Red’s Grill

June 20th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

The Prince Edward Island Town of Montague contains many pleasant surprises: A shop specializing in hot sauces. Pickups in a parking lot that (when in season) offer the best sweet corn ever. A waterfront dotted with extraordinary sculpture. A truck selling fresh fish. And, Red’s Grill (more about Red’s in a moment). HG/BSK were in Montague yesterday. Mundane errands. Fish guy was in business. Bought one pound of sparkling fresh haddock. Peckish HG/BSK lunched at Red’s, a food truck perched on the waterfront. Ordered fish tacos. Generous crisply fried haddock filets rested on soft tortillas containing an original slaw of red peppers, onions and lettuce. Pungent creamy dressing. Outstanding fish tacos. And, an eye-opening bargain. Two tacos to an order. About six dollars (US). And, the tacos were large. One order would have been sufficient for two hungry people. More fried haddock for dinner with asparagus and baby potatoes. Preceded by a dozen Malpeque oysters. Oh, well, muses HG. It’s a life. Somebody’s got to live it. Might as well be HG/BSK.

By The Bay Fish Mart. R.I.P.

June 17th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

For years, the freshest, cheapest seafood was available just a few minutes drive from HG/BSK’s home.
By the Bay Fish Mart in St. Peter’s was a staple, HG went there daily to pick up fresh fish, smoked salmon, oysters, mussels, lobsters, etc. The proprietor was Cheryll O’ Hanley, educator/actress/fish merchant. Well, bad news has arrived. By the Bay has closed. Permanently. Have been unable to reach Cheryll for an explanation. For fresh seafood, HG/BSK are now dependent on the fish counter at the Saturday Farmers Market in Charlottetown. Picked up salmon and haddock there for two meals. Both were splendid. Salmon was the best HG has ever tasted on PEI (Silver lining?). Also, there’s a fish truck in Montague and a fish truck in Morell. Have to inquire about their hours. Mussels and oyster and clams are daily available at Mussel King and Island Shellfish on Red Head Lane in Morell. Lobsters and Johnny Flynn’s Rollo Bay oysters are available at The Lobster Shack in Souris. Of course, Exquisite Maiko will still head down to the docks to load up on free mackerel. HG/BSK will, with regret, get by without By the Bay.

Lobster Supper At Ocean Mist Farms

June 16th, 2019 § 1 comment § permalink

On Prince Edward Island, lunch is “dinner” and dinner is “supper” and both tend to be delicious. Last night, HG/BSK, had a splendid lobster supper at BSK’s sister, Noel M.and her husband, Yossi’s Ocean Mist Farm. It is a fertile, rustic wonderland filled with fruit trees, a huge vegetable garden, grape vines, strawberries, and bushes loaded with raspberries, blackberries, and currants. Plus happy animals: Three handsome horses, a flock of sheep and three pink pigs. The property features a huge barn, assorted outbuildings and a charming farmhouse that have all been lovingly and tastefully renovated in a testament to Noel and Yossi’s endurance, strength and skills. Before moving to PEI, they built a log home and spacious barn in the Colorado Rocky Mountain foothills. Last night’s supper: Appetizers of hummus and local goat cheese with zaatar dusted pita (baked by Noel). Then on to much lobster (bought directly from friends who own a lobster boat), potato salad and wild asparagus from the Ocean Mist fields. Drank French rose. Ice cream for dessert and Bagaco PEI marc for after dinner sipping. Another happy time.

Wait! Wait! Wait!

June 14th, 2019 § 2 comments § permalink

As you readers may have ascertained, HG is not perfect. Close. But, not there yet (and time is running out). Perfection eludes because of a major character flaw: Impatience. Yes, it is impatience that makes HG an inferior cook (except for fried fish which only take a few minutes to cook). Impatience makes HG incompetent at solving puzzles, playing games, making even the most modest household repairs. In general, HG wants a hasty conclusion without the tedium of learning how to reach that conclusion. What causes this impatience? Growing up in a noisy, crowded Depression and wartime era New York? Working as a wire service journalist where a moment’s delay meant losing to a competitor? Don’t know. HG’s most maddening display of impatience comes when talking with others. Impatient HG has a tendency to interrupt BSK and finish BSK’s sentences. Makes BSK furious. “Can I finish a sentence, please?”, BSK implores. As the boss of a New York/New Jersey public relations firm, HG would often interrupt colleagues by shouting “Wait!! Wait!! Wait!!.” HG’s brilliant young protege, Bruce Maguire, once did a perfect imitation of HG at an office celebratory dinner. HG was in mid-sentence when Bruce bellowed “Wait!! Wait!! Wait!!.” Laughter followed. No longer a youngster, Bruce has far surpassed HG in his public relations career. Happily, Bruce and the enchanting Theresa T., will be visiting HG/BSK at their Prince Edward Island home this summer. They should arrive in a few weeks. HG can hardly wait!! wait!! wait!!

