Angels: Fear to Tread

Charlottetown, I think most would agree, is a sort of culinary gulag. It is difficult to find menus in this city where the majority of the menu does not consist of “X with french fries.” In discussing the use of spices in restaurants in the city last week with a friend, we agreed that the tendency in most is to simply “none.” The same friend, when I asked her where should would eat if it was a really special occassion, and she wanted the best, replied “at home.”

There are, thankfully, exceptions. We are graced with a Lebanese-Canadian community that gives us shish taouk, baba ganoush, tabouli and falafel. We have a passable Indian restaurant (and another serving Anglo-Indian food that, inexplicably, many love dearly). But we are left out of the fragrant flavour panorama offered by the rest of the world’s cuisine.

When living under these harsh conditions, the opening of a new restaurant is an event of great anticipation. “This might be the one,” we say to ourselves.

It was with this sense of anticipation that Catherine, Oliver and I headed out to dinner to Angels last night. Angels is the new Kenny Zakem-fronted restaurant that occupies the space formerly filled with Hughes Chrysler on Belvedere Avenue.

I am a big Kenny Zakem fan. He took over the Perfect Cup Cafe from Bruce MacNaughton back in the early 1990s, and served uncommonly good breakfast and lunch fare. When he packed that operation up, I was left without a breakfast place that serves something other than fried eggs and bacon. I’m still looking.

I’d heard good early reports from others, and when we drove up last night the parking lot was overflowing with cars.

The signs, in other words, were all good.

Before I continue, I should mention, by way of disclaimer, that Oliver really, really didn’t want to go out to dinner last night. He didn’t tell us this before we got out to dinner, of course, and even then his method for communicating his feelings was less “Mother, Father, I’d rather eat at home this evening!” and more “crying, thrashing and generally making a scene.” The conditions for evaluating Angels, in sum, were not ideal. But then again, the best restaurants can really come into their own when faced with parents with cranky kids: waiters in Spain and Thailand know Oliver’s moods well, and came up with some novel (and successful) placation devices.

We had a 20 minute wait for a table. Can’t knock them for that, and, besides, they’ve got a doorway right into Dow’s Furniture next door, so we could go and browse there while waiting.

Once we were seated, we were immediately offered a high chair (bonus points; this is often forgotten) and menus. And then we waited about 40% too long for the waiter to come and take our orders. I don’t mind waiting for a table — there’s only so much space to go around! — but there simply weren’t enough wait staff on duty, and our man was forced to serve too many tables.

The menu was, unfortunately, standard ho-hum fare; basically the same items you’d find at the Brennan’s (nee Pat’s Rose and Grey): seafood, thin-crust pizza, club wrap, beef and pork done various ways. Appetizers fell into the same category: bruschetta, bacon-wrapped scallops and three salads (Caesar, house and Greek). Beverages were standard; beer selection lacking (Catherine likes Clancy’s; or rather, Catherine dislikes Clancy’s the least, and they didn’t have it; she had to make do with a Moosehead).

The interior of Angels is interesting. Table are arranged in a large ‘U’ around a glass-wrapped open kitchen. Our table was directly in front of the appetizer prep station, and just down the hall from desserts; mains were prepared on the opposite side. This aspect of Angels makes it a marginally more compelling place to eat than other places in its class: something about the cooks having to make the food out in the open makes me feel better.

Unfortunately, this aspect of Angels was about the only thing that set it apart from the run of the mill.

Our appetizer — we choose the bacon wrapped scallops, for it was the only thing that seemed like it might offer some excitement — sat on the counter about 3 feet from Catherine’s head for about 5 minutes before our busy waiter figured out it was there. The scallops were small and dried out; the bed of greens underneath was an unnecessary distraction.

Our mains, which, like the menus, arrived about 40% later than seemed proper, were a disappointment.

I ordered the “clubhouse wrap,” remembering that Kenny used to make a very tasty “chicken in a pita” dish at the Perfect Cup. There was, I believe, no spice whatsoever in this dish (I was promised a “special sauce;” perhaps its exceptional quality was its tastelessness?). Good cooking takes a collection of regular ingredients and enlivens them in their combination; my clubhouse wrap was somehow less than the sum of its parts. The only highlight was the roasted potatoes, which were well-spiced, hot, and nicely cooked. But by the time I came to taste the potatoes, the battle was already lost by the moribund sandwich, and it was too late.

