Tag Archives: food

Taking Stock No.4

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Enjoying a walk through some of Old Quebec’s beautiful, narrow streets.

Hi folks,

As you have probably noticed, I’ve been out of the look since I last wrote to you about our woes with our new downstairs neighbors. They have not gone away and neither has the mental exhaustion caused by the situation. Many times over the pas few months I have found myself dreaming of packing up and moving to an isolated corner of anywhere but here. It would be quite easy to do and no one would ever find me. My name is so common that I wouldn’t even have to change it in order to never be found, even by the aforementioned pesky neighbors should they decide to attempt to hunt me down. That would be a cowardly thing to do though and highly inconvenient for My Darling who is quite attached to his job and his family (it’s not that I’m not attached to my folks, we’re just not even nearly as tight-knit as My Darling’s family is). He did, however, manage to whisk me away to Quebec City with him for a few days when he went there to attend a conference at the beginning of the month, which did me a great deal of good and allowed me to get my creative juices flowing. Then, when we got back, miracle of miracles, Spring appeared and I have been able to spend increasing amounts of time outside. The leaves are all out, the flowers are blooming, I planted my flowers and bought our strawberry plant and I am looking slightly less pasty. Phew…the work downstairs should finally be done next week, which is an excellent thing because I am becoming less and less tolerant of the group of loud, cigarette smoking, belching, cursing men who show up every morning at 7:00 and are present until the end of the afternoon. I want my quiet home back, I to not have to worry about parking in my own driveway for fear of puncturing my tires on a nail or being trapped in my parking space by a delivery of sheet rock or some worker’s pickup truck. For crying out loud, we found a worker’s discarded t-shirt in our parking space this morning! Ugh…Anyhow, I thought one of my ‘Taking Stock’ posts would be a good way for us to catch up and hopefully I will be able to get my creative juices flowing freely enough once things calm down to come back with another post soon. In the mean time though, you can head over to my photography blog Old Orchard Photography for more about my trip to Quebec and to see a few more of the photos I took there.

Enjoying: being able to walk out the door without having to pile on more layers than an onion.
Listening: to The Merry Widow on CBC Radio 2.
Wearing: my GAP striped sundress. I bought it at an outlet store in Las Vegas last Spring and it is my go-to dress as soon as the warm weather rolls around. It is just as comfy as a pair of pajamas, but completely appropriate to wear out around town as well!

Making: time for myself.

Cooking: Korean burgers for My Darling and his friend when they get back from their bike ride.
Drinking: Iced tea made with our Fortnum and Mason teas. We just emptied our jug of Irish Breakfast and I’m going to ice some Countess Grey next.
Feeling: relieved that the renovations downstairs are finally almost finished.
Reading: ‘Her Majesty: 60 Regal Years’ by Brian Hoey, the first biography of The Queen I have ever read and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I have also recently torn through Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Big Magic’ as I mentioned in my previous post and Camilla Gibb’s ‘This is Happy’ which I highly recommend.

Looking: forward to my vacation in Poland with My Darling next month.
Wishing: we still had a deaf lady in her 70s for a downstairs neighbor. Boy, do we ever miss Mrs. L.
Liking: eating breakfast with My Darling on the back terrace under our red parasol on weekends.
Waiting: for the next bunch of strawberries growing on our plant to ripen.

Snacking: on dark chocolate raspberry Lärabars
Coveting: some Prince Edward Island therapy. I would wish for August to come quickly, but I want Summer to drag on for ages!
Hearing: no construction noise, praise God.
Learning: to not let myself be intimidated by bullies.

Loving: how My Darling has been perking up since he has been able to take his bike out for long rides again.
Watching: not much, really! It’s been far too nice out to watch TV.
Admiring: nature, it’s amazing how quickly things start growing and blooming when the warm weather finally settles in!
Getting: ready to make my first batch of homemade ice cream of the season! It’s going to be matcha, made with this recipe

Wondering: when I’ll have time to go shopping before our vacation.
Playing: piano when I can, which is not often. Racket downstairs = not conducive to learning a new instrument.
Noticing: how badly I needed my week off two weeks ago to ground myself.
Giggling: over My Darling’s waddle when he walks around in his cycling shoes.

