Helpful ReplyHot!Newfoundland - Eating the Rock

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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/08/31 16:24:36 (permalink)
I hope to sit back, relax and look at the report tonight.
I've been busy planning a 3 1/2 week roadtrip, wedding and post trip reception, outside of working of course... 
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/06 14:23:14 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby nagle 2018/09/06 17:45:44
MONDAY, AUGUST 20 – NEWFOUNDLAND GIVES US THE BIRD
 
It was overcast but otherwise pleasant out when we left our hotel at 8 a.m.
 
We had a boat ride scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at Bay Bulls, about a half hour south of St. John’s, but Cathy wanted to explore further south before that, heading all the way down to a town called Ferryland.
 
Cathy had also scheduled a tour by a professional photographer at 4:30 p.m. until dark, and he would show us some of St. John’s most photogenic sites.
 
So we had a full day ahead of us.
 
On the way we stopped at Robin’s, another Newfoundland chain that wants to be Tim Horton’s. After a week of 60-90-minute food stops in Canada, I appreciated a quick in-and-out spot.
 
I got a small ham and cheese sandwich that was quite nice, and Cathy let me try a bite of her hash browns, which were crispy and tasty. After scarfing down our small meals in the car, we continued south.
 
Ferryland was a great call by Cathy, although our time here was limited. Once again a jagged, unpaved rocky road protected this area’s beauty. We weren’t allowed vehicular access to the lighthouse but got pretty close.
 
What was cool about the view here was the lighthouse was kinda-sorta on an isthmus, and since it stuck out so far in the water, the landscape here was 360 degrees of awesome.
 
Being on vacation and having already put in a couple of long driving and activity days, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about being on the road this early when we were going to be out late with the photographer, but I’m glad we went.
 
Ferryland was not only one of the prettiest lookouts we’d seen, it was also the most widespread because of the layout.
 

 

 


 
We had nearly a half-hour drive back north to Bay Bulls, so we only spent about 20 minutes here.
 
Our third boat tour of the trip was with O’Brien’s, and we boarded a vessel that held about 100 people with a decent amount of cover in case it rained. And I’d completely tuned out forecasts by this point and just expected rain at any time.
 
This trip took us to a region known for whales and also skirted a huge rock that was home to thousands of puffins.
 
Our guide was Shawn, a recently retired teacher, and he was a fountain of local information. Shawn was clearly of Irish descent and opened and closed the ride in song.
 
He was gregarious and engaging while educating us on the region.

Shawn did warn us that the whale activity had been poor this season, and unfortunately for us, that would hold true for this trip.
 
Because of erosion, the rocks along the coast leading out to the ocean were smooth-looking diagonal shelves. Erosion also caused caves to form in this region, and we drove past one that was so deep kayakers could actually row all the way through to open waters.
 
The highlight was a huge island our boat loaded with puffins. As in thousands. They dotted the island and congregated in the water.
 
Those in the ocean would make a quick side-to-side wiggle then dive for fish. It was pretty amusing to watch.
 
Apparently, they are better swimmers than fliers (Shawn joked that you wouldn’t want to fly Puffin Air Lines) and are masters at grabbing fish. They also leave this island for eight months and return to the same mates at the exact same location in the spring.
 
Puffins live about 30 years in the wild, which is amazing, but their numbers have been down slightly in the region and area conservationists are a little concerned.
 
They said there are a quarter million in this segment of Newfoundland. Even on our ride back, a couple of miles from the island, we could see them idling in the water and diving for prey.
 
Cathy has some smoking photos of the puffins, but with the phone camera this is all I’ve got for now.
 
The other two main birds on the island were murres, which look like flying penguins, black-legged kittiwakes, which look like seagulls only bigger, and yeah, seagulls.
 
This region also has bald eagles but we didn’t see any.
 
There's no point in posting phone camera photos for this ride, so these are much-better quality ones by Cathy through a real lens.
 

 
 



Babies...


We interrupted a family argument. "You were supposed to pick up dinner", "no, you were".

 Shawn holds court:

 
The rock face on the way back into the dock.

 

 
Another baby.

A Screeching In ceremony was held at the end of the trip, and details started coming back to me. There were whips, and a clown, and…no, actually, true to provincial character, they were kind even in hazing rituals.
 
