My Canadian wife, my half-Canadian/half-American six-month old son, and my American self are, somewhat glumy, back in Brooklyn after a spectacular stretch on Georgian Bay in a rambling cottage in Penetanguishene with a sprawling open porch overlooking the lawn spilling down to the water. We ate sumptuously and incessantly. Lots of Caesars, of course, and fresh peaches-and-cream corn, and great Niagara peaches baked into pies and Leanne's grandmother's butter tarts, and some first-rate freshly dug red potatoes from a farm in nearby Lafontaine. We had tons of family and friends, so I spent just a few nights in the kitchen, but I did make vitello tonnato one night for seventeen,and since I had the time to let it macerate (Marcella Hazen's word)in the tuna sauce for a full day it was great, and even mildly popular with the teenagers. If I hadn't swum five or six times every day--especially during the brutal heat in early August--I'd be waddling, instead of merely rolling, which is what I'm doing.
We found one exceptional place--a pickerel-and-chips place called Henry's, just outside Midland, on Ogden's Beach Road. Saveur wrote last spring about the original Henry's--on, I believe, Frying Pan Island in Georgian Bay--reachable only by sea-plane or boat. But they've got another (and bigger) branch in Midland, just off Route 12 and adjacent to the shrine for the Jesuit Martyrs who were tortured in such baroque ways by the Mohawks. Delicate batter, really fresh pickerel, and masterful frying in an unobtrusive and clean and hot oil. The fries, er, chips, were also superb because of the oil. (I was acutely alert for bad oil and inept frying having spent a long afternoon a week earlier with Chowhound's Alpha-dog eating dozens and dozens of potato chips.) The full dinners come with but baked beans and a vividly green cole slaw.
The area is lousy with fish-and-chips places, but two others we tried in Penetanguishene--Dock Lunch and Captain Ken's--were merely workmanlike.