Tea

June 13th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Canadian-born BSK has many links to English culture and customs. BSK’s Mom was born in England and BSK’s Dad was the son of English emigrants to Canada. Thus, BSK was raised with a liking for “a cuppa” of tea. That is, a cup of properly brewed tea served from a teapot adorned with a heat retentive “tea cozy.” BSK scorns the American custom of putting a tea bag in a cup of hot water. (Feh!!). During many visits to London, HG/BSK enjoyed afternoon tea at Browns Hotel. Seated in comfortable armchairs, HG/BSK indulged in strong tea, cucumber sandwiches, scones with clotted Devonshire cream and jam, pastries. The tea appeased appetites until theater time. Post theater, HG/BSK favored the glamorous Savoy Grill for smoked salmon and Dover sole. (London was affordable in times past). BSK, to HG’s delight, has revived the afternoon tea tradition in Prince Edward Island. HG skips lunch in favor of a hearty breakfast. So, HG gets peckish in the afternoon. Voila!! A steaming “cuppa.” Plus the great Canadian pastry, Butter Tart. Shortbread-like round tart encloses a filling that resembles American pecan pie without the nuts. Never see Butter Tarts in the USA. Canadians won’t let them travel.

Chicken Curry and Next Day Congee

June 12th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Using the recipe from Vij’s cookbook as a guide, BSK often cooks comforting family style chicken curry. (Vikram Vij is a much-celebrated master of Indian fusion cuisine. His Vancouver restaurant is an HG/BSK favorite). For convenience, BSK usually cooks boneless/skinless chicken thighs. Last night, BSK decided to follow exactly Vij’s recipe. It called for cooking skin on/bone in thighs. When done, the skin and bones were removed and the chicken was shredded. It made a difference. This was curry, accompanied by fluffy jasmine rice, that called for second and even third helpings. Chutney, Prince Edward Island mustard pickles, sriracha were on the table as enhancements. Gahan’s Ale (brewed on PEI) was the beverage. Thankfully, there was leftover rice. That meant congee (rice porridge) for breakfast. BSK flavored it with grated ginger and mushrooms (Chinese dried) and added sliced sea scallops. Topped with a dash of chile oil. With steaming cafe latte, this was a great way to start the day. (This is how HG breakfasted with tea at Congee Noodle House when living in Vancouver, B.C. HG will revisit in November).

90!

June 10th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Yes, that’s how old HG will be on Nov. 9 (if luck holds out). Thoughtful Atlanta nephew Paul Freeman inquired if any event is planned. No. However, BSK, the loving, creative, capable wife of almost 56 years (July 2 is the anniversary) has kept HG alive and arranged the perfect 90 years birthday gift: One week in Vancouver, B.C., HG/BSK’s favorite big city. BSK secured a luxurious apartment with water views and building amenities including swimming pool, hot tub, fitness center. With BSK’s collaboration, HG will dine on Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese and Indian food. Vancouver is the most Asian city in North America and the food celebrates diversity. (HG will post full reports). HG is surprised at reaching such an august age. COPD (Thanks to 50 years of smoking and inhaling Marlboros,Gauloises, Gitanes and Punch Dark Maduro leaf cigars. ) hampers some of HG’s activities. But, HG gets great pleasure from New Mexico and Prince Edward Island. And, there’s the delights of being still in love with BSK. Much family pleasure from daughter Lesley R. and husband, Massimo; SJ and Exquisite Maiko, dazzling chef/wife; HG’s generous daughter, Victoria Freeman, and husband/chef, Marc Meyer, the great New York restaurant team. And, the array of wonderful grandchildren: Arianna and Sofia R. (now grown up with A. in her own loft/apartment and S., a recent graduate with honors from Columbia. Big Boy Haru and Teru, the glittering bundle of cuteness, will leave Tokyo and accompany SJ for a month stay (August) in Prince Edward Island. Maiko may not be able to leave her chef job. (No tempura or shumai, sob, sob!).! Yes, life’s good. Ninety is a lot but greedy HG wants more.

