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Write Where You Are

A fall writing retreat at The Hideout Lead by author Trevor Corkum, this full-day writing retreat i [ ... ]

Festive Wreath Contest

Friends of Confederation Centre Festive Wreath Exhibition and Competition is calling for entries. Br [ ... ]

Exquisite boredom

One Great Thing
by Ann Thurlow

Here is a family on vacation, that’s for sure. The boy strides ahead, the parents in their smart vacation clothes walk hand in hand, stopping to peer into shops. And there, trailing behind, is a girl with her nose in a book. Remember this? Remember the exquisite boredom of a holiday with your folks? When you long for adventure but all they want is to relax? When a book offers you an escape so complete that it startles you when your mother grabs your arm to keep you from wandering into traffic or rolling right off the dock.

 

How I learned to cook: Jane Crawford

Submitted by Ann Thurlow

Jane Crawford is the chef at both the Hopyard and the Sugar Skull Cantina.

“I grew up in Sault St. Marie. I had two summer jobs when I was young, one at my father’s orthodontist office and one at a resort on St. Joseph’s Island. I worked for a chef called Eric Nowak. He wasn’t like other chefs—the kind who are always throwing tantrums. He was always very calm and very chill. I hadn’t been to culinary school or anything and hadn’t really thought about being a chef. He got me to do just about everything in that kitchen. And he told me he thought I had talent. He gave me a chance to cook the food for the staff party and that was it. Eric and I are still in touch and now I’m a chef.”

Find of the month: Butter Coffee

Submitted by Ann Thurlow

This has become a world full of coffee snobs and coffee aficionados and, even for the average coffee lover, that’s a good thing. You are more likely than ever before to get a deep, richly satisfying cup of coffee just about any places you go. Here’s a pro tip, though: if you want the very best coffee you can possibly imagine, go the Riverview Country Market and get a Bullet Proof Coffee. Here’s what it is: locally roasted dark coffee and Cow’s Creamery Butter. Before you go all eeeww, try it. The butter, which is really just heavily whipped cream, searches out every little molecule of flavour, cuts any residual bitterness and makes that coffee your new best friend. 

The meat man

Chow
by Ann Thurlow

Jordan Liantzakis operates the newest slaughterhouse to open on PEI (photo: Ann Thurlow)Jordan Liantzakis just did something no one in PEI has done for forty years. He got a license to operate a slaughterhouse. It’s telling that it’s been that long—food production has grown from something done on family farms to something done by large companies. Jordan wants to change that, at least in his neck of the woods. 

Getting the slaughterhouse up and running is just the latest step in a journey that has taken him from being a chef, to being a farmer to adding value to food, most specifically by turning meat into charcuterie. He hasn’t been in business that long but has developed a loyal following, especially among local restaurants who want to offer their patrons toothsome nibbles.

But it all started with ducks. When Jordan and his partner moved to PEI, it was with the intention of having more control over the food he loved to cook and eat. He bought some property near Crapaud and started a duck farm; the flock has now grown to 1200 birds. He found an eager market in restaurants, stores and consumers who had been wanting for a long time to find a source for a fresh local product.

With the duck farm (which is called Papia Papa) well established, Jordan began to turn his sights to other products —specifically those that combine his love of cooking with his interest in meat. He began making charcuterie—things like salami and dry cured bacon as well as developing other products (hello, turmeric pickled duck eggs) to fill out a charcuterie platter. He sells to restaurants but he is also selling direct to consumers at the new Kent St. Market and at the Thursday market at the Farm Centre in Charlottetown. A bonus at the latter location: samples.

Jordan is currently making his charcuterie using heritage pigs which, in a great example of interesting business begetting interesting business, he persuaded a local farmer to grow for him. Heritage pork is prized for its fattiness and flavor and the breeds are best suited to small farms which use less intensive methods. This suits Jordan just fine: it supports his philosophy of food production as well as providing a tasty base for his own products. He hopes as well to add charcuterie made with duck – duck prosciutto, for example.

For his next adventure, Jordan will co-host and prepare an asado- a South American style barbeque at Barnone Brewery in August. The meat is butterflied and slow roasted—not on the flame, but beside it. The meat becomes very tender and smoky flavoured, the very best sort of barbeque.

Jodan Liantzakis credits his Greek heritage for his love of cooking and his interest in producing good, high quality meat. This “blood knowledge” as he calls it spurs him on, inspires him to look back into agriculture’s past for more delicious ways of growing and preparing food.

Happy motoring

Local Food Heroes
by Ann Thurlow

One of the great things about an Island summer is the chance to get out on the roads and visit some of the many great eating places (as my grandfather used to call them). Some are year ’round, others are summer friends. Here’s some that I love, each for its own reason—all for good food.

