New Cafe in Town - The Savvy Sailor


IMG 0527

When we returned to Lunenburg after our three year Tour of North America we were disappointed that Historic Grounds, one of our favorite cafes had closed. This morning we had brunch at The Savvy Sailor, a new cafe/restaurant in the same location on Montague Street. Pamela had the frittata and I had the Classic Bennie, both were great and the dining area is larger. Worth a visit for a good meal and conversation. Saw several friends enjoying the Grand Opening today. 

Distillery Delights

August 25, 2010 Toronto, ON

With every visit to Toronto we beeline to one of our favourite areas in the city: the distillery district.

Is it still a beeline when we get stuck in rush hour?

This is better than last time. Last time most of the traffic lights downtown went on the fritz. However, we were thoroughly impressed with the locals who took it upon themselves to direct heavy traffic at every light-less intersection.

Back to the main attraction, as far as we're concerned: Soulpepper Theatre. We caught "What the Butler Saw", a zany farce by Joe Orton, and "Doc", an award winning drama by Sharon Pollock about a relationship between a daughter and father. The latter had a unique set. The designer divied up the stage into four "rooms" using sheets of clear plexiglas set perpendicular to the stagefront and with body shapes cut out that served as entrances and exits for each character. There was also a gauzy backfrop. Unusual overall. Moody and dense with shadow and refracted light.

We like a pre-play dinner at Mill Street Brewery by the huge copper vats (or whatever you call them when it's beer), but not under the skylight if it's pouring out, unless we are in need of a little misting. Then we take time to peruse the distillery district and wander through the cobblestone lanes by the forty-seven Victorian industrial buildings that have been revamped and repurposed.

Creative types and business types coexist, as do old and new: old material, new green technology. The village created and its galleries, boutiques, eateries, theatres, cafes are meant to be sauntered and savoured.

A massive metal sculpture outside the market and adjacent to the A Taste of Quebec cheese shop that we pretend doesn't exist, for the benefit of our wallets and waistlines:

More mega scultpure outside of Balzac Coffee. Balzac's is great coffee, but the espresso at the fine food market is perfect.

Great place to chill.

-P

Waypoint Halifax

August 10, 2010 Halifax, NS

I hoped we could explore the Canadian School of Lutherie with George Ryzsani, builder of Voyageur, a Six String Nation guitar built from 63 pieces of  Canadian wood "representing many different cultures, communities and characters from all across the country", "including a piece of decking from the Bluenosoe II, a piece of Wayne Gretzky's hockey stick and wood from Pier 21". One of goals for the Six String Nation project is "to tell the story of a country from the roots to the trunk rather than the other way around; and to encourage us to tell that story to ourselves and the world through music".

George ran luthier workshops at the Canadian School of Lutherie, a centre for studying guitar building that specializes in building hand-made, custom guitars. He has made guitars for James Taylor, Keith Richards, Sting, Peter Gabriel and more. However, George is on his last guitar building project for the centre and will retire from his line of guitars. I believe his last is the only with a built in vile of ashes--the ashes of a beloved friend and musician. The upright guitar on the far right:

George put me in touch with Jeremy. Jeremy et al were fine hosts, happy to explain their projects and processes, answer all of our questions, and allow Jay to try out their wares.

Project central:

The Faireses left feeling like they could finally tackle the guitar kit they have back home.

We left the school for waterfront Halifax and found a Buskers Festival we didn't expect. Normally, the waterfront makes for nice strolling grounds peppered with the occasional musician or painter, but festival goers crowded the wharfs.

We watched boats cruise by in the harbour and wandered the wharf for a bit.

We found some local music, but, tired of crowds, we broke away for a seat and a drink ...

at The Old Triangle, one of several great pubs in Halifax.

Jay had another chance to say goodbye to Carmel Mikol; she was just outside on the pub patio.

We had been working up to dinner since morning, when we decided we wanted good Indian food for supper. The private circle room was a perfect fit at Taj Mahal, open just two days following a six-month closure due to fire:

We feasted and waddled away.

