Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s, Canada
September 14, 2009
After a restless night with pounding rains and gusting winds that continued into the morning hours we took our time getting on the road, enjoying the warmth of the van and George’s fabulous coffee. By the time we left St. John’s the rains had abated. We drove across the peninsula to the village of Portugal Cove where we had booked a cottage by the sea for the evening, and an early birthday celebration. Arriving at the beach house too early to check in we sampled a bit of local fare at a café just up the road, seafood chowder and partridge berry pie. Lunch came with a tutorial on the local cuisine; we had seen cod tongue on the menu at a number of establishments and wondered if it was a “delicacy” like Rocky Mt. oysters. Our friendly waitress explained that it was a traditional food and not really cod tongue but more like the gullet or throat muscle of the cod and was actually quite good if prepared correctly however, she didn’t make it sound so appetizing that we felt we should order it. Partridgeberry pie also on the menu did sound good enough to order and we did. The partridgeberries are a smooth, hard white berry about the size of a blueberry but need the first frost to turn red and sweeten enough for cooking. Even with sugar it is still somewhat tart but add a scoop of ice cream and you have a fine dessert. Another café customer, having heard our conversation told us to look for bake apples on the menus, quite delectable according to her memory. In talking further with our waitress we learned that the she had lived on Vancouver Island when her husband was with the Coast Guard and was quite familiar with the west coast cuisine as well. We have talked with a surprising number of people here who have lived in British Columbia and settled in Newfoundland or who have relatives in B.C. that they have visited gaining a familiarity with the west coast.
Our little peace of heaven awaited just down the road and what do we find upon entering the cottage but a magazine featuring an article on Quadra Island and Vancouver, felt like home. It was a sweet little cottage right on Portugal Bay, the smell of the fresh sea air, the sound of the waves against the shore and the ferry to Bell Island running in front of our windows. Ahh, it felt good to settle into a comfy cottage with an outrageous view, hot water, a real shower, and comfortable bed and to take pleasure in a little champagne and a nice meal.