Wednesday 15 March 2017

Now Your Speaking My Language!

I used to pride myself on being able to tell where people were from by their accents.  I could even spot the allusive " South African" accent usually mistaken for Australian.  Hell, I could even narrow it down to what  part of England people were from.

It was a fun game I liked to play because, well, this huge Country we call Canada had only three accents:
1. "Eh?
2. "Quebecois
3. "Newfie".  

I found it fascinating that such a huge country produced only three.

Oh what a silly, ignorant Westerner was I!

My first month being out East my ears got auditoraly bitch slapped-put in their place. I believed there was a disproportionate amount of people that had speech impediments.

I heard more "D"s and "S"s than I ever had in my life even though no new words were added to our fine Canadian  English vernacular

Some people had forgotten that we actually have 5 vowels; the forgotten one being "E".

The letter "H" can be referred to as the letter HAYTCH

There is the practise of  just hinting at the letter "T".

A language that both French and English speaking people go bugged eyed at .

Confused yet? Yeah!  so was I

Well, after almost a year my ears have stopped crying and they have managed to filter and recognise a few groups.

First off,  I have an accent.  I was shocked to know this.  It has been pointed out to me several times as I haphazardly let slip the iconic  "Eh?"
This ,Dear Reader, was  as Canadian to me as
Molson, Bob and Doug McKenzie, and Tim Hortons.

Spoiler alert:  Toronto is not the centre of the Universe and Western Canada does not dictate 
Canadian culture.

So here's what I've learned :

Newfoundland:  Just add some "D"'s and "S"'s.  In fact, its a great way of avoiding the great social faux pas of not  knowing  if someone is referring to Saint John, New Brunswick or St. John's, Newfoundland:

 Listen for that extra " S".  Dat der be's St.John's Newfounlaaand b'ys!

and clearly  the name Marge was invented in Newfoundland!

Along with their accent, Newfies  have as many idioms as they do words.  If you catch yourself scratching your head saying " what the hell does that even mean?!" you're probably talking to a Newf!

South Shore: You won't hear any "E"'s. In fact, most vowels take on an "A" like quality. There is also a definite lack  of "R"'s.  Perhaps the German/ New England connection? When you first here this dialect, it sounds like something you'd hear from Maine or Boston but there is a difference and most native  Scotians will describe in a not so flattering way.

We won't go there.


Acadian Shore:  Fringlish.  Good luck.

Cape Breton:   Like an angry Caper girl ,  this one will beat you every time! I still have problems distinguishing this dialect as they have more than three variances that I've been able to figure out.  Basically, it sounds like Newf meets Irish, meets Mainland.  You sail on about not a boat and I like my beer in a ba-uhl not a bottle

Oh, and did I mention,  Gaelic?  Yeah, they speak that.  

This of course is a limited list.   I've yet to experience PEI.  But I know those padaydas from the bright red mud will call  EatThisTown there this summer

One thing for sure...Be it Newfoundland or New Brunswick, Maritimers love to talk!  So listen up and have an ear!

But be warned! Maritimers love their Weather and your going to hear about it whether you like it or not!

Tanks fare ree-in me blogs! Fuc C'est kewl!

Saturday 11 March 2017

Come From Away; Come a Long way

When I first started this blog, I was going to write about what it's like to live with a Food Blogger.

But I soon realised it wasn't  just life with a food blogger; it was life with a food blogger out East.

Since my last post, I've been settling in and settling down.  I've been working, travelling, eating, drinking, dancing, coupling...


East Coast Lifeing

I am constantly challenged and fascinated by it all.

My life with an East Coast Food Blogger is much more than just food!

Therefore, Dear Reader,  I'm bringing a BIGGER DISH!

The Side Dish:  observations and musings about this eclectic province as I frolic along with the greatest food blogger in the world:

(shameless plug!)


PS.  Have a place or topic you want me to broach?  Shoot me line!  I look forward to the challenge!!

You can leave a comment here or tweet me @thesidedishhh

Sunday 25 September 2016


I have recently come to the realisation that my Foodie is not the peculiar one; I am.

Well out here anyway.