I think there were seven people in all, including an Asian family of four. The minors were not given the rum.
 
I was hungry before the boat ride and actually scanned the menu of the ticket office/gift shop, because the delightful smell of something formerly living in the ocean was being fried.
 
So I was really ready for lunch, especially since we were going to Chafe’s Landing, an Anthony Bourdain stop.  It was about 15 minutes from the boat ride in the “town” of Petty Harbour, which lived up to its name.
 
It was a typical community for this area: One narrow, 1.8-lane road winding through a set of small, purely-functional houses, many of which had boats on their lots.
 
Two-story Chafe’s Landing felt like almost a treehouse – in a good way. Because of the limited parking here, we were actually two minutes late for our reservation, which was the only food one we made on this trip.
 
It was a restored house built by Edward Chafe in 1878, thus the name. We were seated upstairs, and another solid live solo act was playing.
 
This place must make a killing. It was 2 p.m. – obviously after peak lunch hours – and every table on two floors was occupied the entire time we were there.
 
This and St. John’s Fish Exchange were the only two restaurants on my “must” list, so I ordered the lobster sliders and the cod tongues.
 
If I was going to like cod tongues, it would be at a place like this, and lobster always seems to be good at these types of places.
 
This was probably the best service we got the entire trip. The dining experience still took longer than it would’ve in the states, which is not meant as a gripe, but the server was great at notifying us of the status of our food while checking on us at a perfect cadence.
 
Cathy tried one of the seafood sliders and said it was a little fishy but kudos to her for trying yet another seafood item. I loved them. All three were prepared different ways, and I can’t remember the third one and now their online menu is on the fritz, but one was Cajun and and BLT was another.
 
The cod tongues were another very unique food. It tasted like most of the fish I’d had – and I mean that in a positive way – but the tongues were a little mushier than regular cod.
 
They were served with those delightful scruncheons, pork fat on steroids, and how could that not make a meal better? The mashed potatoes were OK but could've used gravy. They seem to put gravy on everything up here except the one item that really needs it.
 
For Cathy...pregnant pause...chicken wings. These were thickly breaded but very juicy and not too salty. 
 



 
 
The meal didn’t blow us away like St. John’s Fish Exchange but it was still very good. There was another very good local performer probably 30 feet away belting out that folk-country-Irish mix of music.
 
People on this island really love their music, but at pubs and restaurants it was never in-your-face in terms of volume, and you could always easily hold a conversation.
 
Anyway, we were being picked up at 4:30 p.m. for a photo session with an indigenous photographer, and we got back to the hotel around 2:30. He would be driving, so I hung up the car keys for the day and walked around town.
 
I did want to get more Canadian money, even though we were leaving in a day and a half.
 
It’s getting harder to obtain Canadian currency without paying outrageous fees these days. Duty free isn’t that bad at road crossings, but airport rates are a rip-off and going through one’s own American bank is a joke.
 
I went to my own bank of 20 years in 2015 when we went to Banff, and they quoted me 15 cents on the dollar under the current rate, so I went to the bank where Cathy and I share an account and after going through five minutes of steps with the teller, she quoted me $1.15 on the dollar when the exchange was $1.30.
 
I had $100 left from our last trip and knew we were going to be in the middle of nowhere for the first four days here with no chance to hit a currency exchange, so I thought I’d feel out Toronto’s Pearson Airport, and they were giving $1.13. Yeah, thanks but no thanks. What a joke.
 
One of the agents at the counter of our hotel in St. John’s had told us that Scotiabank was a partner with Bank of America, which I didn’t know, so off I went to try to get more money.
 
I knew the entire time we weren’t getting to St. John’s until late Saturday, and obviously at that point banks are closed until Monday, so this was my first real opportunity to trade funds.
 
The teller quoted me $1.27 on the dollar when the actual rate was just under $1.31, so I jumped on it. I’m not a customer and I get that I’m OK with paying a service charge.
 
Funny how a non-customer can get a fair rate in Canada but his or her own bank in the U.S. will screw you blue. Apparently, all U.S. banks use the same exchange service to gouge its customers.
 
