You will note our travel blog presents our numerous international trips, with none from Canada, and only Milford House from our province of Nova Scotia.  Our travels over the past 10+ years have predominantly been international but with Covid-19 limiting those opportunities we have taken a number of short trips within Nova Scotia the past couple of years.  Below is a record of those trips, along with a section at the end of the numerous take-out meals we enjoyed during the severe lockdowns during the early days of Covid-19.

Note that chronologically the entries are from most recent to oldest.  We suggest your read the blog in this order, i.e. from top to bottom, given some of the commentary at the beginning of sections.  Enjoy

July 09, 2022 - Dartmouth to Hubbards to Summerville Beach 
                              to Cooper's Inn, Shelburne

As we will have someone new house-sitting to look after Toledo (our dog) and Duke (our cat) when we go to Greece in September we thought it appropriate to have him over for a 'trial run'.  As it turned out he connected well with both Toledo and Duke such that we are confident all will be good.

As we had not been to Shelburne in some 40 years, and Cooper's Inn looked like a nice B&B we decided to head there for the weekend.  On the way we stopped in Hubbards to drop in on the fellow who built the addition to our house back in 1990, and recently re-sealed our skylights to address leakage.  We had a nice visit with Ian.  As we left we passed Queensland Beach which was jam packed on this beautiful summer Saturday afternoon.

After quick stops in Mahone Bay and Blockhouse to buy some our favourite mushroom pate and a loaf of bread we continued on to our next stop being Summerville Beach where we had lunch at the Quarterdeck, on their outdoor deck mere feet away from the ocean.  Fish and chips for me and a vegetarian burger for Gayle overlooking the ocean and beach.

We arrived in Shelburne late afternoon to check in to Cooper's Inn.  Built in c1785 in the aftermath of the American Revolution as pro-British refugees flooded into Shelburne, the original structure, made of vertical logs served as both a store and the home of a blind man - George Gracie.  Gracie was a refugee merchant from Boston who became one of two representatives of Shelburne County in the Nova Scotia House of Assembly.

During the 1987/1988 restoration it was determined the Inn was built in two stages - the north side was built first and is where the owners' accommodation is located (the logs are sill in place in the walls), followed by the south side.  It is believed the vertical log walls were sailed up from Boston in Gracie's ship the 'Experiment' and reassembled on site.  The south side was added over a period of serval years up to 1805.  The smaller building at the rear of the main house was used as a cooperage from about 1904 until 1917 when J Chandley Smith built a new Barrel Factory across the street.  Barrels are still made there today.  This building is estimated to be 150 or more years old with the Shelburne Barrel Factory being a vibrant business to this day.

We were warmly greeted by Amanda who bought and took over the inn only three weeks previously.  A wonderful story that this young (early thirties) women took a leap, moved from Ontario to Shelburne, purchased the Inn and is starting a new life.  Very brave of her.  Amanda is very personable, spending considerable time chatting with guests, often accompanied by her dog Chilo.  Although ending just prior to our arrival one very nice thing Amanda does is host an hour of guest mingling, with wine and/or other beverages.  It is something we experienced in the south of the US (Georgia, South Carolina) and a great opportunity to meet other guests and share experiences.  The next day we met a couple from Calgary with whom we had a nice chat.

Having had a significant lunch we had no need for dinner.  We enjoyed our bread and mushroom pate before wandering outside to a bench on the waterfront from where we watched the sun set and the resulting vibrant colours.

Queensland beach, Hubbards.

Summerville beach.                                                                 Nova Scotia coastline (near Hubbards)

Fish and chips and a veggie burger at the Quarterdeck, Summerville, enjoyed right on the edge of the ocean.

Near Summerville.

We stayed in the Gracie Room, named after the Inn's original owner.  The elegant and spacious second floor room features a king size four poster bed.  There is an en-suite four piece bath - the tub was very nice.  Two comfy wing chairs and a huge Boston Fern made the the room attractive and comfortable.  The north faces the head of the harbour while to the west is the oldest operating cooperage in North America.

The Gracie room, Cooper's Inn.                                            North looking view from the room to the harbour.

Four poster bed with Cooper to welcome us.

Cooper's Inn from the south (looking north).                        Cooper's Inn as seen from the north (looking south).

Upon arriving, on our bed was a teddy bear with a card that read 

"Hello... My name is Cooper.  If you love me as much as I'll love you then let's go home together and you can introduce me to my new family.  Gotta Love a CUDLY COOPER!  You should know that I sleep through the night, I'm cuddly, I don't cry, I promise to be good, I don't eat a lot .... did I mention I'm Cuddly?  You won't be lonely when we're together.  You may want to know more about my name.  A 'cooper' is a person that builds or repairs casks or barrels like the folks across from the Inn.  It takes years to develop the skills required to build a quality barrel.  Though our neighbours didn't build me, I'm pretty well stitched as you can see.  Bet You weren't Expecting Me!  There are no strings attached.  Please take me home with you, I'm free!!!"

Cooper (or Shelburne as Gayle calls him) was taken home, as requested, and quickly became friends with Toledo.

One VERY BIG Adirondack chair on the Shelburne waterfront.

Flower baskets with a bit of history throughout town.

We were treated to a wonderful sunset to end a wonderful day.

July 10, 2022 - Cooper's Inn, Shelburne

In addition to being served breakfast a huge benefit of B&Bs such as The Cooper's Inn, as opposed to hotels or Air B&Bs, is the opportunity to meet other travelers.  Over a wonderful breakfast we chatted with a mom and daughter from Sudbury, Ontario who were based at the Cooper's Inn here in Shelburne while visiting Nova Scotia for a week.  Being a small town we crossed paths with them a few more times over the day.

As it was another beautiful, sunny day we went for a walk along the harbour front, admiring the many beautiful and historic buildings.  With my knees continuing to be a bit of a problem I had a walking stick with me which Gayle had some fun with, doing a song and dance routine in one of the parks.  Although we didn't go into any of the museums we did stop at the Fishermen's Memorial and the Sunday market.  We smelled the roses (photo below) and sat on the many benches to gaze out across the harbour and simply enjoy the views of the ocean.  

We spent a considerable time in the beautiful Cooper's Inn garden where we had a nice long chat with Amanda, the very recent - three weeks - new owner of the Inn.  What is so amazing is that Amanda, from Ontario and only in her early thirties, is living her dream of investing in and owning an inn here in Nova Scotia.  A very confident young women it is wonderful to see someone of a younger generation take such a huge leap to move and invest as she has done.  Amanda spent a considerable amount of time chatting with us, another benefit of B&Bs.  We have said before but will say again it is thanks to those like Amanda who invest in and manage boutique hotels like the Cooper's Inn that travelers such as us get to experience interesting and often historical places to stay.  Our only regret is that we did not get a photo of Amanda's dog Chilo.

