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Newborn Babe

I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague

Opening a new restaurant is a lot like having a baby. I might be saying that because I have babies, or rather a baby, on my mind constantly these days, and most of my time is spent thinking about what to do with said baby. Regardless, I see a lot of similarities.

For starters, being a good chef is a lot like being good in bed. You cook a couple of enjoyable meals, or have a good romp or two and all of a sudden you think hey, I can do this for a living. That’s step one really, deciding you’re going to do what it takes to make the baby. Step two in the restaurant world is coming up with the concept; what are you going to serve? The baby equivalent is research; what kind of baby are we going to raise? You get advice from doolas, books and restaurant consultants along the way to help solidify your vision. Delivering the baby is like opening night; it’s often very painful, and by the end you’re exhausted, sweaty and almost always surprised by the mess. That said, you’re left with a sense of relief as well as a feeling of anticipation about what’s to come.

Anuj Thapa is from Nepal. I first met him a year or so ago. He and my friend Charlie were in town. Charlie had stayed with Anuj and his family in Nepal several years earlier. Anuj had recently moved to Canada and the two of them spent the night at our place. To thank us for our hospitality Anuj cooked his chili chicken with green and red peppers. It was delicious. He mentioned that night he wanted to open an Indian restaurant in Charlottetown. I told him he’d be the only show in town.

Several months later Anuj was on his way to being a restauranteur. He was working with a local contractor and a consultant to help him renovate the space and put the pieces in place to own and operate a restaurant, something he had never done before. They hosted a sampling of Anuj’s food and invited about twenty locals who might be helpful in spreading the word, including yours truly. I figured if the rest of his food was as good as the chili chicken I was in for a treat and I wasn’t disappointed. It was one of the best evenings of food, friends and wine I’ve ever had. The samosas were easily the best I’ve tasted. The momos, which are essentially spicy chicken dumplings with steamed chutney, were addictive. I ate at least twelve over the course of the evening. His butter chicken was tremendous. It was an impressive taste of things to come.

Himalayan Indian Cuisine opened in late February in the Mid-Town Plaza behind Source for Sports on University Avenue. The huge menu is all traditional Indian including tandoor, which requires a special clay oven. I really don’t know that much about Indian food—I blame Charlottetown’s longstanding lack of authentic Indian cuisine—so I’m not really in a position to compare or critique, but the food tastes great. Some of my favourites aside from the momos and samosas include lamb saag which is a spinach based curry, chicken tikka which is marinated chicken cooked in the tandoor oven, and authentic naan bread cooked the way is was meant to be, in the tandoor.

But like any new restaurant, or any newborn baby, there have been challenges in the first few weeks. And even though the learning curve is steep, there’s no closing down to try and figure things out. You have to dive right in and get on with it. And despite the challenges Anuj is facing with new staff, a new space, and the small issues of never having owned a restaurant and never having been the cook on a busy line before, Himalayan Indian Cuisine is off to a great start. I believe the best is yet to come for the Island’s only authentic Indian restaurant.

New this Season

I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague

My seven-month-old boy Charlie has recently taken to napping in the stroller. That’s led to a dramatic increase in the number of long afternoon walks around Charlottetown. It’s great exercise and it gets us out of the house, which has been nice. We usually walk until he wakes which can be anywhere from forty five minutes to an hour. We mostly  follow the same route too; we start in Brighton and head to Victoria Park and the boardwalk, then along the water to Peake’s Quay, then into downtown. As soon as we walk out of Peake’s our choices begin. Where we stop for a treat, or even lunch, all depends on when the boy wakes.

In a market already saturated with cafes and coffee shops, and with new Starbuck’s locations springing up every few blocks, the addition of another soup, sandwich and coffee stand to the downtown core seems counter-intuitive. And the location, on the ground floor of the Homburg Tower on Fitzroy Street, feels just a bit out of the way. These are the thoughts that occurred to me when I saw a post on facebook from Mike Wasnidge raving about a recent trip he’d made to Café Thomas-Martin. He said he’d just had the best pulled pork sandwich of his life. Mike is not prone to exaggeration, so my curiosity was piqued. Given that, I was very pleased when Charlie timed his nap to end at the front door of Charlottetown’s newest café.

We dropped in just after the lunch rush at about 1:30. We were greeted enthusiastically by one of two women behind the counter. I assumed they were the aforementioned Thomas and Martin and I was right; Lori and Jocelyne, specifically.

