Welcome to Halifax, where the people are friendly, the beer is flowing, and the seafood is so fresh it jumps into your mouth.
I arrived yesterday afternoon after a long day of flying. A rush-hour meander through Dartmouth and I was at my friend's door. She lives above a delicious smelling Chinese restaurant on Quinpool. After a happy dance in the kitchen and a hot cup of tea we were out on the street, catching up and meandering towards the Common to sit out in the sunshine.
The evening was rounded out with dinner and drinks in a pub downtown - The Old Triangle. The food was not exactly legendary, but it was most definitely a good start to the seafood bonanza that I hope this town has in store for me. We started with mussels in a white wine and lemon juice broth - Mussels Molly Malone. Then there were the bacon wrapped scallops. They pronounce them scawlups here, and I was corrected early on, certain not to make this mistake again while I am here.
I could definitely have had another 4 orders of those scallops though...
There was also an oven baked Haddock Au Gratin which was an interesting dish - flaky white fish and mashed potatoes in a cream sauce, dredged in melted cheese - methinks I found a new maritimey comfort food which might reappear in my own kitchen sometime soon.
The seafood chowder left much to be desired, though, with mostly fish and potatoes as the leading characters and nary a scallop or shrimp in sight.
Not exactly a spectacular meal, but hey, I only just arrived.
Tonight, on the other hand, was a meal that will go down in history as The Night We Ate Five Pounds of Mussels.
I learned how to clean the mussels properly, wedging them open from the back joint and loosening the mussel away from the shell to ensure it cooks evenly. My hand was a little tender after preparing so many mussels, but as they say, many hands make light work and before long all five pounds were boiling away on the stove in a pot of salted water. In the meantime we chopped about 2 cups of curly parsley and minced six cloves of garlic and added them to a cup of melted butter and let it simmer together as the mussels cooked. After about five minutes at a rapid boil the mussels had turned yellow with an orange-ish tinge and we knew they were done.
My friend Sam and I sat ourselves down at the table with the mussel mountain in front of us and got right down to business. We actually ate them all, with sourdough baguette to soak up all the leftover sauce. When the butter mixture commingles with the salty briny juice of the shellfish some sort of magic occurs. Everything was washed down with a lovely Italian white that was cool, crisp and mineral with a lingering acidity that balanced the buttery mussels quite perfectly.
I’ve only been here two days and I have yet to meet a meal I did not like. Pancakes for breakfast every morning too… I really could just stay… more soon.