts like you’ve pointed out).

    PS. Is that hamburger stand still there in Nipigon? (That serves those gigantor-triple-decker burgers?)

  18. Brett Legree Says:

    Yeah, if you like all that you could do that.

    (Assuming Toronto doesn’t start shipping their garbage up north!)

    I guess I’m just bored with “flat” and “pine trees” and “no ocean” 🙂 but that’s the beauty of the planet, something for everyone!

  19. Patricia Says:

    What a nice travel log – thank you and I loved the bear shot at the end – well traveled bears are best.

    I’ve been to Sudbury a number of times. All the kids there would talk about getting out as soon as they could..I notice at Christmas time all the cards come from there and they have not left now they include the next generation.

    I love wild booberries but our cultivated hedges in our yard are easier to pick – very tasty!

    Welcome home

  20. steph Says:

    Never mind the misspelling of blueberry. What I’m concerned about is that there was only *one* 4 sale! Race you!

  21. Brett Legree Says:

    @steph,

    It’s a really big bluberry, and it has magical properties… 🙂


  22. @Friar – We used to stop at the truck stop at the bottom of the hill leading out of Wawa (or into it, coming from the south) to see what the road was like through the Lake Superior Provincial Park — especially if the weather was dicey and it was after dark, which is when we used to drive back in the good old days.

    Now that we’re more day travellers, we go into Wawa a bit more. There used to be a Mr. Muggs (sp?) there, but I noticed it closed last time we were through. Maybe this is where the new Tim’s is?

    It’s bound to take over soon enough. Robin’s was born and raised in Thunder Bay, so it pretty much had Northwestern Ontario wrapped up. Thunder Bay itself didn’t get a Timmy’s until the 80s if I remember right, but there was like one in a sea of 30 Robins.

    Since the owner sold the company off in 2000, everything has gone downhill. Now there are about a dozen Tims and a dozen Robins (with a few Starbucks and Seattles thrown in as well).

    As for Nipigon — ya know, I haven’t stopped there too often! It’s only an hour away, so we zip through it unless we are worried about gas pumps being closed on the road ahead. Driving on Boxing Day, which we used to do, is a hit or miss kind of thing. Many of the smaller towns have nothing open. We once drove from Nipigon to just outside of Soo on one tank — it was nerve wracking watching the gas light go on and off as we went up and down those hills just north of the city.

    Anyway, I’m rambling. But if it is a burger you’d be wanting, next time you’re up you’ve got to go west of Thunder Bay a bit (about 15 clicks) and turn left for a tiny hamlet called Stanley. The tavern there serves Stanley burgers, by far the best burgers I’ve ever had (besides my wife’s, of course, though hers are a little leaner).

    ~Graham

  23. Friar Says:

    @Patricia
    Yeah…Sudbury isn’t exactly the “jewel” of the North. I remember driving through in the 70’s..the sky was orange with all the smog from the smelters.

    But the air quality has really cleared up, since they built that huge smokestack.

    @Steph and @Brett
    Exactly….it’s the Magical Special Bluberry.

    (And only specially-trained people know how to pick it).

    @Graham
    Wawa aint’ doing to well, with the mill closing down. Every years I go, there are lots more motels and businesses closed down. Kinda said, really.

    But Timmy’s and that touristy “Trading Post” general store is doing quite well. As always.

    And that ski hill just outside of Marathon. This past winter is the last year it’s open. Apparently, it’s shutting down this year, due to the economy.

    But those Stanley burgers sound pretty damned good. I”m always on the lookout for good, greasy burgers and Mom and Pop restaurants.

  24. Davina Says:

    Hey Frair (typo intended) – ha, ha. North Bay is my second home town — the Gateway to the North. You’re right about the blue eyeshadow – yuck! I’m assuming you drove past Trout Creek too? If you blink, you’ll miss it. Spent the first 16 years of my life there. We thought nothing of driving more than a half hour from the farm to get groceries and stock up for a week or more.

    I love the ruggedness of northern Ontario, it’s like a drug, addictive, but with no side-effects. Sounds like you had a great trip. The bear on the other hand, looks a little out of his element 🙂

  25. Mer Says:

    ::looks at map::

    Cool. (Hope the link works this time around.)

