Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Travels in taste - Charlottetown and Moncton - part 2

Hey howdy!

Back atcha with part 2 of our grand tour of Charlottetown and Moncton!

For Friday night's dinner, we partook of delicious sushi from a place called, in all its originality, Mr. Sushi. It was very good, better than anything I've had in Ottawa (but not quite as good as Banff), especially this one buttery bite of sashimi deliciousness that I think was white tuna. Not sure, but holy moley was it good!

Saturday was carb loading time in preparation for Kari's big race on Sunday! We started with pierogies for lunch at the local farmer's market, but that was insufficient. So, how do you carb load effectively? With a metric buttload of pizza, of course! To preamble, we'd taken to using Food Network's 'You Gotta Eat Here!' as inspiration to finding places to snarf some scran (on top of Tripadvisor) and we came across an episode (go to about 8:18) describing the wacky pizza-making skills of one Famous Peppers pizzeria. Their use of a maple-cream sauce as a base for a pizza had Kari practically licking the screen. So, when it was time to load the carbs, we took to tracking down the pizzeria (which turned out to be about a block from our apartment/hotel). Now, the menu is quite daunting and it took a couple of minutes to decide what we wanted. Kari's first choice was The Spud Islander, loaded with "thinly sliced potato, bacon and caramelized onions" on the aforementioned maple-cream sauce. Me, I went for the Donair Pizza, considering that I was in the Maritimes where donair originated in Canada (granted, in Halifax, close enough...); it seemed appropriate, especially when it consists of a "garlic butter base (who needs tomato sauce?), donair meat, red onion & mozzarella, topped with fresh iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and donair sauce". We also figured a third pizza would be in order; y'know, just to be safe. After a bit of hemming and hawing we decided on The Caribbean with "jalapeƱo, mozzarella, mango, seasoned chicken strips, jerk seasoning, red onion and a dusting of toasted coconut". Now, funny thing happened: they forgot the red onion while making it so they decided to give it to us for free and make another Caribbean for us! So, four pizzas for the price of three! Heck ya!

So how was the pizza? Simply put: amazing! The Spud Islander had rich, classic flavours reminiscent of a potato-bacon chowder, with a sweet twist coming from the maple-cream sauce. The Donair Pizza tasted like, well, a donair! A really, really tasty donair! Special kudos for the addition of the lettuce, tomato and donair sauce on top; they totally made the pizza unique with a crunch and juiciness that I've never had before. The Caribbean was another truly unique flavour combo; who has mango on pizza!?!? The whole combined for a kind of Thai-Jamaican fusion, which was pretty cool. All in all, a very impressive pizza feast.

Carb loading on Famous Pepper's pizza

So Race Day Sunday came and my girl KICKED BUTT!!!! She improved her previous half-marathon time by 30 minutes! (which, according to runners, is no mean feat!). To celebrate, we returned to the Big Orange Lunchbox, as mentioned before, for lunch and I can't for the life of me remember what we had for dinner, but I suspect it was leftovers from all the earlier feasts in the week, and possibly because Kari was done moving for the day.

Monday was travel day, we had to drive back to Moncton but decided to take the long way which was a lot of fun and it allowed us to track down what may have been the best peanut butter cookies ever at a gas station/convenience store, possibly in or near Crapaud.

And then there was the Confederation Bridge, Part 2 - The Windening. You know what's scarier than driving over a bridge suspended 100+ feet over the goddamn ocean? Doing it with a stiff wind pushing the car towards the side wall of the bridge!!! ACK!!!! But, we got over alive. Amen. Moving on...

So we drove in to Moncton to stay at the New Brunswick Casino and Hotel (mama deserved to play some slots as a reward for her half-marathon performance) and got there in time for an early dinner. We were a little disappointed to discover that the casino's buffet was located within the casino and was thus off-limits to our little Nutster. But Plan B! We'd assembled a list of restos to visit when we got back to Moncton and topping the list was a seafood joint called Skipper Jack's. It was a very 'mom and pop' kind of place, the decor reminded me of the old Ponderosa steakhouses that used to abound (they still exist in the States though). I partook of a giant "fisherman's platter" type deal, basically a mess of fried seafood (shrimp, scallops, clams and haddock) with coleslaw and fries. Healthy! I got about halfway through before calling it quits.

Finally Tuesday came along and it was time to partake of our final super-duper fancy meal of epicness (at 5 pm, because that's Olivia's dinner time) and not knowing where else to go, we made our triumphant return to the Tide and Boar. Whereas the week before we'd dedicated ourselves to partaking of a simple lunch, now it was time to get a little crazy.

I'd been mentally prepping myself for a plate that had been featured on their online menu: Bone Marrow!!!! Alas, it was not to be...

But, there was MORE than enough deliciousness to go around. So, first of all, we wanted to go full out with the house specialities, particularly their "boards". There was the Tide Board (seafood) and the Boar Board (charcuterie), or we could get them together as the Tide and Boar Board!!! DINGDINGDING!!!! I'll admit that after so many months, I can't remember exactly what was on the plate. I remember on the "boar" side of things, there was a serving of rilettes (duck, I believe), a dry sausage dealie made from boar (obviously) and all kinds of delicious...

The "Tide" side was, personally, far more impressive. Yes, I love my smoked and cured land beasties and charcuterie, but we were in the freakin' Maritimes and seafood is what I was there to eat! The Tide plate had so many tasty items: raw oysters on the half shell, scallops, smoked salmon, mussels and more. Also, one absolutely crazypants condiment: dulse. What is dulse? Well, basically, it's seaweed. But in the capable hands of the Tide and Boar's cooks, it becomes unbelievably good, treated with soy sauce and other delicousnesses. Apparently it's a totally common snack in the Maritimes, but over here it's 10 bucks for a tiny potato chip-sized bag. All in all, YAY TIDE!!!

We also needed to feed our little petunia, so we went with a cup of their Atlantic Tide Chowder, consisting of smoked haddock, mussels, shrimp, fennel and dill in a super-tasty creamy broth. Needless to say, she *loved* it. She also loves ice cubes (possibly because she was teething?) so she naturally did this:

A mouthful of Chowder and ice

We also had to partake of the in-house Boar Bologna. Yeah, you read that right, Boar freakin' Bologna!!! It was rich and super-tasty with a homemade mustard, but maybe a little grainy from the grinder. But so what? NOMZ!!!!

Well, there it is, a grand tour of the Maritimes filled with deliciousness. I wish I was rich enough to do this about 3 or 4 times a year.