We had a bottle of Prosecco that we enjoyed sitting on a park bench on the edge of the harbour before going to dinner .  What a great setting to relax prior to a short walk to Charlotte Lane Cafe for dinner.  Overall dinner was decent but there were too many menu changes to make it great.  The option of a flight of Tidal Bay wines (Grand Pre, Jost and Luckett) was nice.  We each ordered a flight.  From an aroma perspective I liked the Jost while Gayle chose the Grand Pre.  With respect to body / taste and finish we both preferred the Grand Pre.  

We them shared what was supposed to be an heirloom tomato salad with basil.  On the one hand the champagne dressing was very nice and the salad tasty but the tomatoes were cherry, not heirloom as advertised.  Gayle had been looking forward to the mushroom and roquefort ravioli but sadly there were no mushrooms.  Rather the chef substituted cauliflower and we're still looking for the roquefort - we could not taste any.  We were advised in advance and Gayle did decide to order the ravioli just the same, and while good it was not mushroom.  I had the scallops - very succulent but the potatoes were roasted, not crispy smashed as advertised and the scallops were to be served with lobster sauce, but that too was replaced - with lemon-butter cream.  There were just too many substitutes.  Dessert on the other hand, a three layered chocolate mousse cake was excellent.

We returned to our new favourite park bench where we enjoyed a last glass of Prosecco, and watched a school of fish jumping in the harbour.  Sunset was again very colourful.

Breakfast with a choice of yoghurt and granola; pancakes covered in blueberries or traditional eggs, bacon, sausage or ham, potato patties and toast, everything served with fruit and a flower.

Some of the historic buildings along Shelburne's Dock Street.

With my bad knees I had just purchased a walking stick.   Here Gayle is showing it off with a little dance routine.

The south-west coast of Nova Scotia has lost many fishermen over the years.  There is a beautiful memorial on the waterfront to recognize these men and women.

Each Sunday during the summer the Shelburne Guild Hall organizes a market, complete with musicians, crafts, fruit and vegetables.

There are many historical homes throughout Shelburne.

Some of the historic homes along Shelburne's Dock Street.

The lovely garden at Cooper's Inn, accentuated by a small stream of gurgling water.

A couple of whimsical sightings - the mermaid in front of a house and the SS Cooper in the Cooper's Inn garden.

Enjoying the sun on a park bench.                                             Getting ready for our Prosecco.

Amanda, the new owner of Cooper's Inn.

A selection of colourful flowers ...

In barrel buckets outside Charlotte Lane Cafe.                       Roses in the nice grassy areas next to the harbour.

In Cooper's Inn garden.                                                         Along the road.

Nothing like enjoying some Prosecco on a bench overlooking the harbour on a beautiful warm and sunny day.

A planter outside Charlotte Lane Cafe.

'Heirloom' tomato salad.                                                          Cauliflower roquefort ravioli.

Scallops with veggies and roasted potatoes.                            A delicious 3 layer chocolate mouse cake for dessert.

We know these ripples perhaps look like waves but they are actually fish of some variety.  The video shows the fish in motion.

Another night, another gorgeous sunset over Shelburne's harbour.

July 11, 2022 - Cooper's Inn, Shelburne to Dartmouth

Sadly we awoke to a flat tire.  A bit strange as we had not driven the car yesterday but after having CAA change the tire we did see a small screw that no doubt caused a slow leak.  All in all two hours to wait for CAA, have the tire changed, find a garage and have the tire fixed, but we were then back on the road.

About 45 minutes from Shelburne we took a road to the coast to Thomas Raddall Provincial Park and East Side Port L'Hebert.  Being a hot day and without water we decided not to walk to the beach but this certainly appeared to be a great place to camp and hike.  We took a couple of small dirt roads that did not end at the ocean but rather somewhere in the forest - a bit of a waste.  East Port L'Hebert itself is nothing really - no stores, nothing other than a wharf, a few lobster trawlers, lots of lobster traps and a nice beach.  Along the way back we stopped by Path Lake where we finished our loaf of bread and mushroom pate, seeing a couple of beautiful herons fly by.  A very peaceful, restful spot.

From there it was a drive home, bringing to an end a very enjoyable weekend getaway.

Another day; another wonderful breakfast.  Gayle had some baked beans and tomatoes with her eggs while I had the French toast with real whipped cream.

The beach at East Port L'Hebert.

Trawlers and newer style lobster traps at East Port L'Hebert wharf.

A large inventory of traditional wooden lobster traps.

Path Lake on the way to East Port L'Hebert.

This sign pretty much says it all.  

While losing American and travelers from other parts of the world Nova Scotia accommodations actually were quite busy, particularly in 2021 with vacancies often hard to find.

While of course disappointed to not be able to travel internationally we enjoyed a number of 'staycations' as presented below. 

Salty Rose - October 05 - 07, 2021

We so much enjoyed our brief stay the previous year at Salty Rose, we returned again for three nights this year.  Salty Rose is comprised of six cottages on the ocean about 13 km past Lunenburg near the village of Rose Bay.  When we first inquired in August they were booked solid but fortunately there was a cancellation that allowed us to stay early October.

This time we stayed, in Rosewood, a large studio cottage similar to the one bedroom we stayed in last year but without the wall separating the bedroom from the living area.

We were of course very pleased with the cottage (as we knew we would), especially the views of the sunrise from our bedroom window.  A screened-in porch and a large wrap-around deck provide considerable outdoor space.

The weather during our stay was perfect - sunny each day with temperatures reaching the low 20s.  A wonderful stretch for early October.

A large bright 'living' area with leather couches and a fireplace.  Off to the side of this space was virtually a full kitchen, except for an oven (although there was a toaster oven).

Rosewood is a studio with the bed area open to the rest of the cottage.

The cottage comes with a nice whirlpool.

Outside deck with Adirondack chairs.

Views out the cottage windows to the ocean.

The screened in porch, again with views to the ocean.

As is our tradition dinner the first night was a selection of meats and cheeses along with a couple of salads, bread and a bottle of Muga, with many of the meats and cheeses from Ratinaud.

Cheese, wine and a fire - it doesn't get much better than this.

What a wonderful treat it was to wake up to this sunrise.

A number of colourful Adirondack chairs in which to relax.

On the right our cottage - Rosewood, reflected in the pond.

Views to the ocean from the grounds of Salty Rose.

Toledo certainly enjoyed his time away.

Fall flowers and berries on the Salty Rose property.

Another day; another spectacular sunrise.

'Homemade' breakfast in our screened in porch looking out to the ocean.

At Oxner's Beach on the other side of Riverport.

For dinner we did take-out from the nearby Bayport Pub.

The table is set, looking out to the ocean - herbed tomato soup and a 'Grown Up Grilled Cheese' with Granny Smith apples.

Sweet potato fries with gochujang curry mayo.

Breaded pork schnitzel - panko crusted tenderized pork loin with mushroom gravy and cheesy spatz.

A house overlooking Rose Bay in Kingsburg.                      Fishing boats in Feltzen South.

After three wonderful days we packed up and sadly left Salty Rose, with the intention to certainly return again.

The drive home took us through Mahone Bay with this being their annual 
scare crow weekend, with a number of creative displays.

