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Better Together LGBTQ2+ Adult drop in

PEERS Alliance, in partnership with Holland College, UPEI, and Women's Network PEI will hold LGBTQ2+ [ ... ]

Charlottetown Festival auditions

With a month to go in this season’s festival, Adam Brazier, artistic director of The Charlottetown [ ... ]

How I Learned to Cook: Ilona Daniel

Ilona Daniel is a great ambassador for PEI food, a cooking instructor, a Ms. Fix-it for restaurants looking for help with their menus. She is as beautiful and exotic as her food. But, as she explains, her beginnings in the kitchen were humble.

“I guess it’s a bit of a cliché, but I learned to cook from my mother. When I was three or four she would sit me on the kitchen counter so I could watch what she was doing. At one point, I thought it would be fun to be involved so I dumped a whole lot of salt into my Dad’s beloved rice. My eyes were all aglow as he began to eat it but he wasn’t amused. I guess then I learned that some people love their food very much.

From my folks I learned to love and then make dishes like hummus and Hungarian chicken with paprika. Food was essential in our house; it was our entertainment.

I am a first generation Canadian and my parents wanted me to become something like a lawyer. But my passion was always in the kitchen and I don’t think they were really that surprised when I decided to become a chef.”

Writing about food

by Ann Thurlow

Ann ThurlowI started writing for The Buzz in 2007. I said I would do it for ten years. I have just realized that anniversary slipped by with me realizing it. But a promise is a promise so I’m going to call it quits.

The reason I didn’t notice is probably because I’ve been having a lot of fun. A few years ago, Buzz editor Peter Richards gave me a chance to write about food. I love writing about food. But even more so, I love eating and I love the people who grow food, who work to add value to it in all sorts of ways, the people who cook it and serve it. I feel as if these are my people. Writing about them, even in a brief and tangential way, gave me an entrée into their world.

It has been especially gratifying to meet the people who have moved to PEI to introduce us to their wonderful food. Where would I be without Leonhard’s (French toast with cheese and tomatoes), Pho Hung (pho A18, extra vegetables), Seoul Food (kimchee, bimimbap),  The Little Kitchen (salt and pepper chicken with noodles), The Himalayan (Tibetan chicken with red pepper), Sadat’s (all the soups, all the kababs). I have been constantly inspired by these people’s hard work; I have been the lucky beneficiary of their many kindnesses. Having these folks around has made writing about food easy.

And I love people who take the familiar and turn it on its head. Butter in coffee at the Riverview Country market, some of the consistently best food in PEI at coffee shops (I’m looking at you, brussels sprout bahn mi at Kettle Black), farmer Soleil Hutchinson’s wonderful market garden, vegan chocolates, handpies, mortadella…my head is spinning. We are blessed again and again by people who want to make better food. We are also blessed with people like Sharon Labchuk, who is a tireless campaigner to make sure the food we eat is safe and sustainable. Or people like Pauline Howard who works diligently against the ridiculous problem (with all this bounty) of food insecurity.

I have tried to do my little bit by going out to find interesting food and telling people about it. But you’re on your own now, kids. When you do find good food, make sure you tell the people who made it how much you appreciate it. Then tell your friends.

Find the good and celebrate it.

What a good idea

Prince Edward Island Sea Salt Company

Chow
by Ann Thurlow

Nathan Gamauf and Darren Blanchard of the PEI Sea Salt Company (photo: Ann Thurlow)What are the chances that two guys would come up with the idea for a salt business at roughly the same time? Or let’s put it another way—why has it taken so long for anyone to refine the idea of harvesting some of the salt in all the water that surrounds us?

A couple of years ago, Darren Blanchard started a company called Black Whale, where he made and sold salt. It didn’t take off exactly as he had hoped, so he shelved the idea. Then along came Nick Gamauf, who had been working on a method to extract salt from water in a way that was both replicable and tasty.

The two met by chance and became the co-founders of the Prince Edward Island Sea Salt Company.

You think salt is salt? Think again. You can go to a gourmet shop and choose between maldon and kosher, pink Himalayan and gris. Or you can buy a bottle of PEI salt and compare it to the salt that’s in your shaker. I could tell you the PEI salt tastes saltier, but even though it’s true it sounds ridiculous. How about this: it’s brinier. You need only a tiny amount to add big flavor.

The truth of it is that anyone can make sea salt. Go get yourself some sea water and boil it down and eventually you’ll get yourself some crude and bitter salt. The trick, as Darren and Nathan have learned, is to reduce it quickly and then slowly. They gather the water in fifty-five gallon drums and evaporate it at their facility in Harrington. (Fun fact: one hundred litres of sea water will yield 5.2 kilos of salt).

You can now get unflavoured salt as well as infused salts which include black garlic, Receiver coffee and Rossignol wine. Both the latter would be great in soups and stews; I often put coffee in onion soup, especially if I’m using a vegetarian broth. And all the salts come in a pretty little bottle.