Of course, we could spend a week or more in the city, but with just one night's stay we had time for just a few highlights.

We also highly recommend the maritime museum, Neptune Theatre, Paper Chase cafe, The Wooden Monkey restaurant, Opa! restaurant, Maxwell's Plum English pub, Pogue Fado pub, Split Crow pub, The Economy Shoe Shop cafe/bar and any live music you can find.

-P

Maine

July 18-24, 2010 Just time for pics and a few lines for now. Will try to catch up, again, soon.

We had a few days in Bar Harbor before the POG Maine mini-rally participants arrived at the Narrows Too campground. We thoroughly enjoyed our site, #318.

Bar Harbor

Opera House Cafe

Our new friends, Dan and Bob, joined us for a pre-rally lobster feast at the local Trenton Bridge Lobster Pound.

More feasting with our POGgers. Jay's lobster weighs about 3.5 lbs.

-P

Florence Resumed

April 23, 2010 Storage is scarce so laundry and bicycles (?) hang off balconies:

That photo was snapped from Muse Casa di Dante. The museum is a disappointment: scant exhibits feebly related to the scribe of the Divine Comedy and the rest a mix mash of poor reproductions of costumes and such, though we did enjoy the reproduction copies by Giotto, Ghirlandaio, Raphael, Michelangelo, etc.

Dante doesn't look impressed either:

The infamous David (on the left), albeit a copy:

That must be Hercules and Cacus on the right.

You won't see what we saw a lot of unless you really look at this photo. Obviously the novelty has worn off for the vendor.

The BEST way to end a day in Florence? Savour espressos and tiramisu at Croce Caffe in Piazza Santa Croce.

Croce Square and another wee three-wheeler:

Well, that's a taste of Florence.

-P

Buzz at the BE

October 31, 2009 The Biscuit Eater is a local hot spot for anyone who craves a java jumpstart, the comfort or thrill of a new-to-you book, great conversation and delectable sweets and other eats made with a local and organic focus.

Expect a warm and sincere welcome. Jo, horse lover, barista extraordinaire and sweet and special:

We find some of our favourite people in the world here, where coffee is just one source of "the buzz". Good things happen here. What began as a bookselling cafe has become a mecca for literary and community-minded locals. Biscuit Eater's keepers host author readings, intimate concerts and stirring discussions and projects that range from nieghbourhood garden ventures and local environmental topics to global and mind-expanding subjects. Also, we're pretty sure you'll get a charge from the floor to rafter shelves crammed with books. And we can't forget ... the biscuits. I've heard them described as buttery and melt-in-your-mouth and awesome. We just know they're the best. Buzz! We always leave The Biscuit Eater inspired and, well, buzzed.

Our dear friend (and Biscuit Eater proprietress), Dawn, with friend, sea-kayak instructor and contractor Scott:

Local artists' work deck the cafe walls every month or so. The paintings above were created by Deb, who also works at Biscuit Eater. We couldn't begin to tell you of the talent that touches this place... But we feel it every time, an amazing creative energy.

Friend and proprietor Alden joins us for a gab:

Aaah... See? A haven of paper and words ...

... or an escapade if you prefer.

We miss everything about this place. It's a joy to tell you about it and introduce some of the people that make The Biscuit Eater what it is.

A shout out and love to our beloved BE people. xoxo...

-P

Buzz at the BE

October 31, 2009 The Biscuit Eater is a local hot spot for anyone who craves a java jumpstart, the comfort or thrill of a new-to-you book, great conversation and delectable sweets and other eats made with a local and organic focus.

Expect a warm and sincere welcome. Jo, horse lover, barista extraordinaire and sweet and special:

We find some of our favourite people in the world here, where coffee is just one source of "the buzz". Good things happen here. What began as a bookselling cafe has become a mecca for literary and community-minded locals. Biscuit Eater's keepers host author readings, intimate concerts and stirring discussions and projects that range from nieghbourhood garden ventures and local environmental topics to global and mind-expanding subjects. Also, we're pretty sure you'll get a charge from the floor to rafter shelves crammed with books. And we can't forget ... the biscuits. I've heard them described as buttery and melt-in-your-mouth and awesome. We just know they're the best. Buzz! We always leave The Biscuit Eater inspired and, well, buzzed.