I have been struggling with what that really means.  I have now been out East for close to 6 months and started to notice some of the things that make me recognizable as "from away".  I mean we're all Canadian but East Coast really does have its own culture and here is what I have finally put my finger on:

Life experience is most peoples' goal.  From the time they wake-up till their last moments before bed. It's all about what experience they enjoy TODAY.  Or, at the very least, this week.
Its not about the the "maybes ", "somedays" or "I wishes" as those times may never come.  So let's make this day-to-day toil an experience!

The most obvious way this is obtained is through human interaction.

Scotians love to talk!

It's really hard to maintain a smart phone relationship with all these people wanting to chat.  They want to share with you the smallest of things and most Scotians want to hear it too!
It has been a major adjustment for me to embrace this.  Out west, idle chit-chat is a formality and an attempt at good manors.  It's a dance between knowing how much to say and the exact  limit of your audiences' attention span.  Why?  There's too much shit to do and money to make!

Out here, however, I have learnt to be careful when asking "How are you?"

My first introduction to this was at our local watering hole.  I sat at the bar alone as I was waiting for my Foodie after work.

Now, sitting at the bar out West means two things:

1.  You're a drunk
2.  You're lonely

Both of which mean...keep your distance!

Sitting at a bar out East means:

1.  Your up for a pint and fair game for a chat

My baptism into this East Coast Lifestyle happened just this way.  As I sat alone in my comfortable, isolation bubble some weirdo beside me started talking to me.


Being a good Westerner, I politely nodded and gave one word answers and made sure to project negative body language in hopes of dissuading him from continuing to socialise with  me.  It only slightly worked.  Then I watched with amazement as new people came to the bar and his attention quickly shifted to them.  Effortlessly, a dynamic conversation began to unfold between complete strangers.  

I watched in complete awe.

But this is not a unique phenomenon and I have come to learn these interactions evolve into friendships that can be categorized into three levels:

Friend for the Night.  You probably will never see this person again but you thoroughly enjoyed their company and are grateful for their company that night

Bar Friend.  The proximity of this bar is similar for both of you and you will most likely bump into each other again and start up where you left off on next encounter

Social Friend.  Something in your conversation has triggered the need to explore more with this person and social media contacts are exchanged.

But what is being talked about?

Well before I divulge that dear reader, I want to offer some personal insights:

A great many Scotians are highly educated and under employed.   This creates a Blue Collar attitude with White Collar mind.

Humility meets Pride

Simplicity meets complexity

Reality meets Theory

Most predominat: Third Class meets First Class

So you will hear discussions about politics, human rights, art, food, theatre, sports, health, science, music....

All with in the span of 5 minutes  with a nice speckling of "fuck" and "god love ya!"

And people are genuinely interested and want to hear what you have to say.

It happens everywhere, all the time.

At work on your 15 minute break.

In line at the check-out

Waiting for the bus

With your server at the restaurant.

With the check-out lady.

Because, after all, you find Life itself is really so damn amazing when you take the time to enjoy every little detail and share it with others.

You don't need to save up; you don't have to work overtime.

My gerbil mind is learning to get off the wheel.

So, I will wait that extra five minutes in line while the cashier looks at pictures of her costumers grand-children; what a joy!

And I'll walk around the people blocking a busy street talking about the show last night and perhaps ask them the title and should I check it out.

And at the bar, I'll join the discussion on the latest hot topic in the news and enjoy the exchange of thought.

 And of course...I will wait the extra 2 minutes before eating my entree so my Foodie can take that perfect picture so she can share with others how fantastic this dining experience is.

And yeah!  I got time for a beer..where were you thinking?


LEVEL=1...and counting

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Fundy Fun Day

One of the perks of being with a Food Blogger is invites to special events.  On Sunday, August 14 EatThisTown was invited to Alexander Keith's Launching of their new "craft" line beers.  Of course I probably don't have the correct terminology or event description but hell, I'm not the Foodie here and that's not what this is about.

Lets get down to the good stuff:

Free Beer,
Free food,
Private tours and of new favourite past time;
Foodie watching!

I knew my unwavering support and loving, never-ending patience, would someday be rewarded in kind.

But first, we had to get there.

This tour did offer a shuttle service to and from the event (Kudos to Keith's for being responsible as drinking was certainly going to happen). Because of work commitments, however, it was essential that we use our own means of transportation.  Further translation:  I'm driving.

