Why Good Muskokan Food Will Save Us All - A local’s tale of the great chase for comfort food

Why Good Muskokan Food Will Save Us All - A local’s tale of the great chase for comfort food

Posted: 2020-05-09 18:56:16 By: thebay

In an entirely new and alien world to many of us, the days of isolation that we find our selves in have made it apparent that they will likely be a reoccurring norm for the foreseeable future.

Now, I’m not a worrywort myself for the most part but I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds themselves in short bursts of anxiety as I read the news or peruse my social media wall.

In all honesty right now, my life and my social media wall looks like the thought process of a neurotic schizophrenic with A.D.D.

{Cute dogs}

{Cute dog eating random things}

{A daily nomination for a meaningful picture}

{Cute dog and cute cat cuddling} 


{Cute dog and cute cat doing a cute thing as the owner chuckles in the background}


It can be a little bit difficult to navigate life with an ongoing stream of contrasting emotions. One of my favorite things to do as a new age Covid-19 individual is to find distraction in the day to day pleasures of life. And nothing, and I mean nothing can put a pedestal beside food. I’m not talking about cramming my mouth full of Cheetos every time I hear the mention of the covids (even though that would be a good way to constantly remind you to wash your hands, because… you know cheezy fingers…)

I’m talking about real food. The kind of stuff that when you finally get to sit at the table and crack into whatever delicious blessing is in front of you, all your problems momentarily dissipate and all you are left with is you, your taste buds, and maybe your significant others… if you’re willing to share.

Living in a town like Huntsville is a real treat for a foodie like me. Especially in the past 5 (or so) years. The food industry here seemingly exploded, and out of that big bang came a cornucopia of flavours. A definite influence of our big brothers down south, our restaurant variety has a wide expanse in culture and flavour.

Before all of this social distancing happened, I was just another happy naive Muskokan. Living in the winter time and trying to cure my winter blues with a steady stream of local restaurants  and an obscene amount of craft beer. One of our favourite places to go out on a Thursday, Friday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday night was always the Lake of Bays Huntsville Brewhouse. A cool den like brewery that packed a major punch into an intimate, vibey space.

One night I found myself battling winter isolation (which I now realize is a joke) with a few friends for dinner and a couple of brews downtown at the Brewhouse and when the waitress came around, I was quick to decide what I wanted and ordered first…. I did not realise my mistake until later when my friend James ordered a menu item that seemingly appeared out of nowhere on the page when I went back to look!

“I’ll have the Southern Fried Chicken Sandwich”

 My mouth started to water as he uttered the phrase. How did I miss it! I ordered the regular burger which was always my go to. It’s good, It’s delicious, It’s what I’ve always had! But who is this new kid on the block??

Alas, It was too late. The waitress wrote the order down and I wasn’t about to do that thing…

You know the thing…

                “Oh, sorry, can I change my mind?”

No! I’m not that person. I make my decision and I stick to it. It’s the principle of the matteeerrrr….. oh my goodness…

The waitress came out with his dish and I swear the whole thing happened in slow motion.

I had to try it. It was the one that got away! As I watched my friend James consume it I almost looked with envy as I compared it to my (although still good) not what I needed burger. It took me back to a moment in my childhood where I had a short stint of bible school. There, naturally, I was taught one of the highest Judeo-Christian teachings; thou shall not covet thy neighbours south western chicken sandwich… or something like that. I wasn’t always the best student.

Again, alas! Time makes a fool of us all.

Silly boy I was, I let the everyday take over and soon forgot about my blood oath to have this sandwich. Dull days went on as I cooked at home. Spaghetti and meat balls, hot dogs and beans, Kraft dinner and hot dogs. (yes I know… a lot of carbs)

But then, it hit.

First a few cases in china. Then, in what seems like a blink of an eye, the whole world.

Now that we are stuck at home, cooking food has become more and more of a chore everyday. And we have an excuse to not only consume delicious food, but also stimulate our economy as we do it. We decided to order take out at least once a week from a local place. And when we made that decision is when I remembered my oath.

The sandwich! Of-course! How could I forget.

I quickly convinced my better half by tantalizing her with the idea of her ever favourite menu item. The giant salted pretzel with beer-infused mustard and cheese dip. And so the decision was made. I called the friendly folks over at the Huntsville Brewhouse and put in our order.

It was bitter sweet… Not the food – we’re not at that part of the story yet. Bittersweet like when you think of good times behind. As we went through the door that we’ve been through dozens of times before, the empty eating area took us down a whirl of good memories. Good times with friends. Trying out all the new beers that were constantly being released and getting the full experience through their drink flights (A little wooden pallet that came with 4 different glasses of brews). Coming in already pretty buzzed because we ran out of beer at home and wanted to fill up our growlers. Listening to the cornucopia of local musicians Muskoka has to offer as some drunk guy yells out a request for {enter generic song from the 70s we’ve all heard too much here}.

Good times.


The inaccessible and empty dining area was blocked off by a makeshift receiving counter as many other stores and restaurants do. Greeted warmly as always we are given our food and pick up some tall boys to go along with it. Brews that were paired with my sandwich by the staff of course. And! They threw in an extra beer, because... Well, drink up, you’re gonna need it.

I could smell it through the bag… You know that moment when your close and the heat of the food in the take out container pushes the scent of your treasures up through plastic bag and into your life…. Oh baby...


I hate to admit it but at times like this, a slight inner animal instinct is awoken. Getting home and rushing to the table feels like it’s a special ops mission. You and your military comrade rush into the war zone (The house) each knowing their roles.

Fridge - condiments, beers – glasses, plates -… Forget the plates! Just give me my food!

After the mission is complete there is tearing open of the packaging and a silent but enthusiastic feasting takes place. Interrupted by an occasional grunt of satisfaction, or a partially indiscernible question that tries to get past the already full mouth;

 “you wanna try it?”

Short story –long. It was good… Oh man was it good.

Before I go into the dirty details, a quick note:

I am the first to admit; I am not qualified in writing a review for a food item I consumed and when asked by my editor, I did have to warn him that most of it would more resemble smut literature you would find in a rack at the end of the checkout line of the local know, 50 shades of caramelized onions… You dig???


Back to it.

Fried chicken, crispy onions, bacon, bacon, bacon, creamy slaw, anchor bar sauce, all on a beautiful pretzel bun and of course, thick cut fries with a house made ketchup.

All of the ingredients sung. It was like reaching the top of the mountain and the view not disappointing what so ever. The chicken battered and fried to perfection along with the crispy onions and the soft pretzel bun had the exact amount of crunch to tender combo.

The sauce perfectly accompanied the meats between the buns and it all was wrapped up and sent straight to my belly with a swig of the Northern Glow Sparkling IPA

Touché Lake of Bays… Touché

As I sat back a belt loop richer, I found myself in a state of nirvana only a foodie can find themselves in. Momentarily, I forgot the troubles of the outside world and reconnected with, really, only a small part of the thing that makes me a Muskokan. Good food and good beer.

It’s the little things in the day to day that make things okay. I find myself grateful more and more each day for where we live. From beautiful nature, to the down to earth people, and of course, the top notch cuisine, it is truly a little slice of heaven.

Consider helping out a local business and order some takeout Y’all.

Don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

-Jake Kriger