Category Archives: Restaurant Review

Fall Foliage Cruise — Lunch at the Old Triangle Irish Ale House

Everything’s just ducky on the Waterfront Boardwalk

After walking the Sydney Waterfront Boardwalk, Ursula and I headed north a short way before crossing to Charlotte Street via Townsend Street. We were getting a bit peckish, and I recalled seeing from the boardwalk an Irish Alehouse, so that’s where we headed. But before we do a lunch review, have you ever considered snapping a shot of the local license plates? It can be a fun addition to your photo library for any trip.

Nova Scotia license plate

A brief stroll northward on Charlotte Street was all we needed to find our chosen lunch spot, the Sydney branch of The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse:

The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse

A quick check of the ale offerings sealed the deal when I found one of my favorites, which I had discovered in Dublin a year before this trip. Thus, we sat down for lunch, and I ordered a Smithwick’s Irish red ale. For the uninitiated (of which I was one in 2018), the ‘h’ and ‘w’ are silent, resulting in an order of, “Smittick’s.”

Smithwick’s (pronounced ‘Smitticks’) Irish Red

The meal was a definite winner. Ursula proclaimed the seafood chowder served with Irish soda bread a hit, and after tasting it I had to agree with that review:

Seafood Chowder

I opted for the more mundane, but even that was far from disappointing. Below is Old Triangle’s version of fish & chips, Killybegs Style Fish, which is a beer-battered haddock:

Killybegs Style Fish & Chips

Rain was threatening, and after lunch we decided to head back to the ship. Along the way we came across some interesting street murals, including these outside ‘The Hat’ (Highland Arts Theatre):

The ‘Hat’ (Highland Arts Theatre) murals

You’ll see a bit more on those on Fun Photo Friday. Farther north is this colorful Allan Ryan mural at 270 Charlotte Street:

Mural at 270 Charlotte Street

By the time you reach Dorchester Street it’s almost time to turn west back toward the port. But not before capturing an image of an interesting copper-domed sandstone building at the corner of Dorchester and Charlotte. This once housed the Sydney branch of the Bank of Montreal. It was designed by architect Sir Andrew Taylor, and built in 1899:

Bank of Montreal; sandstone structure from 1899


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Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, Restaurant Review, travel, vacation, Wine & Food

Fall Foliage Cruise — Prince Edward Island; Carr’s Oyster Bar

Carr’s Oyster Bar

It was time to break for lunch, so Cyril Arsenault drove us to one of his favorite places — Carr’s Oyster Bar, located at the mouth of the Stanley River where it flows into New London Bay. Looking across the river you’ll see this scene:

Across Stanley River from Carr’s

Stepping inside and walking toward the back, you’re greeted by another welcoming sign in the main seating area:

Welcome to Carr’s

The interior of this rather busy establishment:

Carr’s Oyster Bar seating

Make sure you look up and to the right as you first enter to see this behemoth:

Now, what would an oyster bar be without fresh oysters straight from the nearby oyster farms?

Oysters don’t come any fresher than this

But I don’t do raw oysters. As I frequently say, “Never eat raw that which thrives on human sewage.” Stewed, baked, broiled or fried, absolutely, and I know raw is good from a trusted source, nevertheless… .

So, my plate had the fried variety, along with shrimp, scallops, haddock, and a small crab cake:

Carr’s Five Fried Sampler

Ursula opted for one of her favorites, seafood chowder:

Carr’s Seafood Chowder

One of our companions enjoyed a lobster roll:

Lobster Roll with French Fries

Ursula rate her chowder exquisite, and she thought it was one of the best she had the entire trip. The lobster roll was proclaimed good, but I thought it was rather small (just wait to see what we had in Bar Harbor, Maine later in this fall foliage series, just for comparison). My fried platter was just a bit of a disappointment. As with the lobster roll, the portion was heavy on the fries and light on the seafood. The shellfish and haddock could have used a bit more time in the fryer, as you can see from the blondish color, and the oil could have been a bit hotter for a crispier texture.

All in all, it was an okay lunch, and probably not overpriced considering, but I was left thinking I’d have been better off ordering Ursula’s choice.

I didn’t get a picture of Cyril’s choice, but there’s a humorous story attached to that. Cyril ordered his favorite, the coconut shrimp. He allowed me to sample one, and it was very good. He then went on to brag how Carr’s only uses locally sourced ingredients. Never one to miss an opportunity, I looked toward Cyril and, without missing a beat, said, “You really must show us that local grove of coconut trees.”

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Fall Foliage Cruise — Lower Town Québec and Lunch at Côtes-à-Côtes

Lower Town Quebec

Way back in June 2014 Ursula and I took a similar cruise to this one, except that cruise was neither a reposition down to Florida, nor was it during fall foliage. During that cruise, we experienced for the first time poutine while we were in Montreal. It was a disaster. Soggy, uninspired, grease-laden fries swimming in an insipid brown gravy.

Basse-Ville Fountain and Statue

After Montreal on that cruise we hit Quebec with no desire to try poutine again. But after a long trek around Upper Town and then Lower Town, we were rather parched. So we found a café with an outdoor seating area and ordered some drinks.

Lower Town Quebec

It was while sitting here, waiting for our drinks, that we saw at a nearby table an entirely different take on poutine, one that was topped with pulled pork. The establishment was Côtes-à-Côtes Resto Grill, and you can read about our first visit at Québec Part 4 — Lower Town for a Poutine Break.

Côtes-à-Côtes Resto Grill

We placed an order despite our first lackluster experience in Montreal, and were pleasantly surprised. The fries were crisp, the gravy flavorful, the cheese curds al dente and tasty, and the pulled pork was an exquisite touch. here’s what that order looked like back in 2014:

Poutine Delight

Because this experience so changed our mind, we looked forward to hitting once again Côtes-à-Côtes for a repeat. Unfortunately, the outdoor seating area was closed, and the interior was packed with the lunch crowd.


Ursula perusing the Côtes-à-Côtes menu

Looking over the menu I decided to begin with a local beer. This one came from a brewpub just up the road in Montreal, La Blanche Cheval Blanc, a Belgian-style wheat. So far, so good.

Cheval Blanc at Côtes-à-Côtes Resto Grill

Alas, the poutine description varied from our previous visit. Rather than pulled pork, the latest poutine offering was topped with duck. Not a bad thing, necessarily, but I’m a sucker for a good pulled pork. Nevertheless, we placed a couple of orders. I probably should have taken a clue from the crowd, but more on that in a moment.

Lunch crowd at Côtes-à-Côtes Resto Grill

What I’m hinting at is that we should have prepared for disappointment. Today’s poutine was bad, per se. It just wasn’t a good as our first time here. The fries were far from piping hot fresh from the oil, and the duck paled in comparison to the pulled pork of five years earlier. The cheese curds were still quite good, but the gravy seemed lacking in comparison to our previous visit. On reflection, I’m going to give Côtes-à-Côtes the benefit of the doubt and chalk up this latest experience to an overworked kitchen and stressed staff that may have let the poutine sit just a tad longer than it should before delivery to our table.

Côtes-à-Côtes poutine with duck

Back onto the streets for one last look around and two final photos before we finish up with Quebec during this week’s Fun Photo Friday of Quebec favorites:

Lower Town Quebec

A Lower Town Quebec outdoor café

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Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, Restaurant Review, travel, vacation