Bistro 22 Well Worth the Drive!

It is with great interest that I read Bill Spur’s “Bourgeois Gourmet” restaurant review in the provincial Chronicle Herald newspaper each week. For the most part, I usually agree with his reviews. I was thrilled this week to discover his review was of Bistro 22, a restaurant located about a 15 minute walk from the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast, and one we refer guests to as “our favourite restaurant in Truro. I can honestly say that neither we, nor any of our guests have ever expressed disappointment in the food, atmosphere nor service. It is very important, as the “local” recommending a restaurant, that we can be certain that our guests will have a great experience – otherwise we lose our credibility.

We were happy to see that Bill also enjoyed Bistro 22 and even said he would make the trip from Halifax to Truro (1 hour drive) just to eat there!

His full article can be found here.

“It was while sitting in the stands at a gym in Truro last Friday that I heard the words “best mashed potatoes ever.” Shortly thereafter, I walked into Bistro 22.

Dennis Pierce, who grew up in Belmont, Colchester County, but trained and worked as a chef in Manitoba, came home two years ago to open his bistro. On the night I was there, Pierce was working alone in the kitchen and a young woman named Courtney was the only server. Both are extraordinarily good at what they do.

Bistro 22 has seating for 32, with dark wooden upholstered chairs at glass-topped tables, and hanging light fixtures. Large framed photos of nature scenes decorate the walls.

As Courtney told us about that day’s specials, she said the caesar salad had just recently been added to the supper menu because it was so popular at lunch, and that the chef makes the dressing himself, which was all I needed to hear.

She also said the chef bakes bread and makes desserts when the restaurant is closed between lunch and supper, and that one of that day’s desserts was red velvet cake, which was all I needed to hear.

Kath and I were joined by our Truro friend Dede for dinner, which seemed like enough of an excuse to have a bottle of wine and, happily, the wine list here is mostly from Nova Scotia, so I chose Blomidon’s L’Acadie Blanc. There are also three Propeller and two Garrison beers available, as well as Stutz cider.

The mixed green salad, with avocado, goat cheese and walnuts, dressed with a cider vinaigrette, seemed like it had been designed with Kath in mind and she described it as “flavourful and outstanding.” Haddock chowder was at the thicker end of the creaminess spectrum, and very tasty. The caesar, though, disappointed. Courtney was right about the dressing, which was great, as were the homemade croutons and bacon bits, but the lettuce was so far from vibrant green you couldn’t use it to treat scurvy. Something in Pierce’s supply chain let him down here.

We’ve resolved to order fish more often in restaurants, and Kath benefitted from that resolution, greatly enjoying a piece of perfectly poached salmon atop wonderfully creamy spinach risotto, a dish that paired perfectly with our wine.

Dede was just as pleased with her spinach salad, which included roasted red pepper, red onion, Dragon’s Breath blue cheese from That Dutchman, bacon, pine nuts and sliced pear. A substantial and delicious salad.

But for once, I think I chose the best meal: roast pork served with beer-and-onion sauce, mashed potatoes that are worth the raves, and carrots and parsnips. Courtney told us that people in Truro often go to the city to eat out; I’d drive to Truro to eat this dish again.

And if I did, I’d have the red velvet cake again. Often seen on the Food Network, red velvet cake is flavoured with cocoa and gets its hue from food colouring. At Bistro 22, it comes with homemade ice cream.

Dinner for three, including wine, tax and a 25 per cent tip to reflect the outstanding service, was $149 and made me glad I overheard that mashed potatoes conversation.”

Bistro 22 can be found on the web at bistro22.ca on Facebook and on Twitter as @Bistro22chef

Bill Spur can be found on Twitter as @billspurr

Truro’s IncrEDIBLE picnic – Tomorrow, Wednesday, August 24th, 2-6p.m.

This following article was published in today’s Truro Daily News:

“The Truro Farmers’ Market is hosting a special picnic tomorrow focusing on local food and on-site meals.

