A lot of the food stops came from the Canadian version of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, called You Gotta Eat Here (YGEH). We basically looked up the show descriptions for all of the episodes and pulled out all the ones on the east coast (at least in places we knew we'd be), plotted them on a Google map, and sometimes went out of our way to find these local joints. It wasn't mandatory and if we happened upon some other eating establishment instead, we'd go there; but, we did manage to make it to 5 of the 14 (6 if you count the pub we stopped at for drinks only) that have been featured on the show (some were not even remotely near to where we were so it seemed kind of ridiculous).
In addition to these Food Network inspired stops, we also found some places on our own that go down as having some of the best meals we've ever eaten - particularly the seafood, which you can imagine, was fresh, meaty, and incomparable to anything you find at your local grocery store. Unless of course you happen to live near the ocean.
Here's a smorgasbord of my faves...
Saint John Ale House (YGEH #1)
The beer selection here alone was incredible! When T and I travel, we like to sample the local [food, beer, wine, spirits, culture, etc.], so we opted for beers and ciders we'd never heard of whenever possible. T had the Pork Belly & Beans (confit pork, organic navy beans, crosby's molasses) and I had the daily feature - pulled pork spicy tacos with loaded chips. Not a bad start to our foodie trail, but we had no idea what else was coming...
Urban Deli: Italian By Night (YGEH #2)
The Urban Deli pays homage to the old school delis of Italy. By day, it's just that, and offers deli sandwiches, salads and other lunch-style fare. Then at dusk, it turns into Italian By Night and is transformed into a more upscale, sit-down restaurant with some of the best Italian I've eaten outside of Italy. The service was also impeccable to the point where, when we arrived for our reservation, they had place cards with our names on them in wine corks at our table. Who does that? What a great personal touch! I believe the deli is the one that was one YGEH, but we opted for a nice dinner and were not disappointed! I started with rosemary roasted almonds and T had roasted house made meatballs stuffed with mozzarella (OMG!). Then I enjoyed seafood risotto - quite possibly the best risotto I've ever had, and T's pasta was something I can't now recall, but he moaned his way through it so it's probably irrelevant. We had no room for solid desserts, but did have a couple Italian coffees (which just means they came with booze). Then we rolled ourselves back to our hotel. Oh, but not before randomly stopping at a candy store to buy some old school Neapolitan taffy (naturally).
And that was just Saint John, NB. On to Moncton...
Catch 22 Lobster Bar (YGEH #3)
This was the first restaurant we'd been to so far that offered the full lobster, so I couldn't resist. My shellfish platter came with 1.25 pounds of the meatiest, freshest lobster I've ever had and 1 pound of steamed mussels and clams with garlic butter. The mussels were amazing, the clams were a bit too gritty for my liking, like they didn't totally clean all the sand out or something. I think I'll just stick to clams in chowder and not straight from the shell. T had the Catch 22 fisherman’s platter and got half a lobster, shrimp, scallops, haddock, and crab cakes with rice and fresh vegetables (which I don't think he touched). We were literally in a seafood coma after eating all of this.
|That expression of mine is not posed. I swear.|
|Empty / Full|
We enjoyed a beer here before dinner at Catch 22 and returned the next afternoon to sample some more and enjoy a snack. We really enjoyed our oven baked brie appetizer, served with roasted garlic, apple and in-house made beer bread. We weren't in love with Moncton as a whole, but we would for sure return just for the Pumphouse.
On to Prince Edward Island...
The Inn at Bay Fortune
While not a YGEH stop, The Inn at Bay Fortune stopover was inspired by a different Food Network TV show: The Inn Chef, which used to be filmed at The Inn with Chef Michael Smith. Prior to this show and his other two (Chef Abroad and Chef at Home), I was/am a huge fan of Chef Smith and have blogged about him and his recipes many times, so it was no question we were going to The Inn. We also booked two nights here and toured that side of PEI while we enjoyed the quaint inn on the water. Though Chef Smith has since moved on from The Inn, it's still very renowned and makes the list of places to eat in Canada year after year. Homemade breakfasts were included with our stay (Belgian waffles, omelettes, and house-made pastries on a veranda, anyone?), and additionally, we reserved one dinner while we were there. But not just any dinner, it was The Inn Chef's Table where we had our own private room with a front seat view of the kitchen. Each chef prepared and delivered the 7-courses to us, each paired with wine, and explained where the food came from (some of it from the on-site gardens). Seriously, best meal we've eaten to this point in our lives. Period.