Catherine ordered the thin crust “Mediterranean” pizza. At its best, thin-crust pizza (with “thin crust” acting as a sort of code word for “not regular everyday Dominos style”) has a delicate crust, and a frugal selection of well-combined ingredients. This was not pizza at its best: the crust was cooked to “hard to cut through” solidity, and ingredients were slathered on. The result was a too-oily, too-cheesy morass that was, somehow, simultaneously too crisp and too soggy. Catherine’s summary: “there was so much cheese and oil that you couldn’t taste any of the other ingredients.”

Oliver’s orneriness necessitated an exit before we had an opportunity to try the desserts: this area seemed to have some promise, at least visually, but I can’t comment on how this translates into when it comes to the eating.

All in all, alas, a disappointing evening: service was amateur, food was uninspiring. Back into the gulag we go.


Alan's picture
Alan on June 7, 2003 - 22:13 Permalink

I feel for your Catherine. I spent 10 minutes in the amazingly well named “Beer Store” [aka in Pembroke the “In and Out” store] here yesterday trying to determine which one of the, oh, about 150 beers I would get a six pack of yesterday after work — and 150 varieties not counting cans or bottles or 6, 12 or 24. I would never dis you, Peter, for never having liked the drinks much in the first place — unlike your amazingly unreasonable rejection of what was the Harp and Thistle — but to like ale and not to have? Sad.

Phil's picture
Phil on June 7, 2003 - 22:27 Permalink

Ever since that whiner Alan left the province, it seems that you’ve taken up the “I’m too hip for the room” tirades he used to supply us with. There are fine restaurants in Charlottetown… Piece of Cake (curry squash soup… yum), Off Broadway (have to hunt for French fries there), the Claddagh Room (fresh seafood), Gahan House (good pub style), Sirenella’s (awesome Italian), Merchant Man (high-end pub, many spices), Pilot House (a little more hit-and0-miss), Pat and Willy’s (laugh… but the chicken nachos are good… and the wait staff can sure entertain kids) and yes, I do like the Churchill Arms (but I like the curry with fries… sue me). I miss Joseph’s. Loooove Cedar’s… great staff. Farmer’s Market on a Saturday… many dining options. That’s just in town.

Abre les ojos.

(And hey Alan, enjoy the beer. Really. See you at the beach.)

Ken's picture
Ken on June 7, 2003 - 23:42 Permalink

Ya if it’s not good enough for you there are starving kids somewhere that would love to eat bacon wrapped anything.

Seriously though, I have a theory that the province should have put the ATC budget into attracting about ten good foreign cooks instead. I really believe that would be the difference that would attract talented people to live in PEI, because Charlottetown does not have much to offer now.
Where would Bill Gates eat?

Think about it.

Also, how does the Culinary Institute fail in improving Charlottetown cuisine? Is it because they follow the market tastes?

And I don’t apologize for complaining about this, I love to eat.

In the states every restaurant similiar to the ones in Charlottetown also cost about half — maybe it’s the taxes?

Alan's picture
Alan on June 8, 2003 - 00:42 Permalink

[Hey, thanks for coming out, Phil — nothing like the fun of first time posting. You’re right — bright lights, big city…how could I have missed it?]

Anyway…if PEI is going to weather the tourist downturn that appears to be hitting Canada for a lot of reasons, these kinds of service and variety issues are going to have to be addressed. Beaches are everywhere. What is going to make the province stand out? Hopefully Phil isn’t in economic development.

Dan James's picture
Dan James on June 8, 2003 - 01:09 Permalink

I haven’t eaten at Angels yet, but do plan to. I did hear one rumor about Angels. Each and every Sunday they open up their doors only to the staff and regular patrons of the upper room and provide them a free meal. If this is true (and I would love someone to confirm it) then they are to be commended.

Peter: re food on the island. Saldly, perhaps the food on the island accurately represents islanders….like an Interesting Technical Associations Presence on the web accurately reflecting the organization.

