FRIDAY, AUGUST 17 OCEAN S AT 11
At 6 a.m. I woke up, cold and contorted, and tried calling Cathy again. This time she answered and I let out a string of expletives, which I immediately felt bad about.
It obviously wasn’t her fault, and to my credit my vulgarities were never directed at her. She let me in and I slept until 10 a.m.
The day started on a bad note but within an hour had done a complete U-turn.
The B&B is actually owned by the proprietor of Mifflin s Tea Room, so that was the breakfast part: You walk across the street, you order what you want and there s no charge.
I had to order the Toutons (pronounced TOUT-ins as in pout ). These were fried dough balls that looked like English muffins but were much denser. They came with fried bologna and a huge bowl of baked beans. Yes, beans for breakfast.
I ordered an extra side of a sausage patty.
Cathy got the oatmeal with a fruit compote topped with sugar brule, which came with two slices of toast, a side of bologna. She said it was exceptional — it was gone before I could try it.
Those toutons were flat-out awesome. Kind of a cross between a dense doughnut and an English muffin.
The bologna was excellent, and I liked the sausage but it was a notch below the toutons and bologna.
Apparently, the rain sometimes stops for hours on end here, and thank goodness it did on this day. It was overcast with occasional glimmers of hazy sunlight, so we headed back to the lighthouse on the edge of the world at 11 a.m.
As amazing as that was, I was even more in awe of the journey just minutes to the east, where the landscape looked more stunning that how I had envisioned Scotland.
What blew me away was how the links land appeared so European, yet those northern Canada staples pine trees dominated just a few hundred yards away from the coast.
Two km from the lighthouse was the Dungeon, a square opening in the rocks where one could peer down and see splashing waves.
From there we journeyed a few more miles away to Elliston and more of that breathtaking links-and-coast scenery.
This is what I flew halfway across the continent for.
At some point, Cathy did something funky to her knee and was unable to bend it. Unfortunately, that meant she could not walk through the cumbersome terrain to see an island of puffins. This is one of the few places in the world where they can be viewed.
Catching up on scenery:
875717,875675,875700,2018-08-27 17:44:32.227000000,Re: Newfoundland – Eating the Rock”
I am so enjoying your report. The scenery is fantastic, and you are an excellent writer.
Thanks a lot, and we’re just getting started with the scenery shots.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 16 GETTING RAINED INTO BONAVISTA
We woke up to find the power was out. This made for adventurous showering, bathroom-using and dressing. I guess we got all of those things right though as we left clean and fully clothed.
Our next stop was Bonavista, all the way across the island on the eastern tip.
To get there we had to drive back to Deer Lake and catch the Trans-Canada Highway. What we didn t expect was the effect the previous day would have on the mountainous terrain we had to traverse that first hour.
It must ve rained pretty heavily or the soil here was unequipped to handle significant amounts of precipitation because everywhere we looked, water was shooting down the mountains.
The rocky nature of this terrain means significant rainfalls don t soak into the ground, thus it tumbles off peaks.
Areas of barren hillside had turned into raging rapids at several spots. It was just amazing to see the rainfall s impact in this region.
Cathy has some incredible photos of this event on her camera. I’ll post later when she downloads them.
We reached Deer Lake and stopped for gas before heading east. There were multiple gas stations in this town, but for some reason this one was packed with people.
I pumped my gas then went in to pay yes, that s still a thing here and it was unclear where the end of the line was. So I asked a 65-or-so-year-old gentlemen if he was in line, and he said no, he was with a tour bus and was waiting for it to head out.
I asked where they were going, and he said Gander& he thought. He didn t seem particularly concerned. I was envious and thought to myself that I hope that s me someday, with unlimited free time to travel wherever a bus would take me.
Gander was actually the town we planned on stopping at for lunch, about three hours to the east. It was an uneventful and unspectacular drive from a scenery perspective, relative to what we had seen the past two days.
It actually did stop raining, eventually, and I found myself with a free hand since I didn t have to constantly change the cadence of the windshield wipers.
