The Wooden Monkey
1707 Grafton Street
My boyfriend and I decided one day that we just HAD to go on vacation this year, so we decided to check out the Canadian East Coast! While we were planning our way around the Atlantic provinces, we realized there was just too many things to do in the EC and with insufficient time to cover everything, we just decided to spend our days in Nova Scotia.
Luckily and unintentionally of us, we decided to head to the EC just when the G20 was about to hit Toronto, just as it was Fleet week in Halifax and just as the Queen of England was to arrive! Halifax was a bumpin’ city!!! We met up with my friends the night we arrived and checked out the night scene. There were lots of sailors there…so yeah – love sailors!
While we were deciding on the activities for the next day, my friends had asked me if I had any dietary restrictions (even though they fully know I don’t), but I told them I prefer to eat vegetarian if I can. I think they just wanted an excuse to take me to the Wooden Monkey – although none is needed! We had walked by the Wooden Monkey while bar-hopping and decided to meet up there for lunch the next day.
The Wooden Monkey serves up food for everyone. They had gluten-free, veggie and vegan options as well as, meat any meat lover would be proud of! All four of us got pizzas that day!
The Cheese Pizza (with gluten-free crust)
My friends got extra goat cheese on their – good call, that’s all I gotta say!!
“THE” Veggie Pizza
This was the most epic of epic vegetarian pizzas ever! Conan and I were not feeling that hungry (as we went for breakfast at the Wired Monk) so we shared this pizza.
I don’t even think I need to describe to you all how excellent this pizza was. It’s pretty clear this veggie pizza did not need meat to make it edible. It was a thin crusted pizza jam packed with spinach, onions, tomatoes, cheese, mushrooms, pesto, potato, zucchini, feta and mozza cheese. It absolutely deeeeelicious!!!
The Wooden Monkey was so memorable and so delicious that when we returned back to Halifax at the end of our vacation, that was the ONLY thing on my mind. Needless to say, we returned for our last meal in Nova Scotia.
The Lamb Burger
Again, I don’t even know if any description is necessary. It was not a “special” lamb burger in any sense – I mean it was a typical lamb burger patty with some goat cheese. Except the lamb burger was free-range lamb seasoned with rosemary and garlic and the cheese was seasoned and creamy. The fries were SOOO GOOD! Spiced and perfectly fried – not too crispy or soggy – like I said, perfect.
Most people who love meat just cringe at the idea that something which isn’t meat can taste good. Well, this burger is awesome. Made with lentils, carrots, miso, garlic, onions, daikon, seeds and oats, it’s more filling than any meat product could ever be! It was served between a fat free 5-organic grain pita. I paid some extra for the apple salad vs. the potato roasties. If a meatless burger is made properly, it will never be crumbly or dry and this burger was definitely made properly!
After some reflections of our epic trip through Nova Scotia, a couple cups of Just Us coffee (a fair-trade coffee co-op originating in Nova Scotia) and eavesdropping on a young family beside our table, we paid the bill and walked out of the restaurant. I felt sad and I walked out slowly because I didn’t know when it will be the next time I will ever come back to Halifax, breathe in the salty ocean air, taste the sweet red Nova Scotia wine (Blomidon Estate Winery being my all time favourite!), feast at the Wild Caraway and chill out with friends at the Wooden Monkey.
3721 Highway 209
Conan and I decided to take our summer vacation in Maritime Canada. We were both born in Canada, but neither of us had really explored our own country. Ironically enough, I think I’ve seen more of Canada than Conan since many of our family weekends were spent traveling around Ontario and Quebec. Anyway, we wanted to do all of the Atlantic provinces, but in while planning and gathering information on things to do on the coast, we realized there were just too many things to do and decided to just concentrate on the province of Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia is the 2nd smallest province in Canada, most populous maritime province and the “ocean’s playground.” One of the places I’ve always wanted to see in Canada was the Bay of Fundy. I remember watching and learning about it when I was younger. I remember watching shows like National Geographic, different chef shows and travel shows covering the highest tides in the world – a phenomenon caused by resonance tides. After searching for the perfect spot to experience the tides, we settled on the Northern West tip of Nova Scotia – Cape Chiqnecto and Advocate Harbour.