The counter and kitchen is on the left hand side of the small space, and there is seating for about eight people on the right and at the front window. It is very much set up for take out orders, so much so that they only use take out containers. Jocelyne looks after the front of house, Lori handles the orders. Jocelyn asked if we'd been in before and told us a bit about the place. Everything is home made and sourced as locally as possible, she told us. The menu is small. There were three sandwich choices, a special, a soup and several sweets to choose from.

Jinny was so hungry it was affecting her cognitive abilities but she managed to order and pay for our meal, albeit not in record time. She ordered the day’s special; a chicken quesadilla with rice and beans and homemade salsa. I’m not sure if it was the severe hunger but she absolutely loved it. She moaned and her eyes rolled into the back of her head a couple of times which is either a sign of distress or ecstasy. I’ll go with ecstasy.

I had the roast chicken sandwich with tzatziki and a pumpkin, coconut curry soup. And while the sandwich did not cause me to exhibit symptoms of head trauma, I really liked it. It was fresh, crunchy, tangy and all together sloppy but absolutely delicious. The chicken was nice and tender and the tang of the homemade tzatziki got me right in the corner of the jaw. The soup did not elicit the same reaction but it was good and I ate every bite.

We also ordered a dessert each. Jinny had the carrot cake and I had the coffee cake. Both were good and by the time we were done we were so stuffed the walk home bordered on uncomfortable. At $41 plus tip, with a coffee and a 7up, the price was reasonable given the quantity of food we’d ordered.

Turns out Lori and Jocelyn own Route 3 Eatery in Vernon River. They decided to open Café Thomas-Martin after one too many years of seasonal work. I’m glad they did. While the downtown is chock-o-block with similar offerings, it’s pretty hard to turn your nose up at quality food, and that’s just what this little cafe brings to the table.

Cy’s Matters

I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague

I can count on one hand the number of times I was at the original Cy’s Lunch on Spring Park Road in Charlottetown. It was a combination convenience store and grill. I never ordered from the grill or spent more than two minutes in the place. I assumed the owner was named Cy but I didn’t know his last name. I remember it closing down a few years ago, but I never heard why. I just assumed Cy’s Lunch had run its course.

A lifetime ago Jimmy Rashed and I played on the same football team. We didn’t really get around much outside of football but we were always friendly. He moved to Toronto not long after high school and I didn’t see or hear from him for years. Then about a year ago I ran into Jimmy at a beer festival. He’d just moved back to town with his family. We exchanged numbers, and I got a few pocket dials from him but we never managed to connect.

About two months ago I was walking near the corner of Grafton Street and Rochford when someone shouted my last name. I turned back to see Jimmy on the top step in front of Rashed’s Convenience with a paintbrush in his hand. He was renovating, he said, and getting ready to open a new restaurant. He was gonna call it Cy’s. He invited me in to show me the space. All the shelving had been removed and replaced with tables and chairs. All but three fridges were gone. The grill and fryers stayed where they were, behind the counter. There was an older man working on the vent fan above the grill. He poked his head out to nod hi. It was Cy.

“Cy’s gonna help me out,” said Jimmy.

I said something about it being good that he had someone with experience giving him a hand and promised to stop in once everything was up and running. That day came a couple of weeks ago. Jimmy had run into my sister at a mixer of some kind and had jokingly asked her to give me a hard time about not having dropped in. I decided it was time to try Cy’s.

Jimmy was behind the counter when I arrived and so was Cy. I asked Jimmy what was good. He said everything. I asked for a recommendation, he suggested the double mozza swiss burger with mushrooms, garlic aioli and a side of fries. I made it a single but added a side of gravy. Aside from a variety of burgers, Cy’s offers wraps, a few Lebanese favourites, and three or four greasy spoon classics like fries with the works and chicken fingers. They also offer a healthy selection of desserts.

It took Jimmy less than ten minutes to put my order together. It was a quiet Tuesday lunch so I had his full attention. The burger was big and with the ample fries, gravy and coleslaw, it made for an absolutely massive meal. It was a good burger too. The aioli was fairly mild and didn’t overpower the flavour of the beef. The lettuce and tomato were crispy and fresh. Jimmy really packed the mushrooms on and they didn’t squirt out the back on the first bite, an impressive feat. I ate every bit of the burger, and the excellent coleslaw but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t finish the fires. It was too much food, but not at all hard on the wallet at $12 with a drink including tax, before tip.