We ate lunch at Mateus, starting with a bowl of carrot / ginger soup, an artichoke baguette (marinated artichoke hearts, fresh local tomatoes, swiss cheese on a lightly toasted baguette, served with side salad and potato wedges) and (not pictured) a Smoked Chicken Club (in-house smoked chicken with cranberry aioli, asiago cheese, back bacon on fresh seven grain bread, served with mixed green salad and potato wedges).

Art on the wall of Mateus.

Fall colours in Mahone Bay - pumpkins, rose hips and 'tickle' plants.


                                      Milford House - July 25 - 27, 2021

As we have done for no doubt over a dozen years we spent three nights at Milford House during the summer, in our favourite cottage - Little.  

Having been here many times and with its own tab of the travel blog dedicated to Milford House here are only a few photos from this year's stay.

Although it was July and reasonably nice it was not super hot, with a small fire to finish the evening. 

Setting up for breakfast.

The large deck overlooking the lake.

As a surprise I took and set up the hammock for Gayle.  

For us Milford House is a place to relax, to just chill out, and Toledo knows how to do this to a 'T'.

The chair on the dock - a special place to sit and enjoy the quiet.

A solo canoeist crossing the peaceful and tranquil lake.

Oceanstone Seaside Resort - February 9 - 10, 2021

During October 2020 we took three day trips throughout Nova Scotia, one of which was to Peggy's Cove.  On the way we passed Oceanstone Seaside Resort, a place we had heard very good things about.  We decided to stop to eat at the Resort's Rhubarb Restaurant where we enjoyed a very nice lunch.

Oceanstone is comprised of a lodge, in which the restaurant and a number of rooms are located and five cottages, some of which are directly adjacent to the ocean.

After enjoying lunch in the fall and sadly being unable to travel to Costa Rica where we were going to recognize Gayle's 65th birthday, we decided to head down to Oceanstone in the middle of the winter for Gayle's birthday on February 9th.  We stayed in one of the cottages directly adjacent to the ocean - Periwinkle.

Periwinkle is a two bedroom cottage overlooking the ocean.

It was bitterly cold while we were at Oceanstone (mid February) making a fire to provide additional heat most 

This is Gayle's 65th birthday.  The plan was to stay at an isolated lodge - only way in is by boat - in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica - the Golfo Dulce Retreat.  However Covid 19 put an end to those plans leaving this as the next best thing.  Unfortunately Covid 19 also limited service at Oceanstone in that the restaurant was closed, although there was the option to order delivery to your room.  As well breakfast was somewhat limited and only take-out.

Katrina did a wonderful thing by driving out to Oceanstone before we arrived to put up some balloons in our cottage and drop off a huge birthday cookie and other treats.  Very thoughtful and appreciated.

Katrina brought the balloons and cookie; I the roses and some chocolate.

We brought Cava and a bottle of our favourite red wine - Muga, ordered a bit off the menu but also did cheese and meat boards accompanied by bread, some artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, cherries and apple slices.

It was bitterly cold - making it not so pleasant for taking Toledo outside - but we were treated to a wonderful sunset.

As can be seen it was a beautiful sunny day, but COLD - very very cold!

Toledo napping beside the warm fire.                                    Periwinkle cottage from the outside.

We ordered mushroom tartlets and a Thai dish - vegetarian for Gayle and chicken and shrimp for me.  The food was generally good - not spectacular but good.   With the kitchen facilities it was easy to warm everything up.  Not as nice as eating in the restaurant but a decent alternative option.

Another day; another colourful sunset.

While we of course wished we were in a much warmer climate, enjoying the experience of Golfo Dulce we are grateful to have the opportunity to enjoy a beautiful place here in Nova Scotia.

Salty Rose - September 15 - 16, 2020

Milford House - September 17 - 18, 2020

The Beach House - September 19 - 20, 2020

We decided to go on a bit of a getaway mid-September.  While we enjoyed our annual trip to Milford House in July, without international travel due to Covid we were anxious to get away again.  Originally we planned two nights at Salty Rose - cabins near Rose Bay we had driven by a number of times and highly recommended by our friends Linda and Bill, and then another two nights at the School House in nearby Kingsburg, perhaps our favourite place in Nova Scotia.

After booking we were contacted by the owner of the School House to let us know their daughter was visiting from California and would be quarantining in the School House.  They offered their other property, the (larger) Beach House (at the same price) but not until two nights later.  We contemplated various options (only going to Salty Rose, although we could not extend our stay; returning home for the two in-between days and then returning to the Beach House; or spending the two days at Milford House, albeit our regular cottage, Little, was (not available).  Ultimately we decided to return to Milford House for the two in-between nights.

The Beach House, Kingsburg - September 19 - 20, 2020

Our final stop was The Beach House in Kingsburg.  We love Kingsburg, taking a day trip there once a year.  The view cresting the hill over the pond to the beach and ocean is simply special, something we look forward to each and every time.

Having some time we took a less direct route, south to Liverpool and then after reaching Mill Village driving along the coast.

The drive took us through East Port Medway, Voglers Cove, Broad Cove, Petite Riviere Bridge, Risser's Beach and onto the LaHave Islands.  From there it was through Dublin Short to LaHave where we crossed the LaHave River on the ferry.  It was then a short drive through Rose Bay and on to Kingsburg.

A fish shack and fishing village on Bell Island along the Atlantic Ocean coast.

More coastal scenery.

There were shorebirds ...

... and beaches

At least there is one benefit to Covid-19 - waiving the ferry fee on the short five-minute crossing.

The view across the pond to the Duckworth properties - the Beach House is to the left.

Kingsburg was founded in 1787 when King George III issued a land grant to five foreign Protestant settlers.  Kingsburg was a mixed fishing and farming community until the mid 20th century when the fishing culture disappeared due to the decline of the small-scale Atlantic fishery.

John Duckworth and his partner Anne Fouillard are prominent real estate agents in the area of Kingsburg, Lunenburg and surrounding areas.  They own two buildings in Kingsburg that they rent out, a +/- 160 year old school house that has been restored and turned into a cozy year round home and the Beach House.  

The Swiss-German village is comprised of + / - 200 year old classic Cape Cod style homes, including the recently built, but in the traditional style Beach House, which fronts on a small, quaint, centuries-old settlers cemetery.  

It is only 300 feet through the beach grass to the often barren, beautiful, half-mile long Kingsburg Beach, fronting King Bay.

The Beach House

Nice chairs on the deck, with an unobstructed view of the cemetery.  Spirits only drunk; not seen.

Inside the Beach House - the kitchen area, the living space and one of the bedrooms with an antique bed.

In spite of the sun it was still the second half of September, necessitating the blanket.

Looking across Kingsburg's pond.

A portion of Kingsburg Beach.

Birds, birds and more birds - crows lining the Beach House roof, migrating Canada Geese, and lots of crows filling the sky.

In terms of food the first night we had some leftovers, including a salad, cheese, brown bread we bought along the way and a meat plate.   The second night we did take-out from the Rose Bay General Store with me splurging on a lobster roll.

