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Nov 9, 2013 11:24 AM

Foodie angst about East Coast Canada move

Does anyone have experience, knowledge of the East Coast Canada food scene? I was born in Halifax but live and have lived on the Wet West Coast of BC now and for many years and love the food experiences I get here. When I retire shortly we will not be able to afford to continue living here so will have to sell up and move to the east coast, maybe New Brunswick, maybe Nova Scotia, maybe PEI where living is cheaper. Yes, I know about the horrendous amount of snow there and am not at all looking forward to that, but what has me having actual nightmares is the prospect of having to eat bland food for the rest of my life. Yes, fresh lovely fiddleheads will be wonderful and the prospect of lovely fresh lobster is definitely something to look forward to, but ...... Can we get real, quality garam masala there, and/or, as we get too old to make our own spice mixes, can we get any decent curry powders there? Fresh ginger? Good, fresh garlic? Wild caught salmon? Goat meat? Stone ground Dutch mustards? Nori sheets? Trassi? Good goat cheese? Are there any cities/towns where a foodie couple should NOT live? Any towns/cities with better prospects for ingredients/supplies/restaurants? Restaurants we like are: Indonesian, Japanese, good Chinese restuarants (NOT the ubiquitous Chinese-Canadian ones), Caribbean - usually the best seem to specialize in one cuisine - either T&T, Jamaican, Guyanese etc. Seafood restaurants - of which I'm sure there will be lots there, Steakhouse types, and really good, authentic Portuguese restaurants too but I have very high expectations about Portuguese food. So, tell me please, if you live there, or have lived there recently - will foodies die of frustration and despair on the East Coast or can foodies thrive and blossom and bask in the food experiences in our golden years there on a modest income? Good or bad information will at least relieve my anxiety one way or the other.

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  1. You could try asking on the Atlantic Canada Board:

    1 Reply
    1. re: Anne M

      Thanks for the link Anne M. I'll give that a try. As for the suggestions from Georgia Strait, maple syrup and potatoes and apples, yes, I was aware of those and since I also believe in the "when in Rome" approach we do plan to make as much use of local produce as possible but, with a diabetic husband - not using insulin - who is nevertheless a (restricted) foodie type, those sweet, sugary, starchy foodstuffs have to be severely limited in quantity and even the hours/time of day he can eat them so they can't play a major role in our food plans. I think the one thing mentioned that has already relieved some anxiety is the idea that New York and Montreal are not that far away. And maybe with an internet connection we can do more online ordering of non-perishables. Thanks to both posters.

    2. I realize that some may feel this belongs on a diff board - HOWEVER - i understand the crossover when asking for comparisons between what you know on the coast here - and what others who know about what you know might have to say in comparison

      AND i realize this is not directly answering your questions about cultural food sources (garam masala eg) ---- however, Montreal is not that far. And i think that sometimes one does in Rome when in Rome etc (the old saying) -- that is genuine food in our household estimation.

      all those apples and other produce - Annapolis Valley farms

      Alma NB (easy sunday drive from Moncton) - the place with cinnamon buns - then a separate shop - lobster (either live or cooked and cold) - picnic tables, boats at the "back door" of the shop - nr entrance to Bay of Fundy Ntl Park

      PEI - isn't that where that Chef Michael something cooks from on that tv show? beautiful ntl park ... and famous potatoes - taste good to us over many visits over many years

      Cabot Trail - not sure of the big draw there (we have way better scenery out west here) tho we did enjoy Baddeck (where Alex Graham Bell had summer home - national park site) -

      maple syrup - I have always wanted to attend the sugaring time - we've been many times in winter but never attended a sugaring. Would northern NB have that - and in any event, you're pretty close to Quebec or Maine

      now what is that place in southern new Brunswick famous for - the chocolates - Ganong, that's it

      remember, if on the route (Halifax, Moncton etc) you will be only an overnight train ride from Maritimes to MONTREAL! La Gare Centrale has food et vin right in the station to buy and take-away. The Fairmont Reine Elizabeth is right above the station - and hockey is nearby ;


      and i know folks who live in NYC and have summer places up that way in NS area - so maybe some easy direct flights at great prices during the non-season?

      from a native west coaster - please keep us posted even if you just have to post a "go to" in this board to direct us to Atlantic board.

      best wishes on your move back home

      2 Replies
      1. re: Georgia Strait

        All the specialty spice/mixtures you heart desires are available on the net either from Calgary, Toronto, Montreal or even Dear Olde Englandstan.

        1. re: Sam Salmon

          Ooooh! Riches! Thank you for the links. I shall try them all in advance of the move. I've looked at one already and can see that food on the East Coast, whatever awaits me there, will be definitely doable with these resources. And, of course, there is that Chef Michael person the Georgia Strait mentioned. If we can find out where he shops then we can, I'm sure, rest easy about moving out there. Thanks to all for your help on this.

      2. I've responded to the new thread Pat50 started on the Atlantic board, where I believe she has learned that the East Coast isn't a foodie wasteland :)

        There's no need to travel to Montréal for non-traditional ingredients. There is a good selection in most towns, more in the cities, and Halifax (where i live) is excellent. There wouldn't be too much that would be unavailable here.

        Come visit and see :)

        1 Reply
        1. re: CanadaGirl

          Yes, CanadaGirl, thanks to you and to many others who were generous with their time and advice. Now the only thing I have to be anxious about is the cold and snow. Thanks to all who responded to my query. Maybe I should wear a Pat50 button ;) when I first move to the East Coast so you can all say hello in the "ethnic" grocery stores and restaurants you have directed me to and I can invite you all to a party where you can all sample the fruits of your assistance. ;)