It's one of the things I signed up for because, well, when a Foodie is a true Foodie, they have a one track mind.  For my Foodie, driving isn't on that track.  And what my Foodie lacks in driving skills, she does not make up for in navigational/ co-piloting skills.  I can generally tell what type of day we'll have depending on how many u-turns have been executed.

This day, only two!  This was going to be a Gooder!

Spirits high, anxiety low, we arrive at Burntcoat Head Park.  A few minutes later, the tour bus full of all the invitees arrived. A speckling of Chefs, Restaurant staff, Farmers, Producers, Media, Beer Bloggers, and of course Food Bloggers.

So many personalities!  My head was swirling and I felt about 6 inches tall.

We were separated into two groups of 20 as the tours down to the Fundy floor need to be this size or less.

Shell Fish Boil
As we descended down to the path toward the orange, mud carpeted shore, I'm greeted by the sounds of music! Ah-ha!  My 6 inches has now gone to 3 feet! These are my people!  The musicians are playing some traditional East Coast music and I'm feeling warm and fuzzy all over.  This, dear reader, is the warm hug from Nova Scotia I've come to rely on when I'm feeling a titch out of place.  A large circle of colourful, Adirondack chairs is placed around three large, tin buckets.  The smell of freshly steamed, seasoned shellfish in the air.
And then I hear this weird "tinging" sound, unnervingly interfering with the rhythm of the music being played.  It's shells hitting those buckets.  I've just been ushered into my first Shell Fish Boil! My 3 feet has now turned into 6 feet!

Shell tossing
All these people circled around, not a campfire, but three buckets being used as unofficial scoring targets for their shellfish side products; mingling and enjoying good food, good beer, good music.   This is no longer a Foodie Function and I'm feeling home.

And then the needle slides across the record.

The talk has turned to hops and brewing tactics and percentages and methods and I'm lost.

"Would you like a Low Tide W.I.P.A?"

 Yup!  sure would.  In fact, give me 2!

And with that, our group is to proceed down to the Fundy floor.
( If you were wondering, I think I scored pretty good on my shell tossing.  My horse shoe tossing skills really helped out!)
Mother Nature.  She's so photogenic!
The shore is not visible from the main park.  It really doesn't come into view until you've hit the last step of the path and, let me tell you, I was gobsmacked when I hit that last step!  If you have never experienced the Bay of Fundy, it has to be on your bucket list! My only regret was that the tour was too short!  I could have spent hours walking those incredible vistas!  I found myself wandering from the group several times, lost in my own self directed tour. I took this opportunity to recharge and enjoy things as they were before being shepherded in the direction of how this backdrop defines the brewery's focus on tidal-inspired ingredients and true Nova Scotian tradition.

Just let me find a hermit crab okay?

And yes, I'd love another beer!

On we marched to the main dinner!  This is to be a pairing experience with each course being highlighted by the three beers being introduced.  Like I've said before: Scotians take their beer serious! We ( yes, I said WE) do a beer pairing like most people do wine pairings.

Getting set up on the Fundy floor
Like a wedding reception in an outdoor venue, tents and table were set out waiting for our attendance on the low tide Fundy floor.  It was romantic, surreal and majestic.  I needed a moment to give thanks.  Not many people will ever get this experience, and the few that do usually pay a pretty penny!  I was fully aware that I had no basis to be contrary to the conversational quagmire that was about to transpire during this feast.

The Three New Beers
Overcast day but still amazing!
The meal was, of course, great.  My review as a Non-Foodie:  Stuff I've never heard of or tried that tasted good.  Free beer; no tab.  Spot on!

I have no idea what she's talking about
And honestly the conversation wasn't too bad.  Like usual, EatThisTown was a virtual encyclopedia and I loved hearing the history and/or cultural significance of some foods.  How she can regurgitate all that information without hidden notes or cue cards in her pocket is beyond me!

guess what...picture time!
I loved how the musicians had come down for the Dinner and played before service to keep the atmosphere and theme fresh in people's minds.   During their pauses in play, they were not fed nor given seats. They had to just stand there.  It made me very uncomfortable and I felt elitist.   These people supplied me with the feeling of Nova Scotian culture and pride, which is the theme that I think Kieth's was really trying to push. My enjoyment of the meal and ultimately Keith's beer, would have been far greater had it been spiced with anecdotes from all the locales these musicians could have supplied.

