John Mahoney's Free-fire Zone
John Mahoney
John Mahoney
is editor of the Log Cabin Chronicles.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 08.26.13
Muskrat Lake
Cobden, Ontario


Some very good grub in a tiny Ontario village

The Blackbird Café

BURNSTOWN, ONTARIO | I had the best feed of Japanese-style (panko) breaded pickerel ($24) ever, the other night at the Blackbird Café here in this tiny crossroads hamlet on the Madawaska River.

Jane opted for a 10-ounce rib eye steak, hand-pounded with cracked black peppercorns, topped with a green peppercorn sauce, and broiled to medium perfection ($29).

To enhance this week-early celebration of being married for 54 years, we added a half-litre jar of Pelee Island Merlot ($16). It's a (decent) Canadian wine, eh? So before you sniff and diss, consider this info from their website:

    Situated at the southernmost point of Canada, Pelee Island is 10,000 acres of idyllic vineyards, farms, beaches, parks and forestry. Over half of America's 50 states are north of Pelee Island including Northern California.

    Pelee Island is on the same latitude as the prestigious wine regions of the world (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Germany and France).

We chose to share the Blackbird's "Starter Salad" ($12). A good thing we thought smaller, too -- it could have satisfied 3-4 people. Let me just say it was the best -- really, the best -- salad I've eaten in years (and I eat salad every day). Fresh greens, English cucumber, marinated tomatoes, red onion, roasted green peas, cheddar cheese, and a sweet vidalia onion dressing.

Our fish and steak nestled on small pan-roasted potatoes and medley of fresh and tender green beans, and thin strips of carrots and turnips.

I ate Every. Last. Morsel. Jane brought more than half her steak home -- it was just too much for her -- and the next day I was grateful because it became my supper. (Truth to tell, she found the peppercorn sauce too spicy but I thought it just right.)

We passed on dessert -- we were pleasantly satiated -- and settled for a decent cup of coffee.

The bill, including tax and tip for our friendly, helpful waitlady, was $120 and change. Money well spent, I think, to celebrate more than half a century of being together.

The Blackbird Café is in what was once a country store at 1694 Burnstown Road, Burnstown, Ontario, K0J 1G0. It's about 40 minutes east of Cobden, and hour west of Ottawa. You can check out their hours, menu, and contact information on their website: http://www.blackbirdburnstown.com/