A fishy story

Those of you who get the Globe and Mail or follow it online may have seen one of the Ian Brown Eats Canada series on his visit to Nova Scotia. Titled A Day without Lobster, this casually written post highlights a number of culinary and other delights in our part of the world but was sure to baffle the locals who read it.

First of all there is the “5 hours in the air” detail about his flight from Vancouver. Isn’t it closer to 7?   And then there was the rather unflattering story of Greg who jollied him up at the bar. This has to do with food, how? Oh, yes, he was an ex-chef who used to make $100K a year before he started using drugs.

Then it gets closer to home because Janice Ruddock, executive director of Taste of Nova Scotia, is going to take him to “a winery” but not before our hapless reporter has trouble finding his way [ Yes, it’s true, signage for the tourist in NS sucks.] But Ian ends up following his guide to the Valley for a stop first at the Tangled Garden.

The owner, Beverley McClare, was away. John Walford, her stepson, an former actor turned documentary maker visiting from London, was behind the counter. Ms. McClare, who is now in her early fifties, set up shop 24 years ago with Mr. Walford’s English father, George: She was his third wife, and they were married for 20 years. “He liked them young, my dad,” Mr. Walford said. Walford père is 70 now, and on wife number five. Walford mère, John’s birth mother, has been married four times herself.

We are pretty wild here at Ww but we wouldn’t have gone there in print. At least his description of the products and gardens were complimentary.

There follows a few paragraphs on the economics of lobstering which he concludes by saying:

Insiders will tell you that you can find cocaine at a moment’s notice in towns with big lobster fleets – Digby, Yarmouth, even Sydney on Cape Breton.

Drugs again, unlike Toronto and Vancouver which don’t have lobster fleets. We think maybe he could have found a nicer way of saying lobstermen make good money?

Next Ian was treated to lunch at “Domaine de Grand Pré, the province’s oldest winery.” Really?  Certainly not under that name. It should probably read “which claims to be the province’s oldest winery.” We think others have a longer history in the wine growing business, Jost for example. And in this locale  Dr. Morse learned from someone; his contribution also, before Dial’s, goes unmentioned. But perhaps the “fact” is based on a technicality.

So then Ian had high octane iced tea at the Tin Pan Bakery in Port Williams, bought some heavenly Havarti at Fox Hill Cheese House, and some home brew at The Port Pub. So far so good, at least he didn’t stumble onto a grow-op so he could introduce the drug theme again. But another puzzler came at the end of the piece.

I ate at the Midtown Tavern on Grafton Street, a 61-year-old Halifax restaurant famous with locals for speedy service and steady fare. Doug Grant, the original proprietor, still owns it with his sons Eric and Rob and their new partner, bartender Scott Rozee, who recently persuaded them to add a startling innovation to the menu: desserts.

He might have mentioned that this had to be the new Boomers location as the original, historic, 61 year old, iconic Midtown was torn down in March.

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