But, then again, I'm not a Foodie.

Stay tuned gentle reader as this week I attended my first East Coast wedding.  Pictures and Prose to follow

Monday 8 August 2016

Night of Never ending Nachos

Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

                           "Do one thing everyday that scares you"

You know it Sister!

Deep in food thought
So, yesterday I jumped head first into my first Food Quest in public.  Subject:  Who has the best Nachos

Two fears presented themselves here:

1.  What sort of coping strategies will my mind present to be around 9 Foodies for close to 3 hours

2. What punishments will my body dish out  to  me for relentlessly shoving all those nachos and draft beer down my gullet?

To be clear,  I didn't have the privilege of being at the beginning of this Nacho Quest.   I stepped in half way through (due to prior commitments) so I didn't have the luxury of witnessing the true  evolution of the night.

Perhaps the universe decided that was best.

What I did get to experience was three stops ( the rest of the group partook in 8 ) along a pub crawl like event.  Nine new Foodie friends (duo tangs in hand  containing scoring sheets)  and I walking from one pre determined/ researched establishment to the next.  We were all there to try their nachos and discuss, at length,  who had to best according to taste, quality and value.  

Talking about food while waiting for food
First off, let me tell you what a Foodie is.  A Foodie is someone who really likes food.  Of course we all like food; the will to live is what drives us to it.  Foodies take it to the next level.   They think about it when they're not hungry.  They plan other events around its presence.  They are not satisfied with edible concoctions that satiate hunger; they must have/taste/ experience the best!  

And they talk about food.  All the time.  

If you have ever had a night with a Foodie you will understand that no topic of conversation can go without an injection of food.

I know, Dear Reader, that you think this is not possible.  But, just as Kevin Bacon is 6 degrees removed from any one person, so a Foodie is 6 degrees removed from bringing a conversation back to food:

Foodie:  Nice Socks.
Me:  Thanks! They're made from bamboo fiber.  So comfortable!
Foodie:  Did you know bamboo belongs to the grass family
Me: Oh, really?
Foodie: Specifically, Lemon Grass which is a great adage to many Asian dishes!
Me: * palm to face*

I have daringly put myself  in the middle of one of their gatherings.

 Nine Foodies  in total.  

Not taking picture of food#1
I'm proud to say, I held my own and managed to play Foodie for quite a while!  Alas, not being a true Foodie, my mind managed to drift to other subjects such as music,  scenery and people and slowly found myself outside of the the group, taking pictures and singing along to a band playing.

Not taking picture of food #2

Here are some of the observations I found while in the thick of it:

1.  Social etiquette has a different code while amongst Foodies.  Phones are ever present.  Taking pictures, Tweeting,  ( sometimes to the very people you are sitting with) recording everything
Its a surreal moment to capture a foodie, capturing her food
2. While waiting for designated food, talking about other food is encouraged.  On this particular night, several Foodies were heard to be talking about pizza while waiting for their Nachos.
3. Foodies are generally a happy  bunch.   Even  when they are critiquing,  they have this  passion that is hard not to be affected by! They are generally, a warm,  positive, inviting bunch just waiting to share their jeux de vie  Its hard to resist the lure of the Foodie.
4.  When food is present, nothing else exists.  Music, people, kitchen fire....none of it registers until after the first few bites.

I'm sure I will have more to add to this as I continue my life with a Food blogger.

I live with a passionate, focused, obsessed person.  But contrary to what you may think,  My life is not one dimensional.  It is these three qualities that take us to places I normally wouldn't have a reason to go, see things I would have missed and experience people I may never have met.


If you are interested in knowing the results of this nacho quest please visit:

If you would like to participate in a food quest please visit:

Wednesday 3 August 2016


They say it takes about 3 months for culture shock to occur and homesickness to set in.  That the realisation of your fate truly sets in when the cultural differences can be unexpected and unsettling.

Well, I left Calgary April 3, 2016.  I am well due for my culture shock.  The identity crisis doesn't seem to be looming as I feel so at home here.  I never truly fit in Calgary and maybe that was my cultural crisis for so many years.

