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Trivia and burgers in Tyne Valley

I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague

About four years ago I was invited by my boss at the time to join his team for the Prince Edward Island Trivia Championships, the opening event of the Tyne Valley Oyster Festival. 

Forty some-odd teams of up to six set up at tables arranged on the floor of the Tyne Valley rink. There are drinks, snacks and all kinds of Oyster Festival and Rock the Boat gear for sale, but oddly, no oysters, or at least none that I’ve seen. That aside it’s a great time, with some decent cash prizes on the line, and it gives me an opportunity to see family and close friends nearby. Our team has finished second every time I’ve been there.

This year I also had the opportunity to visit Backwoods Burger, the latest incarnation of what was The Landing in Tyne Valley. I mentioned it in the June issue as part of a foodie day tour of the area along with Tyne Valley Tea and Company and Moth Lane Brewery. I didn’t have time to drop in to the last two, and manage the requisite visits, but I did stop in for a beer and a burger at Backwoods.

The menu is dominated by a wide variety of burgers along with some pub classics, a few unique apps and a number of seafood dishes. I found the onion ring tower intriguing, as well as the Mac and Cheese, but an app and a burger platter sounded like way too much food, so I compromised. The Return of the Mac had both mac and cheese and onion rings on it, as well as shredded iceberg lettuce, marble cheddar, and a sauce of some kind that was hard to identify on top of the other ingredients.

I expected a sloppy mess, and the waitress suggested it might be, but the burger held up well. It was also delicious. The combination of the onion rings and the mac and cheese created a sort of mac and cheese pie on top of the burger, with a crispy deep-fried onion crust. I really liked this burger, but I did dip the last few bites in some ketchup to add a little zip. It was rich. The side fries were thinly cut and just about perfect, as was the generous serving of spicy, creamy coleslaw. I even managed to ease my guilt from not having visited Moth Lane by enjoying a couple of small glasses of their Red Dirt Road red ale. They were a tasty and refreshing compliment to the rather heavy meal.

I’ve visited the Landing location on a number of occasions and I was really pleased to see the new brand didn’t affect the interior of the building. It’s the perfect space for a pub. The high, clear finished beadboard ceilings and the wooden benches and chairs give the room a classic barroom feel. The additional décor, with the bicycle hanging from the rafter, the chalkboard signs, and the kitchy nick knacks here and there add a laid-back touch that puts you at ease and makes you feel welcome.

After the burger I made a bee line to Lennox Island for a quick visit with the Sarks. Then I hauled ass back to the rink to meet my team and get busy answering questions. It was a tough night. I mean who would have remembered the theme song to Cagney and Lacey. There was also a fairly spirited debate among team members about whether the p in pH stood for percentage or parts. Turns out it was neither. Potential hydrogen. Who knew?

In the end, we were tied for second and third place. The tie breaker asked how many minutes of footage featured dinosaurs in the original Jurassic Park. We nailed the answer with 15 minutes and got second. We were bridesmaids again, but I’m feeling confident about next year.

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