Sand and Pearl

Pic­ton, On­tario

Air Canada enRoute - - AMERICAN EXPRESS -

THE TALK­ING HEADS’ “THIS MUST BE THE PLACE” is play­ing and Sand and Pearl co-owner Nate Hynes, in base­ball cap and jean shorts, is el­bowdeep in oys­ters. “This is such a great song!” he ex­claims, like you would at your back­yard keg party – only with bet­ter food and a di­aled-in beach-shack en­ergy.

A two-and-a-half-hour drive east of Toronto, this for­mer pizza joint has been given coats of turquoise and white paint and a se­ri­ous sound sys­tem for a party vibe that just won’t quit. Chalk­board signs on the wash­room doors mark them for “Dudes” and “Dudettes.” This is where you’ll want to head af­ter a long day at nearby Sand­banks Provin­cial Park, freshly sun­burned, with sand be­tween your toes. Lo­cals and week­enders from the city belly up to the white-tiled bar to or­der, then re­treat to the screened-in porch to nurse lo­cal Par­sons Hula Hoop sour beers or Trail Es­tate Skin Ferment Ries­ling, and food that lifts fish-fry fare with cheffy touches.

Our peppy server prac­ti­cally dances up to our table with pris­tine Fogo Is­land snow crab legs, but­tery lob­ster rolls and smoked Man­i­toulin trout niçoise salad that pops with pick­led green beans and lemony crème fraîche. Hynes in­structs new­bies on how to crack the long crab legs: thumbs pressed at the mid­point, a quick snap then a tug. Head chef Suzanne Barr joined the sea­sonal restau­rant for the 2018 sea­son; an­other chef may be at the helm when the room re­opens in May. Un­til then, this place will re­main the beachy, sun­shiny spot of my win­ter dreams.

CLOCK­WISE FROM RIGHT The dou­ble cheese­burger with pork belly and lob­ster from Sand and Pearl chef Suzanne Barr will make you smile, too; tuck­ing into lit­tle­neck clams with minted pasta salad; Em­i­lie Coutts-Hur­ren keeps it cool at the seafood counter. PRE­VI­OUS PAGE Fogo Is­land snow crab has legs for days. ÀDROITE,PUISDANSLESENSHORAIRE Le dou­ble cheese­burger avec flanc de porc et homard a de quoi réjouir la chef du Sand and Pearl, Suzanne Barr ; on plonge dans un plat de palour­des du Paci­fique avec une salade de pâtes à la men­the ; Em­i­lie Coutts-Hur­ren garde la tête froide de­vant le comp­toir à fruits de mer. PAGEPRÉCÉDENTE On en pince pour le crabe des neiges de l’île Fogo.

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