On the south-west side of the peninsula is Hirtle's Beach, a nature enthusiast's paradise.  The beach is ever changing at the whim of the ocean, comprised of "... more than three kilometers of white sand, rolling surf, fresh sea air, drumlin cliffs and breathtaking views".

In spite of it being well into September and the ocean no doubt quite cold, there were a few brave souls swimming.

... and a number walking their dogs.

Near the Beach House were these rose hips, and just outside the 'house' this apple tree.

Sunrise over the ocean and sunset behind the Beach House.

Having a relatively early check-out (10:00 am) and being in no particular hurry to get back home, after passing through Lunenburg we decided to take a drive out to Blue Rocks and then further to Stonehurst East and West.

It is a very scenic drive with beautiful coastal scenery and a number of Nova Scotia fishing villages.  Interesting carvings and art and of course lots of lobster traps.

Very glad we took the time to see a bit more of Nova Scotia.

A fishing shed adorned with fishing buoys, nets etc.

Quintessential coastal Nova Scotia.

We certainly saw some interesting sights during our drive.

And then there are relatively common sites in Nova Scotia - deer, and of course lobster traps.

And Great Blue Herons - lots of great blue herons.

Role reversal - a fishing shack in the water and a small boat on land.

Milford House - September 17 - 18, 2020

Our second stop, rather than cutting our trip short or returning home for two nights was a stay at Milford House.  Our 'go to' cottage - Little - was not available resulting in us choosing an alternative - Kingfisher.  Each cottage at Milford House is unique.  Kingfisher is a a bit less isolated but still very private.  It has a much larger living space than Little, although a smaller deck, albeit a portion is screened in.  All in all it was a nice cottage.  As well, being on the west side of the promontory Kingfisher has the benefit of the sunsets.

Only two cottages (and not Little or Kingfisher) are 'winterized'.  As the temperatures begin to dip in September it does, and did get very chilly during the night.   Each cottage has a large fireplace along with a supply of dried hardwood, a necessity to keep at least somewhat warm.

It is custom for us to have spaghetti when at Milford House, a reminder of our camping days.  We did so the first evening this trip, while on the second night we ate at the Lodge where we enjoy their homestyle cooking.

In retrospect it was a good decision to fill in the two days at Milford House.

Our arrival at Kingfisher.

A portion of the large open living space, with fireplace.

Our bedroom, the hall and the bathroom with both a shower and claw-foot tub.

The screened in porch area stocked with firewood.               The 'outdoor' deck overlooking the lake.

Lots of interesting photos and stuff on the walls.

Our spaghetti dinner.

As mentioned the sunset was nice.                                         Fires in the evening and first thing in the morning.

Milford House lodge provides breakfasts and dinners.  The food is good country cooking - perhaps not Michelin star but filling and tasty.  There are always three choices, one of which is vegetarian.  Although there are no photos of the desserts they were particularly delicious.

The MH dining room with its hanging Gates canoe.

A delicious walnut, apple, and cranberry salad to start the meal.

Gayle then enjoyed a hearty Mexican bean stew.

And I the salmon with a double baked potato and corn.

Kingfisher cottage as seen from the lake.                              The view of the lake from our deck.

Salty Rose - September 15 - 16, 2020

Next (actually our first stop) was Salty Rose, six cottages on the ocean about 13 km past Lunenburg near the village of Rose Bay.  We had admired the property, and its cottages, during our annual trips to nearby Kingsburg.  Our friends Bill and Linda had stayed here, and recommended the cottages highly.  

One of the downsides is the limited places to eat nearby (Bayport Pub and Rose Bay General Store being the only options without driving back to Lunenburg) but the cottages have a virtually complete kitchen - the only thing missing is a proper oven, there being a toaster oven to heat things up.  The cottages are modern, with a wood stove, lovely screened-in porch and wrap around deck with Adirondack chairs and spectacular views across the grassy area and pond to the ocean beyond.

The weather cooperated nicely, being sunny and warm during both days of our stay.

Entrance to the Salty Rose property.                                     Our cottage, Bayberry, as seen from the beach.

The entrance and deck to the cottage.                                   The screened in porch area.

A few photos of inside the cottage - the living area, the bedroom with its window to the ocean, and the kitchen.

Our charcuterie board and cheese plate for dinner followed by a warm fire.

We awoke to a nice sunrise, glistening off the calm ocean as the sun rose during the early morning.

Gayle and Toledo enjoying their walks on the beach.

Bayberry cottage, as seen from the front. 

Gayle enjoying her morning coffee and cheese soaking in the sun.

During the fall of 2020 we took a few days trips - the first during fall foliage season through Nine Mile River, Upper Rawdon, Brooklyn with a stop at Avondale Sky Winery.  A couple of weeks later we did the loop to Peggy's Cove, and then finally a drive to the Eastern Shore and Clam Harbour.  Following is some of the wonderful Nova Scotia scenery right in our backyard.

In reverse order.

Our 3rd day trip, on November 10, 2020, was a drive to the Eastern Shore, out past East Jeddore to Clam Harbour Provincial Park, and then on to Owl's Head.  Clam Harbour was more or less isolated as we walked the beach, giving Toledo an opportunity to stretch his legs.  It was brisk but with little wind and the sun shining actually quite nice.  Most of the area is primarily spruce and the hardwood had lost most of its leaves but like our previous day trips it was very enjoyable to see part of Nova Scotia.

Map of the Eastern Shore on the 107 past Porters Lake then connecting to Hwy 7 through Musquodobit Harbour to Lake Charlotte where we took the road to Clam Harbour Beach Provincial Park, Owl's Head, Debaie's Cove, Ship Harbour and then back to Lake Charlotte to complete the loop. 

We had the beach virtually to ourselves.                                Gentle ocean waves.

Enjoying the fresh air (and perhaps taking a bit of a rest having walked most of the beach before turning around to head back.)

In Clam Harbour of course one would expect to find a clam shell.

A nice natural dock seen on the drive along Ship Harbour bay.

Some of the tranquil scenery.

Our second drive, on October 22, 2020, was to Peggy's Cove during which we stopped for lunch at Rhubarb, the restaurant at Oceanstone Resort.

Peggy's Cove is THE  Nova Scotia tourist spot.  We don't visit often but each time really do appreciate the beauty of the village.

It was another beautiful day so we hopped in the car and enjoyed a wonderful drive.  We did the trip counter-clockwise through Tantallon, along Highway 333 through Glen Haven, Glen Margaret and Hackett's Cove to Indian Harbour where we stopped for lunch at Rhubarb (photos of lunch presented in the Oceanstone section).  Then it was on to Peggy's Cove for a walk on the granite rocks and to Bayside, Prospect Bay and back to Halifax.

The drive is primarily along the ocean, providing nice vistas of coves, streams, etc.

Of course there were lots of seabirds, including this one 'walking on water'.

We soon arrived at Oceanstone Resort and the accompanying Rhubarb restaurant where we stopped for lunch, including a delicious bowl of tomato soup.

I had the two piece fish and chips while Gayle enjoyed a personal sized pizza with accompanying salad.

An excellent lunch in a wonderful setting.

It was then back on the road.