The teller obviously hadn’t dealt with many people trying to change U.S. currency for Canadian, and when I explained the situation she seemed baffled.
 
So if anyone reading is thinking about flying into Canada and trying to score currency, hit a currency exchange or a Scotiabank.
 
Using your credit card is just fine, but I like to have cash as well. Maybe it’s just me.
 
With that out of the way, I explored the city for a little while before walking into Shamrock City, a cool-looking Irish pub near the center of the bar district.
 
I had 20 minutes to kill, so I walked in and ordered a Black Horse. The petite, 20-ish bartender referred to me as “My love”, which I guess was pretty common in these parts.
 
I saw a delicious, oversized plate of fish and other delicacies make its way over to the other end of the bar, and since we didn’t have definitive plans for dinner tonight, this became the favorite.
 
Black Horse on draft is just delightful, and I could’ve stayed here for hours drinking beer, but I had a date, so I walked the one block back to the hotel, where Cathy and I were meeting our photo guide.
 
Moe arrived about 4:35 in an orange jeep, and the born-and-raised St. John’s native was an encyclopedia of island history.
 
His personality was typical of those in this province – after talking to him for five minutes you felt like he was a lifelong friend.
 
First we headed to Cape Spear, which is just east of downtown and the easternmost point of North America.
 
At Dildo Dory Grill, we had overheard some customers talk about being in town for a shoot regarding the 2020 GMC Sierra, but neither of us are car buffs so we didn’t think much of it.
 
Then we saw these two giant, futuristic-looking tents in a valley near the cape’s lighthouse. Turns out they were shooting footage from the spot – either Moe or Cathy said it was for a commercial.
 
You can them in the second photo below.
 
Cathy had brought a wide-angle lens which she had rented, and Moe worked with Cathy on her cameras’ settings. I just walked around the area and admired the late-afternoon view.
 
I wasn't taking photos at this point so here are some of Cathy's best from the area:



 
Moe sent up this picture of Cathy taking a picture and me trying to stay out of the way.



Another of us emailed by Moe:

 
Quick flashback to the flight into Deer Lake. Cathy and I had a window and an aisle but we didn’t realize this was a six-wide cabin, so we had someone who was going to be in the middle.
 
I told her I’d offer the person the aisle and take the center to sit next to her.
 
Turns out the guy who had the middle happened to know the lady in the row ahead of her and he sat in her aisle seat while that lady took the aisle in our row.
 
At one point someone in the row behind me started talking to that guy as well, and it turns out their families knew each other.
 
There were other instances of this as well during our flight, and before we even landed we had the impression everyone on this island knew everyone else on the island.
 
Now, back to the present, we were driving to another lookout and I told Moe the story of the Screeching In in Bonavista. He said the retired mayor – whose last name was Fitzgerald – was actually a cousin.  
 
I checked my diploma from Screech U. when I returned to the hotel and that was indeed her last name.
 
Everyone in Newfoundland knows everyone else in Newfoundland.
 
We went down to the Harbo(u)r in downtown and checked out The Battery, a collection of colo(u)rful houses tucked against the rock facing.


Quickly losing sunlight:


Finally it was Signal Hill, as Cathy and Moe attempted to zero in on the perfect location for a sunset shot. With the fires raging in British Columbia and all over the west, the chance of a picturesque sunset was elevated.
 
For a little perspective, we were going to the top of the hill near where the houses just pictured were to watch the sun dip with the city in the background.
 
Nothing that spectacular happened but it was still a beautiful site as the city began to light up at dusk.
 


Pointing away from St. John's.
 
In the distance to the right is a tribute to John Cabot, who landed here in 1507.

The city starts to light up:







 The sun was replaced by the moon.

Moe was a wonderful host and spent five hours with Cathy, even though I think she only paid for four. He dropped us off and I was hungry and ready for a drink.
 
I was out of must-do stops so I let Cathy choose the place, especially since Moe had rattled off a handful of nearby restaurants that he was a fan of.
 
I had Cathy talked into Shamrock City since Shannon’s was the closest we’d gotten to eating at a true pub since landing on the island. We got within 200 feet and saw this was a no-go. There was a loud concert going on inside and the line was out the door.
 