    @ Friar’s Seestor

    Two words: blueberry omelettes.

    Top with a little powdered sugar. Yum. (I found my blues on the grocery fridge shelf, but they *were* imported from British Columbia. :))

    Glad to see you back, Friar!

    Mer, from California, where all the waitresses on the Grapevine have red hair piled into very tall beehives.

  26. Mer Says:

    Map was supposed to have “directions” from Thunder Bay through Hornepayne to Hearst. Oh well.

  27. Friar Says:

    @Davina
    I know Trout Creek…close to Sundridge, right?

    However, I was heading East to West, right through North Bay. So I by-passed it.

    The Bear was a bit grumpy in the photo. He was getting sick of driving on that windy-twisty gravel road. We still had another 8 hours of driving to go, he wanted to get back to pavement.

    @Mer
    Howcum my links didnt’ work onthis post, and yours did?

    Anyway, those blueberry omelettes sounds good. Reminds me of my grandma’s bluberry perogies (which is the same principle).

    I bought a big 20$ basket of Bluberry. Still eating it. Suffice to say, it’s keeping me “regular”. 😉

  28. Davina Says:

    Yep, Trout Creek is north of Sundridge. When I lived there the population was about 500. Don’t know what it is now. It was “fondly” known as “sucker ditch”. Cute place, but everybody knew everybody else’s business.

    So, there is blueberry…. bluberry and whattabout boooooberry. Those are good too.

  29. Friar Says:

    @Davina

    I miss BooBerry. Whatever happened to him?

  30. Davina Says:

    Oh yeah, I’d forgotten about BooBerry. Probably cause it wasn’t my favourite. But Count Chocula… now THAT’s a cereal. Either way, they’re both chocked full of sugar, and we’d still dump more on. It’s real good after it settles at the bottom of the bowl and makes the milk all syrupy. Yum.

  31. Brett Legree Says:

    Frankenberry went medieval on his ass.

  32. Mer Says:

    @ Friar

    I canna tell you ’bout the links. Strange are the ways of Teh WordPress… o_O

    Your grandma made perogies! With blueberries! Wow. That’s cool. And all this time I thought I was alone. Every time I mention that I’m making blueberry omelets people around here get disgusted by the idea. They’re afraid to experiment with taste or something. 😦 They’d gladly eat my Bananas Flambe, though.

  33. Friar Says:

    @Davina
    I agree…when in doubt, go for the chocolate cereal.

    Did you know Lucky Charms has a chocolate variety too? (As if the 50% Marshmallows weren’t enough).

    @Brett
    I don’t think Frankeberry has it in him. Somehow….he just ain’t that scary.

    Not like Sonny from Cocoa Puffs. That whacked-out bird will go psycho on you.

    @Mer
    Better yet, Grandma made perogies at the cottage, with berries that WE picked. (If my memory serves me right).

    PS> At the risk of getting a snarky comment from Eyeteaguy, I’ll go out on a limb and say those flaming bananas sound tasty.

  34. Cath Lawson Says:

    LOL Friar. I’m hoping to move to Ontario next summer (if they let me in), instead of Australia. And I had wondered if I could save some money by living in the north. But looking at your pics, it’s not quite how I imagined it would be.

    Think I’ll stick with the south – I was thinking of somewhere like Guelph, or Waterloo.

  35. Friar Says:

    @Cath
    Ontario instead of Oz? (Hahahh!). You must like winter, then!

    Hey, I went to school at Waterloo. Nice University town. (Though I haven’t been there in almost 20 years). Actually, the winters are mild there (“relatively”).

    But not ALL Another Ontario towns are small mill towns in the middle of the bush. Thunder Bay is quite big and reasonably civilized (ask Graham).


  36. The thing about southern Ontario is that you get into some incredibly expensive real estate. Here in Thunder Bay, we have 4.5 acres, a good sized house, three garages, a guest cottage cum pottery studio for my wife, and a few other outbuildings.