As we approached Peggy's Cove the ground was covered with bright red shrubs while the sun glistened off the ocean.

And then the iconic lighthouse.

Even on a very calm day the waves crashed against the shore.

There is nothing more peaceful or soothing then soaking in the sun on the rocks of Peggy's Cove.

Someone is happy to get a kiss.

Along with the lighthouse Peggy Cove's harbour gets its fair share of photos.

After we left Peggy's Cove, driving through Bayside towards Prospect Bay the ground was covered with these red bushes.

The bushes were a nice backdrop for photos of Toledo and Gayle.

And finally a seagull leaving his/her rock with the colours of the fall foliage reflected in the ocean. 

Our first day trip was during fall foliage season through Nine Mile River, Upper Rawdon, Brooklyn with a stop at Avondale Sky Winery.  A couple of weeks later we did the loop to Peggy's Cove, and then finally a drive to the Eastern Shore and Clam Harbour.  Following is some of the wonderful Nova Scotia scenery right in our backyard.

First up is our fall foliage trip on October 18, 2020.  The drive took us to Enfield, then through Nine Mile River, across through Upper Rawdon to Newport with a short side trip to Avondale Sky Winery.  We then returned through Ellershouse, and back to Dartmouth.

On our drive to Nine Mile River we started to see the colourful foliage along with this somewhat strange collection of blue bottles.

After which it was colour, colour and more colour.

There were cows ...

... and bogs ... and pumpkins ... and dogs ...

... and thistles ... and churches ...

We made a stop at Avondale Sky Winery, another of Nova Scotia's boutique wineries, where we enjoyed a nice lunch followed by a walk along the edge of the vineyards.

A spinach, apple and walnut salad; a charcuterie board and a sampling of the wines of Avondale Sky, enjoyed on a glorious sunny afternoon.

The stained glass windows in the shop were very impressive, particularly with the afternoon sun shining through.

                                         Wolfville - August 22 - 24, 2020

This year is our 40th anniversary.  The plan was to more or less replicate our honeymoon.  I had wanted to return to France while Gayle had her sights on Greece.  In the spirit of compromise we added two weeks (making five) to our honeymoon and went to both.  Forty years later the plan was to do the same - through the Loire valley (with our first stop at what looks like a wonderful chateau - Chateau Vauloge) and south to the Pyrenees, then flying from Toulouse to Athens were the islands were going to be different (Koufonissi, Amorgos, Schinoussa and Naxos) but the experience no doubt much the same.  

However Covid-19 put an end to that plan.  Being limited to travel within Nova Scotia we decided to spend our anniversary at a Bed and Breakfast in Wolfville - The Stella Rose.

Our first stop on the way was lunch at Luckett Vineyards.

Luckett Vineyards was launched in 2010 by Pete Luckett, a Brit who made it big in the specialized grocery business, first in New Brunswick and then Nova Scotia.  

The vineyard is located in the beautiful Gaspereau Valley, looking north to Blomidon.

Here in the middle of the vineyard is an authentic British phone box ... and it works!  A few years ago we went to Luckett's for lunch with our friends from Ontario Wendy and Steve, while they were visiting Nova Scotia.  Here Steve is chatting with his brother-in-law in New York!

Gayle had the grilled cheese sandwich with fries, and I a hefty beef sandwich.

My meal was accompanied by a delicious coconut carrot soup.

Here Gayle is reflected in her glass of Tidal Bay.

After lunch we continued on and checked into the Stella Rose B&B in the university town (Acadia) of Wolfville.

The map is from our home in Dartmouth to Stella Rose in Wolfville.

Stella Rose B&B on the main street of Wolfville.

Our room - Sunrise Terrace.

As is the case most every time we travel in Nova Scotia our meal the first night is a charcuterie board of meats and cheeses, with a bottle of Spanish Muga wine.

Our 40th anniversary started with a delicious breakfast on the terrace.  

We started with a nice fruit salad smothered with yoghurt after which I enjoyed the English breakfast with sausage, mushrooms, tomato and potatoes, while Gayle had the eggs benedict.  

A great start to the day.

We spent most of the day simply relaxing in our room and on our terrace.

We had a light lunch of left-over charcuterie and a bottle of Muga Cava.

As mentioned, today is our 40th anniversary so it felt appropriate to reminisce which included looking at our wedding photo album.  

Here are a few photos from that special day.

For dinner we went to the Blomidon Inn, the iconic inn of Wolfville.

Being a beautiful day we were able to eat outside on the deck.

Due no doubt to Covid-19 it was not very busy - almost private - I started with a seafood chowder while Gayle sipped her wine.  Then Gayle had a black bean / vegetable concoction - the only vegetarian offering on the menu.

I enjoyed a nice piece of halibut with an apricot glaze.

Desserts were very good - a delicious piece of chocolate cake and fruit crepes.

The living room (never used due to the nice weather) and a number of shots of the large terrace, adorned with flowers and plants.

Another very tasty breakfast - this could be habit forming - an baked egg dish - all vegetables for Gayle.

With bacon added for me.

The Annapolis Valley, in proximity to Wolfville, Grand Pre, Canning and Gasperau has become a centre for wine.  There are a number of wineries in the area - 12 in total - that can be visited.  We decided to avail ourselves of the tour offered by Neil as one certainly does not want to drive while tasting.  Plus Neil provided us much history of each of the wineries at which we stopped.  In total we visited five wineries

Our first stop was just east of Wolfville, at Mercator Vineyards.  In the early years, the property was a working farm and later a farmer's market.  The original estate vineyard was planted in 2006.  The property was then purchased in 2013 after which, for a couple of years, the owners concentrated on re-establishing the vineyard.  The newly renovated farmhouse reinforces the commitment to connecting the history of the land and farm, with a number of artifacts, to the present day.

The wine shop and some of the artifacts at Mercator Vineyards.

Our first tasting flight.                                                                Shawna, our tasting guide      and        Neil.

The actual vineyards - we actually enjoyed the Rose so much we returned the next day to purchase four bottles.

Grand Pré was the trailblazer - the first winery in the Annapolis Valley.  Hanspeter Stutz, owner and father, is a visionary who first took a leap of faith in 1994 by establishing the Grand Pré winery and in doing so launching the Nova Scotia wine industry.  It was in 2000, after years of viticulture and renovations the doors of Domaine de Grand Pré were opened  Included within the property are lush gardens, tended vines, a cobblestone courtyard and Le Caveau restaurant, all with the ambiance of European charm.

The beautiful wrought iron restaurant sign.                           Rows of tended vines.

A couple of Grand Pre's wine offerings.                                 Our fav NS white - Tidal Bay.        Our tasting flight.

From Wolfville we drove the 7 km to Gaspereau Vineyards, not surprisingly located in the Gaspereau Valley.

Gaspereau Vineyards is a boutique winery nestled amongst 50 acres of rolling countryside, on the former site of a dairy farm and apple orchard.  The boutique winery has operated in the replica of a historic barn since 2004, providing wine tasting, vineyard tours, charcuterie pairings and shopping opportunities.

