As my three weeks in this beautiful province comes to a close I wanted to recap my summer experience on the island. We’re hopping on a plane in Moncton early tomorrow morning to head back to Ottawa in time for Seb’s schooling.
I hope you guys enjoy this format of a travel blog as I’m still trying to find my footing and figure out the best way to sum up my trips.
What I Did
1. Beaches, beaches and more beaches
PEI is known across the country for its beautiful beaches, and it did not disappoint. We probably went to the beach half a dozen times and never the same one twice. I was lucky enough to have some amazing tour guides to take me to the most secluded beaches. From white, singing sand to the famous red sand I was in love with every single seashore adventure we were on.
2. Point Prim Lighthouse
I’ve always been fascinated with lighthouses, but rarely got to see one in real life. Point Prim is not only accessible to get up close and personal with, you can actually go inside and climb all the way up to the top. An experience I won’t soon forget.
3. Cows Factory Tour
Cows ice cream is nothing to scoff at – it’s divine and everyone knows that. Their factory tour on the other hand, albeit free, was absolutely something we should have skipped. Self-guided tours are fine, but walking down a short hallway to look into empty rooms with no explanation was not worth the trip. Luckily we got ice cream at the end and it was all worth it.
Aside from ice cream, Cows has some awesome snacks. We indulged in some healthy servings of Cow Chips (chocolate covered potato chips) and Lucky Fox’s PEI Mix which consists of caramel corn and potato chips. The caramel was made with Cows Creamery butter – amazing.
4. Downtown Charlottetown and Peakes Quay
I have never met a quay I didn’t like, and Peakes Quay was no exception. It was disgustingly tourist geared which allowed me to find the perfect set of lobster earrings. I also got to pose with a man-sized lobster and wear a lobster hat. Aside from all the tackiness which I obviously embraced, there were very cool local shops throughout downtown and the quay that I really enjoyed. It was a lovely day of exploring a new city.
5. Charlottetown Farmers Market
The farmers market here runs Saturdays and Wednesdays during the summer. It’s partly indoor and partly outdoor and it all local artisans. The dumpling lady has THE BEST sticky rice I’ve had in over a decade. Yes, better than sticky rice in Richmond. Unfortunately I didn’t get the names of any of the businesses in there, but there was also an amazing cheese stand where we got mustard and black pepper infused Gouda. Yes, it was amazing.
Where I Ate
1. Cedars Eatery
This is a well-established Lebanese spot in Charlottetown. They had quite a few gluten free options clearly labelled on the menu here. I did not feel like I was an inconvenience when I ordered. We shared the Kafta and the House Chicken. The Kafta was SO GOOD, I would recommend this to literally everyone.
2. PEI Preserve Company
This place was probably almost definitely a tourist trap in New Glasgow – I’m not mad at all about it though. They had SO MANY gluten free options, and the prices were completely reasonable. They have a shop of locally made goodies in the front while you wait, and there was a bit of a wait when we went. The buzzer they gave me for our table was a small plastic lobster that vibrated and flashed red when our table was ready. My opinion may be totally biased based on the light up lobster alone – but I think the food was excellent too.
I had a potato pie (obviously) which was essentially cheesy scalloped potatoes in a crust made of bacon. I don’t know what else you need to know – it was amazing. I also got the corner piece which meant more bacon, so I’m now a believer. They also had probably half a dozen gluten free dessert options. From daily gluten free cake specials, to tiramisu, to what I ordered – a Baileys chocolate cheesecake. I’m in love.
3. Famous Peppers
I don’t actually have anything valuable to say about the service here or anything like that, as I didn’t order it or pick it up. When we first arrived on the island, Seb’s mom had already picked it up and had it waiting for us (bless her heart). She ordered two gluten free pizzas, again, I don’t know what they were. One had chicken on it and it was good, the other was LOADED with bacon and ground beef and it was SPECTACULAR. Up there with Oggi’s and The Parlour’s gluten free pizzas in my books.
4. Churchill Arms
This spot does not have a designated gluten free menu, and they do not guarantee anything. They have curries and salads that they say are the only things they would consider gluten free on the menu. The things is, I always gamble on fries – they’re just worth it for me. I had the curry chips (with cheese) twice here – I didn’t notice a reaction aside from what any normal person would feel after eating curry and cheese smothered on french fries. It was amazingly gross.
5. Ta-Ke Sushi
This place was bomb. I didn’t expect anything phenomenal ahead of time, but I was pleasantly surprised by its authenticity. We made the mistake of not telling them that I was Celiac before ordering an entire party platter, and panicked once they started drizzling sauces all over the rolls. The staff was lovely enough to make me a separate box of strictly gluten free rolls, and didn’t even charge us for it. It was absolutely our fault, but they went above and beyond to accommodate me. No tamari here though, so bring your own.
6. Fishbones Oyster Bar & Grill
I seriously debated even writing about this place as I don’t like saying negative things about places on the internet, but it’s not all bad. Fishbones did have a great gluten free selection on their menu, and I got so excited that we opted for 3 gluten free appies rather than an entree. We had the potato nachos, fried chicken and seafood chowder. All of which were gluten free. Personally, I loved the fried chicken, but it was a very, very small amount of chicken over a lot of fries. The seafood chowder was really good (and cream based), but even after specifying it was a gluten allergy, it still arrived with bread on it. They removed the bread, and offered to re-plate it but I felt like I would be a huge inconvenience if I asked for a new serving all together. I chanced it, and just avoided that side of the bowl as the chowder was thick, I got lucky this time – but I would have hoped they would be more cautious. Lastly, the potato nachos were fine, but they were covered in a cheez-whiz like sauce and lacking in real cheese. All in all this restaurant was fine and had a really diverse gluten free selection. I would just caution celiacs to be firm in stating their allergy here.
What I Drank
1. No Boats on Sunday
There’s not a lot of Ciders on the east coast, especially not local ones but I discovered the No Boats on Sunday cider from Nova Scotia and that’s been essentially what I’ve been drinking exclusively since being here.
2. Canada 150 Fizz
I also discovered this cocktail called the Canada 150 Fizz while out at the Point Prim Chowder House. It’s sparkling wine and Rossignol Cassiz from right here on PEI. It’s not too sweet and it’s so so good.