We arrived in Gander and headed to Rosie s Restaurant, which earned very high praise on Tripadvisor.
This was our first true Roadfood stop in Newfoundland.
I liked Rosie s immediately, as it had that country restaurant feel, with the dessert refrigerator and chalkboard with the day s specials.
And the first one had been on my bucket list since we d started planning this trip: Jigg s Dinner. It s salt beef, potatoes, squash, carrots, peas pudding, cabbage and turnips.
Salt beef is like corned beef, except it s brined for a very long time and left on the bone it s actually served that way. So it s a saltier version of corned beef with the fat caps still attached.
The effect is flavor overload. Everything was served separate on the plate, and as I figured out, the consumer is supposed to mix everything together. I had just gone straight for the meat and was eating it with the cabbage.
The vegetables on their own were a little bland, so it made sense to combine them with the super-flavorful beef.
And was it ever flavorful. The fatty caps melted in my mouth, and the beef was extremely tender.
The vegetables tasted like they d been picked that day.
Cathy ordered the burger, which came with fries covered with gravy. It was a quality burger, juicy but crispy on the outside. I ended up finishing my meal and her burger as well as downing some of her fries.
It was a homemade roast beef gravy that complemented the fries well.
875684,875675,875681,2018-08-26 15:53:38.090000000,Re: Newfoundland – Eating the Rock”
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15 JIM CANTORE MUST VACATION HERE
Before we stopped at Mary Brown s we visited the local grocery store a couple of miles from the airport.
We picked up breakfast for the next day: A few cheese bagels, a store brand block of cheesecake brownies and some mini butter tarts. I guess butter tarts are a Canadian thing, because I ve never seen them in the U.S.
They re bite sized and some kind of sugary paste that s delightful. The cheesecake brownies were OK they looked better than they were. Of course, store bagels are always passable, and thank God for Canada, which offers cheese as an option atop practically everything.
This photo in the office that runs all of the cabins cracked me up.
The forecast called for about a tenth of an inch of rain, which I interpreted as drizzle or a light shower. As we were about to learn firsthand, weather predictions are next to useless in this part of the world.
The plan for today was pretty ambitious. We had two boat trips planned: One near Trout River and the other was in Gros Morne National Park.
Trout River was a 90-minute drive to the southwest, although it s probably only 20 miles from Rocky Harbour as the crow flies. The other was about 20 minutes north of our cabin.
We drove a large part of the stretch back to Deer Lake to get to the turnoff for Trout Lake, and I now that I could see it I was stunned to see how dangerous it was. Large cliffs dropped off hundreds of feet in every direction.
It was even a little sunny when ventured out.
More cloudy, and a moose warning sign. You can see the changing face of the rocks as we get closer to our destination. And I asked, and yes, that is snow on the far left side of the below photo. Apparently a major snowfall came through in late June and still hadn’t melted.
It looked like rain but that held off until our 8 a.m. boat ride. It started drizzling when we reached the boat dock, and by the time we boarded and took off it was a steady downpour.
I was prepared to do this in shorts and a polo, but fortunately I listened to Cathy and took a poncho she had brought.
It was just us, another older Canadian couple, our guide Rebecca and Alex, the captain. At maximum speed, the rain drops stung when they hit the skin and the temperature dropped into the 50s.
But while I was holding down the poncho and frantically trying to preserve as many dry patches of body as possible, our four Canadian companions seemed totally unaffected.
And it rained the entire time out, a 16 km drive. And it rained the entire time back. I had kept my hind quarters dry for the first half but ultimately had to move and was forced to sit back down in a wet spot. Actually, the whole boat was a giant wet spot, including the six of us.
It was miserable. I was miserable. Photo-taking was impossible. And it s a shame, because our guide and captain were outstanding. Rebecca is practically an encyclopedia of provincial ecology.
The short version is that we could actually see the exposed mantle of the planet, which sounded pretty cool.