Bookmarking: by folding the corners of the pages of the books I read. I don’t spend enough time online to bookmark sites lol
Deciding: on where we’re going to stay in Warsaw.
Hoping: for less drama in my life
Contemplating: jogging with a group of our local Running Room store when we get back from vacation.

Wanting: a new pair of running capris, I noticed several holes in my favorite pair when I got in from my jog on Thursday…
Thinking: about my dad a lot recently and how happy I am that the lupins I planted in front of his grave three years ago are finally going to flower!
Knowing: that my father would be proud of how I’ve handled the difficult situation with our new neighbors so far.
Opening: my heart to as much kindness from others as I can in order to heal myself from the unkindness I have suffered recently.

Feeling: energized and positive for the first time in months.
Marveling: at how warm, sunny weather can help turn peoples moods around within a matter of days.

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Notre-Dame-des-Victoires (Our Lady of Victories) church in Old Quebec
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Evensong at the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge

King's College and its famous chapel seen from across the River Cam
King’s College and its famous chapel seen from across the River Cam

Okay, so if I wasn’t conscious of the fact that long titles are a drag, this post would be entitled ‘The Day I (Finally) Heard the Choir of King’s College in Person and Was Pretty Sure I Had Died and Gone to Heaven’, or something like that, because oh my gosh this choir…words cannot describe how incredibly talented this group of boys, sixteen of them, aged between 8 and 13 and young men, fourteen undergraduate students at King’s College, typically aged between 18 and 22, are.The choir has existed since the foundation of King’s College by King Henry VI in 1441 and to this day their main task is to sing during the daily services held in the college chapel. If you want to read more about the choir, you can visit their site here which is also a good place to listen to recordings of the choir.

How did I hear about these boys and become so entranced by them you may be wondering? It happened while I was working at the Classical department of the HMV store on Ste.Catherine Street in Downtown Montreal when I was in University, which was honest to goodness one of the best jobs I ever had, I think I actually enjoyed it more than being a tour guide, because while I love my job, I’ve been obsessed with Classical music ever since I can remember. My parents didn’t force me into it, I just remember sitting on the floor in my bedroom one day when I was little, fiddling with the dial and landing on CBC Radio 2, which was all Classical at the time and I got hooked. My mom used to brag about it, like ‘Hey, my kid sits there for hours listening to Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, what does yours do?’. I’ve been passionate about music ever since then, so naturally, when I was job hunting during my first year in university and HMV had seasonal openings I dropped off my CV and wrote down on the application form that I wanted to work in the Classical department. Not many people asked to work up there, except for people who mistakenly thought that ‘Classical’ meant Elvis and the Beatles, so I got the job in the blink of an eye and with that, the free run of the department and employee pricing on every single album and DVD in the entire store. Ask me how I ended up with hundreds of CDs in my house and I will tell you no lies. It was while working in the department that I picked up my first recording of the choir’s, ‘Heavenly Voices’ and I thought they were pretty darn good, so I then bought their 2000 recording of ‘Carols form King’s’ on DVD and boom, I was hooked and then some. Hearing the choir on a compilation CD was one thing, but to hear and see one single formation (the choir changes a bit every year when new boys and men enter and leave) is absolutely divine and of course, the chapel itself is drop dead gorgeous, especially when the boys sing by candlelight.

Stephen Cleobury giving the choir some pointers.
The choir singing below the magnificent fan vaulting of the chapel of King’s College.