Gaspereau's version of Tidal Bay.                                           A nice outdoor space to enjoy a tasting of wines.

Some of the Gaspereau vineyards.

Our fourth stop was Benjamin Bridge.  Beginning in 2009 Benjamin Bridge has distinguished itself as one of Canada's premier sparkling wine houses.  We continued our tour by tasting three of their sparkling wines.

The south facing vineyards.                                                    Tasting tables spread throughout the grounds.

My tasting flight.                                                                   Gayle and Neil in focused conversation.

A selection of Benjamin Bridge's wines.

Our final stop was Planters Ridge Winery just outside Port Williams.  The property was purchased for a winery in 2010 with the vineyard being planted in 2011.  And as they say, the rest is history.

Another wonderful terrace on which to enjoy a selection of wines, overlooking the vineyard.

A selection of Planters Ridge wines.

The wine tour took all afternoon - nearly five hours.  Neil was a wealth of knowledge.  It was wonderful to have a personal guide, and of course not have the issue of driving.  The total cost was $243, comprised of $138 for Neil along with a bit over $100 for the cost of the wines purchased at the five wineries for tasting.  A wonderful afternoon.

We returned to Stella Rose where we relaxed for a couple of hours before walking into town for dinner at a Turkish restaurant - Troy - we had heard good things about.

I had lamb ribs and Gayle the vegetarian plate.  The food was 'ok' but did not match that of Usta - our favourite Turkish restaurant in Dartmouth.

Another nice morning; another nice breakfast.  We know many people prefer Air B&Bs but we much more enjoy the nice breakfasts provided at B&Bs, and the chats with the owners and/or other guests.

And yet another cup of coffee.                                                   A gift upon departure.           Neil, Robyn and Chico.

Robyn and Neil suggested that if we were looking for a short scenic drive we go to the Guzzle, on the Bay of Fundy near Boot Island past North Grand Pre and Evangeline Beach.

The Guzzle is a channel that separates Boot Island to the east from the rest of Long Island and Grand Pre.  The Guzzle was created in the 1860s when sea levels rose, plus erosion from the waves and rocks of the Minas Basin, assisted by the erosion of the Gaspereau estuary, opened the Guzzle.  Erosion continues today, cutting back the shoreline by more than one metre per year.  The area serves as nesting grounds for a number of birds including Herring Gulls, Great Black-Backed Gulls, Double-Crested Cormorants, Bank Swallows and Great Blue Herons.  This is the meeting ground for the annual migration of waterfowl and shorebirds.

Beyond the Guzzle the area is scenic with grazing cows, lots of flowers, and eagles overhead.

Although we weren't famished, having enjoyed a full breakfast we could not resist stopping at the Evangeline Inn in Grand Pre for some pie.  Gayle had her favourite lemon meringue.

And me, one of my favourites - coconut cream, along with a chocolate shake, big enough to share.  A great way to end a nice few days. 

Modified 'travel' during Covid-19

Like everyone with travel plans Covid-19 had a significant impact on us.  While we were fortunate to have enjoyed our February trip to Costa Rica, having returned just before Covid-19 shut the world down our spring trip to southern Italy and our August / September 40th anniversary trip to France and Greece were both cancelled.

Fortunately Nova Scotia, perhaps due to being relatively isolated or perhaps due to good management, after the initial first wave, was relatively Covid-19 free throughout the summer and fall.  Nova Scotians were encouraged to travel within the province, which we did through a number of overnight stays and day trip.

During April, May and into June we tried to travel 'virtually' while at the same time supporting local ethnic restaurants by ordering take-out.  Over the years during our trip we have accumulated a considerable collection of pottery from various countries.  We made an 'event' of ordering take-out from a number of local restaurants (some multiple times), and then plating the food on plates and in bowls of primarily the respective country.  Our meals supported
  • USTA Turkish and Mediterranean (Turkish)
  • Talay Thai (Thai)
  • The Blue Olive (Greek)
  • Chef Abod (Middle Eastern)
  • Ratinaud (French)
  • Dhaba Express (Indian)
  • The Vines (Italian)
  • Il Mercato (Italian)
  • The Italian Market (Italian)
  • Salvatore's (Italian pizza)
Following are listing of what we ordered and a few photos of each meal.  Not that it matters a lot but if you want to read in chronological order begin at the bottom.

Usta Turkish and Mediterranean -  November 28, 2020

After a summer and fall of a return to near normality the third wave of Covid-19 became a reality in November when restrictions were again upon us, including the closure of in-restaurant dining, i.e. a return to take-out only.  To that end we returned to our favourite restaurant - Usta here in Dartmouth.  Another excellent meal.

Usta - the #1 ranked (of 179) restaurants in Dartmouth. 

Our meal, on our Turkish (purchased in Rhodes, Greece) tulip table cloth.

The main courses - falafel, rice and salads for Gayle and the mixed kebab - chicken, pork and lamb for me.

Baklava for dessert and our whirling dirvish doll purchased in Istanbul along with a couple of copper tea servers.

Salvatores -  June 10, 2020

We are breaking with tradition and ordering take-out mid-week.

Today would have been our last evening in Italy, specifically Rome. Although we normally don't visit large cities we decided to spend our final two nights in Rome this trip.

When we think Rome and food we immediately think pizza. Therefore tonight we ordered from our favourite local pizzeria, Salvatore's Pizzaiolo Trattoria in north-end Halifax.

First our fave - the Rodger - roasted garlic with lots of sautéed mushrooms finished with romano and a hint of cayenne.

Then for me the Pizza Tutto Carne - for meat lovers, it is a special blend of pepperoni, salami and homemade meatballs.

We added a large Caesar salad, and for dessert a couple of Cannolis - a crisp Sicilian pastry shell stuffed with sweetened ricotta cheese and shaved chocolate, then dipped in toasted almonds.

A Peroni beer and some Italian wine - it's all good, no great.

Of course we miss not being in Italy these past few weeks but honestly relative to all the hardships so many others have endured during the past few months we count ourselves as lucky ones. We've enjoyed some wonderful meals, having had fun ordering, presenting, and 'sharing' the food through our Facebook posts and now this blog.

Perhaps not as elaborate as our other meals but every bit as good and certainly a great way to leave our culinary journey to Italy these past few weeks.

Pizza Tutto Carne (all meat) with Italian beer and soda. 

Our go to favourite - the Rodger, loaded with mushrooms and garlic.

Caesar salad                                                                            Cannoloni to finish the meal.

Il Mercato -  June 06, 2020

Our intention was to order pizzas from Salvatore's until we realized they are (currently) only open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Having so enjoyed our meal from Il Mercado a couple of weeks ago, and with lots on their menu we decided to 'return'.

Gayle started with a Tomato Zuppa, garnished with basil oil drizzle and torn garlic croutons. She then had the Lingue di (Vegetariana) pizza, comprised of tomato, grilled asparagus, charred tomatoes, artichokes, and goat cheese.

I had the Contorni serving of Penne all’Alfredo, with cream and parmigiano followed by the Italian Seafood Stew of jumbo shrimp, scallops, mussels, clams & haddock sautéed with tomato, peperonata, white wine, and basil pesto.