The provincial site says it way better than I ever could:
“By the Early Devonian (410 ,29,875675.002001001001,4,47784,126.96.36.199
875680,875675,875679,2018-08-26 14:24:41.403000000,Re: Newfoundland – Eating the Rock”
This guy helped us wait for the international flight:
I can’t believe they let him into the terminal without a ticket. TSA is slipping. At least they made him take off his shoes.
The wings were amazing. They use a pressure cooking system a lot of places in Chicago use (someone from there might know what that s called), and they turned out amazingly juicy but still crisp on the outside.
You might be referring to a system developed by http://broaster.com The Broaster Company, actually based out of Beloit, WI. They claim to be the largest chain in the world, but are largely unknown because they build their network through sales of their equipment and supplies which is not necessarily made public by all their clients. Some places clearly state on their menu that they’re serving Broaster Chicken, others do not. As long as you keep buying their products, they don’t care.
Nice start. I’m looking forward to the rest. I hope you and Cathy had a chance to check out the local music scene while you toured the province. We’ve enjoyed many Newfie performers over the years at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest. They’ve got a rich cultural heritage up that way and I hope we get to experience it firsthand someday.
A quick set-up: Cathy and I had been planning this trip for quite a while.
Traveling to Canada has been a key part of our relationship since we started going out.
During our trips north, we had heard through our hockey contacts and other Canadians that Newfoundland was a national gem that anyone who enjoyed exploring the country as much as we do had to see.
This was a bucket-list check-off for another reason: It was one of only three provinces we had not set foot in, with Saskatchewan and Manitoba being the others.
I will warn any potential readers: This is a region that has not been explored by many on this board, and it s also a sparsely-populated province. Our purpose of going also wasn t solely food, so for anyone expecting a purely Roadfood thread, you ll be disappointed.
I m talking to you, Dale.
This will also take several days to post, as we have a ton of cool photos and I’m making an extra effort to make my prose readable.
That said, from a culinary standpoint we still planned extensively and couldn t wait to attack Atlantic Canada with a knife and fork.
We were supposed to fly from Cincinnati to Toronto around 10 a.m., then after customs and a short layover there, it was off to the west side of Newfoundland and a tiny airport in the tinier town of Deer Lake.
From there the plan was to spend two nights in Rocky Harbour, a little over an hour west of the airport. We would drive across the island to Bonavista for nights three and four, and the final four nights would be spent in St. John s, the capital and only decent-sized city in Newfoundland.
Newfoundland is actually the 16th largest island in the world and takes about 12 hours to drive from northwest to southeast. Our itinerary would cover a large chunk of the place they call The Rock.
MONDAY, AUGUST 13 WHAT S ONE BAD FOOT CONVERT TO IN METRIC?
As luck would have it, I ve had a recurring arthritis issue that affects my feet, and my final day of work less than a day before takeoff I had a flare-up.
It scared the B-Jesus and entire A-through-Z Jesus spectrum out of me as well, because at its worst these bouts have rendered me an in-home prisoner for a week or more, unable to walk more than a few feet because of the pain.
I feel like I know how to manage it better and haven t had anything in that realm for five-plus years, but now I get more moderate attacks about twice a year, and what are the odds this would happen the day before our biggest trip in years?
I also did a trip to Owen Sound, Ontario, in 2014 with a mild bout and it made for a rough week, although when I told the locals I was having foot pain, they didn t understand. When I told them I was having meter pain, they got it.
But fortunately (spoiler alert), this one was short lived and didn t affect the trip that much.
TUESDAY, AUGUST 14 TAKE OFF (HOSERS)
Do flights ever go smoothly anymore?
We go in expecting the worst, especially with international flights. Stressful, pointed interrogations, long lines and waits, security agents playing rock-paper-scissors with nether regions during cavity searches.
The carnage began as soon as we entered Cincinnati s airport. It only has one Air Canada gate, and the lone customer in line spent 20 minutes there as the lone staffer made multiple phone calls to clear up whatever issue he had.
This guy helped us wait for the international flight:
We arrived in Toronto and had,29,875675,0,47784,188.8.131.52
875674,875558,875670,2018-08-26 10:22:03.500000000,Re: Weird Foods”
Driving along the coast:
D & D
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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?
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