Photos: author

Notes From a Canadian Seductress

Newfoundland and Labrador Restaurants + Bars Insider Guides
by Candice Walsh Oct 15, 2012
This post is part of Matador’s partnership with Canada, where journalists show how to explore Canada like a local.

I AM GIVEN THE DOVEKIE SUITE at the Beach House and a three-course meal at Atlantica, Newfoundland’s pioneering restaurant in the food revolution. I am also told I can bring someone, anyone. My friends are all working, and I have no man lovers. I am tempted to go snag the first loser I find on George Street. Alas, I know I will be dining alone. My first date with myself.

And when I take someone out on a date, I wine and dine them good. We arrive at 6:30 sharp and are greeted by the maître d’. She leads us to a table overlooking the water. I order a bakeapple martini, for I mean to impress myself.

To look less like a weirdo among the suited couples and elegant youth dining around me, I immediately take out my Moleskin and my camera. I decide I will not be using my flash tonight, for fear of drawing more attention to my date and I. So I sit upright, neatly unfold the napkin onto my lap, and try to look like I belong. Maybe they’ll mistake me for a famous journalist from a foodie magazine. One who likes to wear navy leggings and an owl necklace. I bet they’re looking at my date and wondering how I ended up with such a fox like her.

I take a photo of my martini, lit up by the romantic candles for one.

I hem and haw over the menu. I like to treat my dates well — what would I prefer, the Roasted Organic Fall Squash Bisque, or the Smoky Pork Cheek “Poutine”? I ask the waitress, and then disregarding her advice entirely, settle on the “poutine.” I’m not trying to be pretentious here — the word “poutine” is literally in quotation marks on the menu. It features grilled pork cheeks, pickled cheese curds, spaetzle, onion chutney, and truffle jus.

First, I’m served bread with a hint of molasses, and freshly churned butter. It’s so good I stuff it into my mouth like there’s no one else at the table to share it with. I could lick the butter out of its dish if people weren’t staring. I’m handed a complimentary oyster appetizer. Those are aphrodisiacs, right? Goodness, my date is blushing.

When the “poutine” arrives, I dive in. It is the best poutine-not-poutine I have ever eaten. My mouth is happy. My date is happy. Halfway through, I realize I forgot to take photos. So I try to snap photos of half-eaten food and somehow make these images attractive, but nothing ever looks attractive when half of it is already in your stomach.

The halibut is next. It’s the most expensive thing on the menu, because I know how to treat a lady. It comes with local surf clam, scallion, heirloom carrots, celeriac, Thai basil, and sweet and sour carrot broth. I can barely pronounce most of those words, but inherently — perhaps instinctively — I know they are good.

The waitress, Melissa, asks if I would like another martini. Good, for I intend to get my date liquored up. She’s rather cute. I order the pear. The couple behind me is being served champagne for their anniversary, and I’m slightly jealous. Shouldn’t first dates with oneself also be a cause of celebration? The nerve.

This food is good. Oh god, this food is really good. If my date weren’t watching, I’d throw myself on the floor and roll around in gastronomic ecstasy. Tears streaming down my face. I am growing exponentially happier with each bite, expanding with love and fuzziness. This martini is good.

Finally, dessert. And coffee, because tonight is all about indulgences, so why not? Tahitian vanilla crème brulee. My date would be a sucker to turn that down. Note to self: Don’t mention her recent weight gain.

The waitress tells me it has been a pleasure serving me. I feel like she means it. Like it was truly a delight to wait on me hand and foot. I tip her well.

My date and I head back to the hotel room, where I’m stunned to find a massive Jacuzzi in the corner. My date is a little taken aback. Was it my intention to wine and dine and then seduce myself in the hot tub? Either way, it doesn’t take long for her to start filling up the tub and pouring in the complimentary bath salts. She’s a bit of a floozy.

An hour later, we’re wrapped up in a bathrobe in bed, watching Friends and eating Skittles. The wine was $45, and I had to draw the line somewhere. But as far as first dates go, I believe I’ll be going for a second.

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