Since I went all out in attacking the food where I live, I want to report that I have also recently eaten a couple of fantastic meals. One was at my friends' house, where Mechtild made the best seafood chowder I have ever eaten in my life. Since any full-time Nova Scotia resident eats about 40 gallons of chowder a year, that's really saying something. She did something magical with white wine in the base--just the right white wine-- I believe, and never stinted on the seafood. Scallops, shrimp, salmon and lobster, (which doesn't agre with me at all, but when I got a noseful of the aroma from that heavenly soup, I decided to take my chances).There may have been some haddock or halibut, too. It was not in the least fatty, but was rich, simply spiced and utterly perfect in balance. If there is a god, when she created seafood, it was specifically so Mechtild could make this chowder.
But that was in a private home, and thus limited to the lucky and invited few. I also had a good meal at The Port gastropub in Port Williams last week. (I don't like the word "gastropub" since for me it brings up the idea of stomach acids mixed with beer--never a good association). I had the chicken-brie-cranberry chutney concoction on a generous, pillowy, butter foccaccia. Accompanied by mixed greens with a kickass salad dressing. And a porter, a lovely, rich, smooth brown, malty porter...The sandwich was what a dinner-sized sandwich ought to be--big enough that I could give half to Mike without feeling at all undernourished.
And finally, on Friday, I had the chance to hit Halifax with my friend Laurie, who lives for fabric, shoes and Thai food. We started with spring rolls, then dove into great plates of sweet and sour chicken (me) and cashew chicken (Laurie) at Cha Baa Thai restaurant, across from Port of Wines. We debated for a long time, trying to maximize our exposure to spring rolls (you can't get them on the south shore--edible ones, anyway) while feeling that as adults, we really should eat something healthy as well. While the chicken dishes were yummy, fresh and with lovely sauces, next time we may just have vast numbers of spring rolls--delicate, crisp, filled with fresh cabbage, carrots and a hint of five-spice, and a dipping sauce that perfectly mixes the sour with the sweet. Oh man--I wish I had some right now.