We chose Blue On Water because it was less than a block away and the menu on the window looked good. It wasn’t overly crowded or loud and Moe had mentioned it.
 
It was a cozy, brick-interior building with a bar in the back and a view of Water Street in the front. We sat in a booth toward the front.
 
Cathy wasn’t that hungry so we decided on three appetizers: Scallops with asparagus, red wine ravioli with parmesan and popcorn aroncini with brown butter.
 
The former was obviously more for me, and Cathy tried a scallop but still said it was a hair fishy. More for me. Five with asparagus for about $15 Canadian had to be one of the best deals of the trip.
 
Definitely B-plus quality on both, with the outside of the scallops firm and a perfect chew on the inside.
 
The balls were about on par with the scallops with that perfect blend of a crunchy outside and creamy interior served on a bed of that delightful brown butter.
 
Ravioli took third but was still quite solid. And the Black Horse, man I’m going to miss this Black Horse.
 

 

 
Cathy went back to the hotel and I headed back up the street to the Duke of Duckworth. This place was in an alley and had a reputation for older crowds, so I went in and found it was just what I was looking for.
 
It had a myriad of draft beer options and a huge bar but had more of a neighbo(u)rhood feel than upscale.
 
After a couple of brews it died down a little and the bartender, Stephen, started talking to me. For someone in the city, he had quite a thick Newfoundland accent.
 
It was kind of nice to small talk with someone, as he asked where I was from and how long I was here and what I had done. He was another guy that just loved where he lived and was proud of his homeland.
 
I had a few pops and decided to head back.
 
Oh, and I passed the one bar I had envisioned spending a lot of time and it was already closed. I’ll bet money it was because there was no one there. Almost all of the bars in this area remained open until at least 1 and often much later, but at about 12:30 this place was done for the night.
 
And so was I. I slept quite well after this long day.
post edited by Bonk - 2018/09/06 14:39:47
#32
leethebard
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/06 23:20:30 (permalink)
Your photography is amazing!! Beautiful. I had to look twice. Thank you so much for sharing this adventure.
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/07 08:14:55 (permalink)
I sometimes wonder if seafood almost always tastes "a little fishy" to people who aren't fond of it to begin with.
 
I can't remember if you mentioned it earlier or not, but what'd you think of those new-ish plastic Canadian bills?  I saw some for the first time a couple of weeks ago and the idea's kind of neat, but apparently even the smallest tear can really shorten a bill's life.
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/07 11:23:21 (permalink)
Your wife is amazing with the camera.  The puffin shot, the sunset shot, the night lights and just about everything was double outstanding.
 
Paul E. Smith
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/08 17:21:57 (permalink)
Spectacular!  What an amazing trip!
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/08 17:22:03 (permalink)
Spectacular!  What an amazing trip!
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/09 02:26:50 (permalink)
TUESDAY, AUGUST 21 – NOT THE CLIMAX YOU WERE HOPING FOR
 
For those expecting a huge fandango of a final day report, I apologize ahead of time.
 
We were flying out the next morning at 5:30 Wednesday morning, so a final, drunken, RCMP-involved, doing-funky-stuff-to-moose fiasco was not a realistic option, especially at our ages.
 
Besides, once you get convicted of an offense like that, it's really hard to obtain employment.
 
I had to visit Rocket Bakery, which is a very small chain and local legend that has been featured on TV in the states.
 
Cathy had gotten up to photograph the sunrise at Signal Hill, and she was very much asleep when I rolled into the shower at 9 a.m.
 
I ordered a frittata that looked good with cheese and spinach, a couple of macaroons for Cathy – strawberry – and chocolate croissants for both of us as well as two salted caramel chocolates.
 
It was interesting that this place had confectionaries on one side and breads and cooked things on the other, and both had cash registers. When my frittata was done I was politely told “pay wherever”, and there wasn’t much monitoring of patrons after their orders were handed to them.
 
And I’m also pretty sure they just trusted what I said I had in my bags when I paid out.
 
They had me at the chocolate croissant, which was super flaky and chocolaty. The frittata was fine but probably not the best take-out item idea. The macaroons were gone before I had chance to try one.
 
A sample of each strewn out on our bed.
 