    My wife’s family lives in a small war-time bungalow with car port on a modest urban lot in Dundas, ON (next to Hamilton), and it would sell for more…

    Other pluses to Thunder Bay: 20 minute commute to anywhere in town, 10 minutes to wilderness, 20 minutes to downhill and/or x-country skiing, lots of other outdoor activities, and generally a lower cost of living.

    On the other hand, you do have to like winter here — or at least know how to deal. It starts usually about a month earlier and lasts about a month longer than southern Ontario.

    (But with the money you save living here, you can afford more trips to the Caribbean and all points sun.)

    ~Graham

  37. Mer Says:

    @ Friar

    Eyeteaguy will not say a word against the bananas flambe if he tastes them. In fact, he may fall in love with the flavor and the temperature contrast.

    Recipe

    1 tbs butter per banana
    1 tbs sugar (white or brown; both work) per banana
    1 tbs cognac (or brandy) per banana

    Slice bananas into circles (how else can I describe that?). Saute in butter. When bananas begin to carmelize, add sugar. Stir and saute some more. 🙂

    In a separate pan, heat cognac over low heat. Just enough so you can see a thread of steam rise from the pan. Light cognac and pour over bananas. You can have a huge conflagration and singe off your eyebrows, or you can pour the cognac into the pan a little at a time. (It takes talent.) Either way, everyone is impressed.

    Then serve over vanilla ice cream–before winter arrives, I suppose. Have fun.

    (The usual Bananas Foster recipe uses banana liqueur, which I think is probably overkill. I got my recipe from James Beard. :D)

  38. Kelly Says:

    Mer,

    I’ve always used cognac—or for a real treat, try Cointreau. The orange flavor is heaven with bananas. I agree, banana liqueur is too much.

    Must recommend Eyeteaguy use slightly underripe bananas, as well. They hold up better and the flavor is less mellow (which is a good thing) when they’re cooked.

    /recipechat

  39. Friar Says:

    @Graham
    The wilderness is primarily what I love Northern Ontario for.

    I lived in Hamilton for 9 years. We had the Dundas Valley Conservation Area, which wasn’t too bad for hiking and moutain biking. But it was nowhere NEAR what’ you’d call “bush” up north.

    Mostly, the only forest you see around Toronto/Guelph is in “Conservation Areas”. Tiny patches of undeveloped greenery, between the strip malls and farms. That you’d have to PAY MONEY to get into.

    That ALONE, is why I’d never want to move back there.

    Where I live, I’m not quite “North”. But I’ve had bear poop in my back yard. Which is a good indication that things here are still relatively unspoiled.

    @Mer
    Friar’s Mom had a friend who made us bananas foster once. (Shit…I could have eaten a dozen of those things). So if that’s any indication of your flaming bananas, that’s something I gotta try.

    @Kelly
    …I can just imagine myself trying to make bananas flambé. (Jesus, It would be like Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares).

    Wonder of I can convince Friar’s Mom to make me some?

    I can tell her it’s good occupational therapy.


  40. @Friar – Yep, had a bear cub wander into our backyard a couple of months back. Kind of scary actually — I’ve confronted bears before and it’s no big deal as long as you keep your head about you (so far — knock on wood) but our youngest is 4, so I don’t let him in the backyard now without one of the older ones. We’ve also had a couple of bucks wandering around this summer. Must be young brothers, because you rarely see them running together like that.

    As for “wilderness” – my first winter in Hamilton, we went out to hunt a Christmas tree like we always do in TBay. Of course, after four hours of driving around, realized that there isn’t anywhere really to cut one down.

    We found one finally, though I’m not sure it was Crown land…

    @Kelly & Mer – Sounds like it might be good with Crème de Cacao as well. I’ve always done dessert bananas for the kids, so I’ve never gotten any stronger than liquid Quik…

    (I once had crèpes in Paris with Cointreau in them — tells you the level of civilization and sophistication of a place when you can buy crèpes from a street vendor instead of grime dogs!)

    ~Graham

  41. Mer Says:

    @ Friar

    Ahem. Can you fry an egg? Boil water? Turn on the stove?

    Make the bananas thing for your mom.