Our dear friend (and Biscuit Eater proprietress), Dawn, with friend, sea-kayak instructor and contractor Scott:

Local artists' work deck the cafe walls every month or so. The paintings above were created by Deb, who also works at Biscuit Eater. We couldn't begin to tell you of the talent that touches this place... But we feel it every time, an amazing creative energy.

Friend and proprietor Alden joins us for a gab:

Aaah... See? A haven of paper and words ...

... or an escapade if you prefer.

We miss everything about this place. It's a joy to tell you about it and introduce some of the people that make The Biscuit Eater what it is.

A shout out and love to our beloved BE people. xoxo...

-P

Plumply Pleased at Pasqual's

April 10, 2009 Cafe Pasqual's deserves a post of its own.

santafe-090410-00171

The cafe is no rival for our beloved Biscuit Eater in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia; however, with an emphasis on organic fare (about 165 organic ingredients) and flair, Pasqual's quickly set the bar against which to measure all other dining experiences in Santa Fe.

imgp8486

Pasqual's guarantees a delicious experience and a giving experience. The cafe's proprietor, Katharine Kagel, serves on the "Santa Fe Farmers Market board of directors ... created the Food Brigade and helped create the Food Depot, both of which provide food to the needy."

Murals, ripe with story, frame the copious creations that hang from Cafe Pasqual's ceiling.

santafe-090410-0105

Those pants? That leather jacket? Paper creations. There's even a stunning dress - disappointingly only available in ... paper.

santafe-090410-0015

You can sample a little Cafe Pasqual flavour for yourself with the following recipe for guacamole:

Guacamole

* 2 jalapeños * Vegetable oil * 3 large ripe Hass avocados * 1/4 white onion, diced * 1 tomato, cored, seeded, and diced * 2 cloves garlic, pressed * 1/3 cup finely minced cilantro, stems included * 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice * 1 teaspoon salt

Rub the jalapeños with a small amount of vegetable oil and roast them over a direct flame on the stove top or under the broiler, turning them with tongs until the skin blisters and bubbles on all sides.  When completely blackened, seal them in a plastic bag to let them "sweat" for about 10 minutes.  Split open the chiles and scrape out the seeds, discarding the seeds and the stems, then mince the chiles. (There is no need to peel these.)

Cut the avocados in half and remove the pits.  Scoop out the avocado flesh and place it in a medium bowl.  Mash the avocado with a potato masher or fork until smooth, but with small chunks still visible.  Stir in the onion, tomato, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, jalapeño, and salt.  Mix well.

Cover by pressing plastic wrap directly onto the guacamole, which will completely seal the guacamole so that it does not discolor from contact with oxygen.  Refrigerate until ready to use, but bring to room temperature before serving.  Makes 3 cups

For a more complicated yet authentic recipe, Chiles Rellenos y Huevos con Salsa Tomate y Jalapeño, you can take a sneak peak at the "Cooking With Cafe Pasqual's" cookbook. Click the link for Pasqual's Grilled Salmon Burrito with Goat Cheese and Cucumber Salsa recipe.

We order Americanos because the locally brewed, organic coffee from Aroma Coffee of Santa Fe is full, smooth and never bitter. Aroma Coffee explains how to brew a "magical cup" of coffee on their website. Back to the food: I keep ordering the same thing, the breakfast quesadilla and Lloyd, true to his Southern origin, orders grits - the best I've ever tasted, and I'm no fan. Sadly (fortunately?), we haven't yet had room for dessert.

Okay. I interrupt this post to mention Father Sky Mother Earth Gallery and Espresso Bar. Two things Santa Fe is never short on: art and places to nosh.

santafe-090410-0060

We met Jason (yes, in a toque), a writer and musician, who visited Lunenburg last summer. The more we see of this world the smaller it seems. :)

Peace

-P

New Orleans: Take Two (and Gumbo Too)

January 1, 2009 The requisite ingesting session at Café du Monde:

imgp6691

Above, a community art project adds more colour and character to the French Quarter with miniature trolley car artworks.