 
As for our plans for the rest of the day, we were keeping it low-key with the impending 5:30 a.m. flight the next day.
 
Dildo had a good vibe, so we decided to penetrate the city limits again for lunch. We had seen drool-like-an-infant-inducing dessert pictures on the Facebook page of Tara’s Kitchen and Café.
 
Seriously, you should follow her if you’re a Facebookee.
 
We were going to parlay that with a stop at a pair small of wineries just south of the Trans-Canada at the same exit.
 
Not in any hurry, we left around noon. It was overcast but warmer, almost 70 degrees.
 
A Cathy photo of the terrain just west of St. John's.
 

 
We didn’t bring any CDs and didn’t have satellite radio, and on the west part of the island we could get an average of one FM and one AM station, and usually it was the CBC, which runs a similar format to NPR in the states.
 
Near St. John’s there was a much better selection of channels, and we stuck with K-Rock 96.5, which played a lot of familiar classic rock mixed with the occasional what-the-hell-is-this tune.
 
Since we’d entered the St. John’s radio wave range and picked up this station, it encouraged caller participation. They were having a week-long contest to see what your most outrageous accidental injury was, and we joked that we thought they were attempting to find the listeners with the most outrageous accents.
 
We rarely had trouble understanding people on this island, but we concluded that the half a million people who call Newfoundland home have a half a million accents.
 
I was very surprised that several people we encountered assumed we were from the island. To me, everyone sounded very different than anyone from the midwestern United States.
 
We stopped briefly at a golf course near Dildo to see if we could get any decent scenery shots, since I like to play and have close relatives who’d love to see the type of picturesque views they could enjoy in this region from the tee box.
 
We couldn’t see much from the parking lot but later Cathy realized that in her one obstructed shot of the course there was a cool waterfall in the background.
 
We arrived in Dildo, which reminds me, I need to post this. I'm sure no one will dispute my claim. 
 
 
 
Tara’s only had six tables and felt instantly homey, screaming Roadood stop. Fortunately, there were two tables open and we took one.
 
I guess frantic would be our dining experience word for the day.
 
Tara is this bubbly ball of energy who was expending a lot of it trying to keep up with the diner. She did not have a server at the time but someone was coming in a half hour.
 
She also in the recovery process, as we later found out, of someone unplugging her refrigerator and ruining her food.
 
She was asking customers at the tables – all of which she knew by name – if they were going to want pie. She had posted a Facebook photo of a chocolate Oreo pie on this day, and we made sure to reserve one of the four remaining pieces.
 
At one point an older female customer on her lunch break helped Tara take lunches out to another table.
 
With Tara slaving in the kitchen, we asked if we could grab a couple of drinks from the cooler up front by the cash register. She said of course and that she’s a horrible server.
 
Cathy ordered the BLT on a pretzel bun, and I got the chicken and bacon wrap.
 
Funny how I rarely order sandwiches in the U.S. but get them all the time on trips to Canada. They make really good sandwiches everywhere in this country and I really enjoyed this on this trip.
 
This was no exception. The flavors all blended well and I crushed my wrap, having just eaten a few bakery items my breakfast five hours earlier.
 
Cathy enjoyed hers as well, and I took a bite of pretzel bun, which was really moist and tasty.
 
Weird thing here: Possibly because of her contamination issue, neither soup nor salad was an option as a sandwich complement, so she pushed nachos off on both of us.
 
OK, nachos sound different and welcome after eating a lot of similar foods for eight days. And they were. She melted some cheese and put some homemade salsa with it.
 
It was an adequate side, just unexpected.
 
Photos from lunch at Tara's:
 

 





 
Our piece de resistance arrived in the form of the pie. The picture pretty much tells the story, but it was every bit as good as it looked and some.

 
Sometimes bathrooms are in strange places in Canada, and this one shared its facility with an insurance company and a pet place in the same mini-strip mall.
 
We headed south and on the way out of town noticed yet another carload of people taking a picture next to the Dildo town sign.
 
Cathy and I crossed the Trans-Canada and headed for a pair of wineries a couple minutes apart on the same road. 
We drove past the first and the second wasn’t there anymore, so we returned to the first to find out that they had merged.
 
Rodrigues and Markland have formed Rodrigues Markham, so wines for both are available in the tasting room.
 