  42. Friar Says:

    @Graham
    Yeah…it’s the cubs that scare me (as opposed to adult bears by themselves). ‘Coz that means Momma Bear is not far away, and who knows how she’s gonna act when she sees you in the vicinity of Junior.

    As for Grime Dogs. Hell, we cant’ even get THAT here in Splat Creek. (For some reason, our town has a phobia agains chip wagons and hot dogs joints). We have to drive 10 km down the road to get them (where the village next door is a bit more “Open minded”)

    @Mer
    Yeah, I can do those things. But it’s the flaming part that puts me off.

    Not that it frightens me…only I’ll end up destroying something and getting in shit for it. And it will just reinforce my family’s opinion that I’m a “Weapon”.

  43. Mer Says:

    @ Friar

    LOL. 😀

    I did singe my eyebrows when I was practicing (in my own kitchen–that I rented). It was after that I developed the slow-pour technique. It’s slopping the cognac in all at once that makes for serious weaponry. That, and a lack of patience.

    That angry chef on the TV y’all were talking about in the other post? He’s a drama queen in desperate need of patience. I’d drench him in ice water, but that’s just me.

  44. Kelly Says:

    Oooh, more tips on flambé: never pour the liqueur straight from the bottle to the pan. The flame can be sucked into the bottle and it will explode. Not good.

    Another: have a friend take a picture. It photographs really well.

    On Gordon: I could not handle his temper in person, but on t.v. I can get distance and enjoy the meat of the shows, which is his brilliance. Speaking as one with plenty of restaurant experience from the inside and out, I know that he knows what he’s talking about. And he has a genuine desire to see people grow (in his warpy way). The antics just keep folks who don’t give a hoot about restaurant biz watching, and that’s probably a good thing. For Gordon, anyway. 🙂

    Later,

    Kelly

  45. Friar Says:

    @Mer
    Heh heh….Lack of patience. That describe me to a tee!

    Maybe I should just stick to BBQ flames. Even then, I’ve singed the hair off my arms many a time, when trying to light the propane.

    @Kelly
    You have a point….I really don’t give a flying fox-fart about the restaurant biz. But I’ll watch that show to see Gordon yell at people.

    But at least the people on that show DESERVE to be yelled at (with filthy kitchens and rotten food).

    “Hell’s Kitchen”, on the other hand, I can’t stand. Nobody’s doing anything wrong…they’re just cooks doing their best, trying to learn. They go “Yes Chef, No Chef” while he reams them a new one. Seriously, if someone treated me that way, I’d want to POP them one. I’m surprised nobody mutinies and smacks him upside the head with a frying pan.

  46. Brett Legree Says:

    Ah, the “angry reality-show” persona, yes.

    I am awaiting the day when someone goes postal on a reality and kills someone, all in the name of “entertainment”.

    Let’s just cut to the chase and bring back the Circus!

  47. Friar Says:

    @Brett

    It’s a lot easier to run a reality show where none of the contestants get paid (except the winner). Versus having to maintain a comedy or dramedy series where each Ah-ctor earns millions per episodes.

    And remember, they started with “American Gladiators” 15 years ago (but it was pretty tame…lances tipped with foam, etc).

    Then there was extreme fighting cage-matches. Which were originally underground, banned from TV. And now it’s gone mainstream.

    So we’re getting there….

    Bread and Circuses, Bread and Circuses.

  48. Brett Legree Says:

    That’s right… which just goes to show you how easily amused people really are, imagine if the networks had realized this 30 years ago how much money they’d have now.

    I can see it in 10 years, TV shows will just consist of video cameras inside of people’s houses, so you can watch them yell at each other during dinner.

    Wait a minute… 🙂

  49. Friar Says:

    @Brett

    It’s a conspiracy….that’s why TV’s have all switched to hi-def digital. So we’ll all buy a new TV.

    And each one has a camera hidden in it, to film us in our living rooms.

  50. Brett Legree Says:

    I wonder if anyone would pay for “Ball-Scratchin’ Boxer Boys” in high-def, because that’s what you’d be seeing a lot of the time…

  51. Friar Says:

    @Brett

    Hey, I think I got that channel!


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