What happened at Fiddles & Vittles?

We usually make it up to Fiddles & Vittles near Cavendish at least once a year. They’ve offered good food in an interesting atmosphere and there was nothing like a bowl of their lobster chowder after a walk on Cavendish Beach on a rainy day. Alas things seem to have taken a turn for the worse: we were up [in the rain] this past Saturday and found the magic was gone. The lobster chowder was gone from the menu, there weren’t any hot rolls offered with our meal, and when we inquired, we were served a couple of crusty day-olds. The lobster “burger” was a lobster roll in sheep’s clothing, and had about twice as much celery as it should have. The french fries — breaded, which is a crime in itself — were stone cold by the time they arrived at the table. Service was slow, especially given that we were one of only two tables in the place. Granted it was during the lull between lunch and dinner that we visited, but that doesn’t seem like a valid excuse for poor service and mediocre food. I can only hope they all got up on the wrong side of the bed Saturday. Sigh.

Notes from Boston

I spent most of Tuesday this week in Boston, waiting for my flight back to Charlottetown. Monday night took me to The College Club, a relatively cheap ($80/night), but very central, clean and “dripping with history” hotel on Commonwealth Avenue just a couple of doors up from the Ritz. On Tuesday I started with a check of my email at main branch of the Boston Public Library, which offers free Internet access for 15 minutes on a first come, first served basis. Next I launched into a vain search for Simple shoes (both of the Boston outlets listed on their website no longer carried the brand). I had lunch at Chacarero, which serves a fantastic sandwich the core of which is steamed green beans. Next it was off to Filene’s Basement, then to the North End for a visit to The Nostalgia Factory and finally to a quick dinner at Legal Sea Foods near the Aquarium. What a wonderful city!

Notes upon from the Sea Shore

I’m just back from a visit to Kennebunk, Maine, on the eastern coast of New England. Random note: the lobster stew at Mabel’s Lobster Claw in Kennebunkport (124 Ocean Avenue, (207) 967-2562) is fantastic; more potato salad this weekend (this time homemade) — why don’t we have more of this on PEI, (and why do Islanders insist on adding eggs to an otherwise perfect food?); dogs are allowed on the oceans beaches before 8:00 a.m. and after 6:00 p.m. — seems like a good solution to the current PEI National Park dog ban bruhaha.

Coleslaw vs. Potato Salad

I had two meals out yesterday, one at the Peterboro Diner, and old rail-car diner in the heart of Peterborough, NH, and the other at a more upscale place across the street. In both cases, I was offered the choice of coleslaw or potato salad with my meal, which is a new, unusual, non-Canadian sort of thing. So I had the potato salad. Man, was this good potato salad: none of the yellowing mashed-potato like guck I’m used to — this stuff was made out of big chunks of red potatoes with the skins left on. Bravo U.S.A.

Notes from Rural New Hampshire

I’m here in Peterborough, New Hampshire, visiting with my friends at Yankee magazine and The Old Farmer’s Almanac. It’s nice to be back in New Hampshire (motto on license plates: “Live Free or Die”). Random notes from the road: Chuck from Barachois (he’s the “wacky” curly one) was my seatmate for about 5 minutes on the flight to Boston — he kept trying to secretly read the back page of my National Post; Halifax International Airport isn’t under construction anymore whereas Logan Airport in Boston seems more under construction than ever before; the Taco Bell resataurants here in the U.S. serve their iced tea unsweetened; there’s a fantastic natural foods grocery store in Nashua called “Trader Joes” (might be part of chain) — made me realize just how crowded the Root Cellar in Charlottetown is; my Island Tel cell phone works fine here (Postie Connolly phoned me while I was standing at the Hertz rental counter) — why didn’t it work in NYC at the beginning of May? Off to Kenebunk tomorrow for some sea air…

VW Beetles and Septic Tanks

A CBC “Off the Beaten Track” episode in which we go “down the road and under the ground.”

We start with the 25th anniversary of the book How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive and finish with The Septic System Owner’s Manual; both books were illustrated by Peter Aschwanden.

Originally aired on July 21, 2000 on CBC Radio’s Mainstreet program in Prince Edward Island.

How to say Rukavina

As reported earlier, in my family we say Roo-ka-veen-a. It rhymes with “blue cantina.” It doesn’t rhyme with “truck machiner” or “hooka blini” (which sounds like a pancake that makes you stoned). However Dave Rukavina, from Wisconsin, emails:

I saw your web page and I just gotta argue with you on the pronunciation of Rukavina. According to my relatives, it’s roo-KAH-vi-na or roo-KAH-vee-na, preferably with a rolled “R” at the beginning and definitely with the accent on the second syllable. Only the Americanized version has the accent on the third syllable. Back in Croatia, it’s the second.

I guess we’re assimilated.


My brother Steve, a burgeoning journalist and broadcaster, is a frequent movie-goer and bon vivant. Using the “Catherine Hennessey Engine” we created a website that he can update from where the world takes him.