Also: The former harp & thistle (now the Churchill Arms) is a pub and serves authentic english pub food. They don’t claim to be anything else. I know you don’t like curry, but have you tried any of their other dishes?

Phil's picture
Phil on June 8, 2003 - 01:49 Permalink

Alan asks…
What is going to make the province stand out?

Are you kidding me? Did you actually LIVE here, or just hole up in front of your computer and complain about the place? Sure, it’s not Beersville, Ontario… but the place is pretty friggin’ beautiful.

Kim's picture
Kim on June 8, 2003 - 02:20 Permalink

May I suggest that you try breakfast at Chez Cora’s opening soon on Queen Street (formerly Uncommon Grocer). A welcome break from bacon & egger joints for breakfast. I have never been disappointed in a unique Cora’s breakfast. Along with the traditional breakfast, Cora’s offers a wide selection of fresh fruit dishes artisticly presented with an ever changing menu. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 8, 2003 - 02:44 Permalink

Dan: are Island restaurants leading Islanders into mediocrity, or are Islanders forcing their restuarants to be mediocre? I don’t know the answer to that. I do know that that an awful lot of Islanders seem to enjoy spicy, pungent, tasteful food, and our needs aren’t being served. If a garlic-infused Shish Taouk can sell on the streets of Charlottetown, surely a good chili-garlic-basil Thai rice could make a go of it too, couldn’t it? Before the Formosa Tea House, you couldn’t buy sushi, stuffed buns, dumplings or bamboo rice in Charlottetown; now you can, and they’re often sold out of all of their food by 3:00 p.m. Len Russo wrote an article in the Graphic several years ago about how Ted Gamauf brought pizza came to Charlottetown in the 1970s; look where we are now. As to the Harp and Churchill: I’ve never held it against them for serving Anglo-Indian food; I hold it against the English.

Phil: Piece of Cake started off as a Movenpick clone — and a good and interesting one at that — but it shyed away too quickly from the format, and has never regained its initial spark. Ate at Off Broadway on Monday night; the food was well prepared, the service excellent, but neither was life-altering. Never been to the Claddagh Room; I should go. Gahan House has the only “garden burger” in town (although others serve Boca burgers), and it comes with a spinach salad that has a very tasty dressing — but their service has degraded from their opening (when it was the best on the Island) into being sub-par of late. Sirenella’s has Italian food that is often good, served in rec room like surroundings (that said, I’ve not visited since their recent renovation, which may have improved this situation). Merchant Man does serve a mean cajun-infused burger, but pub grub, no matter how well prepared, isn’t exactly enlivening. I can’t comment fairly on the Pilot House, as the first and only time I was there I came home and had, purely due to my own failing body, the gallbladder attack of my life; I’ll revisit and give them a fair showing. After eating Mexican food in El Paso, Texas, Pat and Willy’s food is like eating cardboard. I never understood the appeal of Joseph’s; many other speak of it with reverance, so I must have missed something. Cedars has several excellent Lebanese offerings (and an excellent cheeseburger); the service is excellent half the time, and mediocre the other half, with no rhyme nor reason.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on June 8, 2003 - 12:47 Permalink

How to people get so confused about food that they feel it must be spicy to be good? I like the taste of food…not spice. If you want to taste spice, go dip your spoon in a bag of chili powder.

The comment about the lack of life-altering service at one of the best Maritime restaurants really serves to tell the story better then I ever could.

Phil's picture
Phil on June 8, 2003 - 13:40 Permalink

So Off-Broadway didn’t change your life? Funny that. When I go out it’s usually to get some good food… not for a religious experience. I agree that the Island could use a nice Thai restaurant, and a good Indian one — but again, Farmer’s Market has some of those, lovingly prepared. As for pub food, may I suggest… try something besides a burger! Everytime you cite a pub you mention its burger. Some of these places actually have a nice spicy stir fry, or curry chicken, or steaks, or greek salads. And you can get good sushi at the Superstore, believe it or not. It’s so easy to knock what’s around you instead of truly savoring it.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 8, 2003 - 14:08 Permalink