Desiree, the wine-tender or whatever you call that person, asked us if we had been to Dildo, and we said we just came from Tara’s.
 
She said Tara was her cousin and said she actually wasn't much of a cook growing up.
 
Everyone in Newfoundland knows everyone else.
 
Desiree was very pleasant, but Cathy couldn’t take any wine home on the plane anyway, so she bought a couple other granola-head items.
 
We returned to St. John’s, and I wanted to get a head start packing so I could enjoy the abbreviated night. It was about 4 p.m., so Cathy said she was going to explore the city.
 
I also wanted to work on this with the ideas fresh in my head.
 
I also had the remnants of that 12 pack of Black Horse and one more Iceberg beer.
 
Normally I’d start drinking at 8 or later but I didn’t have to drive anywhere and I could stay out until 8 or 9 tonight.
 
Where’s that bottle opener?
 
Cathy came back and with it being earlier, I thought maybe we could check Shamrock City again? The food coming out of the kitchen all looked really good the day before.
 
Once again, line out of the front door and onto the sidewalk.
 
I was reminded of the late Yogi Berra’s quote: No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.
 
My back-up plan, hilariously enough, was Jungle Jim’s. The Canadian version is a small chain of Newfoundland sports bars that I’d heard good things about, and a sports bar actually sounded fine to me since maybe that would keep my bar bill down.
 
You know how everyone’s related on this island? Minutes after we walked in we heard one of the bartenders say they were having problems getting connection for their credit card machine, obviously a grave concern for a restaurant.
 
So the staff was running around crazily.
 
Since everyone on this island knows everyone else, maybe these were Tara’s relatives.
 
At one point I heard a greeter tell customers that there might be a 30-minute wait for service, and I wasn’t sure what that had to do with the credit card issue, as the place was less than half full, but they left.
 
The entrepreneur in me would’ve found a way to make them stay, say, offer, a round on the house or a free appetizer. My business mind had awoken, probably because I was back in a place called Jungle Jim’s.
 
I had to get the moose burger and the side of poutine – something I hadn’t had yet on this trip – and no way, wings for Cathy.
 
We actually were forced to leave The Rock the next day so the locals could regrow the chicken population and brew more beer.
 

 

 



 
Moose reminded me of buffalo. Quite good, a little leaner than hamburger and of a similar texture. I enjoyed it, and Cathy’s wings were solid as well, but after Yellowbelly, SJFX and Blue on Water the first three nights, it was hard to judge this stop fairly.
 
It gave us a chance to relax and discuss those dreaded departure plans.
 
But we still reflected on another fun day -- we didn't even do anything that adventuresome in the hours before leaving the island but still had a great time and met more great people.
 
We had some drinks and probably stayed here for two hours, and the credit card chaos continued. They thought they had resolved the issue by the time they ran mine.
 
It didn’t appear to take at first, so I said I could always pay cash, and the bartender offered me a 10 percent discount for doing so.
 
Fast forward: When I received my credit card statement back home, my card had been charged for the bill, $94 Canadian or $72 U.S. I obviously called to dispute this.
 
From here it was off to bed. I needed to be up by 2:30 and it was already close to 10.
 
 
post edited by Bonk - 2018/09/09 03:36:01
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/09 04:14:04 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby nagle 2018/09/09 12:55:29
Bonk
 
Dildo had a good vibe, so we decided to penetrate the city limits again for lunch.




You're a nasty, nasty man.  Is it any wonder I like you?
 
Buddy
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/09 11:26:56 (permalink)
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 22 – PUTTING THE ‘Z’ IN YYZ
 
Morning came extremely early, and I was concerned when we walked outside because it was foggy. So was I.
 
The last thing we needed was an airport delay.
 
Fortunately our flight took off without incident and I actually dozed off in the plane, an extreme rarity for me.
 

 


 
In three hours we were transported from an isolated, rocky paradise to Toronto Pearson, the second busiest airport in the Americas that saw 47.1 million passengers catch flights in 2017.
 
If it’s possibly to get return culture shock, we got it, and we again had to go through the nerve-racking customs process.
 
Finally we were on a plane to Cincinnati. After touching down, we grabbed lunch to go, headed home and I took an extended nap.
 
