Ever since moving up to the 1000 islands region of Canada, something has left me rather perplexed.
One day in early spring, I went for supper at the local Swiss Chalet in Brockville. I ordered my usual Quarter Chicken with 1/3rd Baby Back Ribs.
My wife ordered a Quarter Chicken, white meat and my mother-in-law ordered the same, only she also wanted a salad. She then asked for 1000 island dressing, her favorite. But the waitress said to her that they don’t serve 1000 island dressing.
My thought was, “Wait a minute? We live in the 1000 islands and you don’t serve 1000 island dressing? That’s ridiculous!”
In the early part of the 20th century, George Boldt, a self-made millionaire and owner of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, instructed his maitre d’ to put the dressing on the hotel’s menu, making the dressing very popular. Boldt also had a home on one of the islands called, Boldt Castle.
I wondered how many restaurants in Ontario don’t serve 1000 island dressing. I went to a number of eating establishments in Brockville, Kingston, Smiths Falls, Gananoque, and other areas in what would be considered the 1000 islands.
Turns out, there are a number of them that don’t. I would estimate approximately 60 percent of restaurants in the region I ate at, don’t serve the famous dressing.
Why? The waitresses and owners I spoke about the lack of it gave the explanation, “There isn’t a big demand for it.”
I find that hard to believe that a dressing as legendary and popular as 1000 Island dressing isn’t available.
Can you imagine going to New Orleans and not having Louisiana Gumbo? Or, how about Texas without chili? I couldn’t imagine San Francisco without Sourdough Bread. Or, even Florida without Oranges.
(Speaking of Florida, I wanted to let you know about this place in Florida called, Windsor Palms. Check it out!)
I’m not sure if it’s a Canadian thing or if it’s just nobody cares. But I would think that if you travel somewhere in the world, I would expect to get the very thing the region is famous for.
Mr. Boldt would be rolling in his grave by the omission!