For dessert we could not resist returning to the Zuccotto, layers of chocolate & stracciatella, with a Tia Maria-spiked dark chocolate ganache. Delicious.

A nice refreshing white Ansemi San Vincenzo from the Veneto region paired well with another excellent meal.

Our 'trip' will soon come to an end (we were to fly home June 11th). Perhaps that pizza from Salvatore's later next week.

The table is set with our Italian olive oil, limoncello, limoncello shot glasses, a chicken vase from Orvieto, an Italian wine, and our copper wine bucket.

Gayle's lingue di (vegetariana) pizza of grilled asparagus, charred tomatoes, artichokes and goat cheese.

The Italian Seafood stew, with vegetables and a side of penne.

Wine served in our copper wine bucket purchased in Montepulciano and Zuccotto for dessert.

The Italian Market - May 30, 2020

Again tonight we continued our 'next best thing' culinary journey through southern Italy.
Rather than getting take-out from a true restaurant we went to the Italian Market in Halifax where we bought a few prepared dishes and ingredients for others - a sort of do-it-yourself meal - of

- a meat plate of Prociutto, Soppessata and smoked salmon pate
- a cheese plate of Provolone, Fontina and chevre
- antipasti including mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts and red pepper dip
- a caprese salad - tomato, buffalo Mozzarella, basil and olive oil
- brushetta - home made - one tomato; one mushroom
- risotto (arancini) balls, with a basil tomato sauce
- a spinach and mushroom torte
- grilled vegetables (eggplant, peppers and asparagus) with goat cheese and a balsamic vinaigarette
- chicken Cacciatore, and
- Tiramisu for dessert

The meal was paired with a bottle of Prosecco, Italian soda waters, San Pellegrino and an after-dinner limoncello.

If not for Covid 19 we would now be half way through our trip, having reached the mountain village of Civita in the southern Province of Calabria. It is disappointing we are not travelling, but making the best of it.

Antipasti - mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, artichoke hearts and red pepper dip.  

A charcuterie board of meats and salmon pate.

A cheese plate and arancini (rice) balls.                                   Home made brushetta and a piece of mushroom torte.

Cheese, arancini, and grilled vegetables among other appetizers.

Caprese salad with fresh mozzarella.                                       Tiramisu.

Il Mercato - May 23, 2020

Tonight we would have been near the Amalfi Coast, near Salerno at Agriturismo Torre Cangiani.

But instead we are enjoying a wonderful Italian meal courtesy of Il Mercato in Bedford.

I'm starting with the Stuzzichini, an antipasto type plate comprised of a risotto croquette, salami rolled with fresh Mozzarella, flash fried artichokes, mushroom bruschetta, tomato bruschetta and prosciutto wrapped grisini.

Gayle had the marinated grilled vegetable salad served on organic greens, with warm goat cheese, basil pesto in a balsamic vinaigrette.

We each had a fettuccine for our first course - Gayle the Primavera with fire roasted vegetables, spinach, San Marzano tomato sauce and basil pesto, along with roasted garlic and ricotta. I had the Fettuccine Jumbo Shrimp - garlic, slow roasted cherry tomatoes, spinach, fresh torn basil, white wine and a splash of cream.

If in Italy one would then normally have a protein based Secondi - meat, fish, poultry or egg ... but we passed.

For dolce (dessert) we each had a piece of Zuccotto - chocolate and stracciatella layers, with a Tia Maria spiked dark chocolate ganache.

We accompanied the meal with a white wine from the Province of Basilicata - a bit further south but a region we would have visited had the trip gone ahead. And with Sorrento being the home of limoncello we of course enjoyed a glass after the meal.

Not exactly sitting outdoors gazing out over the Tyrrhenian Sea but still pretty darn great!

All of the pottery, and the copper wine bucket (from Bottega del Rame) is Italian.

Stuzzichini - a selection of antipasti.                                      Marinated grilled vegetable salad.

Our pastas - Primavera with fire roasted vegetables.              Fettucine Jumbo Shrimp.

A selection of Italian pottery along with our prized copper wine bucket. 


A scrumptuous slice of Zuccoto.

The Vines - May 17, 2020

If not for the coronavirus today we would have arrived in Italy for a trip to a number of provinces south of Rome and Naples, i.e. Campania, Basilicata and Cantabria.

Tonight we should have been staying at a farmhouse Agriturismo Il Ruspante enjoying an Italian meal.

But instead we are here doing the next best thing, having an Italian (Peroni) beer and an Italian bottle of wine with our take-out Italian meal from The Vines in Dartmouth. Dinner tonight consisted of

- rice balls - risotto, parmesan, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, breaded and served on marinara sauce
- artichoke dip - artichoke, cream and cheese, served with toasted sliced baguette
- grilled vegetable tortellini with basil cream sauce - sautéed vegetables with cheese filled tortellini
- vines pasta - chicken, cherry tomatoes, house smoked pancetta and spinach in a pesto cream sauce on penne
- a sausage, bean country soup,
- a piece of cheese cake, and
- Tiramisu - layers of mascarpone cream cheese, biscotti dipped in brandy and topped with shaved chocolate

All served on our Italian pottery, mostly purchased on our trips to Italy; with some purchased at the Italian Market in Halifax.

Buon appetito!

The table is set.                                                                       And dinner about to be served.

To start an artichoke dip being enjoyed by Gayle.

Rice balls (arancini in Italian) covered in tomato sauce with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

The Vines penne with chicken, cherry tomatoes, pancetta and spinach in a pesto cream sauce.

An Italian beer - Peroni, Italian wine and Italian San Pellegrino to accompany the meal.

A glass of Vin Santo and some Limoncello to finish off with the tiramisu and cheesecake.

Dhaba Express - May 09, 2020

Dhaba Express, an Indian restaurant in Bayers Lake provided our take-out meal this evening, a meal that included
- chicken Mulligatawny soup
- Madras lentil soup
- Aloo gobi - potato and cauliflower in spices
- Channa Bhatura - delicious bread with tomato chick peas
- chicken korma, cooked in coconut milk,
- tandoori chicken
- saffron basmati rice
- garlic Tava naans, and
- mango lassi - a mango yoghurt drink

We again had fun plating the food.

Our table, with out Thai elephant, after setting out our Indian feast.

Our delicious Indian meal.

Muligatawny and Madras lentil soup with Aloo Gobi.           Mango lassi and bread.

Tandoori chicken.                                                                  Chicken korma.

The Vines - May 03, 2020

Continuing with themed take-out tonight it is Italian from The Vines in Dartmouth / Cole Harbour.

A fairly simple meal we started with a Caesar salad along with arancini, or rice balls of risotto, Parmesan, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese, breaded and served in a marinara sauce.

We both were in the mood for pizzas. Gayle had the Grilled Veggie pizza - an assortment of grilled peppers, onions, mushrooms and zucchini while I had the Meat Lovers - Brothers spicy pepperoni, ground beef, house made sausage and bacon.

