It started out as any other casual summer weekend away. Jon and I were in cottage country, we love Muskoka. I love to shop in the upscale shops in Port Carling, stroll the quaint and beautiful little village of Bala, Huntsville is home of the Deerhurst Resort (my favourite) and Bracebridge is a great food town.
On the main street of Bracebridge is a small, very unique eatery called Marty’s. The ‘cottage-style’ eclectic decor immediately welcomes and pampers. I say pampers because one look at the pastry counter and you know you’re somewhere decadently special. Giant pies made of light butter rich pastry, super deep and loaded with glistening, luscious fruit. The lattice strips are, like the pie, super thick. I’ve never seen pies so seductive and exciting they make you want to do an immediate face plant.
Below the pies is a shelf loaded with over sized butter tarts. Inside the buttery soft pastry is a light brown filling that doesn’t at all look sicky-sweet, but curiously sexy. I looked at the few tables with customers seated sipping on mugs of coffee. Each of them had small plates of pastry with an oozing light brown filling puddling around the pastry like gravy dripping around mashed potatoes – they were all indulging on butter tarts.
It’s easy to read this place – the owner is obviously obsessed with making great food over-the-top better. So, who is Marty?
Marty Curtis (www.martysworldfamous.com) is described by chef Micheal Smith as the “Michelangelo of butter tarts”. He Won the Toronto Star best butter tart competition and that’s when people began flocking to his cafe. Still today, butter tart fanatics from around the world keep coming to Marty’s.
So there we were, hungry for breakfast and the breakfast place two doors away had a line up out the door. So our choice was to drive to the outskirts of Bracebridge or indulge at Marty’s – we choose the latter.
Towering over his small workspace was Marty. I’m guessing – 6 foot 8 inches tall; a big, intimidating man in love with his pastry. Marty says, “if you’re making pastry for butter tarts, go big! If you’re making pastry for pies, go big ass!” It made sense with what we were seeing and the intimidating part – well, it was fleeting.
Marty’s doesn’t serve breakfast but the chicken wraps were calling to us. We sat down and Marty brought over our wraps with a side salad. It was wonderful! Ordinary, sensible food made extraordinary with superb quality ingredients. Succulent chicken, fresh, ripe juicy tomatoes fresh from the field, cool crisp cucumbers and a savory flavor created with a feather light dressing.
We sipped on our cafe au latte and leafed through Marty’s World Famous Cookbook (Whitecap Books, ISBN 978-1-55285-9-292, $29.95). Then our desserts arrived. One beautiful butter tart and one giant slice of cherry pie. The butter tart was super light and buttery with a warm ambrosial quality that luxuriated across the palate in an angelic sort of way, yet it was sinfully delicious!
A short while later we went to the counter to pay and I lingered to read the notes written to Marty by celebrities on photographs hanging on the walls. There were Marty’s special ultra deep pie plates for sale along with stacks and stacks of Marty’s cookbooks.
That’s when I heard trouble. “I’ll give you a receipt so you can write this off”, said Marty to Jon. Who says that when you’re paying for breakfast I thought? How much of a write-off did we just eat?
Jon and I left the restaurant without saying a word, but half way across the street I couldn’t stand it any longer and I asked the question I really didn’t want to hear the answer to – $92!!!
Ok, so I bought Marty’s cookbook; deduct that. Now I know what you’re asking – was it worth it? Well, the place is certainly excitingly unique and authentic, the food, while sensible, is extraordinarily delicious and unbelievably sexy, hmmmm.
The best breakfast I’ve ever had in my life was in Miami. Jon and I were staying at the amazing Viceroy Hotel and the restaurant was run by none other than Michael Psilakis – one of the worlds top chefs. Our breakfast was amazingly delicious and exciting. It was a bargain price of $55 for the 2 of us. It’s one of those meals we all have to have before we die and the fact that he blew us away with breakfast was – wow!
Yes, Marty’s will be one of those delicious memories filed away with the handful of other over-the-top food experiences. I’ll recommend it to everyone, but with a warning that you don’t order with complete abandon. The best plan is a coffee and butter tart – that way you won’t have to write it off!