Jimmy and I got to chatting as I was finishing up my meal. Turns out Cy’s his dad. How I didn’t know that after all these years is beyond me. He closed up the original Cy’s Lunch after a heart attack, but came out of retirement to help out the boy.

Cy’s is a classic Charlottetown street corner grill. They give you a large, tasty meal at a reasonable price. That’s something Rasheds have been doing in Charlottetown for as long as anyone can remember.

Hair of the Dog

I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague

The text read “I’m taking you guys out to lunch so sober up!” It was just after noon on Saturday morning in New York City and I was feeling close to death. Four longtime friends and I were in town for a long weekend and our enthusiasm got the better of us on the first night. We got very, very drunk, and stayed out unnecessarily late. I felt like I’d been run over by a truck filled with rum. The text was from the one and only Carl Ruiz. You might remember Carl. He was the chef for the first season at Ship to Shore in Darnley when it re-opened a couple of years ago. I’d touched base with him a few weeks prior to get some tips on good places to eat in Manhattan. Who better to share some local knowledge than a native New York chef? By the time we’d messaged back and forth a few times we decided we’d meet up and he’d show me around.

Carl’s next text told me he was coming in from Jersey with his wife Marie in about a half an hour. Under any other circumstances I would have sent a text saying something along the lines of “Can’t move sorry dying.” But this was New York, and he was coming all the way in from Jersey to play host. It was gut check time. At least it was for me, the other guys decided since they didn’t know Carl they were under no obligation to get out of bed.

“So, what are you in the mood for?” asked Carl after introductions had been made and the requisite small talk had been dispensed. In retrospect, I should have said that something greasy would be best, given the intensity of my hangover. Maybe I wasn’t thinking straight because of my slightly pickled synapses. Instead I suggested something interesting, something one of a kind. After a moment’s pause Carl decided on Momofuku Ssam Bar in the East Village.

Carl described the menu as French Korean fusion. It featured lots of seafood, duck, ham, egg and kimchee. We decided we’d order a number of dishes and share them. Marie and I ordered “pork bun” bloody marys. I figured a little hair of the dog was in order and there’s no better cocktail for a queasy stomach. They were very tasty but we had a hard time figuring out what made them “pork bun.”

We started with what I’d describe as a crab salad rolled into a light pastry. It was a good start. Next came some raw arctic char with rice puffs. My mouth said yes, and my stomach said no, but my mouth won. It was tasty, but not hangover food. Next we had steamed bok choy and grilled octopus. The bok choy was excellent. The octopus was strong and I only managed a couple of bites. The texture of smoked salmon buns with horseradish, egg and sesame did not agree with me. The kimchee devilled eggs had me wondering if I was going to get through the rest of the meal. Then came a rotisserie duck on rice with a chive pancake. It was probably the best duck I’d ever had,  but I could only manage about five bites before I had to stop. We munched on two or three other dishes, but the alcohol induced fog prevents me from remembering what they were.

I have a feeling I would have enjoyed Momofuku to a far higher degree had I not been two or three drinks short of alcohol poisoning the night before. It is definitely not hangover food, and I was lucky to get through the whole meal without an “unfortunate incident”. But all the same, Carl delivered. I asked for “one of a kind” and that’s exactly what I got.

The Buzz does not endorse drinking to excess prior to eating octopus or duck, in any city.

A la sazon

I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague

Time management has taken on a whole new meaning since having a child. The day is broken into about five chunks of two to three hours, each separated by a nap that could last anywhere between thirty minutes and two hours. It can be difficult to plan ahead to be somewhere at any particular time. You really just have to go with it and have a rough plan to go somewhere after a particular nap. We’ve been going to the Charlottetown Farmers’ Market for years and have done our best to get there every week between nap one and nap two. Nap three sometimes starts as late as one pm so going between nap three and nap four would be too late. Before nap one would be too early. Whole. New. Meaning.

If I’m at the market early I usually get a breakfast omelet with beans and potatoes. Because we’re there between naps one and two we usually arrive between nine and ten. By any standard I’ve been accustomed to until recently, that would mean breakfast. But my, how things have changed. At nine am I may have already been awake for five hours. By then, I may have even had a couple of cups of coffee and a granola bar or a piece of toast. So I haven’t really been craving breakfast on our Market Saturdays. In fact, for the last three weeks I’ve been craving the Market’s latest offering, La Sazon de Mexico.

