Our first night in Halifax, Nova Scotia: Vanja has arrived!
The Slow Fish crowd was staying in town for their meetings, but had other dinner plans. A few others from the Slow Food in Canada National Conference 2014 were hanging around one night, or a few more days than that. Vanja and I had planned a three week sojourn through the Atlantic provinces, sans New Brunswick (this round), and I met him at the airport as Angus had a bus take us all back to the airport. Perfect for moi. I met Vanja there, we picked up our rental car and headed for our lovely room at The Waverley Inn where we stayed at the front of our three weeks for a couple of nights and at the end of our trip for a couple of nights. Tonight we had plans to meet Janet (above, right) for dinner. Had been planning the “where” for months, yet had never ended up booking reservations. That was fine with me, as we had 4 more nights to nosh in Halifax.
I will admit my ignorance now. I did not realize that Dartmouth was just across the bridge from Halifax. Shame on me! No idea.
Driving in to a toll both this big had me wonder how large Halifax really was. I expected a city smaller than Edmonton, yet look at this. The toll was only a dollar, but then the Macdonald bridge was huge, too. It felt like we were entering a metro-megapolitan quagmire.
Edmonton’s no little town. We have freeways and more intimidating roadways than this, but I live in Edmonton. I was intimidated. Good thing Vanja was driving.
Halifax is gorgeous. I did not learn that on this evening. I was too tired, too hungry, and needed a bath too desperately. I was pretty impressed driving down Barrington Street as the architecture is gorgeous and the harbour was just down the hill. But, I did learn that this city is very manageable to maneuver through and no need to for intimidation, at all.
It is lovely when things just fall into place as they did this evening. I was very interested in going to Chives as Craig Flinn is apparently a big Slow Food Chef in the area and Chives is his flagship restaurant. Janet checked in earlier that we did, and went for a walk checking out the local eateries for us…. and bumped into Voula at Two Doors Down, a Craig Flinn restaurant two doors down from Chives. Perfect.
It wasn’t on my itinerary, but it was on my radar, so happy to go. Lovely little casual spot on Barrington with a very low key vibe.
My favourite part of the meal was the visit with Janet and Voula. It is always great to be able to somewhat debrief at least a portion of a conference after attending it. And, in good company with good food. Vanja wasn’t bored, either, so that was a relief.
I am a soup fiend and love clam chowder, which is the only chowder I had been familiar with on the prairies. Even after traveling to Boston, had never come across fish chowder or seafood chowder. So, I worked to get my fill. Had it at The Fraser Gallery lunch in Tatamagouche. There it was a homemade fish chowder laden with a variety of fish. This was also a fish chowder. It was very delicious. Not memorable, other than seeing the photo and remembering the experience, I recall enjoying it. There are chowders I have had on this trip that are memorable. The Seafood Chowder at Terra Rouge in Charlottetown was unforgettable. I recall every morsel of fish and shell fish in that dish. I recall the broth. I recall my last bite. This chowder wasn’t that, but the visiting was lively and full of lots of laughs. I should say that comparing a fish chowder to a seafood chowder may be unfair, but me thinks not. I had a fish chowder at Lunnenburg a couple of days later at the Salt Shaker Deli which was also memorable.
Most chowders have chunks of fish. This one had diced potatoes, shreds of onion and shards of fish. Vanja had a hamburgar, I didn’t even think of photographing that, for some reason. He didn’t finish it. It was “OK” he said. The cheesy fish sticks were cheesy fish sticks.
All in all, happy I went, great visit with great gals. Would not go back. I was certainly disappointed with the lack of finesse even with the simplest of dishes, one can make the taste, texture and eating experience memorable. Didn’t happen for us at Two Doors Down on this evening. Must happen often enough for others, as it has a good following and solid reviews. Meh… not for me. But, no regrets. Glad I went. I saw. I ate, and now I know.
And out into the twilight we found ourselves, just above the harbour. Eager to know the city the following day, but more eager for my head to meet the pillow on this one.