Haddock

June 9th, 2019 § 0 comments § permalink

Haddock is the perfect fish for frying. And, HG is expert at the art. Haddock is not available at Whole Foods in Santa Fe. So, when resident in New Mexico, HG substitutes very good Petrale Sole. Gently sautees (meuniere) the Petrale rather than frying. Happily, haddock flourishes in the seas off Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia so the glistening filets are sold super fresh. BSK was off to Charlottetown yesterday for Farmers Market and supermarket shopping. By the Bay Fish Mart in St. Peters is yet to open so BSK bought haddock and sea scallops at the Farmers Market seafood counter. Also picked up asparagus and tiny potatoes. (Sea scallops will top a salad dinner tomorrow). Last night’s dinner cooking was cooperative. BSK steamed the asparagus and cooked the spuds (showered with plentiful chopped dill when served). This is how HG fried the haddock: Filets were dipped in beaten egg. Then rolled in Madsden’s Fish Crisp, the excellent Canadian coating for pan frying. A big, trusty, aged and seasoned cast iron pan was pre-heated on the range. Canola oil was added and the heat turned to high. Pleasantly loud sizzling when the haddock hit the oil. Cooked for 50 seconds (or less) per side. On to a heated platter and adorned with dill, lemon juice and Frank’s Red Hot sauce. Haddock heaven.

Yiddish

June 8th, 2019 § 4 comments § permalink

Yiddish is a language that is always close to death but survives. Miraculously. Speakers and readers of Yiddish diminish due to old age, Israel’s embrace of Hebrew and, tragically, the Holocaust, which murdered millions of Eastern European Jews and their Yiddish culture. There is no other language that tops Yiddish in expressing irony, sarcasm and the bleak comedy of life. Yiddish words have multiple meanings. It’s all in the inflection. A number of Yiddish words have become part of everyday American English. Chutzpah. Schmuck. Shlep. Shtick. Tuchis (and its variants “tushie” and “tush”). There are more. On the edge of acceptance are the toasts “L’chaim” (to life!!) and “Gesundheit” (health). Anatomical words are gaining ground. “Puhlkes” (thighs). “Puzzeh” (large paunch). And, of course, “Putz” (penis). Hey, ‘Putz” may already have arrived.

Prince Edward Island At Last

June 7th, 2019 § 1 comment § permalink

Oh, joy. We’ve arrived at our oceanside paradise. Crisp, clean, bracing air. Infinite sea views. And, that ultimate luxury in a noisy world: Quiet. As usual, the sunsets are spectacular. With more than 40 feet of windows facing the sea, the changes in weather–fog, sun, mist, clouds–and colors–gold, grey, green, violet–provide visual delight. Since the Islanders are Canadian (most from Scotch/Irish stock), manners are gentle and helpfulness is part of their character (as is the love of music and dance celebrated in weekly “ceilighs”, homespun evening of music and song). And, of course, there’s food. Last night was a meal of plump, juicy mussels preceded by shucked oysters from the Savage Harbor beds. These oysters have a sublime texture and are sweet rather than briny. They need a squeeze of lemon or BSK’s Mignonette sauce (shallots and vinegar). Oysters cost 65 cents (US) each and mussels are modestly priced. HG paid three dollars (US) for 2.5 pounds. By the Bay Fish Mart in St. Peters hasn’t opened yet but HG/BSK are looking forward to meals featuring their cod, hake, haddock, sole, halibut and salmon. Plus clams (steamers and quahogs), baby shrimp for salads, tiger shrimp for pan broiling with garlic, olive oil, parsley and red pepper flakes. Lobsters (cooked or live). Lobster boats are busy in the waters a few hundred yards from HG/BSK’s shore. BSK’s sister, Noel M., and husband, Yossi, have invited HG/BSK to a lobster feast next week. Sadly, BSK is allergic to crustaceans. Not HG who is eager to tear into those tasty sea treats.

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