Both the ocean catch and the spoils of the land are making Atlantic Canada an under-the-radar destination for culinary adventures.
“Atlantic Canada is waving its own flag proudly today, instead of feeling overshadowed by the big metro centres,” says Jesse Vergen, executive chef of Saint John Ale House and chef-owner of Smoking Pig BBQ in New Brunswick.
Here Vergen reveals how to get an authentic taste of East Coast flavours with his Ultimate East Coast Day of Dining.
Mallard Cottage, St. John’s, N.L.
“Chef Todd Perrin makes sure there’s enough fat and sugar to soak up any sins from overindulging the night before. There are these massive butter rolls, sausages, hash browns, partridgeberry jam … all set out for you to help yourself.”
Ossie’s Lunch, Bethel, N.B.
“Amazing clams and chips and old-school milkshakes!”
John’s Lunch, Dartmouth, N.S.
“It’s a great feeling eating fish and chips out of a brown paper bag right by the ocean.”
Savour in the Garden, Kingsbrae Garden, N.B.
“Up-and-comer Chef Alex Haun is so talented. Last time I had his tasting menu, he made cattails cakes (potato cakes with reeds from the marsh) and beausoleil oysters with Acadian caviar.”
Cows, Cavendish, P.E.I.
“I love their house-made waffle cones and creamery ice cream—(especially) the vanilla.”
“In P.E.I., you must experience the lobster boils at church halls. They have a big pot boiling out back, and they serve fresh lobster with homemade rolls and potato salad. As you’re driving, you’ll see signs: ‘2 km, Lobster Boil.’ That’s their only marketing! And don’t miss the roadside blueberry stops. A lot of farmers are doing their own blueberry pies and conserves.”
Stillwell, Halifax, N.S.
“An amazing beer bar with a funky kitchen. They have around 15 microbrews on tap, like Big Spruce, made with organic hops grown beside the brewery.”
Lunar Rogue, Fredericton, N.B.
“They have one of the best Scotch lists in Atlantic Canada. Try a whisky from Cape Breton, called Glen Breton, done traditional Scotch style.”
Prince Edward Distillery, Hermanville, P.E.I.
“When I’m visiting [chef] Michael Smith, I love sampling Prince Edward Distillery’s gin and their potato vodka.”