The market will offer a Select Nova Scotia IncrEDIBLE Picnic. The local initiative, to be held between 2 and 6 p.m. beside the old fire hall on Young and Prince streets, is one of 12 incrEDIBLE picnics this summer throughout the province.

The market’s acting manager, Jamey Coughlin, said it’s important to focus on local food and food production.

“It gets products to people that aren’t available in large stores,” said Coughlin. “And it supports the community and helps people get to know their local community.”

Coughlin anticipates there will be 24 vendors and exhibitors participating in the incrEDIBLE picnic.

The event will feature a free pig roast, corn boil and blueberry desserts prepared by chef Dennis Pierce of Bistro 22 in Truro. 

In addition to the regular Wednesday vegetable, baked good, jewellery, preserves, plant and coffee vendors, the picnic will feature special guests. Ironworks Distillery from Lunenburg will be selling and sampling its Nova Scotia made spirits and rums and Rolling Bricks Wood-Fired Pizza from Antigonish will showcase its trailer-mounted oven.

Information workshops will also be available on topics such as fall perennial planting, grass-fed livestock and organic production.

A picnic wouldn’t be complete without music. Tomorrow’s festivities will also go hand-in-hand with a concert by Stewiacke area singer-songwriter-farmer Keith Mullens.   And the children will have lots to do as well. A bouncy train and petting zoo, including ponies, a kissing llama and a pig, will also be on site. “

We’ll be having dinner at the market!!  Hope to see you there!

Bay of Fundy Time Lapse

I came across this video earlier this afternoon of the Bay of Fundy time lapse at Burntcoat Head.  A couple of weeks ago, two of our guests were celebrating their 29th anniversary with a trip to Nova Scotia and wanted to have a lobster picnic at Burntcoat Head, located less than an hour’s drive from the Belgravia Bed & Breakfast‘s location in Truro.  They went to the store and bought lobsters and salads and we provided a picnic bag with dishes and ice packs.  We were delighted to find the following review on Trip Advisor after they arrived home:

“Anne and D’Arcy were wonderful hosts! We arrived quite early in the afternoon (before check in times) and they welcomed us and let us put our things in the room before exploring Truro. We wanted to take a lobster picnic out to Burntcoat Point for dinner followed by a walk on the ocean floor at low tide. I asked if we could borrow a few forks to take with us, and that was not a problem. They directed us to the store to buy lobster and salads, and when we returned a complete soft sided picnic pack was ready for us complete with plates, table cloth, cutlery, wine glasses, lobster cracking devices, ice packs and even wetnaps! That was way beyond a couple of forks, and it made our romantic picnic by the Bay of Fundy so special. The room was very good and the breakfast was excellent. You’ve got to try D’Arcy’s warm freshly baked blueberry muffins in the morning.”

I have to admit, I was a little bit jealous of their romantic date and I’m hoping that D’Arcy will do the same for me some nice summer day – hopefully before we hit 29 years of marriage!  🙂  When you watch the time lapse, I’m sure you’ll be able to see why!  Can’t you just see yourself sitting on the bank by the lighthouse (or at one of their picnic tables), eating lobster and watching the Bay of Fundy go in and out?  I can!

And please remember to www.votemyfundy.com !

Teach a boy to fish…

Many of our guests realize that Nova Scotia has some prime fishing, whether you charter a boat to go deep-sea fishing, or stand along a quiet brook, river, or lake.  There are many websites devoted to fishing in Nova Scotia.  When I was a little girl, I remember my brother & I going fishing with my dad along the French River in Tatamagouche (Northern Nova Scotia), a tidal river which runs through the property where he grew up.  I don’t remember catching any fish (I probably talked too much and scared the fish away!), but I do remember getting up early to make us apple jelly sandwiches (!) and thermoses of chocolate milk.  I also remember going fishing with my best friend and her family along some of the rivers is Musquodoboit.  I remember loving the feel of the spongy earth beneath my rubber boots, and the smell of the spring mud.  Although, I can’t consider myself a fisher-person, I can appreciate why some people enjoy it so much!