We did it. Eight days in Newfoundland, and we enjoyed nearly every minute.
 
The people really are amazing. They’re some of the most open and genuine you’ll ever meet despite living on a fruitless rock with unpredictable weather for multiple generations with ancestors who endured an incredibly difficult way of life that is a point of pride for natives.
 
I came here to check this off our list of Canadian provinces visited and we before we even landed in the U.S. we were discussing an itinerary for when – not if – we returned.
 
The evolution of the internet with online street-level maps makes it possible to see exactly what one is getting into on a trip, yet those media never completely do a region justice. In this case the real experience vastly exceeded expectations.
 
That’s typically what we’ve found when we visit regions of Canada that are unknown to us.  
 
Some family, friends and coworkers had no idea where we were going or why in the deuce we would want to go so such a place in lieu of a comfort zone like Myrtle Beach or Florida where the end of the road comes with an umbrella sticking out of a cocktail.
 
I get that many people are content to take those rare major trips to familiar places, but there’s a huge continent out there and its breathtaking extremities are completely accessible.
 
All it takes is a sense of adventure and the ability to take a small step out of one’s comfort zone, which sadly most people just won’t do despite the lifetime of wonderful memories lying in wait.
 
Barry, the bartender at Shannon’s Pub in Bonavista, said including us he had seen about a dozen Americans the entire tourist season, which was in its final days.
 
So this is truly a region that few Yanks have seen, and we’re better people for it.
 
And each time we pushed ourselves, whether it was venturing out when the weather wasn’t cooperating or pressing on while driving an ominous-looking gravel road or walking long distances through rugged terrain, the harder choice not to play it safe almost always generated some kind of tangible dividend.
 
A lot of times Canada makes you work before exposing its beauty, but it more than pays you back when you put forth the effort.
 
 
#40
Bonk
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/09 11:34:16 (permalink)
Our top 15 places to eat on The Rock:
 
1-St. John’s Fish Exchange, St. John’s – Every food item was top notch, and Cathy discovered one of her favorite cocktails ever.
 
2-Yellowbelly, St. John’s – Very cool setting in the Underbelly, food and cocktails were great here as well, but it would've been nearly impossible to match SJFX.
 
3-Rosie’s Restaurant, Gander – A true Roadfood stop that turned me on to a local delicacy in Jigg's Dinner.
 
4-Mifflin’s Tea Room, Bonavista – Cozy diner that makes amazing breakfasts. I wished we’d been able to come here for dinner.
 
5-Wing N It, St. John’s – Yeah, it’s a chain, and yeah, wings are everywhere in Canada, but these wings made it worth a long wait in a national franchise wannabe.
 
6-Dildo Dory Grill, Dildo – An accidental discovery, the sticky pudding and cod bites knocked it out, and the waitstaff and view bumped this place up another notch.
 
7-Blue On Water, St. John’s – Moe recommended this place, and scallops and aroncini balls were both aces.
 
8-Chafe’s Landing, Petit Harbour – Great interior and the food was very solid, but for a Bourdain recommendation I expected a little more.
 
9-Tara’s, Dildo – Making some of the best tasting and looking desserts on the planet, Tara’s probably would’ve fared better had the owner not been battling staff and food shortages beyond her control.
 
10-Shannon’s Pub, Bonavista – The fact this place barely cracks the top 10 tells you how much I enjoyed the food of Newfoundland. Calamari and wings were top notch, open late, great local music.
 
11-Sunset Restaurant, Rocky Harbour – Got a typical Canadian high-quality sandwich here and discovered a sauce I want to recreate.
 
12-Mary Brown’s Fried Chicken, Deer Lake – Our first stop after the long trip in was this fast-food chain, and the service was mediocre, but the chicken was delicious.
 
13-Rocket Bakery, St. John’s – Like Mifflin’s, I wish we’d done lunch here. Everything we got was good but it was go food and I’m just not a huge breakfast person.
 
14-Fisherman’s Landing, Rocky Harbour – Service, OK. All other foods, OK. Fish and brewis? That moved the needle up for me.
 
15-Moreish Cupcakes, Bonavista – A really quick snack stop late in the day, so we couldn’t do this place justice, but we really enjoyed the treats we got from here.
 
