Beefcakes “R” Us

Prospector Exterior arrSave the date! Looking forward to the most important day of the year – my birthday – I could not leave annual dinner plans in another’s hands. Rightfully so, I wanted a special meal deserving of a song – “Happy Birthday!” Asking around, I heard of a T. Bay venue where the dinner roll – by word of mouth – is to die for. If freshly baked bread is that good, I conceived, The Prospector Steakhouse must equally serve mouth-watering cuts of prime meat.Prospector Menu arr

Sporting my adventurous side, I casually made my way to the great outdoors – in-house. Upon entry to this steakhouse, the dimly-lit wooded lodge atmosphere was foretelling of the warm and toasty comfort to be expected. Hot uncrossed buns anyone? For all ‘star’ gazers and grazers alike, the glowing indoor campfire – commercial oven – remained pre-heated, delivering an infinite baking spectacle of this sought-after treat. Fearing no scary story – shortage of rolls – I displaced myself from my comfy circle, and set on foot to a nature trail of hot vegetable soup and refreshing salad starters. Gravitational forces – of hunger –at work, you’re immediately pulled to the restaurant’s core where clients find a constellation of food, all conveniently arranged at eye level – telescope not required!

Prospector Steak arrWhat’s on for supper? For a rare annual outgoing to the Prospector, what else than exceptional prime rib served with medium-sized potatoes, both done right! Already sighting the ‘northern lights,’ in a colourful array of appetizers, my dinner was made complete with a satisfying steak-frites selection, straight off the menu. Robust in meaty flavour, my gorgeous cake was juicy, tender and trimmed. Also topped with a surplus of edible candles, though misrepresentative of my age, the massive quantity of delicious hand-cut golden fries was more than welcome. With a celestial sphere of slow-roasted meat and Yorkshire pudding, close in orbit, I wonder what Nostradamus would prophesize of this plated meal – a very good prospect!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2013.

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No Hoity-Toity Business!

Hoito Bldg. arrIn dire need for some comfort food, where does one go in Thunder Bay? Young and old, students and professionals alike find themselves gathered at the Finlandia Club and cozy restaurant known as “The Hoito.” Serving residents since 1918, this landmark breakfast, lunch and supper hangout for traditional Finnish fare became my meeting place with friends. Given its popularity, waiting in line is to be expected. But, as tables clear up, don’t hesitate to seat yourself – “first come, first serve!”

Once you find and keep your destined eating spot, friendly staff are quick to greet you and as upbeat to take note of your order. What is Finnish cuisine like? Not formerly acquainted, myself, the answer soon becomes as clear as a summer’s day, in T.Bay. Lo and behold, right before your very eyes, the paper place mat/menu. Find traditional specialities like ‘Karjalan Piirakka’ (filled pasty) or stick to familiar club sandwich or hamburger choices.

Hoito Menu arrSpecializing in all-day breakfast items, the omelette and egg options are as extensive as is the side serving of toast – white, whole-wheat or rye. In keeping with momentum, once you describe how you like your eggs – sunny-side, over-easy, scrambled or fried – order’s up! Coffee cup refilled, and served side-to-side plate coverage of a piping hot meal, don’t fret if your plate appears M.I.A. It’s there, just covert – under food.

Adding to great company and conversation is Hoito’s relaxed atmosphere, and humbly-priced offerings to soothe your soul. While you won’t find Aunt Jemima-style fluffy and cakey pancakes, Finnish ‘pannukakku,’ is a staple, and to be tried. Hoito Pancake arrDespite the absence of a leavening agent, such as baking soda or baking powder, this batter – made from scratch – produces flat, dense and highly fulfilling griddled full moons – certainly a crowd pleaser. Fresh off the flat top, I was presented with multiple layers of my own thinly crisp-edged hotcakes. Topped with a couple of eggs, I sweetened the deal with a drizzle of maple syrup – my preference – though fruit preserve is available. Looking for variety or your other missed favourites, the Hoito also caters to French toast and Canadian bacon loyalists. Early bird or night owl, days are made nicer with a trip to the Hoito. As they say in Finnish, ‘kiitos’ (thank you) for a taste of home, away from home.

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2013.

Persian-Eating-‘Persian’

Thunder Bay – T.Bay, as I know it – is located in the most western part of Ontario, which I have travelled to date. Among rural hotspots, one is led to the discovery of the ‘Persian.’ Not just any Persian, and not Persian in origin. The ‘Persian’ I’m talking about is of the edible variety. It’s soft, sweet, and unique to Thunder Bay. Above all, the ‘Persian’ is a local specialty that was on my list of must-see, must-try and must-experience items. Generously covered with strawberry icing, this sweet fried cinnamon-flavoured dough can be likened to a doughnut.

The Persian Man Store arr

Where does one get to sample a ‘Persian?’ I was amused to find near my apartment, approximately a fifteen minute walk, The Persian Man. Presumably, ‘the man’ after whom this eatery is named is the owner, though I’m not quite sure. In retrospect, I am certain that this shop has a clear following, and it’s not just for sandwiches and coffee. Within my academic year, I found numerous ‘Persians’ throughout a number of bakeries and shops. Needless to say, ‘Persians’ are in abundant supply; and, they’re offered here, in Thunder Bay!P.S. Personally, I find them fair but a little too sweet for my taste. Still, you can eat them! In fact, if anyone asks, I ate a ‘Persian.’ True story!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2013.