From the time I watched that DVD making it to Cambridge to see the choir sing in person was on my bucket list, so when booked a ticket to London in the first week of December last year, I made darn sure that the choir would be singing during my time in the UK so I could go over to Cambridge and hear them because there was no way I was flying back across the Atlantic without having seen them. My Darling who, funnily enough, was part of Montreal’s most famous boys’ choir, Les Petits Chanteurs du Mont-Royal for their full eight year program, barely knew about the choir and was less than keen to hop on a train for a day trip outside of London when he was only going to be there for four days since he was coming to join me after visiting family in Poland. I insisted that he would regret it his entire life if he didn’t come with me to Cambridge though and he skeptically agreed and I bought us two tickets. We spent the day visiting the town on our own and then with a tour guide and Cambridge was everything I had imagined it would be and more.

The Christmas Market in Cambridge's town square.
The Christmas Market in Cambridge’s town square.
Vines growing in the courtyard of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.
Vines growing in the courtyard of Corpus Christi College.
Tourists punting on the River Cam.
Tourists punting on the River Cam.
A bicycle waiting for its owner in the portico of Trinity College.
A bicycle waiting for its owner in the portico of Trinity College.
The statue of Henry VIII above the portico of Trinity College.
The statue of Henry VIII above the Great Gate of Trinity College.

After our guided tour, my Darling and I popped into a cafe our guide had recommended to us, Fitzbillies, which is famous for its Chelsea buns. They were unfortunately out of them by the time we got there, but their amazing ganache based hot chocolate and warm, moist scones more than made up for that!

After our snack, it was finally time to head over the King’s College for Evensong.

The chapel of King's College seen from King's Parade road.
The chapel of King’s College seen from King’s Parade road.

I was worried there might be a massive lineup, but it was a quiet day and one of the locals reassured me that there was room for the entire town in the chapel. I was skeptical, but when I got inside, I saw that he was right, although about half the townspeople would have been on the rear side of the choir screen and would not have been able to the choir. The sight of the chapel on the inside is absolutely breathtaking. It is much larger than what I had imagined from the photos and videos I had seen of it, especially in terms of its height and the fan vaulting on the ceiling is absolutely amazing. Finally, the choir filed it and as soon as they began to sing, I got goosebumps and teared up and promptly looked up at the ceiling to keep myself from crying like an idiot. As for my darling, I looked over at him and saw that he was listening to the boys sing with his eyes closed, a very good sign indeed. After the service ended, as my Darling and I were walking to the train station to head back to London, he thanked me for convincing him to come along on our day trip and he has since become just as much of a King’s groupie as I am. We left the town with the most recent ‘Carols from King’s’ DVD, which is of the choir’s 2013 Nine Lessons and Carols service as well as the Choir’s recording of Fauré’s Requiem. The CD has been in our CD player ever since. Don’t worry, we don’t listen to it on a loop, it’s a five disk changer! One thing is for sure though, when my Darling needs help relaxing after a particularly stressful day at work, he puts on his headphones and listens to it.

If you’re interested in discovering the Choir of King’s College, I highly recommend that you start out by listening to their ‘Favorite Carols from King’s album and if you enjoy it, you should move on to Evensong Live 2015, which is a pretty good sampling of sacred choral music throughout history. I also highly, highly recommend that you watch the documentary below about the choir and all the preparations that surround their annual BBC broadcast of Carols from King’s since it gives a very good glimpse into the daily lives of the choristers and the history of the choir and finally, I’m also including a clip of the choir singing one of my favorite contemporary carols of theirs, The Shepherd’s Carol, which was composed for the choir by a former chorister, Bob Chilcott.

What not to miss in Montreal

Downtown Montreal by night.
Downtown Montreal by night.