I first heard about Charlottetown’s newest Mexican cuisine about eight months ago. They were operating out of a house near Ellen’s Creek Plaza. I tried, perhaps halfheartedly, to try it out, but they were open somewhat sporadically and only offered take out. That didn’t matter though, because the owners, Claudia Deagle and Claudia Rosas, acquired a space at the Market this past spring, and just like that, I’m having Mexican for lunch at breakfast.

My favourite so far has been the chicken enchiladas with green sauce. It consists of three flour tortillas stuffed with roast chicken and covered in green sauce (made with tomatillas, peppers, onion, garlic and spices), sour cream and cheese, served with spicy rice, beans, and if you ask nicely, a side of guacamole. It’s a great meal. The chicken is moist and tender, and most importantly, ample. The green sauce, beans and rice are good too, but the guacamole is spectacular. It’s really fresh and tangy with lots of lime and cilantro. It makes for an excellent contrast to what is otherwise a rather spicy meal. I’ve had that plate three times now and it seems to get better each time.

I also really liked the steak tacos. They’re made with a corn tortilla and strips of beef cooked with peppers and onions topped with salsa, sour cream and fresh lime juice with the same rice and beans, and if you ask nicely, guacamole. I thought the taco got soggy pretty fast but I was warned it would and it was too messy to eat with my hands anyway. Messy and delicious, that is.

I’ve been hesitant to try the fish or shrimp tacos. For some reason they just don’t appeal to me before supper time. The mole enchiladas also look interesting, but again, pretty rich for 9:30. At ten dollars a plate, it’s a pretty good deal no matter what you order.

I’ve asked the Claudias a couple of times whether they’re going to open a restaurant. They’re looking for a space and haven’t found the right one yet. I’m hoping they do. There has really only ever been one authentic Mexican restaurant on the Island. It was in a terrible location and closed quickly. I think La Sazon de Mexico could be a smash hit in the right space. It’s already a smash at the Market.

Renewed Optimism

I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague

For as long as I can remember I've been a fan of the Merchatman Pub in Charlottetown. I always liked the staff and the casual pub atmosphere agreed with me. The food was always high quality and the service was snappy to say the least. More than anything else though, the Merchantman Pub had a good feel to it. It was comfortable and at ease.

About a year ago the Murphys bought it. Those Murphys. The Murphys were Murphy-izing the Merch. They’re gonna ruin it. Is nothing sacred?

There are plenty of folks around who take that very attitude when Murphy Group acquires a new property. I don’t think it’s entirely fair given how many people the Murphys, specifically Kevin Murphy, employs and how much his businesses contribute to the economy. It’s been good for the city and good for the Island.

But during the first few months it looked like the Murphy Group was going to prove its dissenters right. The food and service started to regress. A good number of people had less than stellar experiences in those first few months, myself included, but I chalked it up to the transition and I promised not to let it sour me on the place permanently. It needed time and I could only assume the Murphy Group was willing to give The Merchantman Pub all the time it needed, not to mention a massive renovation and a complete re-branding.

What remains is not the Merchantman Pub. It’s gone. Merchantman Fresh Seafood and Oyster Bar now stands in its place. It has a whole new menu comprised almost entirely of seafood. The openness of the space is what grabs your attention first. A few walls have been removed or downsized and it feels like one big room now rather than three small rooms. The colour motif is decidedly burnt orange, and new booths have replaced many of the old tables. The bar remains where it was but it’s been extended around the corner and into the back room. All in all the space looks great.

Jinny and I were in for our anniversary/first babysitter during the second week of September. We started with a couple of big glasses of pinot noir and a half dozen Colville Bay oysters. We followed that up with curried mussels. They were flat out delicious.

Jinny had the special for her main; grilled salmon in a citrus butter served with asparagus and garlic mashed. She thought she was getting green beans, and had been told as much, but she loves asparagus so all was forgiven. She really liked the salmon. We were both impressed with the rather diverse offering of sides available with the main courses. I think there were twelve in all including creamed spinach and beluga lentils.