More of Vieux Carré, the oldest neighbourhood in New Orleans. En route to New Orleans I read Walker Percy's "The Moviegoer", set in the French Quarter, so our sauntering added extra life to the story.

imgp6693

Filigree wrought iron ornaments stairways, porches, doors and windows. Below, the common shutters and ceiling fans.

imgp6694

We always take advantage of the trolley.

imgp6695

Lloyd stands before Faulker House Bookstore in Pirate's Alley. It was the first time we missed it - timing.

imgp6698

A view from the Mississippi River side of Decatur Street, which used to be known as "Levee Street".

imgp6699

Below: Horse drawn carriages for hire by Jackson Square. A pedestrian mall, restaurants, and an iron fence surround the square. Artist peg their works on the fence, next to psychics and other vendors.

imgp6700

Below: My favourite pic of the bunch -  a rift in the fog for the busker and his alto sax.

imgp6702

The infamous Creole Queen paddle boat:

imgp6703

Our way out of New Orleans, that deceptively high train bridge (See! It's almost touching that cloud! Well, more or less...):

imgp6707

We leave you with some (adapted) New Orleans flavour:

VEGETARIAN GUMBO

There is an alternating viewpoint on whether file powder should be added if okra is used as a thickener. I like both, so I’ve included both. Always add file powder to gumbo after it’s cooked.

1/2 cup cooking oil (see note) 1/2 cup flour 2 onions, chopped 2 bell peppers, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 2 qts vegetable stock, or chicken-flavored vegetable stock 1 lb fresh okra, chopped, or use frozen if fresh is not available 1 15 oz can tomatoes, chopped 3 bay leaves 2 teaspoons dried thyme 1 teaspoon black pepper
cayenne, to taste 1 lb. vegetarian kielbasa-style sausage, cut into 1/2 inch slices, or tempeh, cubed salt, to taste Gumbo file powder
 (which, I learned, is just ground sassafras) Tabasco sauce Hot cooked rice

Make Roux: Combine oil and flour in heavy frying pan (preferably cast iron) or stock pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wooden spoon or wire whisk, until it reaches a nut brown color. BE CAREFUL NOT TO LET IT BURN! If black flecks appear, the roux is burned, and you must start over. It should take about 20 to 25 minutes to achieve the desired color.

Just before roux is desired color, add chopped onion, bell pepper, celery, and garlic, and continue stirring until vegetables have been coated with the roux and are beginning to soften. If using the same pot to make gumbo, add stock directly to the pan. Otherwise, let roux cool until it is safe to handle, and add to large stock pot with the stock. Add the okra, the tomatoes, the bay leaves, and the dried spices, except for the salt. Let simmer for 30 minutes, then add vegetarian sausage. Let simmer another 10 minutes, and add salt. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary. Remove from heat, and serve over hot rice. Sprinkle with file powder if desired and Tabasco sauce.

 NOTE: Peanut oil works best at high temperatures but other oils can be used. Lower the heat and extend the cooking time for the roux if using canola oil.

-P

Seaside, OR Photos

September 29, 2008 Boardwalk

This guy flies and flips through the air with his kite/sail (thought he might fly away!):

The Beach

Downtown

Cute Shop

Seaside, a small, yes, seaside 'resort' town with the flavour of a Floridian town without the palm and orange trees. The same stretching sands, trinket boutiques, cafes and seafood restaurants. In fact the only clear difference, aside from weather, fauna and the elk, are the subjects hanging in the galleries, in this case, the big mammals of North America and aboriginal art and fantastical art. A shopper's mecca - strips of outlet stores. Seaside smells like fudge and hot pavement. Blustery. Conveniently located on a Tsunami evacuation route. Is that good or bad?

Seaside, Oregon is at the end of the Lewis & Clark trail, which covers over 4,600 miles from St. Louis, MO to the Pacific Coast in 1803-06.

-P