To accompany the meal bottles of Italian San Pellegrino sparkling water and Valpolicella wine in a copper wine bucket we purchase a number of years ago in Montepulciano, Tuscany.

Buon appetito!

Below our risotto balls and to the right our pizzas, the Grilled Veggie at the top and Meat Lovers below.

Usta Turkish and Mediterranean - April 25, 2020

This week we again brought out our colourful Turkish and Moroccan plates and bowls as we returned to Usta Turkish and Mediterranean for our takeout. We added our bread basket from Morocco and a candle light bought in Rhodes, Greece, albeit from Turkey.

Dinner consisted of
  • lentil soup
  • Mutabbel (again) - pureed roasted eggplant
  • Turkish salad
  • a mixed Meze plate - a selection of hot and cold mezes
  • pita bread
  • Shish Kebab - tender cubes of marinated lamb
  • vegetarian Moussaka, and
  • for dessert - baklava

Our table, full of Turkish (and some Moroccan) pottery, and food.

Pita bread in a Moroccan basket.                                            Lentil 'soup of the day every day' soup.

Mixed meze - a bit jumbled transferring from the container but still tasted excellent. 
Gayle's Moussaka.

Left:  Shish Kebab - large pieces of medallions of marinated lamb on a bed of rice.

Below left - our Turkish 'tea' light.

Below - delicious honey filled baklava.

Ratinaud - April 19, 2020

This week's effort to support a local business had us put together a charcuterie board with meat and cheese primarily from Ratinaud, a boutique cheese and meat shop prepared in traditional French cuisine style.

The meats were Grison (cured beef with spices); Coppa (pork shoulder cured with juniper berries), a hazelnut saucisson and Ratinaud's pate (pork based with liver, blue cheese, pistachio and port wine.)

The cheeses were
  • a French Auvergne, a Roquefort like cheese as they were out of Roquefort,
  • Manchego, a Spanish sheep cheese,
  • Petit Basque, another sheep cheese from the Pyrenees, and
  • we added some Brie and Boursin.
As well I had some smoked salmon with capers along with olives, grilled peppers, an eggplant dip, artichoke hearts, roasted cherry tomatoes and some Swiss dark chocolate with almonds.

The meal was accompanied by a superb bottle of Baglio di Pianetto Cembali - a bottle we brought home after
we enjoyed the same at a winery where we stayed in Sicily.

For dessert we enjoyed a couple of pieces of honey soaked baklava from the European Pantry on Chebucto Road, Halifax, now Finsbury Market., served on a small plate from the island of Skiathos, Greece.

A plate of a variety of cheese and a charcuterie board.

Smoked salmon.                                   Grilled red peppers.

The bottle of wine we brought back from Sicily, and baklava for dessert.

Chef Abod - April 11, 2020

This week we ordered from Chef Abod on Kempt Road in Halifax, serving Middle Eastern food.

We brought out our brown themed pottery - plates from Greece and Corsica, bowls from Greece and France, small condiment bowls from Turkey and a water pitcher from Spain.

I started with the Hummus with Minced Lamb and then we had the Sambusa, crispy pastries stuffed with either beef (for me) or cheese (for Gayle). Then the Fatoush Mediterranean salad of tomatoes, parsley, radishes, onions and cucumbers on romaine lettuce, seasoned with three herbs, a homemade pomegranate dressing and topped with toasted pita chips.

Gayle then had the Mixed Veggie Plate comprised of Baba Ghanoush, hummus, two falafel patties, and a Bourak, served with warm pita bread while I the Lamb Kofta Kebab - two skewers of grilled minced lamb marinated with onion, peppers, and mixed spices.

The servings were quite substantial leaving significant leftovers for tomorrow. The only regret was that Gayle forgot to order the lentil soup. Next time.

Setting up for our meal from Chef Abod.

Bourak, rice and a falafal patty.                                               Fatoush Mediterranean salad.

Sambusa with pitas.                                                                 Hummus with minced lamb.

Lamb Kofte kebob.

Lamb kofte with salad.                                                            Bourak and falafel.

Blue Olive Greek Taverna - April 05, 2020

Greek tonight. We ordered from the Blue Olive Greek Taverna on Quinpool Road in Halifax. With a trip booked to Greece in September we have our fingers crossed although as each day passes the chances get less and less.

In the meantime we enjoyed a Greek meal of moussaka (meat for me; vegetarian for Gayle), a piece of Spanokapita, a Loukaniko sausage; Tzatziki and Kopanisti dips with pita bread, roasted potatoes and rice, and a piece of baklava for dessert.

Accompanied by some Greek retsina wine. We'll add a Greek salad to the leftovers tomorrow.

The colour of Greece is blue so blue was the theme, although from a number of countries  There are the blue placemats from Thailand, a plate (top left) from Greece, a dish (top right) from Portugal and a two larger plates, (right and bottom right) from Morocco.  The rectangular white with blue trim plate (upper middle) is from Santiago de Compostela, Spain.  The two small bowls at the top are also from Spain as is the plate bottom left and the rectangular plate in the middle.   The doll is Greek as is the copper retsina cup.  Quite the selection of European pottery.

A couple of dips - tzatziki and red pepper - to start.               Vegetable moussaka and rice.

Loukanika sausage, moussaka, potatoes, salad, dips and pita.

Accompanied with roasted potatoes.                                     And of course baklava for dessert.

Talay Thai - March 29, 2020

We love Thai food, having been to Thailand in 2013. There are a number of very good Thai restaurants in Halifax but our go to is Talay Thai.

We brought out our Thai table runner - a birthday gift to Gayle from the owner of the place we were staying in Chiang Saen in northern Thailand, our Thai chop sticks and a couple of Thai dolls.

The meal was comprised of
  • a mango salad,
  • fresh spring rolls,
  • chicken skewers, and
  • two red currys - one chicken and the other tofu.

Our Thai table cloth, dolls, tissue cover, and best of all food for tonight.

Our appetizers - chicken skewers, mango salad and fresh spring rolls.

A delicious red curry.

In many ways eating at home was as nice as in a restaurant - very enjoyable.

Usta Turkish & Mediterranean - March 21, 2020

While there are many ethnic restaurants we enjoy, our favourite is Usta in nearby Cole Harbour.

We visited very shortly after it opened in late 2016 and have been back a number of times since, getting to know the owner Sherif, having chatted with him about our trips to Turkey.

We have a considerable collection of Turkish dishes and plates, along with a number of similar from Morocco and Greece, all of which made for an attractive display of our meal, a meal that began with Muttabel (roasted eggplant), Kiymali (warm hummus with spicy minced lamb), a veggie platter and the mixed kebab. The main dishes which are accompanied by a salad and pita bread are served with both rice and a few grilled vegetables.

During these difficult times we felt very good about supporting a local business that is no doubt struggling, and in the process enjoy some great food.

About to enjoy our Turkish meal.

Salads and hummus with minced lamb.

My mixed kebab - minced lamb, chicken and lamb medallions on a plate we brought back from Turkey.

Gayle's main course on our plate from Crete / Kreta.