Meet Charmian Christie, food writer and recipe developer living in Ontario, Canada. Christie embraces all of today’s media platforms and shares her hard-earned culinary knowledge on her blog, on television, as well as through her iPhone and iPad app, Kitchen Disasters & Fixes. Her cookbook, The Messy Baker, is due out in Fall 2013 through HarperCollins. Here’s St. John’s, Newfoundland, in her own words.
My Edible City
St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. Like its cold nor’easters, St. John’s has a way of penetrating your skin. For those who aren’t used to talking to strangers, it’s a bit of a shock. But if you love to experience new places, its people are as memorable as the views and brightly painted houses. We arrived from Ontario with restaurant recommendations written on our boarding pass by the woman who checked our luggage in Toronto. A native Newfoundlander, she eagerly shared her picks. The next day at the Farmers’ Market, as we enjoyed waffles at a shared dining table, a total stranger offered to take us hiking. The next day, I spent an afternoon touring The Rooms with a local chef who knew me only through Twitter. And when we mentioned that we wanted to see an iceberg, the woman at the hotel front desk showed us photos of the one that floated by her mother’s house that morning — along with instructions to be sure to stop by for tea.
While the travel books list St. Johns’ as the oldest and most easterly city in North America, its sense of community and genuine hospitality are what truly set it apart.
My Favorite Dishes
I love food to surprise me. During our stay, three meals stood out – for very different reasons. The first was the classic pub meal of fish & chips eaten amidst the noise and bustle of the busy Duke of Duckworth. While it doesn’t take much to get me to wolf down a plate of battered and fried fish, it’s almost impossible to get my husband to eat anything pulled from the ocean. Not only did he like the light batter and delicate fish, he said it was so good he would eat it again. This is a first in our ten-year marriage.
The second surprise was at the more upscale Chinched Bistro. I could happily live without ever eating sausage or cold meat. But one bite of their from-scratch charcuterie and I finally realized what all the fuss was about. My husband was none too pleased that this culinary epiphany occurred courtesy of his appetizer.
Bacalao, which specialized in nouvelle Newfoundland cuisine, delivered the third surprise: cured Newfoundland trout. Maybe it was the partridge berry martini or birch sap wine, but their trout displaced smoked salmon as my favourite fish dish.
The biggest surprise of all? This dessert fiend returned raving about the mains.
- Discover some of Charmian’s most delicious finds in St. John’s: Chinched Bistro, Bacalao, Five Brothers Artisan Cheese, and Rocket Bakery and Fresh Food
- Visit The Rooms, Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest public and cultural space that includes the provincial archives as well as art gallery and museum
- Learn more about Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, home to St. John’s, named the world’s top coastal destination by National Geographic
Photo Credits: All pictures by Charmian Christie.