I had the blackened haddock fish tacos with basmati rice. The fish was not particularly blackened, which was disappointing, but the house made salsa and jalepeno cream saved the day. The haddock was served in big chunks rather than minced and seasoned so it stood out to a greater degree as the primary flavour. Not a bad fish taco, all together. We even crammed in dessert. Blueberry pie for me, sticky date pudding for Jinny. Both were good. We also got two pinot noir on the house to say happy anniversary which was a nice touch.

The bill was $150 including a generous tip. Not cheap, but not unreasonable for the amount of food and drink we stuffed in our faces.

I think it’s fair to say it wouldn’t have been the Merchantman Pub forever, no matter who took it over. It may have a new feel and a new menu, but change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may not be the Merchantman Pub but it’s got a good atmosphere and ample fresh seafood. It’s also now open on Sundays.

Saved by Samuel’s

I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague

Jinny and I welcomed our first child on May 28th at the Prince County Hospital in Summerside. We chose to go to the PCH after hearing great reviews from a few of our who friends who had children there. They had nothing but good to say about both the facilities and the staff. After a quick tour of the maternal unit we asked for a referral and ended up with a great doctor. All together it was a great experience. Great, save the food. I’ve never had hospital food that was anything more than inoffensive and Prince County was no exception. I figure they make meals to please the masses. Anything too flavourful, too salty or too sweet would simply be too much for some patients to take, so the kitchen takes no chances. You’ve got to eat to get well after all.

Two bites into our first family breakfast at the hospital, I was sent off to get something else. The hospital breakfast simply would not do and an alternative was required. That morning I made the first of three trips to the single best food service establishment in Greater Summerside, and one of the Island’s best coffee shops; Samuel’s Coffee House.

Samuel’s is on Queen Street, right next to the Journal Pioneer and across the street from Greco. It was a bank at one time. It’s a big bright space with seating for about 30 people if you include the seats in the dark, but quiet former vault. There are a few cozy chairs mixed in among the tables for lounging. It’s not the kind of place one would expect to see in Summerside. It seems oddly out of place, but that is by no means a strike against it.

I arrived that first morning starving after having gone without food for close to 24 hours. Samuel’s menu offers a variety of sandwiches on a variety of breads as well as salads, soups and a healthy dose of pastries and assorted baked goods. That first morning I chose the turkey club panini and Jinny went for the breakfast sandwich on an english muffin with egg, cheese, tomato and spinach. We both thoroughly enjoyed the sandwiches and were impressed with the overall freshness of the bread and the greens. At least we were as impressed as two people could be who were nearly starving to death and horking down sandwiches out of primal desperation. It may have been a cure for our hunger, but it also served as motivation to return for more.

Trip two happened the very next day for lunch. This time we were determined to taste the food. After a quick phone call back to the hospital Jinny decided on the spinach salad with ginger carrot soup. It’s safe to say she loved every bite. I chose the Thai chicken soup and went for the club panini again. The soup was delicious and just spicy enough to start a small brow sweat. I also brought back a lemon tart and a chocolate chip cookie for a treat. And what a treat they were. I understand Samuel’s does most, if not all baking in house and they do it well.

Our third and final trip to Samuel’s happened the morning before we left the PCH to start our new life as a family. I had the smoked salmon bagel. Jinny went back to the breakfast sandwich. It may have been the hormones talking but we were oddly reminiscent. We’d spent four nights at the PCH with our new boy and Samuel’s had helped sustain us through the whole ordeal. We were a little sad we weren’t going to have a reason to go to Samuel’s anymore, at least not every day. Fair to say it was an emotional farewell.

But seriously, if you haven’t been by Samuel’s Coffee House, drop in next time you’re in Summerside.

Well Fed

by Andrew Sprague

I’m Dining Out Here

My love affair with restaurants began in the early eighties at Myron's Old Spain on Kent Street in Charlottetown. I was four or five and the waitress knew my dad. I can't remember specifically what she did, but she made me feel pretty good about myself. I think she tickled me at one point. When she brought the food I could hardly contain my excitement. The chicken fingers and fries were piled oh-so high. They were deep fried, which was unheard of at home. My drink of choice was a bottomless glass of Coca-Cola on ice. She brought it in a real glass. I couldn't have imagined a better food and drink combo at the time. My first bite of chicken finger tasted like golden. It was at that moment I decided restaurants were awesome.

