Peggy's Cove

August 9, 2010 One of the most photographed sites in Canada:

We love watching the waves slam and spray over the cliffs.

There's something on the horizon?

A slew of buoys caught our attention from the edge of the village.

Apparently they make excellent bouncy balls.

Not pictured: Swissair Flight 111 Memorial, a moving and haunting installation.

Back at King Neptune Campground we were pleasantly surprised to learn about the lobster pound within a minute's walk from our sites.

We didn't expect a lobster handstand either, nor a one in a million ...

... blue lobster!

We chose the less talented of the lobsters and ate 'em later with Jim and Nancy who popped over from Prospect.

Ah! Can't forget. Debbie whipped up Brandy Alexanders. Sinfully delicious. It's a 1:1:1 mix:

1 oz  Brandy (good stuff)

1 oz  Creme de Cacao

1 scoop vanilla ice cream

Beat it up in the blender and it's win:win:win. :) Yum!

-P

Play Time in Key West

March 3, 12, 17 & 31, 2010 If you know us well, you know we love live theatre.

"Shirley Valentine" is a delightful and quirky one-woman play about an English housewife, Shirley Valentine, who trades her life for a journey of self-discovery via an adventure in Greece. Joan O’Dowd performed the comedy at Red Barn Theatre, a small theatre in an old red barn--surprise!--that was built as a carriage house in 1829.

We caught "At Last Light", locally written and produced and performed at the chic Tennessee Williams Cabaret Theatre. "At Last Light" is about a woman who returns home to make peace and in doing so, uncovers secrets about herself.

Next up: "The Full Monty" at the Waterfront Playhouse but this version, a racier version that opens with a stripper, takes place in New York. Yes, they do go the full monty and, yes, they do blind you with a hundred blazing white lights so you can hardly see a thing. Hardly.

Source: Waterfront Playhouse site

We spent our last night at the hilarious "Bitch Slap!", also at the Waterfront Playhouse, a first rate venue.

"Bitch Slap!" stars Christopher Peterson as Bette Davis, Randy Roberts as Joan Crawford and Vanessa McCaffrey as Hedda Hopper. Yes, Christopher, a man, plays a gruff and surly Davis while Randy, a man and a real beauty as Joan, plays an ultra poised movie star.

"Their show-biz feud over roles, billing, Oscars and men was legendary. So what would happen when the two screen queens agree to appear together in "Whatever Happened To Baby Jane?" Enter Hedda Hopper to record (and manipulate) the diva smackdown. "BitchSlap!" and its three stars brilliantly capture the behind-the-scenes theatrics during the filming of the movie."

Source: Waterfront Playhouse site

Christopher and Randy can also be found at LaTeDa Crystal Room, in various personae.

It turns out there's a recipe for a Bitch Slap!

Bitch Slap

1 oz  vodka 1 splash 7-Up 1 oz gin 1 oz Everclear alcohol 1 oz light rum fill with lemonade

Mix vodka, 7-up, gin, everclear and rum together over ice in a highball glass. Fill with lemonade, and serve.
When in Key West go, go, go to the theatre!
-P

Home of the Blues

November 16-19, 2009 Memphis, Tennessee.

Home of the Blues.

Birthplace of Rock and Roll.

We passed on the Gator Chips and Championship Gumbo (trophies fill the front windows) at King's Palace Cafe, but I went for the Crawfish Étouffée, "The embodiment of all that is good and right about Louisiana cooking served over rice." According to Fred Koeppel, "So good you'll want to slap your Pappy - not once, but twice." I don't recall an urge to slap my father, but it was good, and salty (I figure I surpassed my salt quota for the week in just under twenty minutes).

David on guitar and a coronet player who wandered out of the kitchen to join him:

B.B. King's Restaurant & Blues Club is just a dozen paces across the street. We stressed our hearts with super-salty fried dill pickles as Preston Shannon, The King of Beale Street, mesmerized us with his music.

Preston filled the house, shook the house, electrified the house! He's a phenomenal talent. Even the dance challenged ventured out onto the checkered floor...

B.B. King's Club (right corner) is the place for funk or soulful or soothing live music, every night. And Sweet Guitar Picks.