The Yellow House—This is the second year for this fun and delicious place in Rustico. It started as a small take-out but now has added a few tables and some picnic benches in the yard. What’s on the menu? What day is it? The day we arrived there had been a pig roast in the community so there was a pulled pork platter, the pork tender and savoury and not sticky sweet. Most everything else was seafood—blamelessly fresh and beautifully prepared—lobster rolls, fish sandwiches—that style of dining.

On the Dock Eatery—the little place has, bar none, the best seating area on the Island. New management took the already good food up a notch. It’s a great, great spot.

Both The Yellow House and On the Dock Eatery are on Harbourview Drive in Rustico

Evergreen Café Souris—Maybe I’m just being sentimental. The mother of the owner of this lovely café was Margie Fraser, the queen of great cooking in Souris for many years. This spot opened eight years ago and is a worthy tribute to the legacy of great food. The chowders are delicious, the quesadillas come with your choice of many, many vegetable toppings, there’s pizza and a daily vegan special. Plus, great coffee and wonderful biscuits.

The Lobster Shack—Is there anything better than eating Colville Bay oysters while staring at Colville Bay? No, there is not.

Both Evergreen Café Souris and The Lobster Shack are on Main St. in Souris.

Open Eats—Creative food, a tiny kitchen that puts out big flavours, a car in the dining room. This is Summerside’s answer to “where’s the bistro?” This spot opened a couple of years ago and has been consistently imaginative food ever since. Remember hearing about lobster ice cream? That was these folks. How about a lobster roll sushi roll? Everything has an inventive twist and it’s fun to drop in and see what’s up. Along with Samuel’s Coffee House, Water Street in Summerside is now anchored by two good places to eat.

Ship to Shore, Darnley—This place has been opened and closed over the years—most serving seafood. Now it’s open again and home to a smoker—the kind that sits out back and turns ribs into something worth driving for. Seriously delicious.

Some of these spots have erratic opening hours—but all of them have Facebook pages that will give you the latest.

How I learned to cook: Jaime Zehr

Submitted by Ann Thurlow

Jaime Zehr is the co-owner and chef at the Island Stone Pub in Kensington.

“I grew up on a mixed farm in southwestern Ontario. What we grew we ate and what we ate we grew. Our whole lives revolved around food; it was not unusual to be eating one meal and talking about the nest one. We were almost self-sufficient and I was taught to treat all the food we grew with respect. That meant using everything well; my family had many passionate cooks.

Growing up in a small town teaches you about loyalty. That’s why I’m so happy to be located in a smaller community. I’m happy to see the tourists but they come and go. The people from my community are the ones I love to cook for the best.”

Full of butter

One Great Bite
by Ann Thurlow

She appeared from behind a wall in the little bakery. Her face was partially obscured by a bonnet but when she peeked out, she smiled. Her voice was soft — was that accent German? In front of her was an array of baking — bread, cookies, luscious pies displayed demurely in white boxes. She told us, when pressed, that her favourite was the chocolate squares. Did she blush? We hemmed and hawed but chose instead the crackly oatmeal cookies. They snapped under the teeth but then melted away. They were full of butter and — dare I say it? — goodness.

The great unifier

One Great Thing
by Ann Thurlow

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Everybody else is laughing—they’re so happy! I want to cry because it’s just so delightful. It’s DiverseCity in Charlottetown and a whole gang is line dancing. Country music comes from somewhere, a woman gives directions, yelling above the twang. Some dancers are deadly serious; they want to get this right. Others have thrown caution to the wind and are grinning to beat the band. There are pink cowboy hats and people calling out encouragement in languages I don’t understand. Line dancing. The great unifier. Who would have thought it? 

Events Calendar

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Some Upcoming Events

Jimmy Rankin shows

November 22 at Trailside Café
November 23 at Harbourfront Theatre Jimmy Rankin's new Moving East (o [ ... ]

Hip Hop at Holland College

Snak the Ripper and others at Florence Simmons September 22
Florence Simmons Performance Hall   [ ... ]

Tétreault & Scarfone

Classical cello and piano September 23
Harbourfront Theatre Stéphane Tétreault, cello, and Marie- [ ... ]

Recent News & Articles

Drawing the line

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

Free transportation at Cloggeroo

The provincial government will sponsor free transportation at this year’s Cloggeroo festival to he [ ... ]

Charlottetown’s Historic Squares exhibit...

The City of Charlottetown Planning and Heritage Department has created an exhibit exploring the hist [ ... ]