The pair are hoping to build a larger facility that uses passive solar to evaporate the water. In the meantime, they are turning out salt as quickly as they can, answering a growing demand for the very most local of products.

Prince Edward Island Sea Salt is available from their website or in a number of smaller food shops.

At the heart

One Great Bite
by Ann Thurlow

If life had an official vegetable, I believe it should be the kohlrabi. When it is young, it is green and tender and vulnerable. Its skin has not hardened; it doesn’t take much to pierce its defenseless heart. But meet up with a kohlrabi in winter and you meet something else. The skin is tougher, the flesh gives a little more resistance. But you know what? It’s still delicious. It still has the same sweet heart.

Find of the month: Poutine at Papa Joe’s

Submitted by Ann Thurlow

For my money, good old reliable Papa Joe’s has one of the most interesting menus in town. Sure, you can get something expected and comforting. But you can also be surprised and delighted by my new favourite thing: bar clams and chips.

This is PEI’s answer to poutine. Do not mistake this for fried clams; it’s entirely different. The clams are like they would be for chowder and, come to think of it, the sauce is kind of like chowder, too. This is poured over the fries and the whole thing is sparked up with a topping of crispy pea shoots. Pro tip: ask for extra pea shoots. Their green crunch absolutely makes the dish.

I am thinking you may believe this doesn’t sound good. You are wrong. It’s innovative and totally delicious.

The East Enders

Restaurants push the evolution of a neighbourhood 

Chow
by Ann Thurlow

Chris Francis of Receiver Coffee Co. (photo: Buzz)Something seems to be percolating in the east end of downtown Charlottetown. Formerly seen as a mecca for cruise shippers and other tourists, the place is starting to become an interesting place for residents as well.

To wit: the venerable Water Prince Corner Shop is staying open until December 15 this year—the theory being that more visitors are staying in the area and that locals might go if the place isn’t quite so busy with tourists. It’s a cozy spot—a perfect place for some chowder in dull November or a late season lobster roll.

And over at the new Receiver coffee shop and bakery (next to Founder’s Hall) they’ve started serving pizza and pasta on Thursday nights. The pizza dough and the sauce are both homemade. You can get a slice or a whole pie. The menu changes every week—everything from roasted vegetable and bocconcini to spicy pepper and soppressata to cured meats. The pasta is fresh and hand rolled and might come with herb and garlic cream with spinach or mushroom, bacon and smoked cheddar.

Eat in or take out. If you eat in, you can have a beer.

They are also making efforts to cultivate a lunch crowd. Chef Cobey Adams is turning out some delicious and innovative daily specials, great soups and an Italian sandwich that honestly and truly will make you smack your lips.

On Prince Street, there’s a new Asian spot about to open where the old Cozy Corner is. And of course there’s the wonderful Black and White on Hillsborough St. where you can grab a sack of burgers or perch in the window and watch the world.

The point is, I guess, that the neighbourhood is evolving again—as neighbourhood should. It’s interesting to think about the role restaurants play in all this; do the people bring the food or the food bring the people?

Stone soup

One Great Bite
by Ann Thurlow

Here then a little ode to a meal I have not eaten but whose very idea fills me with delight. A church in Murray Harbour is offering a free supper to their neighbours once a month—not because people need the food but because they need each other. It is perfect. All the words: community, communion, communing. All are defined by the simple cheer of a church hall and a bowl of soup. Food makes friends of neighbours. It is a rich and powerful thing, beyond its simple ingredients. 

Possibilities

One Great Thing
by Ann Thurlow

Your head can be turned by a beautiful woman or by a beautiful sentence. Both have secrets—each a whole story and an invitation to imagine.

“I’ll stand out here in the rain until she lets me in”…that’s what I’m talking about, a fragment of a song by Dennis Ellsworth, except that it doesn’t need music to set itself alight. It is an entire sad tale. It is a sentence full of possibilities. I like to think that each word is as carefully chosen as a jewel. How else to explain its elegance? How else to allay my envy?

 

Events Calendar

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Some Upcoming Events

The Bruce Guthro Songwriters Circle

November 3
Delta Prince Edward The Bruce Guthro Songwriters Circle, presenting Maritime legends and  [ ... ]

The Children Act

September 27–October 4
City Cinema PG, language warning
Dir: Richard Eyre, UK, 105 min. Emma Thomps [ ... ]

Culture days

Free activities on September 29 at the Confederation Centre Culture Days is a three-day nation-wide [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

Drawing the line

Profile: Sandy Carruthers by Jane Ledwell Retired for a year now after twenty-five years teaching  [ ... ]

Filmworks Summerside

Film series is back for 7th season Filmworks Summerside opens for their 7th season on September 12  [ ... ]

An Island wish

On August 23, 4 year old Cooper Coughlin will arrive on Prince Edward Island soil for a once in a li [ ... ]