|Our view of the action!|
|Charcuterie board with local cheeses and meats.|
|Colville Bay oysters.|
|Island soft shell clam dashi.|
|PEI Bell River crab salad|
|The best seafood chowder I've ever had.|
|Chicken, polenta, carrots, mushroom and garden spinach.|
|Maritime cheese selection.|
|Coffee & donuts / PB & J|
|Our breakfasts both mornings of our stay.|
Much like many of the dives on Triple D, Rick's Fish & Chips was a shack on the side of the road; but don't let the outside deter you - the fish was deliciously fresh and heart-stoppingly deep fried (I regret nothing). We started with cajun fried oysters and then each had a 1 piece haddock fish and chips. Look at the size of it! We washed it all down with delicious beer from Gahan House in Charlottetown. My only qualm was the little packet of tartar sauce that wasn't homemade, but what do you expect from a shack?
Our stop in Charlottetown was brief and only included a pop into the local liquor store and lunch at the Gahan House on the recommendation of a friend. I enjoyed that the pub was, indeed, an old house that once belonged to a prominent merchant of 19th century Charlottetown of the same name. We tried different brews from the ones at Rick's and shared a plate of the Island Potato Chips - made with PEI potatoes and topped with green onions, bacon, ADL cheddar, sour cream and jalapeno mayo. It was like nachos, but with fresh potato chips!
Next stop: Nova Scotia...
Governor's Pub & Eatery
We happened upon this place because it was the first place we saw within walking distance of our hotel in Sydney, NS, and I'm sure glad we found it! Like Gahan House, it's also a converted house that formerly belonged to the first mayor of Sydney with a fancy dining section downstairs and a pub upstairs with a patio that overlooks the Sydney waterfront. To start, we couldn't resist sharing the man candy poutine – hand cut fries topped with cheese curds, candied pork belly, and homemade gravy. 'Nuff said. T had the highland pulled beef melt – sauteéd mushrooms, onions, red wine demi glacée with a mound of pulled, locally raised highland beef, topped with four cheese blend served on a homemade baquette. And he got seafood chowder on the side, because, when in... Rome? I ordered my first ever burger off a menu (it's a long story and I'm already rambling on): the brave heart burger – local highland ground beef, lettuce, tomato, pickle, hot peppers, caramelized onions, and homemade cajun sauce. I'm SO glad this was my first restaurant burger - I could have eaten several of them if I had the room. I also dug the Irish legend and lore artwork that this place had.
Boneheads BBQ (YGEH #5)
Boneheads boasts of southern style BBQ, which is not a common occurrence where we live in Ontario, save for one delicious place in our hometown; but we mainly wanted to visit Boneheads to see what they did in a seafood dominant city like Halifax, NS. We were disappointed to see that there wasn't any blackened fish or seafood jamalaya on the menu; but, our selections were delicious nonetheless. T had pulled chicken on a bun with mac & cheese on the side and I enjoyed sweet potato chips (seriously brilliant!) and smoked sausage on a bun. The best was the sign on the wall that read: "Boneheads BBQ: Horrifying vegetarians since 2010."
The Five Fishermen Restaurant
Our final restaurant meal of our honeymoon was chosen by T based on a previous experience of his with the all-you-can-eat muscle bar at The Fiver Fishermen Restaurant in Halifax. He knows I love muscles and these were excellent - especially with 4 different sauces to choose from! I opted for garlic butter and roasted red pepper. Then T had the butter poached lobster with sweet potato orzo, sautéed kale with sage citrus buerre blanc. I enjoyed the five fish: sautéed colossal scallops and shrimp, pan seared halibut, and Atlantic salmon with lobster, champagne, and asparagus risotto, vanilla scented braised fennel, and lemon butter cream. Second best meal we had while on our honeymoon. The building itself has a pretty cool history, too.
Wow, after looking at all of the food we ate in one lump, it's no wonder I gained 5 pounds!
That concludes the bulk of our east coast eating - there were some other stops that were less exciting, some cafes where we ate breakfast, and some snack foods (like dulse, the Saint John delicacy, and Canada's own BeaverTails), plus all of the delicious beverages we discovered. Stay tuned for my blog on that - east coast libations!
|Random other eats.|