February 22, 2009
Last week, I shared readers' suggestions about excellent year-round restaurants in small towns on the South Shore and the Valley. Today, guided by readers, we take a gastronomic tour of northern and eastern Nova Scotia.
Joan Czapalay reports that Reid's Bakery and Restaurant in Middle Musquodobit “has been run as a family restaurant since the 1880's. There is the Temperance Pledge mounted on the wall (which backs on to the NSLC). The bread is home-made, turkey or chicken for the House Club is freshly roasted, there are pots of homemade jam available, and the molasses jug stays on the table.”
My friend Bill Fisher suggests Kennedy's Restaurant in Middle Stewiacke, while Mary Anne White cites Fletcher's in Truro. Also in Truro, Judy and Arnold Forsythe praise Murphy’s Fish and Chips, while Herald gardening guru Jodi DeLong proposes lunch at The Wooden Hog, “where the crab and salmon cakes are regularly sold out. Their homemade soups are fabulous and so are their desserts.”
Heading westward, Joan Czapalay notes Diane's Diner in Five Islands for “great clams and chips, very good pan-fried haddock” and free country music. And in Amherst, try Duncan's Pub, suggested by CBC producer Mary Munson for its tasty and affordable lunch specials, and Old Germany, on Church Street, nominated by Madelyn LeMay. When one of her children was studying music at Mount Allison in nearby Sackville, NB, Madelyn writes, she went to Old Germany whenever she could.
“One of the owners is the cook, the other serves - and the food is incredibly good,” she writes. “I would highly recommend the spinach appetizer, which I can't reproduce no matter how hard I try, the specially-made sausage, and for dessert - my kid would highly recommend the quark and custard! And if you are looking for the best, and least expensive fresh stollen ever for Christmas, your search is over.”
Stollen, aka Weihnachtsstollen, is a German fruitcake, and a quark is a subatomic particle, a piece of software and a central European fresh curd cheese. But you knew that, didn't you?
East of Truro, several good restaurants adorn the five towns of Pictou County. Rod Desborough likes The Dock, an Irish pub on George Street in New Glasgow, for fine seafood chowder and soda bread. My fellow scribe Al Farthing singles out Cafe Italia, “owned, staffed and operated by three really hardworking, charming young women, ” and also the Eastside Family Restaurant opposite the hospital. “Been there for ages, never changes,” says Al. “Their specialty is Chocolate Cake with boiled icing. People come from far away for that.”
In Pictou, deputy mayor Ken Johnston endorses Sharon's Place Family Restaurant on Front Street for “reasonably priced home cooking in an old fashioned diner setting.” In Stellarton, Gord MacPherson says that whenever he returns from working out west, he heads immediately for The Pantry Kitchen on Foord Street, whose fish and chips are “the best I've ever had.”
Mary Munson likes Gabrieau's in Antigonish while Lloyd Daye directs our attention to the Days Gone Bye Bakery and Eatery in Guysborough, owned by Aldona and Fabian Gerrior, where “everything on the menu is homemade and very reasonably priced.” In Canso, in the very far east, Joan Czapalay praises The Last Post for great haddock dinners.
In Cape Breton, Nancy MacLean applauds the home-made food at the recently-opened Bayside in Whycocomagh. Taiya Barss, one of my favourite artists, nominates The Cedar House on the main highway across Boularderie Island, for “fish cakes, their own baked beans, and the plate I always get, the hot turkey sandwich. They also sell loaves of their own bread, containers of their baked beans, and a variety of cookies to take home. Mmm,mmmm.”
And finally, Eileen Coady points out a “little gem” on the Cabot Trail at North East Margaree called the Dancing Goat Bakery and Cafe. Opened in 2006 by a returning Margaree man named Marvin Tingley, the bakery offers assorted breads, “old-fashioned cookies including Cape Breton 'Fat Archies,' and some delightful dessert cakes and cheesecakes.” The cafe provides delicious soups, hearty sandwiches, decadent desserts, assorted coffees and teas – and glassworks by a local artist adorn the front window.
Bon appetit. In Gaelic.
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