Phil, I have no problem with the love of your home. I have been a extended visitor since 1992 and a resident since 1997. I know the place. Any claim to needing to be an “Islander” to understand it more is a call to place harness race hose blinders on school children as a form of education. Homie-ism simply can’t oversome the fact that a bunch of stuff is lacking and some of what is done there is done poorly. Until that is made a mantra in the tourist industry, the slide that is propelled by bad news about pesticides, SARS, Canadan and Iraq, cronyism in politics, cults abusing children, etc. is just going to gather speed. If you were ever to cross the Straight, you would see that there are nice looking places all over north eastern north america. Warmer nicer beaches in NB and NS which do not exist at the expense of a National Park’s ecosystem. Again, what makes PEI stand out to the only person that matters in tourism — the customer?

To keep to my first point. Why can’t PEI have a great selection of beer at reasonable prices? It isn’t rocket science but if you investigate you will find a bureaucrat sitting at a desk who makes that decision. I know because I took the time to meet with him and ask. The answer was that they make more money selling rye per unit so they don’t want to give up warehouse space. Bean pushers keeping out variety. Should be in Latin on the flag.

lana's picture
lana on June 8, 2003 - 14:11 Permalink

Lack of diverse food choices = Lack of diverse population.

Also, Phil is right the sushi at the Superstore or *Loblaws* is decent .

Peter, is there anything you *do* like about living on PEI?

Ken's picture
Ken on June 8, 2003 - 14:31 Permalink

He likes us.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 8, 2003 - 14:47 Permalink

[Pssst- he’s my fifth-cousin-in-law and I’m not sure he likes me.]

Phil's picture
Phil on June 8, 2003 - 16:01 Permalink

Alan, I have crossed the Northumberland Strait… in fact, I even know how to spell it. I’ve lived all over the country. I enjoy your argument about what PEI needs to do to save tourism. SARS does not exist here, it does in Ontario (I don’t think it’s reached your home of Beersville yet). It’s forced the shutdown of conferences and plays (Lion King, Mamma Mia) and has gutted tourism there. Not once have I heard someone say “Yeah, but we have spicy food and lots of brew!” as the antidote as to why tourists should make it there. Toronto is also the home of a horrific murder investigation. But yes, they do have a lot of restraurants.

The only impact from SARS on PEI is from Japanese tourists, and I don’t think a Japanese restraurant will combat that. As for your other concerns… (“Mabel, I’m not going there because of all that political cronyism!” “Do you think that 80 year-old ex-nun might come after me?”) the only one that is a REAL concern is the pesticide issue, which is being addressed.

Yeah, there are other beaches — I’d argue about whether they’re as nice. And there are other pretty places, though I’ve never found a place as beautiful, or people as nice, or such a concentrated artistic and cultural community. You just have to open yourself up to it.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 8, 2003 - 16:45 Permalink

To be a full and involved citizen requires a constantly critical eye.

Ken's picture
Ken on June 8, 2003 - 16:51 Permalink

Phil, I have eaten at a restaurant… in fact, I even know how to sppel it. PEI is the home of horrific fish kill investigations. Therefore I am right.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on June 8, 2003 - 16:58 Permalink

Because an acquired taste goes unsatisfied, the quality of Island restaurant food or beer is criticized? I don

Phil's picture
Phil on June 8, 2003 - 17:05 Permalink

Don’t quite get your point, Ken. Like the way you spelled spell though. Funny guy.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 8, 2003 - 17:07 Permalink

[ah…a spelling prig, too…how cliche…]

It doesn’t matter that the problems I cite are not connected in the mind of the tourism supplier. They are in the customers who are not buying. While Mittch Murphy is working on the pesticides far in advance of his bonehead predecessor, I would say you are optimistic about pesticides. You’re right about neighbours — except that there are no better, not that they are the best. PEI is too needy to be first.

You’ll have to explain the mystery “artistic community.” It always struck me as weird that this part of the Maritimes lacks folk music of its own, an robust and wide-spread understanding of its actual history and heritage (not Anne or the Brighton matron’s view) or create an artist like Leo MacKay Jr or Wayne Johnston with a critical eye to the realities of the culture around them. Tourist art? Lotta that.