We had two house guests back-to-back last month, one before my brother’s wedding and then my grandmother who was here for the wedding. My grandmother was born in Quebec City, but lived in Montreal for nearly 20 years before she and my grandfather moved to California for four years when he was transferred there just before he retired. Once they got a taste of life without Winter, my grandparents decided to continue to live in a warm climate rather than move back to Canada and go back to shoveling snow and wearing more layers than an onion for five months a year. My grandmother still comes to Montreal at least twice a year though grandmother and knows the ropes well enough that she is still totally comfortable riding the metro, even at 10:00 P.M. Our out-of-town guest, however, had never been to Montreal before and it was therefore my job to show her around on her first day in town.

Being a lifelong Montrealer, I know a lot of places in town that are amazing, but most of them are off the beaten track since, as anyone who lives in a touristy city knows, the touristy parts of town can be loathsome during the Summer months. So what did I do? I took our out-of-town guest to the most touristy part of town, Old Montreal, but I skirted around the tourist traps. Our first stop was Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel

A stained glass window and a model ship holding votive candles in Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel
A stained glass window and a model ship holding votive candles in Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours Chapel

As I mentioned in my brother’s wedding post, a lot of fuss is made about Notre-Dame-Basilica, with reason. It is a beautiful church, inside and out, but because the Basilica is so beautiful and so nearby, a lot of people overlook Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours. It is a much smaller, much more peaceful church and I have always been touched by the history it has as being a place of prayer and hope for sailors and their families because it is so close to the Old Port.

After our visit to Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, my guest and I visited some art galleries before stopping for lunch at one of my absolute favorite cafés: Olive et Gourmando!

Olive et Gourmando
Olive et Gourmando
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Two more large blackboards like this one can be found in the café.

I love this place for its laid-back atmosphere, fun décor (I love blackboards and have two in my house!) and naturally, its amazing food and coffee! My favorite sandwich of theirs is the Poached Egg on Your Face, but I also love the Cubain. Watch out for the Poached Egg on Your Face though, it is quite spicy since there is sriracha in the sauce! As far as O & G’s  coffee goes, I am addicted to their latte! It is a perfect blend of smooth and strong and I never have to add any sugar to it. One very important note about dining at Olive et Gourmando though: I highly recommend you make a reservation if you want to eat there at any time between 9:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M., especially during the Summer months because it is always chock-a-block full and at lunchtime people are often lined up out the door. Also, since they make all of their sandwiches fresh, they can run out of some of their more popular selections around the end of the day. They do have a to-go counter though if you don’t like eating in crowded places.

After lunch, we made our way up to, you guessed it, Notre-Dame Basilica! I could not neglect to take our guest there and I also wanted to get some pictures of the Basilica and Chapel for my brother’s wedding post. Off we went and I was not sorry we made the stop since it turned out that my new Canon EOS 6D and EF 24-105mm lens made for some serious photography fun, the most fun I’ve had in Notre-Dame Basilica ever, except when I’ve been there for concerts or my little brother’s wedding. I’ve been used to frustration while trying to take pictures in Notre-Dame because of the low light conditions, but it turns out that all I needed was a bit more practice and a kick-ass lens and camera duo. Oh, and our guest loved the Basilica too. Go figure, I’ve never left there with a disappointed visitor!

This sculpture of the prophets Isaiah and Ezechiel sits below the pulpit on the left had side of the Basilica near the main altar
This sculpture of the prophets Isaiah and Ezechiel sits below the pulpit on the left had side of the Basilica near the main altar.
The pulpit.
The pulpit.
A view of the choir section of the Basilica behind the altar.
A view of the choir section of the Basilica behind the altar.
A view of the Basilica's crucifix behind the sanctuary lamp.
A view of the Basilica’s crucifix behind the sanctuary lamp.

Our last stop before heading home for some dinner was St-Louis Square, a park that was recently given a face-lift by the city after they had let it run down for a few years. The Square is one of the most easily recognizable places in Montreal for people who have never been here, because the colorful houses that surround it are printed on postcards just about as frequently as Notre-Dame-Basilica is, but when people actually come to Montreal, they very rarely make it to the square because it is not near any other tourist attractions. This is a shame because it is a very beautiful park with a lovely fountain in its center with benches around it that are screened from view by a beautiful garden. It is a wonderful place to sit with a book and a cup of coffee or tea or for a nice long chat with a friend. It is also right next to the pedestrian stretch of Prince Arthur street which is filled with wonderful cafés and on the day I was there with our guest, there was a farmer’s market going on, which was a lovely surprise.

