Monday, September 28, 2009

Canadian road-trip sort of food

I was somewhere in Canada. My head was wedged between the seat and my pillow as my family embarked on the eighteen hour drive from Baddeck, Nova Scotia to my little home in the States. My dad, not thrilled about making the entire journey in one day, opted to stop to stay overnight in New Brunswick. The hotel, while sparkling new and squeaky clean, was not the ideal place to feed my family, so we drove around until we alighted on "Holly's Restaurant."

And I am now full of regret, that I haven't even the faintest idea where in New Brunswick we were. A quick Google search tells me it might have been Hampton, but I can't be sure.

Anyway, Holly's Restaurant it was. Unimpressive looking inside and out, it almost reminded me of a Gregg's style restaurant, down to the spinning refrigerated cake display case. The place was nearly empty, so the waitress stayed by our table, chatting with us as she passed out the hand-drawn place mats for the kids, and illustrated menus. She told us about Holly, who actually legit ran the place, and made all the desserts. And I guess that's part of what I liked about Holly's Restaurant, everyone was so friendly, nice, warm, laid-back.

I say this sheepishly, because it seems to be a negative reflection on the food itself, but I have no idea what I ordered, or what anyone in my family ordered. Maybe I had a wrap, with melted cheese on it? And my mom had some sort of Asian chicken salad? The food was New Americana, as I remember, and I know my siblings didn't order chicken tenders because Holly's Restaurant's kids menu didn't carry the traditional family restaurant crud. It was really good. The food. I tried a little bit of everyone's food, and speedily finished mine, it was really delicious. New, interesting, fresh. I am usually scared to death of these "small town, family run" type joints. But the food was thoughtful, and genuinely yummy.

And the place was clean. That counts for a lot.

So score one for the Canadians! It was easily the best meal I've eaten in Canada, I suppose not counting anything my memere's made, but understand my skepticism of these kinds of restaurants! The small touches like the hand-drawn place mats and friendly staff were nice enough, but interesting dishes made family-friendly was the kind of thing I'd never seen in a restaurant before, and I was impressed. Not bad, New Brunswick.

(Parenthetically, the best place for food, especially raw ingredients, in New Brunswick is still the City Market in St. John's -- a Quincy Market feel, only ten times bigger, and ten times better. Pwned.)

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