Menu–Canada

This is in two parts–Nova Scotia and Montreal.

We learned quickly to dial down our aspirations for food in Nova Scotia, with occasional exceptions.  Sorry to let you in a big secret, but in a land where Tim Hortons is as big as McDonald’s in the States, you can also expect some of the same mediocre food as you would find in the States.  This is frustrating for travellers, but we soon learned to adapt–full was the only criteria in some places–not flavorful or wonderful.  We weren’t in France or Italy, after all.

In order to spare you the agony of another Tim Hortons sandwich (which really isn’t bad, if you get used to it), not all of our meals are here.

First breakfast at our B&B in Truro: cheesy turnover, a slice of Canadian bacon, scrambled eggs and three halves of grape tomatoes.  It was all set on lovely china, and they had really good hot chocolate for me.  Dave and I didn’t end up sitting next to each other because of the way the first two couples sat at the table–I had the better meal partners (they were from England, and funny).

Our restaurant in Georgetown, Prince Edward Island: Clam Diggers.

Charming design, with peeling paint as an accent.

The only reason why I show these two meals is to give you an idea of the adjustment we were trying to make, racheting down the expectation level.  Later, when I mentioned to the American innkeeper at Glendyer Inn that we’d had a wrap, she slowly shook her head.  “They don’t do wraps here very well,” she said.  No, they don’t.  Notice that the wrap is grilled/toasted.

Things picked up in Mabou at the Red Shoe Pub, although the texture of the hummus was not typical.  This was the starter to a fine meal, where I had the linguini with lobster and asparagus, but the photos didn’t turn out very well.

We saw these in a grocery store in Truro–they give a thermometer to approximate the temperature of the peppers inside.  I could use that kind of help at the grocery store.

At the Bell Buoy Restaurant in Baddeck, we each had lobster, and it was great fun as well as fresh and flavorful.

Don’t we look pretty dorky in these dumb bibs, but there is some squirting as you dig out the lobster meat with these:

The first night we were in Halifax, we ate here, at The Carleton, in the oldest building in downtown Halifax.  We both had linguini with seafood and it was very good.  It was served with (what else?) toasted bread.

The second night was Subway in the Halifax Performing Arts Center (we were running late so had to eat stadium food), but the last night we came to FID.  With the delivery of the bread basket, we knew we were in new territory, insofar as Nova Scotian food was concerned.

The “Mayhem” salad was a work of art, which we planned to share, bit by savory bit.  We wrote down what was in it as we went:
thin slice of turnip
wedges of radish, roasted zucchini, roasted yellow squash
peas
“quickled” beet–a beet pickled quickly, in other words
pea pod
puree of butternut squash
smear of balsamiced honey
shiitake mushroom jelly (that was a new on on us–kind of like clear little lumps)
quickled fiddlehead
quickled cucumber (English-type, julienned)
confit of quickled onion
poached whole shallot
currents
plump dried cranberries, softened

All on a little tiny plate.

Even Dave’s knife was beautiful.

Dave ordered “7-day marinated hanger steak with roasted garlic mashed potatoes.”

I had “caramelized sea scallops with pork belly, young beets and chard.”

We both had smiles on our faces.

Dessert was sticky toffee pudding.  The toffee was the sauce, the pudding was the super-moist cake.

That’s the end of Nova Scotia.

2 thoughts on “Menu–Canada

  1. Quickled fiddlehead–what could be better than that? I love the ascending order of tastiness in these pictures. Just think, if you had kept eating, you’d be in Dining Nirvana by now.

  2. I was laughing from the start. The Canadians are not culinary giants by any means. To me, it is more like eating in the midwestern US than in a foreign country. Toasted bread is surely a staple, and they think Miracle Whip and mayonnaise is one and the same. It can be shocking to get Miracle Whip when you expect mayonnaise. The potluck dinners are nearly killing me. If I bite into one more egg salad sandwich and discover it has been smeared with better, I will likely lose my mind. :) Even the fancy restaurants offer a choice of mashed potatoes or French Fries with a steak. They do dessert well, usually. Nanaimo Bars and Butter Tarts are worth trying. But again, very Canadian, not French or Italian.

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