The fountain that stands in the center of the square.
The fountain that stands in the center of St-Louis Square.
Some of thec colorlful Victorian houses that surround St-Louis Square
Some of the colorful Victorian houses that surround the Square
A closeup of a few of the houses.
A closeup of a few of the houses.
Another closeup of one of the houses.
Another closeup of one of the houses.

After dinner in the evening, my Darling and I had one last place we wanted to take our guest to make her first full day in Montreal complete: The Belvedere in Mount Royal Park that overlooks Downtown Montreal. The Kondiaronk Belvedere offers one of the most famous views of Montreal there is, but once again, a lot of tourists don’t make it there unless they are visiting with family or friends. In this case, it is because you can only reach the Belvedere by going for a bit of a hike through the park from a parking lot, or by climbing a whole lot of stairs and then going for a hike in the park. We Canadians are pretty health conscious, so we don’t mind having to walk a way to get someplace nice! And the view from the Belvedere is definitely worth the workout in the daytime, at night (as seen at the top of this post), in Summer or in Winter.

The View form Kondiaronk Belvedere in Winter.
The View form Kondiaronk Belvedere in Winter.

There are a lot more places in Montreal that you should not miss, namely the awe-inspiring St-Joseph’s Oratory, which attracts a steady two million visitors per year, but I’ll save that for another post since the Oratory is definitely worth of a post all its own! For now, I hope you enjoyed these few highlights of my lovely hometown!

Fun with my macro lens and the last days of Summer

A flower box in Old Montreal
A flower box in Old Montreal

Before we left on vacation in July I treated myself to a macro lens. I had been wanting one for ages and I really lucked out on the day I walked into Camtec Photo’s Notre-Dame Street location, because they had a gently used lens on hand and it was just the one I wanted! It works like a dream and I’ve been having tons of fun with it ever since! The first photos I took with it were in Old Montreal, which is a photographer’s dream, especially for me since I am a serious architecture junkie.

Architectural details on a building in Old Montreal
Architectural details on a building in Old Montreal
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Carved stone and wood architectural details above doorways in Old Montreal

A few days after purchasing my lens, I took it out for a whirl at one of my favorite places, Atwater Market, knowing that its gardening stalls would be in full bloom and they did not disappoint!

Recently watered flowers at Atwater Market.

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A macro lens also comes in very handy for taking photographs of your cats. The next few images are of Magique. Do not be fooled by her calm, cool, laid back exterior in these photos. She is a little devil of a cat, just this morning she looked me square in the face and tipped over two photo frames on our dresser and then proceeded to snitch and eat one of my evening primrose old supplements off the kitchen table, then look up at me licking her chops while I scolded her, without a care in the world. But life is better with cats, I swear! How can it not be? We never have a dull moment here thanks to our two feline friends and we really do love them to the moon and back.

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Aside from going on wanders near and far with my camera, I have been enjoying the last days of Summer as best I can. It is still warm and sunny here in Montreal and the leaves are still green, but school started again for kids here this week and it is Labour Day this coming Monday and we Canadians know all too well what that means: Fall is coming and soon enough, Winter will be right behind it! I don’t know how anyone can complain about unusually warm weather at this time of year, especially since our last two Winters have been so brutal. I say, soak in all the heat and sunshine you can, because within a few months you’re going to be paying big bucks for plane tickets to fly South and get some!