Sweet Guitar Picks:

Sweet tea Vodka Spash of lemonade

Mix to taste*

*Actually, it might be better to measure the vodka because it's a deceiving flavour in that you can't really taste the vodka at all ... and that could be dangerous in more ways than one.

By the way, B.B. himself makes the occasional appearance at the Beale Street club, "the original", but we missed him.

Trivia:  What is B.B. King's first name?

Answer:  Riley

We just learned that fact a few days ago while visiting the Riley Center in Meridian, MS, but that's for another post.

Here's another factoid for the B.B. fan. In the mid 50s B.B. King played a concert. Some fans became unruly and knocked over a kerosene stove, catching the hall on fire. B.B. raced out with the rest to safety, but realized he left his $30 acoustic guitar inside. He rushed back inside for it, "narrowly escaping death". He later found out the fight was over a woman named Lucille. He named his guitar Lucille as a reminder to never do a crazy thing like fight over a woman. "Ever since, each one of B.B.'s trademark Gibson guitars has been called Lucille."

-P

Home of the Blues

November 16-19, 2009 Memphis, Tennessee.

Home of the Blues.

Birthplace of Rock and Roll.

We passed on the Gator Chips and Championship Gumbo (trophies fill the front windows) at King's Palace Cafe, but I went for the Crawfish Étouffée, "The embodiment of all that is good and right about Louisiana cooking served over rice." According to Fred Koeppel, "So good you'll want to slap your Pappy - not once, but twice." I don't recall an urge to slap my father, but it was good, and salty (I figure I surpassed my salt quota for the week in just under twenty minutes).

David on guitar and a coronet player who wandered out of the kitchen to join him:

B.B. King's Restaurant & Blues Club is just a dozen paces across the street. We stressed our hearts with super-salty fried dill pickles as Preston Shannon, The King of Beale Street, mesmerized us with his music.

Preston filled the house, shook the house, electrified the house! He's a phenomenal talent. Even the dance challenged ventured out onto the checkered floor...

B.B. King's Club (right corner) is the place for funk or soulful or soothing live music, every night. And Sweet Guitar Picks.

Sweet Guitar Picks:

Sweet tea Vodka Spash of lemonade

Mix to taste*

*Actually, it might be better to measure the vodka because it's a deceiving flavour in that you can't really taste the vodka at all ... and that could be dangerous in more ways than one.

By the way, B.B. himself makes the occasional appearance at the Beale Street club, "the original", but we missed him.

Trivia:  What is B.B. King's first name?

Answer:  Riley

We just learned that fact a few days ago while visiting the Riley Center in Meridian, MS, but that's for another post.

Here's another factoid for the B.B. fan. In the mid 50s B.B. King played a concert. Some fans became unruly and knocked over a kerosene stove, catching the hall on fire. B.B. raced out with the rest to safety, but realized he left his $30 acoustic guitar inside. He rushed back inside for it, "narrowly escaping death". He later found out the fight was over a woman named Lucille. He named his guitar Lucille as a reminder to never do a crazy thing like fight over a woman. "Ever since, each one of B.B.'s trademark Gibson guitars has been called Lucille."

-P

Lloyd & Pamela's Homeport

October 23, 2009 First things first. If we caught up with you in Nova Scotia and you are missing from our photos, be assured, dearhearts, that it's not because we don't love you, it's because we (mostly I) forgot to catch the moments in the camera.

Let's set you in the setting.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia was settled in 1753 by settlers from Germany, Switzerland and France, though Mikmaq and Acadians denizens inhabited the area long before. Settlers relied on farming, fishing, boatbuilding and sea-related 'businesses' for their livelihood. Nowadays tourism buoys Lunenburg's economy. "Old Town Lunenburg is the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America." and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

A few views from our 4th floor room at the Lunenburg Arms hotel:

L1020964

That's schooner Theresa E Connor docked on the right. She was built in 1928 in Lunenburg and fished the banks with dory fishermen for 25 years. The green across the way belongs to Bluenose Golf Club:

Bluenose GC

Source: Terry G. Conrad

I think the black hulled boat, neighbour to Theresa E. Connor, might be Chockle Cap, a scallop dragger and one of the last wooden fishing vessels in Eastern Canada. Way to the left is the stinkplant, High Liner Foods, "one of the largest fish processing plants in North America".

