Clash of the Toutons: Winner Revealed!
All these years, I've been eating toutons the wrong way. Maybe you have been, too. Not to worry, Betty Badcock, owner of the Madrock Cafe in Bay Roberts, Newfoundland has toutons - both the making and the eating - down to a science. Betty serves her toutons butterflied, sliced nearly all the way through the centre. Spread the two piping hot halves apart, then follow her directions: âMolasses first, then butterâ¦thatâs the only way to eat them,â explains Betty. âIf you put the butter on first then the molasses canât soak through. Then close it up, make yourself a sandwich.â Add an extra drizzle of molasses on top and the result is the perfect molasses-to-touton ratio, and a purely delicious mouthful with every bite. If anyone is qualified to dole out advice about toutons, itâs Betty. After the public cast more than 2,600 votes at www.downhomelife.com during Downhomeâs 2015 âClash of the Toutonsâ competition, the Madrock Cafe came out on top - declaring it the home of the most mouth-watering toutons in Newfoundland and Labrador. Madrock Cafe, Bay Roberts âI never thought weâd win,â says Betty, who knew nothing about the competition or her restaurantâs nomination until one of her regular customers told her about it. âIf we had a big place I could understand, but a small place like we got - and so many people voting - itâs unbelievable.â True, Madrock Cafe is not a huge establishment. In fact, the kitchen where Betty, her husband Graham, and their staff work is no bigger (likely smaller) than most home kitchens. Incredibly, all food is prepared with a single oven and four-burner stove.âItâs like frigginâ magic,â exclaims Betty. âWeâre so busy in the summertime, my darlinâ, I canât even tell you what day of the week it is.â At the peak of tourist season, Betty says customers have waited up to two hours outside the cafÃ© for their turn at a table. And yes, many of them are waiting for toutons. Thatâs no wonder, because Betty has a touton to suit just about anybodyâs taste. Made from homemade dough, they come white or whole wheat, BLT sandwich-style or as a Madrock Touton - thatâs a touton served with a fried egg in the centre. Rough GrubWhen Betty and Graham opened Madrock Cafe back in 2005, naming it for the famously angry waves that can be seen nearby, there were no toutons of any kind being served. It started out as more of a souvenir shop, the menu consisting of just soup and sandwiches. âAnd all of a sudden people wanted more - and they got more,â says Betty. Now in that tiny kitchen theyâre whipping up everything from mac ân cheese to pea soup to fish cakes to tea buns, and toutons, of course.âRough grub is what we call it. Itâs what you canât get much of anymore,â says Betty. âJust like being home in Momâs kitchen.âOne offering that is only unofficially on the menu is the entertainment. âPeople say they come here for âdinner and a show,ââ says Betty, laughing. But there are no violins here. When Betty and her husband Graham get into a racket in the kitchen, the results can be better than Broadway. âSometimes it just slips out,â she laughs. Especially when the place gets busy, Betty says Graham can often be found in the kitchen, cooking up a storm. Before they met, he was a cook in the army and according to Betty, âhe can make a drop of water and a bit of salt taste good.â Itâs clear the couple have poured their heart and soul into their little cafÃ©, which closes only on Christmas Day and New Yearâs Day. And the place doesnât just feel like home to them, it is their home. The Badcocks live in a one-bedroom apartment, one floor above the cafÃ©. While most folks their age are retiring, Betty says they canât stand the thought of closing up shop. Luckily, with business still booming, itâs likely theyâll be turning out toutons for many years to come. In the meantime, the couple has a lot to celebrate - their 50th year of marriage, the 10th anniversary of the cafÃ© and, of course, being crowned the touton king and queen of Newfoundland and Labrador. Could life be any sweeter? - By Ashley Miller The Top 10 Places to get Toutons in N.L.*#1 Madrock Cafe, Bay Roberts#2 The Tea Rose, Burin Peninsula Highway#3 Philipâs CafÃ©, Placentia#4 Slippers ân Things, Happy Valley-Goose Bay#5 Woody Island Resort, Woody Island#6 Treasure Box, Rocky Harbour#7 Bidgoodâs Mug-up, Goulds#8 Kettle Rock CafÃ©, Freshwater Inn, Gambo#9 Blow Me Down Trails Gazebo, Corner Brook #10 Earleâs Restaurant, Rocky Harbour*According to popular vote, and out of 47 nominated restaurants province-wide