The drive to Advocate Harbour was a long one, but an enjoyable one. Nova Scotia reminded me very much of northern Ontario, until we got closer to Advocate Harbour. It is a place of amazing landscapes and breath-taking views of the Bay of Fundy. Although it was raining all day, I was glad it rained. The rain made everything look so much more lush and green, the mist hung in the hills and the smell of fresh ocean water was refreshing.
I booked a B&B in Advocate Harbour – The Wild Caraway. It was from a recommendation from a lady whom I talked to while I was booking a kayaking trip (Nova Shores). She told me the Wild Caraway served the best food and the owners were really nice. That was basically enough for me – always trust a local!
Just a quick note on Nova Shores – GREAT experience!!! Their office is just located about a 5 minute walk from the Wild Caraway and they gave an amazing tour along the coast. They also serve up a very very delicious lunch – on the beach! Both my boyfriend and I enjoyed the company of the owners and tour guide. They really try to take care of you and give you the best possible experience. Highly recommended.
So after a long drive, we arrived at the Wild Caraway, settled into our room over-looking the harbour during the low tide and went down for dinner.
And what a dinner it was. Definitely trust locals.
Corn Chowder with chive garnish & bun with fennel and other things (oops…was too into eating it to listen carefully)
This was really delicious. The bun was crispy on the outside and softer on the inside. The fennel added a tinge to the buttery insides. The chowder was creamy, yet light tasting. A great start!
Garden Soup with beets, celery, carrots, onion, peas, beans, asparagus with swiss chard dumplings.
It was light, fresh, and healthy tasting. The swiss chard dumpings – to die for!
Seared Haddock with sesame crisps, tahini sauce.
This was Conan’s entree. It was SOOOO GOOD!!! The fish, obviously, super fresh. The sauce was nutty and sour, kind of reminiscent of Thai peanut sauce. Great flavours!
Crusted Arctic Charr with swiss chard in soba noodles, pickled cucumber and asparagus in a beet reduction.
My entree. Now I HATE Asian fusion food. I always feel restaurants butcher Asian flavours and all of a sudden something is “Asian” because they added some canned mandarin oranges to some random dish OR crispy noodles, OR sesame garnish. umm…no, it’s not Asian because you do that FYI. Anyway, this has to be the BEST Asian fusion food I’ve ever had…ever! The crush on the charr was amazing! It was a mix of a whole bunch of different things, but the best part was the garlic. It was crispy, just like those fried garlics you can buy in an Asian supermarket. The skin on the charr was VERY CRISP!! It was even still crisp after sitting on top of the soba noodles and at the end of my meal when I was finishing the last bites of fish. Excellent. The reduction was super tasty! Sweet and thick. The pickled veggies was a nice balance to everything on the plate. Sooooo goood!!! =9
Rhum Baba. Yeast cake, soaked in rose syrup with candied walnuts and raisins.
How can we NOT get dessert after an amazing meal like that?! The sweet fragrant aroma of the rose syrup permeated the yeast cake – it was like eating a hot, sunny summer day. Amazing. Did not regret at all!!!
All in all, the atmosphere here was great! It was clean, colourful, classic and authentic feeling. The food was amazing. The owners travel once every week for groceries. They go and get local produce and meats / seafood. I hear they travel to neighbouring PEI for the best. I only wished it was closer to home so I could eat there more often. I suppose this just means I have to make it back to Advocate Harbour one day!
I didn’t have time to upload our AWESOME breakfast, so it’s a little late, but here it is!!
Fluffy scrabbled eggs on whole wheat toast spinkled with fresh chive and a rhubarb parfait with honey, strawberries and a granola mix.
I’ve had scrabbled eggs and parfaits about a billion times and THIS was absolutely the mother of all scrabbled eggs and parfaits!! I don’t even know where to begin or how to describe the flavours.
The parfait was amazing. It wasn’t too sweet or tart. The cream mixed with the honey gave a nice texture and flavour addition to the fresh strawberries and rhubarb. The eggs were fluffy and cooked perfectly (not too runny or over-cooked). You really didn’t even need jam or butter for your toast! If only breakfast was like this everyday…