Halibut and Lobster and Mussels, Oh My.
Hard to believe three weeks passed since my trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Time flies by, but luckily I have the photos to remember a lovely trip with my Mother Margaret. (I have a hard time typing "Mom," ok? I may call her "Mom" but really, she's totally a Mother Margaret. Below is the image to prove this.)
Nova Scotia blew me away with its food offerings, from the fresh seafood (I tried nearly everything that has gills or a shell) to the fresh produce. Mom and I flew in to Halifax, and spent six days toodling around in a rented Toyota Corolla. We put some miles on that economy car, as we went up the eastern coast, then around Cape Breton counterclockwise on the Cabot Trail, down the Ceilidh trail on the western side, took a ferry to Price Edward, and roamed from Charlottetown to Cavendish, and then back over on the ferry back down to the Halifax airport.
A few notes:
- I tire easily of fish & chips and there are a lot of chipperies in Nova Scotia. The Battered Fish stand on the Halifax Harbor was ok; one called the Fish & Ship Canteen on a little tiny cannery row off the Ceilidh Trail was so bad I dubbed it "Fish & Shit." I think it changed out its oil traps maybe one a year -- yuck.
- Blueberries! Cape Breton has tons of them, and here are the delicious pancakes at the Lobster Galley in Victoria to prove it.
- Alexander Keith was the first brewmaster in Nova Scotia. Keith's beer is ubiquitous (and now owned by Labatt), so we felt compelled to enjoy a few during our visit.
- Though much of Nova Scotia celebrates its Scottish heritage, the area around Cape Breton's Cheticamp still represents its Acadian/French roots. We visited the Acadian Restaurant/Co-Op, where they served molasses to drizzle over slices of freshly baked bread, along with molasses butter.
Mom ordered the fish cakes and I tried the meat pie, a flaky and light pastry with ground beef (below), served with a cranberry dipping sauce and a nice salad.
Of course I tried their butterscotch pie, too. Mmm, pie.
- Best lobster? Rusty Anchor, Pleasant Bay, Cape Breton. They don't skimp on the lobster, with HUGE chunks, it's fresh, and just really nice to sit on their patio overlooking where the Gulf of St. Lawrence meets the Atlantic. Conveniently located along the scenic Cabot Trail.
- Mom and I went a little bonkers over the cheeses (Dragon's Breath Bleu and Smoked Gouda) at That Dutchman's Farm, which we found while en route to see the tidal bores nearly at the Bay of Fundy at Upper Economy, N.S. Love the name, though there's nothing economical about buying $60 worth of gouda to haul back to North Carolina. But that's not really the point, is it? That cheese was damn good. (And "That Damn Dutchman" was the former name, but the owners changed it to be less controversial. I thought Canadians were more open minded?)
Prince Edward Island may have failed in the Anne of Green Gables department -- it's not the utopia from the books, rather a big t-shirt and ice cream shop-laden tourist draw, go figure -- but it dazzled me with farmstands at every turn. PEI is not only famous for its tasty Island Gold blue mussels (ate some amazing ones at Redwater Rustic Grille at the Waterfront) but also for potatoes.
Our last meal was in the small town of Truro, which has a wonderful Saturday farmers market. I thought we'd wind up in some kind of hole in the wall, but it turns out we saved the best for last. Bistro 22 's fresh fish dishes and tasty dessert (chocolate cake to kill for) are just exquisite, and the decor and service makes for an intimate and relaxed end to a whirlwind trip like ours. Mom enjoyed a salmon risotto, while I had the roasted halibut special.
This trip made me miss living in Maryland, if only because I didn't truly appreciate being close to fresh seafood (shrimp, oysters) until after we moved. Funny what kinds of things you take for granted. Charlotte is pretty landlocked, but we're not too far from a trip to the coast. In fact, with cool weather and months with an "R" coming up, I see an oyster roast or two in our future!