L1030129

The steel-hulled, steel-masted barque to the right is Picton Castle. She's registered in the Cook Islands but her North American homeport is Lunenburg. Picton Castle's mission "is deep-ocean sail training and long-distance education. Also, she carries supplies and educational materials to far-flung islands in the South Pacific." She has berths for 40 trainees and 12 crew. In May 2010 she will set sail on her 5th voyage around the world. You could join her.

Lunenburg is also home to the Bluenose II (not pictured), a sleek, sexy, black hulled wooden schooner. The Canadian dime has featured the original Bluenose since 1937. She was launched in 1921, a working schooner and a voracious - and undefeated - racer in her day.

Click here for three theories about the term "Bluenose".

To the right:

L1020966

Cape Sable and Cape North hide behind mint-green Grand Banker Seafood Bar & Grill, where you might find a boatbuilder or Picton Castle crew member at the bar. Cravings?

Acadian Seafood Stew (Serves 8 - 10 people)

Stew Base: 2 lb. fish bones ½ lb. shrimp shells 10 cups water ¼ lb. butter ¼ lb. flour 2 carrots, diced 2 green onion stalks, diced 1 small onion, diced 2 stalks celery ½ oz. Cajun Spice ¼ oz. garlic, chopped 9 oz. fish bouillon 2 oz. tomato paste

In large pot, put water, fish bones and shrimp shells. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1½ hours. Using a strainer, reserve liquid into another large pot using a strainer to remove the fish bones and shells, pressing out all the juices with a large spoon.

Return empty pot to stove. In it make a roux using the butter and flour, cooking it slowly for 5-10 minutes. Do not allow to burn. Gradually add the reserved liquid, stirring constantly, and allowing it to thicken before adding more.

Once all the liquid has been added to the pot, add remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a slow boil. Adjust seasoning to your own taste by adding more Cajun spice and fish base. This is the base from which you may add a wide variety of seafood. This base will last, refrigerated, for up to 1½ weeks.

To prepare the actual stew, add your raw seafood to the base and cook until the seafood is done. Top off with a dollop of heavy cream and serve steaming hot.

We recommend using 8-10 ounces of stew base, 2 ounces of scallops, 3 ounces of haddock, 3 mussels, and 3 large shrimp, per person. We leave the mussels in the shells and the tails on the shrimp for an appealing presentation.

Grand Banker Fish Cakes (Serves 10 - 12 people Two 5-oz. Fish Cakes)

5 lb. potatoes, diced 2¼ lb. salt cod fish 1½ lb. haddock ¼ lb. butter ½ lb. onions, chopped 1½ oz. salt pork, diced, rind removed pepper to taste water

Soak codfish over night if heavily salted, 4-5 hours if lightly salted. Cook potatoes until almost done. Add soaked codfish and haddock and cook until fish and potatoes are done. Strain water off, using colander. During the cooking of the above mixture, saute onions in butter until soft. Also fry-out salt pork until browned, discard fat.

In a large pan or bowl, combine the fish/potato mixture with the onions, butter and salt pork. Add pepper to taste and mash well. Form in patties. Flour and fry in hot oil in a frying pan, until both sides are browned and crispy.

Suggested accompaniments: chutneys, relishes, baked beans, cucumber salad.

A glaze of frost in the morning. Theresa E Connor wears her winter jacket.

L1030037

Much more to come...

-P

Lloyd & Pamela's Homeport

October 23, 2009 First things first. If we caught up with you in Nova Scotia and you are missing from our photos, be assured, dearhearts, that it's not because we don't love you, it's because we (mostly I) forgot to catch the moments in the camera.