The others: PK’s (Bonavista), Clayton’s Chip Shop (Keels), Robin’s (Bay Bulls), Jungle Jim’s (St. John’s).
 
post edited by Bonk - 2018/12/12 01:55:23
#41
Bonk
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/09 11:52:16 (permalink)
My favorite beers:
 
1) Black Horse - A smooth lager that is so easy drinking even Cathy liked it. 
 
2) Quidi Vidi - Tried most of their beers on draft and loved the subtle Iceberg the best.
 
3) Yellowbelly - Everything I tried was at least decent and the red was outstanding. 
 
4) Blue Star - Typical of the region, it's a girl-next-door type of beer that doesn't wow you but goes down smoothly.
 
5) Dominion - Blue Star edges this one out but the two are very close in quality.
 
 
#42
nagle
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/09 13:02:18 (permalink)
John & Cathy, that was an awesome trip and a phenomenal trip report. You are a helluva team.

Cheers.

BTW. With the yellow slicker on you had a very strong resemblance to Captain Dildo. No lie!

Nagle.
#43
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/09 13:16:15 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby nagle 2019/01/16 20:12:19
nagle

With the yellow slicker on you had a very strong resemblance to Captain Dildo.




Sounds like a new Marvel superhero in the making.  Hmm...what would his superpower be?  Probably nothing that could be discussed in a family forum, so let's move on.
 
Buddy
#44
leethebard
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/09 14:08:15 (permalink)
What a great post! Enjoyed every picture every review. Thanks so much.
#45
mlm
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/09 15:00:30 (permalink)
Truly, truly really sensational report. So much fun. Did I mention I liked it.
#46
mlm
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/09 15:06:42 (permalink)
I forgot. I'm sorry. Thanks you so much for all your all's time and efforts. Both report and photos. Wow.
#47
Mrs. Bonk
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/09 21:33:02 (permalink)
Special thanks to my hubby for taking the time to put such a great review of our trip in writing.  Here's one more photo from early morning our last full day in St. John's when I got up to catch the sunrise at the most easterly point in North America, Cape Spear.  Mother nature didn't cooperate and threw some clouds in my way but got a pretty cool shot non then less.  Till we meet again, Newfoundland.

#48
leethebard
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2018/09/10 08:28:18 (permalink)
Very cool shot!!!
#49
Bonk
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2019/01/16 03:15:06 (permalink)
Finally, as promised, Cathy's photos from our trip.
 
The west side of the island, including Gros Morne.
 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 
I talked about the day we left Rocky Harbour for Bonavista and the rainwater shooting down the mountains. Here's visual proof.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
#50
Bonk
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2019/01/16 03:42:17 (permalink)
Bonavista:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keels. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
post edited by Bonk - 2019/01/16 03:45:00
#51
Bonk
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2019/01/16 03:44:08 (permalink)

 

 
 
#52
Bonk
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2019/01/16 03:49:24 (permalink)

 
Heading toward St. John's.
 

 

 
 
#53
Bonk
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2019/01/16 04:00:12 (permalink)
St. John's.
 

 
Driving along the coast:
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ferryland on Monday.

 
Bay Buls.
 

 
 
#54
nagle
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2019/01/16 06:12:49 (permalink)
Fantastic pictures. Well done Mrs. Bonk.
#55
rumaki
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2019/01/16 12:06:40 (permalink)
Absolutely stunning photos!  I want to go!  Thank you!
#56
ScreamingChicken
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2019/01/16 12:40:50 (permalink)
Great work, Cathy!
 
I have to believe that the northern and southern coastlines of the continents of the are some of the most scenic places in the world.
#57
mlm
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2019/01/16 13:44:06 (permalink)
Truly, truly I say to you.... absolutely GLORIOUS. 
#58
leethebard
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2019/01/16 14:20:56 (permalink)
What beauty. Thanks so much. Love this!
#59
MetroplexJim
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Re: Newfoundland - Eating the Rock 2019/01/17 17:06:10 (permalink)
This thread is absolutely breathtaking. 
I love places where I have to wear a jacket in the Summer; all I have to do is convince my wife!
#60
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