Last week, D’Arcy& Alex participated in a learn-to-fish program with the Cubs & Scouts. The first night was spent in a classroom, learning about fishing & safety, and the second night they all got to go to a nearby pond to try their luck. By all accounts, they had a great time…

Alex had what some might call “beginner’s luck”…

He reeled it in, and with some help netting it… Made what some people might consider the “catch of a lifetime”! A FOUR POUND Rainbow Trout!

Most of the cubs & scouts had beginner’s luck! Alex actually caught three fish in total, but gave his two smaller fish to my parents.

I think he’s “hooked” on fishing now!

We grilled his trout on the bbq at high heat, wrapped in foil and stuffed with slices of lemon, lime, orange & dill. It was served with Basmati rice and spinach salad and was delicious! It served six – with leftovers!

* D’Arcy didn’t catch anything…

You can click on the following to find out more about fishing in Nova Scotia:

Nova Scotia Tourism’s Fishing Information

Nova Scotia Fishing Website

Nova Scotia Learn to Fish

D’Arcy’s Rhubarb Muffins

I have to admit that D’Arcy is the one who does the majority of the baking around here.  Almost all of our breads & muffins, he has made himself before leaving to teach high- school in the morning. (Yes I know how lucky I am!)

This morning’s guests raved about his rhubarb muffins and asked for the recipe, so here it is:

1 1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 large egg (he actually used egg replacer)

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla (The original recipe calls for almond flavouring, but because we are a peanut & nut free home, he used vanilla)

1 1/2 cup diced rhubarb

  • Mix dry ingredients
  • Beat egg, add milk, oil & flavouring
  • Pour egg mixture over dry ingredients and stir to moisten.
  • Fold in rhubarb.  Sprinkle tops with sugar before baking.
  • Bake at 375*F for 20 minutes.
  • Yield:  8 large muffins

* Variation: Instead of sprinkling sugar on muffins before baking, dip tops of warm muffins in sugar after baking.

**  This is a versatile muffin – any other fruit in season are just as delicious!  We’ve made them with strawberries, raspberries, peaches, blueberries, etc.

Just a reminder that today (June 3rd) is the last day to vote for us as “Best B&B” in the Truro & District Chamber of Commerce’s “Best of Colchester County” contest.  To vote for us, The Belgravia Bed & Breakfast, please click here!

Welcome back Salad Bowl Gardens!

We are so excited to be welcoming Roxanne, Jamey & Oliver, our friends from Salad Bowl Gardens back today!  Each Tuesday from now until the end of September, they deliver fresh organic produce to the 30 shareholders of their Community Supported Agriculture initiative from our driveway.

Roxanne was recently featured in Lifestyle Magazine in the Globe & Mail:

“AN ORGANIC GROWER’S TALE
As a teenager, Roxanne Beavers began volunteering at a demonstration organic garden in her hometown of Peterborough, Ont. It soon turned into a summer job, and the beginning of a lifelong infatuation. “I really fell in love with gardening and plants and growing food,” says Beavers. “I think I’ve gardened every summer since then in some way… It’s really kind of like the best, most local food you can have, to grow it yourself.”

Now living in Lower Onslow, N.S., Beavers has turned her green thumb into her livelihood. By day she works as an agricultural consultant specializing in organic inspection and research. At the same time, she tends to her own organic garden and has been selling at the farmers’ market in nearby Truro for the past five years. Her operation, Salad Bowl Gardens, proudly runs under a philosophy of “24 hours from fridge to field to fork,” with greens picked the day before the market.”

This is our second year being a part of Salad Bowl Gardens and are looking forward to receiving our bag today, filled with spicy salad mix, Arugula, Spinach, Radishes, Edible Flowers, a large bunch of Rhubarb and farm-fresh eggs! Roxanne also made jars of Rhubarb-Orange Chutney – yum!

I think Eggs Florentine will be on the breakfast menu tomorrow!

Salad Bowl Gardens:  http://saladbowlgardens.wordpress.com/

Belgravia B&B:  http://www.belgravia.ca/