Doc Malone’s

Doc Malone’s is located at 118 Bradford St, Barrie, Ontario, on the corner of Bradford and Victoria. At around 11, while waiting for the northern lights to show up, I’d gotten hungry and we went for a drive to find a restaurant that was open this late at night. After not to long a drive, we ended up passing by this place which looked pretty banging from the outside; there were a lot of people there for a Tuesday night. Taking a quick check on Google Maps, the pub/bar was only 200m away from the waterfront, which was nice, but it doesn’t offer a view of the water from the patio. The menu was quite extensive for such a small place, and the list of draught beers was impressive.

The second season of Jersey Shore aired just a few days before our Barrie trip and when skimming the menu, one thing jumped out immediately. Deep fried pickles. If you follow the show, that should mean something. Needless to say, we ordered it just to try it.

The pickles had been cut into wedges and then deep fried, and came with a side of soft dill-infused cream cheese. Now, I don’t like eating a lot of pickles in one sitting, but I managed to get through three wedges. The crusty exterior was both crunchy and flavourful, but the highlight of this was, hands down, the dipping sauce. So, so delicious.

For my main course, I ordered the French Beef Dip on garlic bread, I think it was called, with a side of Caesar salad. The salad was surprisingly delicious. Fresh, cold (but not too cold), and crisp. There were plenty of croutons and the salad wasn’t drenched in dressing. When it came time to try the sandwich, I was excited, as everything leading up to it had been wonderful. However, when I took that first bite, I was sorely disappointed to say the least. The bread had no flavour nor texture, no crust nor substance. The thinly sliced beef was dry and tough and tasted faintly of cardboard. The dipping sauce they provided for the sandwich was merely the leftover juice from cooking the beef, I presume. They could have easily salvaged the sandwich by thickening up the sauce with some cornstarch and flavouring it with a little grated peppercorn, something!

I made the best of the situation, however, being very hungry, but spreading the above-mentioned dill cream cheese on the sandwich and it helped it go down a bit better. The creaminess of the sauce made the entire thing less dry and added a great flavour that complimented the beef’s sordid flavour offerings. It also helped to have a pint of Stella on hand to smooth things over.

Aside from the sandwich, the other foods had gone above and beyond my expectations of the little pub. Their decor was charming; the condiments kept in vintage beer bottle carrying things and a jukebox hidden in the back. It had a nice atmosphere, but our waitress seemed a bit angry with the world, borderline rude and uncaring. However, we just assumed she was having a bad day, but the service was pretty good. She kept an eye on our table and came back often to check if everything was to our standards, which was nice.

Being that we just stumbled upon the place accidentally, I didn’t get to read up on some online reviews, because if I had, I would’ve ordered burgers and wings, which are supposedly the best in town. I doubt I’ll ever go back up here, in Barrie, but if I do, that’s what I would order.

Stood Up By Nature

When I heard that we were going to be able to see the Aurora Borealis in Toronto, I took it as my chance to finally get out of my house, out of my room. I was cooped up in the house for what felt like days on end; in all likelihood, it was probably just one or two. I’d never seen the northern lights before, and I figured this was my opportunity. The said the last time we were able to see them this far south was almost 11 years ago. At around 9 o’clock, Mixa and I packed up some photography gear, food, blankets, and sweaters into my car and we drove an hour and a half up north to Barrie to get away from the light pollution of the GTA.

It was fun to just be able to pick up and go, albeit a bit of a glare of disdain from my aunt. We got on our way and pumped our road trip song in the car, deemed thusly when we went on our first road trip to Quebec City. I had inputted “Barrie” as our destination into the GPS, but didn’t have an address to follow. All I knew is that I wanted to get to the water and sit on the beach, waiting for the spectacular light show. We ended up on the westernmost shore of Lake Simcoe and staked out a picnic table. It was only about 10:30 when we arrived, so we set ourselves up, had a nice chat with the patrolling security guard, and had fun with our cameras while waiting for the northern lights to show up.

The night dragged on; pretty soon the crescent moon began to rise and the wildlife came up on shore with no fear of being disturbed by humans.

We sat..

Watched the moon..

Observed fighting ducks..

Encroached on geese territory...

And did everything but see what we came to see, the northern lights. We even saw a couple of shooting stars, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. There were a few false alarms because both of us had never seen the lights in person before. Streaky clouds, strange discolourations of the sky, someone on twitter even mistook some sort of lightning (apparently) for the northern lights. We camped out there till four in the morning and decided to head home, keeping our eyes glued to the rearview for a hope of some magic lights in the sky. Even if we didn’t get a chance to witness the Aurora Borealis, we did end up having quite a bit of fun at the lake. The water was still, it was quiet, and a kind of peace that you don’t really get surrounded by houses. I’m not going paint a false portrait and say this place was completely deserted, there were plenty of buildings around, but this is what I like about the night time, there just aren’t that many people around.

The night after, the lights were supposed to show up again for sure, but having come in at 5 in the morning the night before, I just couldn’t bring myself to ask to go out again. I guess I’ll set myself up to wait another 11 years.

Barrie, ON