Finally, because I haven’t done so in a little while, here are a few of my current favorites:

1- The Goldfinch, a novel by Donna Tartt that I just finished reading. It was the last of my Summer reads that I bought a few months ago and I loved it. It is not a light read or an easy one, but if you like books that are focused on character development, you will enjoy it greatly. It won the Pulitzer Prize this year and it really lives up to it in my opinion.

2- Evensong Live 2015, a recording of choral music recorded during Evensong services at King’s College, Cambridge during the 2013-2014 academic year that I have been listening to several times a month since purchasing it in Spring. I have always been a huge fan of the choir of King’s College, they are a group of hugely talented boys and young men and I will never, ever forget how incredibly moved my Darling and I were when we attended an Evensong service at King’s last December. It was the realization of a dream for me and my Darling was oh, so happy that I had convinced him that just the service would make him happy we made the day trip out to Cambridge from London and boy, was I right. As soon as the boys started singing we both got chills and my eyes filled with tears. So, if you enjoy choral music, check out the choir’s recordings and please, please, if you are ever in London, take a day trip out to Cambridge and attend their Evensong service. The express trains get you there forty-five minutes, which is less time than it takes to get from one point to another in many areas of London itself.

3- Our organic Strawberry plant, which is gifting us with a totally unexpected second crop of berries. What a treat to be picking fresh strawberries in September, right off our front balcony!

The best places to eat in PEI

Here I am, back with my second PEI vacation post! Being the foodie that I am and since the first thing most people wonder about a place they visit is where they can get some great food, I will be focusing on my favorite places to eat in PEI. I hope you like seafood, because that is what most of these places feature, but fear not! Even though Islanders are big on eating local and seasonal and a big part of their income comes from the sea, all the restaurants I will be writing about here also offer burgers, steak and sometimes pasta and they all offer salad. Because hey, not everyone enjoys fish and lobster, right?

First off, if you are looking for the best lobster rolls in Prince Edward Island, do like me and make your first stop on the Island the Water Prince Corner Shop in Charlottetown! I have made it an ongoing mission to try as many lobster rolls as I can in PEI and have yet to find better ones. The Water Prince’s potato salad is to die for as well! And yes, the shop really is on the corner of Water and Prince, it is blue with white trim around the windows, you can’t miss it!

The second place I took my Darling to eat in PEI was Rick’s Fish ‘n’ Chips in St-Peter’s. This place was featured on Canada’s The Food Network’s ‘You Gotta Eat Here’ for a reason: their fish and chips are amazing! Rick’s batter is light and not greasy and the fish always stays nice and tender. Another plus about this place is its location. The town of St-Peter’s is built around St-Peter’s Bay and Rick’s is right in the bend of the road that curves around it, which makes for some lovely views!

Now, before I continue on to the next restaurant, a small note about beer on the Island. As I mentioned earlier, the inhabitants of PEI take great pride in eating local. This applies to their beer drinking habits as well. Unless you go to a large British or Irish pub in Charlottetown such as the Churchill Arms (also featured on ‘You Gotta Eat Here’, do not expect to be served anything other than PEI ale, usually either Beach Chair Lager or Gahan when it is in season. I am not a big beer drinker, but my Darling knows his way around it quite well and he preferred Gahan. So this is fair warning if you love your Guiness, Labatt, Molson or whatever: bring it with you.

My Darling's Beach Chair Lager.
My Darling’s Beach Chair Lager.
Fish and Chips from Rick's  in St-Peter's.
Fish and Chips from Rick’s in St-Peter’s.
The Churchill Arms pub in Charlottetown.
The Churchill Arms pub in Charlottetown.

Now, back to Charlottetown! We ended up staying in town for two nights for our anniversary. The first evening was our actual anniversary and my Darling treated me to dinner at Fishbones Oyster Bar & Grill. Fishbones was my choice because I was dying for oysters and Fishbones did not disappoint, presenting us with a platter of four oysters, two Raspberry Points and two Malpeques. Malpeques are my all-time favourite oysters and I would gladly have shoveled away a dozen, but I decided to wait until we were actually in Malpeque to binge on them!