Ken's picture
Ken on June 8, 2003 - 17:19 Permalink

I guess my point is that you called Alan on misspelling Northumberland and then you proceeded to misspell restaurant twice.
My second point is that horrific murders are not the cost of having lots of good restaurants.

I agree with Wayne, island restaurants do not satisfy all tastes only his, but spice isn’t a sign of curruption, unless it is an army kitchen we’re talking about.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on June 8, 2003 - 17:24 Permalink

All this talk about food is making me hungry…pardon me while I fight the urge to dine and play a few holes with my new swing. And I might even have a Blue Light for every birdie. (I would never fail the breathalizer, Alan)

Phil's picture
Phil on June 8, 2003 - 17:33 Permalink

Alan, seriously, did you leave your house while you lived here? It’s easy to bring up Anne and tourist shops as the downfall of the Island (I bet they have cheese in Beersville too). There are countless festivals on the Island (multicultural, Acadian, agricultural, music) and I can’t believe you don’t recognize the talent that’s come out of here. Milton Acorn, Lennie Gallant, Scott Parsons, Paul Broadbent, Steve Sharratt, Allan Rankin, Roy Johnstone, Bonnie LeClair, JJ Steinfeld… in fact, if I has one piece of advice for you… I’d say pick up John MacKenzie’s brilliant book of poetry, “Sledgehammer,” then bring it down over your head to knock some sense into it. What contribution did you bring to Prince Edward Island Al? That of the keen critical observer? Thanks. Beersville can have you.

Ken's picture
Ken on June 8, 2003 - 17:35 Permalink

Because I find restaurants lacking doesn’t mean I don’t love PEI. Even without all that Paris and Manhattan have to offer I want to be here.
If only PEI had an economy instead of a provincial budget dressed up as an economy — then I might find a job here rather than away.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on June 8, 2003 - 18:06 Permalink

Victims of a poor economy.
Victims of bad beer.
Victims of bad food.


Alan's picture
Alan on June 8, 2003 - 19:25 Permalink

Thanks Phil. I was on a number of Boards including a cultural festival. Citing one actual published work is helpful, though, Phil.

All easy goading of Islanders fun-making aside, I really have been interested in the absence of actual folklore and music in the way that was collected in NS by Helen Creighton and Clary Croft now. I know there was a late 1800’s song singer who was driven off the Island after the Belfast riots. Are there any other historical songwriters? I have asked a number of musicians and historians for more information but was met with that legendary hospitality thing. No responses. I would really like to know but the Department of Cultural Suppression has done its work to well.

Reminds me of the time my wife was at a social gathering and the old ladies sang something apparently called the Island Song. When she asked what it was and why she hadn’t heard it before she was told “you don’t think we’d share that with you?” which was accompanied by laughter at her expense. They never did tell her.

Phil's picture
Phil on June 8, 2003 - 20:14 Permalink

Any other historical songwriters? Try Larry Gorman. There’s a folk festival every year in Tyne Valley and an historical tour. Ken could probably tell you more. Guess that’s not the one you were involved with. There are a couple of books on Prince Edward Island folksongs by Dr. Sandy Ives. One is called “Drive Dull Care Away.” Another by Georges Arsenault, “Acadian Folksongs of PEI.” John Cousins, Dutch Thompson, Boyd Beck and Ed McDonald have all published books, or broadcast stories, on Island history and culture. You want more titles, I’ve got ‘em. I have not encountered the department of suppression. Only the department of repression and depression. That’s you, Al.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on June 8, 2003 - 20:25 Permalink

Okay, so maybe I’m an effete, ungrateful person-from-away who should be happy eating bland glop. But could I at least get some credit for the title of the original post? It’s not often that an play on words like this comes along, and this has been lost in the hussle bussle about whether Larry Gorman liked beer or not.