In the mid nineties I got a job as a waiter at a new restaurant in Charlottetown called Piazza Joe’s. For the next six years I served food. My experience out front gave me a tremendous appreciation for the delicate timing and stress management necessary to be a good server, not to mention everything it taught me about food, wine and the human body’s capacity for alcohol and sleep deprivation. I also learned about the razor thin margins that keep restaurants afloat. On two occasions I lost work when restaurants closed their doors.

Then one evening in the fall of 2003 I crashed a staff party at the old Buzz office below what’s now Castello’s on Victoria Row. I got into a conversation with Peter Richards about an experience I’d had at a restaurant around the corner. I remember telling him how the red wine was served chilled and that the waitress was quite surprised when I asked why. I guess I left an impression because it wasn’t long before I got a call from Peter. He wanted to chat about doing a restaurant piece, and he had me in mind. 

My first piece wasn’t a restaurant review at all. It was called The Buzz Restaurant Referendum. We took votes on which restaurants were the best in a number of categories including best club sandwich, best waiter and best martini to name a few. I stole the concept in its entirety from The Coast in Halifax. But since it hadn’t been done here before it was, for all practical purposes, a new idea. It was a fun project but we haven’t tried to do it again.

My first column was about Off Broadway. At the time it was considered one of the classiest restaurants in the city. I used the column to declare my disdain for striploin and julienne vegetables. It was poorly-written and poorly-conceived, but it was a start, and it didn't get me fired. Plus I got to use the column as a way to show my ex-girlfriend I was dating again.

Since then I've written about a hundred columns and I've been given a lot of freedom by my editors. Some have been straight up, albeit polite, restaurant reviews. Others had absolutely nothing to do with food but still took place in something resembling a restaurant. For one column years ago I relayed a story about three friends and I getting drunk in Summerside. That's it. Not exactly what you'd call dining out.

I've been given freedom of location as well. On several occasions I filed my column from out of province. There have been articles from Edmonton, Thunder Bay, Calgary, Sudbury, Ottawa, Antigonish, Campbellton, Saint John, Halifax and Quebec City.

On two occasions I've had to provide disclaimers. The first was for my July 2005 column on Dayboat. Bobby and Laura Shapiro invited me and a guest to join them and Chef Gordon Bailey for dinner on the house. They never said they were looking for a column in return, but let's face it, it was understood. Anyway, I took them up on the offer and invited the Buzz's own Yanik Richards to join me.  Long story short, they spoiled us rotten. So much so that “Spoiled rotten” became the title of the column, and the whole truth: bribery, corruption, influence peddling and all, became part of the story.

The other disclaimer was for the October 2010 column on Loompa Dogs and owner Graham Putnam. Graham is one of my best friends and I wanted to be very clear that my love of Loompa Dogs was in no way influenced by our relationship. Graham's back with Loompa Dogs this summer, on the corner of Queen and Grafton. Check facebook for details.

There's no question that my work with The Buzz has provided opportunities. One example would be my book Taste. There's no way I would have ever been given the chance to be part of that project without The Buzz. It's also given me a bird's eye view of the evolution of the Island's culinary scene and all the people that put it together. And what an evolution it’s been. When I think back ten years I’m sometimes blown away by how far we’ve come as a culinary destination. There is so much more available now than ever before, and doing it locally has become the focus rather than the fallback. It’s been great to be a part of it.

It’s also been great to be a part of this magazine. There’s no better day than Buzz day. Here’s to another 20 years.

Andrew Sprague is…

Andrew SpragueAndrew Sprague is a proud Islander, food lover, writer and father. He lives in Charlottetown with his wife Jinny and works in communications with the province. He can often be found in his natural habitat on a patio or at the corner of the bar in a pub at happy hour, holding court. Andrew graduated from Algonquin College in Ottawa in 2001 with a diploma in radio broadcasting. His first internship turned into a four city, six year whirlwind with CBC Radio. He's a founding member of the comedy group Sketch 22 and has been known to embarrass himself on stage from time to time. In 2006 Andrew compiled recipes and wrote text for the pictorial cookbook Taste: Recipes from Prince Edward Island's best restaurants from Nimbus Publishing. Wayne Barrett and Anne MacKay provided the photos for the book which is now in its second edition. Andrew is especially fond of bacon, microphones, small breweries and rousing political debate. But there are few things he likes more than a delicious meal made with local food at a local restaurant with local ownership.

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