The John Brown Grille in Charlottetown with the Fish Bones in the background.
The John Brown Grille in Charlottetown with the Fish Bones in the background.
Our bottles of raspberry cordial.
Our bottles of raspberry cordial.

Our most pleasant surprise during our time in PEI was the raspberry cordial we decided to try when we visited Green Gables. This was my Darling’s idea. During all my visits to PEI I avoided this stuff like the Plague, because it look like it would more than likely be far too sweet for my sensitive Canadian taste-buds, but I was very pleasantly surprised. The drink was just sweet enough and pleasantly refreshing, so if you like carbonated water with a twist, don’t be afraid to try this fun little drink! It can be found all over the Island.

Dalvay-By-The-Sea hotel.
Dalvay By The Sea hotel.

Next, my Darling and I indulged in a little treat: afternoon at Dalvay By The Sea! I’m a bit of an Anglophile and am a stickler for afternoon tea done right and Dalvay absolutely lived up to my expectations. They serve up tea every day as of 2:00 P.M. and you get everything you see on our tea tier plus all the tea you can drink for 55$ for two! Do make sure you call and book ahead though, especially on the weekend as they can fill up fast! Also, please note that Dalvay By The Sea is inside the Brackley-Dalvay section of PEI National Park, so you will have to pay the Park’s entrance fee to get there. You can find more information about the Park and its fees here.

Our 4 o'clock tea at Dalvay-By-The-Sea.
Our sumptuous afternoon tea at Dalvay By The Sea.

Our last memorable culinary stop was in Malpeque at the absolutely delightful Malpeque Oyster Barn. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to take any pictures of beautiful Malpeque Harbour or the restaurant because it was pouring buckets the evening we were there, the only significant rain we saw during our entire two-week vacation. But trust when I say this: if you love oysters, this is the place for you. Malpeque oysters have a beautiful, sharp flavour to them that makes them instantly recognizable and this place serves them fresh, like 24-48 hours out of the water fresh, every single day. Absolute and total ecstasy if you love oysters like I do, even my Darling who was on the fence regarding oysters before our vacation was converted to the beginner level of oyster loving by these guys. Naturally, the Oyster Barn does not serve only oysters. My Darling enjoyed quite a nice lobster roll there and I loved their fish cakes, which were made with fresh fish and another PEI staple: mashed potatoes. Because if there is one thing you have to taste aside from the seafood in PEI, it is their potatoes!

Now, a few pointers about eating in PEI:

1- You are not in the big city. Planning on eating out anywhere on the Island any later than 8:00 P.M. is a big risk. This is because PEI is all rural. The biggest city there is Charlottetown and its population is approximately 35 000. The kitchen at the Fishbones is the latest closing one I know of and it closes at 10:00 P.M.

2- You will more than likely be staying at least a 20 minute drive away from the nearest grocery store if you are staying in a cottage, so plan your meals ahead so you won’t have to go to the grocery store more than once a week. Keep an eye out for the nearest gas station with a Needs convenience store attached to it, they have all the essentials in a pinch, but keep in mind that it might be at least 10 kms away from your place.

3- Keep it casual. PEI is a very laid back place, so you will not be needing any super fancy clothes to eat out, not even for afternoon tea at Dalvay. The only dress code on PEI is that you must be wearing a shirt, pants and shoes for service, meaning you will not be served if you show up abrefoot in your bathing suit. Yup, they really post this on the entrance to shops and restaurants, because most people who eat out or go shopping in the Summer are tourists who are either coming from, or heading out to the beach.

4- If you’re in a hurry, don’t be. Island restaurants pride themselves on serving their food fresh, so if you’re in a rush, head to the Water Prince for a lobster roll. That’s the only place where I have consistently been able to order and eat in under a half-hour because they keep their lobster salad so handy. Otherwise, plan on being in any eatery for at least an hour.