Phil's picture
Phil on June 8, 2003 - 21:08 Permalink

Awesome title Pete. Brilliant. And I’m pretty sure Larry Gorman did like beer.

lana's picture
lana on June 8, 2003 - 21:11 Permalink

Alan, you should read Ian Mckay’s “Quest of the Folk” if you believe that Helen Creighton captured “authentic” maritime culture.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on June 8, 2003 - 21:27 Permalink

Phil-don’t forget David Weale, that great storyteller from away, I think his Dad was an Islander,though…not sure about his grandparents.(suspect they were Islanders)

Add fresh Corn, PEI Blue Cultured mussels, raspberry jam and home-made bread to the list of Island glop.

Sounds like me it might be The Island Hymm, the one Faith MacKenney (or McKenny) sings each year at the Gold Cup and Saucer, Alan.

Another Island delight…a place where you find tipping at the drive-thru. Try that in Toronto and see the reaction you get from your server. Only on PEI…pity!

Wayne's picture
Wayne on June 8, 2003 - 21:31 Permalink

Charlottetown, I think most would agree,”…inarguably, never has anybody been more wrong today.

We “filled our boots” on that statement, as the old Island saying goes.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 8, 2003 - 21:44 Permalink

Ah, nothing like Islanders to proudly proclaim they are the most hospitable!

Lana, you are right — her collection was skewed but was a good start for alot of other folklorists who followed and corrected. As for Dutch Thompson and Boyd Beck — how many sugars can you take in your tea?

Baiting Islanders brings out the brag up. “Filled your boots” is at least a Maritime-wide saying, Wayne and good lord — taking credit for bread. The vanity.

You are right. Gorman sounds like the lad. I’ll try to find Ives as well. First person in three years to know the name and author of the book. Thanks.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on June 8, 2003 - 21:47 Permalink

LOL…well, Al Gore took credit for the internet, didn’t he? No birdies today :(

Dan James's picture
Dan James on June 8, 2003 - 21:55 Permalink

I don’t really care much about this thread. To me saying “PEI is the best place in the world to live” is alot like saying “The turnip is the best vegetable”. Isn’t it a matter of taste? You all behave like educated school children arguing over whose dad could beat up whose dad. Bah. We all know my dad would kick all of their asses. Phil: Toronto’s not the only place with a horrific murder investigation. Charlottetown had one last year if I remember correctly. They still haven’t solved it. The murderer must have been from Toronto.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 8, 2003 - 22:00 Permalink

Jeese Dan, spoil my fun. This is more fun than poking an ant hill with a stick — they get all mad and scurry around…

Phil's picture
Phil on June 8, 2003 - 22:54 Permalink

Watch us scurry, Alan. Not since Morton Downey Jr. have I seen such a wild instigator. You spent three years trying to figure out Larry Gorman’s name? Hell of a research job. Must get a lot of legal work with that crack mind of yours.

And Dan, I agree… it is a matter of taste (which brings us back to Peter’s initial thread). But I, for one, don’t like to see parts of the Island knocked by people who clearly didn’t take time to appreciate the pluses. Alan didn’t like it here. Fine. He sure spends a lot of time on websites by people who still live here when he could be out enjoying the multi-faceted environment that now surrounds him in Ontario. I don’t think this is the place for him. It is the place for me. We disagree. We argue our points.

If you want to look up PEI violent crime rates vs. those in the rest of Canada, go ahead. Something tells me we’re at the bottom of the list.

And, for the record, the carrot is the best vegetable.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 8, 2003 - 23:26 Permalink

Include second degree murders in your count, Phil. PEI has a particular specialty in that. All the best. We don’t disagree that much.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on June 8, 2003 - 23:40 Permalink

Is broccoli a vegetable? My vote is in.

Once again,
Prince Edward Island is the best place in the world to live, to visit or to come from. Taste that!

*Scurry, Scurry, Scurry*

Phil's picture
Phil on June 9, 2003 - 00:17 Permalink

Alan, I was just kiddin’ around with you too. I friggin’ hate this place.

Ken's picture
Ken on June 9, 2003 - 00:56 Permalink

Asparagus is my favorite vegetable.

PEI is the only place I know where to pick wild strawberries, ten times smaller than tame-berries and a hundred time zingy-er flavour.

Also I love PEI seafood, but not with fries.