Being the ever inquisitive and bright eyed observer,  I have noted some quirky and quintessential Haligonian traits.  I offer, to you, dear reader, my top 10:

1. WALK DON'T DRIVE:  People here walk- everywhere.  You don't need a car to live in Halifax.  No matter where you live, everything is within walking distance.  I rarely use my car now except for road trips.  This attitude has lent to a lackadaisical approach to roads.  Calgary has no idea what a pot hole is.  Learning to drive in Halifax is all about dodging, weaving and u-turns as the signage here is ass backwards!  Who puts an exit sign after the exit?! And those damned pedestrians; Everywhere.    It has taken me a while to be mindful of those silly buggers dashing out into the roads willy nilly!  

2. PATIO SEASON!:  Patio season is taken very serious here!  They are literally put up in the spring on the sidewalks and as such have to also make a semi-permanent, pedestrian pathway on the road to accommodate these patios.  They are then taken down in late fall and the roads are restored to their former luster.

3.  NO IKEA:  You'd think with their semi disposable patios, Halifax would embrace the lego like furniture Mecca!  I feel so lost without my church.  Where are all the lesbians getting their furniture?!

4. NO 7-11:  Seriously, not one.  No slurpees, to taquitos and no pumpkin muffins that only they can do.  The only saving grace is Pizza Corner on those way -too-late nights

5.PLAID:  I thought plaid was a cliche Canadianism made up by Americans but nope!  Its all here in Halifax.  Every single person owns at least one piece of plaid and flashes it on the daily.

6.  BEER:  I love beer- Like, a lot!  And I considered myself somewhat of a knowledgeable person when it came to the pint.  Holy mother of pearl was I wrong!  Beer is a lifestyle here.  You can't just simply order a beer .  You need to know what style, what brewery and what characters.  If you don't have a clue, your waitress will be more that happy to educate you on the more than 15 variety minimum in each bar.  I cant wait to visit Calgary and get all uppity when ordering a beer!

7.  PUBS:   Nova Scotia isn't a rich province by any means but they still don't work like dogs to make more money. They know how to just stop, breath, have a pint and enjoy life because work will be there tomorrow.  EAST COAST LIFESTYLE! Heading to your local pub is part of that. Everyone goes; everyone mingles.  There really is no genre/age/lifestyle typing of bars.  You walk into any bar and there is 19-90 year olds, poor and rich, straight and gay etc.etc.  It makes for great conversations and energetic settings!  It was one of the first things that made me feel at home.  For once, I wasn't the only one my age who wasn't a stiff or weird.  Pretty much the norm here.

8. B-BALL. Its pretty big here.  Semi pro team and everything.  I'm slowly learning to love it and its so fun to go to the games because the ticket prices and accessibility are nothing like those damn Flames!

9. SPEAKING OF FLAMES.  The one thing I truly miss:  Fire pits.  Its just not a thing here.  it would fit so well here though!  Maybe I should light a match under their arses!

And of course...


 Not a Shawarma.  Not ever. They actually made this the official food of Halifax.  That means they used tax dollars and legislative time to recognise and award a food with a title.  Do they love Donair? Yeah, you could say that.  

If you want to know more about this sacred food, you know EAT THIS TOWN is an absolute encyclopedia on this and would love to feed your brain.

And with that all said...I think I'll go take a walk in my plaid shorts and have a pint at the Fickle Frog


Monday 1 August 2016

What the Hell Did I Get Myself Into?

Yeah, I am now a cliche.  I am that Lesbian that packed up everything and u-hauled it to start a new life with the girl of her dreams.

But it wasn't down the street or even the same city for that matter.  I drove to the other end of the second largest Country in the world.

And she's an award winning Food Blogger: Eat This Town.

What did I just get myself into?

That question, my dear reader, is the catalyst for this Blog

I have come to realize a few things about being with a Food Blogger.  Some Good, some bad,  always changing and yet obsessively repetitive.  I myself am not a "Foodie" and yet I find myself morphing into this pseudo food snob who can no longer eat before a picture is shot.  I can no longer take a leisurely drive without a destination. Food is now my constant destination.  I have learned to never question the knowledge of an over researched, under appreciated Food Aficionado; You will be educated by way of a post-secondary-style-lecture, without consent!  My life has been taken hostage  by someone else's passion!

And I love it!  So, dear reader:

Welcome to my world!  Relax, grab a plate and enjoy the dish!