Sometimes, the best restaurants take a bit of effort to get to – but it’s worth it.
Today, I went for a drive with my friend Susan and her two youngsters, Allie and Jackson, to admire the fall leaves along the S. Saskatchewan River. Our destination was the New Ground Café in Birch Hills, an hour or so north of Saskatoon.
My friend Jenny Willems started this fabulous little café last December. Eventhough it’s small (only five tables) and the menu is small (two or three items to choose from) it’s got big tastes and an ambitious flare. The chalkboard menu changes daily depending on what Jenny has purchased from local farmers and gardeners.
Jackson ordered the chicken noodle soup. Jenny warned him, ever so mother-like, that it might taste a little different because it’s made with coconut milk and Thai seasoning. Jackson took one spoonful and said it was so good we all had to try it. Allie ordered the best, gooeyest, whole wheat cinnamon bun I have ever eaten. Susan had the Turkey Dinner pizza – cranberry sauce topped with turkey and cheese. After an intrepid bite, Allie declared it so good she wanted half of her mom’s pizza. I had a creamy soup of potatoes and spaghetti squash with chunks of blue potato. It was so filling I couldn’t eat it all (along with a big chunk of bannock), but since Susan had given away half her pizza she was happy to polish it off. Driving away, Susan said there was not one thing she tasted that wasn’t delicious, and that’s saying a lot for a little restaurant off the beaten path.
The first time I visited the New Ground Café, Jenny was making blue cheese perogies for dinner. She has offered to share her favourite perogie dough recipe:
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 cup water
Jenny’s note: Let rest at least half an hour before using. Add more flour if too sticky. Can double as ravioli dough.