Oh, Canada! Home of poutine, maple syrup, and butter tarts, there’s something refreshing about our neighbor to the north. After spending a few days in spectacular Toronto, I took refuge in Muskoka for a few days.
Approximately two hours north of Ontario’s capital by car, there’s something peaceful and oh-so-zen about this oasis. Pronounced Ma-skoka with a long o, locals actually cringe when it’s referred to as “the Hamptons of Canada.” Yes, people have cottages (their version of our beach houses), and go there for weekend escapes, but Muskoka appears to be less hustle and bustle and more relaxing and aesthetically pleasing in terms of lakes and waterfalls.
Then, there’s its farm-to-table fresh food. Having recently returned from Sicily, this picky eater got a little bit snobby when it came to Teca, the flagship Italian restaurant at the spacious JW Marriott The Rosseau.
Chicken parmesan on the menu, my staple, sounded very tempting at first, along with the caprese salad, but after eating succulent tomatoes in Italy, I simply had to pass. It’s like comparing apples with – well, tomatoes.
Then there’s linguine primavera canoodling with zesty summer vegetables and again, I had to pass. Spaghetti with veal and pork meatballs? Sounds great but no, thanks. Funny, I became even pickier about Italian delicacies after my trip.
Enter savory lobster ravioli. An added bonus about having lobster nestled inside ravioli: getting to enjoy the crustacean without the messiness of actually breaking it apart. I typically ignore raviolis on menus because there’s usually chicken parm and other pastas available, but questions started swirling in my head: when was the last time I had ravioli with lobster? When was the last time I made this at home? The answer was never to both.
As Atlantic lobster was generously served along with chives and a vodka cream reduction (not too creamy that it smothered the ravioli -- just right), after an antipasto appetizer and crunchy flatbread draped with melted cheese, this picky eater was in her happy place. Keep in mind, the entrée was served before chocolate mousse-filled cannoli as dessert.
Sounds pretty delicious, eh? Like I said, "Oh, Canada.”