<font color=”gray”>KW

Alan's picture
Alan on June 9, 2003 - 01:31 Permalink

LOL, Phil! Carrots are the business, too. One thing I do miss is the garden but I hope to recreate it here in a year or two in a warmer zone. No more bitter wine.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on June 9, 2003 - 12:08 Permalink

I have been in the garden all weekend and hence missed this massive string of posts. While I was not mowing, digging etc I did have dinner at McCassey’s (spelling??)

It is run by Peter Hyndman of the Merchantman. It is, for the Island expensive, but I had the best meal served extremely well that I have had in a long time anywhere.

The high ceilings and the view make it restful and intimate. The staff, as at the Merchantman, are very well trained — attentive yet not pushy. My elderly mother is completely disabled and is a tough technical test for any restaurant. No problem in access and because the place is so spacious, no problem with being at a table in spite of being in the mother of all wheel chairs.

But it is the staff and the food that were key. Rebecca, our server, called my mother by name all evening. Mum was thrilled and felt like a somebody. The food was very well thought out and well presented.

Of course Peter and his inner circle were there — he knows how to pay attention as an owner.

It is not cheap but then — I would rather go out less and have a better time.

Sandy Peardon's picture
Sandy Peardon on June 9, 2003 - 20:04 Permalink

In response to Dan James’ June 7 comments re. the ITAP web presence (my apologies for not staying on theme)…The ITAP web presence is going to be launched within the next couple of weeks. Our deadline of March 15 has been pushed out by the contractors. Staff changes and the moving deadline has caused ITAP to not drive traffic to the site or make changes on a regular basis. The project’s scope “bleed” has come from optimism — a true driver of innovation.

Our site’s capabilities will reflect the advisement of one Dan James — considered the expert on the Board at the time the RFP was put out. This was the same RFP that Dan James of silverorange did not reply to.

ITAP’s new web presence will reflect ITAP’s steady and focused move forward to complete the business plan that was reaffirmed on every occasion by past Director Dan James.

Thank you, Mr. Rukavina, for providing me with the opportunity to respond. As always, I look forward to your participation in making ITAP more responsive to the industry’s needs.

Alan's picture
Alan on June 17, 2003 - 15:25 Permalink

Just returning to the topic of Larry Gorman, I note via google that Dr. Ives has a dissertation in 1964 or so on the topic. Is there another book I am looking for? Where can I get this when I am in PEI next week — UPEI bookstore?

Mark's picture
Mark on July 2, 2003 - 23:14 Permalink

Alan, you should be able to order Drive Dull Care Away here:….. It’s not a great book but Ives delves into the lives of more than just Gorman — Joe Scott and Lawrence Doyle and other more everyday characters. Funny that no one mentioned A. MacPhail (…, Father Francis Bolger, Gene Maclellan or, yes, even the illustrious Tom Connors in defending against your off-base jabs.

Take it from this Torontonian, Islanders might not be the most acclaimed people…..But for such a little Island it has an impressive folk and literary tradition. And that’s missing the point anyway. PEI is great because it’s one of the last bastien’s of civilized, humane living on the continent. People try to ENJOY life there….not wrestle it to the ground. I love Salt Spring Island but I always thought that its brand of touristy hobby farm tranquility was superficial compared with the living, working, salt-of-the-earth reality of pastoral PEI.

Phil's picture
Phil on July 2, 2003 - 23:20 Permalink

Good points, Mark.

Alan's picture
Alan on July 3, 2003 - 00:05 Permalink

I already have the Ives book in hand. I am looking forward to getting into it but was happy to read he was a kind of Robbie Burns. I think you have missed my point — you could go back and read more fully: no jabs off base. There must be a deeper, more real history with cats like Gorman who are not in the forefront of the culture as they are distasteful to the Disneyfied side of the Island, the phoney Avonlea village, etc. Working with the folks in the Rustico area, the reality of those families was often fought against for the administrative ease of all English education. Working with the native community, you qickly learn that history was not celebrated either. Likewise the rural workers, etc., etc., etc. If you are not aware of this stuff, well, that is fine but there is more to the story than The Guardian and ADL cheese ads would tell you. Dig deep. It’s all good.