Let's set you in the setting.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia was settled in 1753 by settlers from Germany, Switzerland and France, though Mikmaq and Acadians denizens inhabited the area long before. Settlers relied on farming, fishing, boatbuilding and sea-related 'businesses' for their livelihood. Nowadays tourism buoys Lunenburg's economy. "Old Town Lunenburg is the best surviving example of a planned British colonial settlement in North America." and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

A few views from our 4th floor room at the Lunenburg Arms hotel:

L1020964

That's schooner Theresa E Connor docked on the right. She was built in 1928 in Lunenburg and fished the banks with dory fishermen for 25 years. The green across the way belongs to Bluenose Golf Club:

Bluenose GC

Source: Terry G. Conrad

I think the black hulled boat, neighbour to Theresa E. Connor, might be Chockle Cap, a scallop dragger and one of the last wooden fishing vessels in Eastern Canada. Way to the left is the stinkplant, High Liner Foods, "one of the largest fish processing plants in North America".

L1030129

The steel-hulled, steel-masted barque to the right is Picton Castle. She's registered in the Cook Islands but her North American homeport is Lunenburg. Picton Castle's mission "is deep-ocean sail training and long-distance education. Also, she carries supplies and educational materials to far-flung islands in the South Pacific." She has berths for 40 trainees and 12 crew. In May 2010 she will set sail on her 5th voyage around the world. You could join her.

Lunenburg is also home to the Bluenose II (not pictured), a sleek, sexy, black hulled wooden schooner. The Canadian dime has featured the original Bluenose since 1937. She was launched in 1921, a working schooner and a voracious - and undefeated - racer in her day.

Click here for three theories about the term "Bluenose".

To the right:

L1020966

Cape Sable and Cape North hide behind mint-green Grand Banker Seafood Bar & Grill, where you might find a boatbuilder or Picton Castle crew member at the bar. Cravings?

Acadian Seafood Stew (Serves 8 - 10 people)

Stew Base: 2 lb. fish bones ½ lb. shrimp shells 10 cups water ¼ lb. butter ¼ lb. flour 2 carrots, diced 2 green onion stalks, diced 1 small onion, diced 2 stalks celery ½ oz. Cajun Spice ¼ oz. garlic, chopped 9 oz. fish bouillon 2 oz. tomato paste

In large pot, put water, fish bones and shrimp shells. Bring to a boil and simmer for 1½ hours. Using a strainer, reserve liquid into another large pot using a strainer to remove the fish bones and shells, pressing out all the juices with a large spoon.

Return empty pot to stove. In it make a roux using the butter and flour, cooking it slowly for 5-10 minutes. Do not allow to burn. Gradually add the reserved liquid, stirring constantly, and allowing it to thicken before adding more.

Once all the liquid has been added to the pot, add remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a slow boil. Adjust seasoning to your own taste by adding more Cajun spice and fish base. This is the base from which you may add a wide variety of seafood. This base will last, refrigerated, for up to 1½ weeks.

To prepare the actual stew, add your raw seafood to the base and cook until the seafood is done. Top off with a dollop of heavy cream and serve steaming hot.

We recommend using 8-10 ounces of stew base, 2 ounces of scallops, 3 ounces of haddock, 3 mussels, and 3 large shrimp, per person. We leave the mussels in the shells and the tails on the shrimp for an appealing presentation.

Grand Banker Fish Cakes (Serves 10 - 12 people Two 5-oz. Fish Cakes)

5 lb. potatoes, diced 2¼ lb. salt cod fish 1½ lb. haddock ¼ lb. butter ½ lb. onions, chopped 1½ oz. salt pork, diced, rind removed pepper to taste water

Soak codfish over night if heavily salted, 4-5 hours if lightly salted. Cook potatoes until almost done. Add soaked codfish and haddock and cook until fish and potatoes are done. Strain water off, using colander. During the cooking of the above mixture, saute onions in butter until soft. Also fry-out salt pork until browned, discard fat.

In a large pan or bowl, combine the fish/potato mixture with the onions, butter and salt pork. Add pepper to taste and mash well. Form in patties. Flour and fry in hot oil in a frying pan, until both sides are browned and crispy.

Suggested accompaniments: chutneys, relishes, baked beans, cucumber salad.

A glaze of frost in the morning. Theresa E Connor wears her winter jacket.

L1030037

Much more to come...

-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