Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ahh Winter... The Smell of Exams!

This will most likely be my last post of 2007, as these past couple of days have moved into warp speed and I am busily studying away for those A's. I have just two more exams to go - both are on Friday with the last exam scheduled for 7:00pm. On Saturday I have a simulation/presentation to participate/give and then it's Christmas vacation! Saturday night should be busy since class finishes at 5:00pm, and I have to fit laundry and packing in before I head off to a Christmas party with a bunch of other MUN students. My flight back to Ottawa leaves St. John's on Sunday morning at5:30am. The reality is that I may not get much sleep at all Saturday night. The campus is now down to the last few students who got the short end of the exam schedule stick.

In other news, snow is now just starting to accumulate on the ground. I must point out that we are several feet of snow behind Ontario. I was told that St. John's doesn't typically get snow until late December or early January. So the snow is actually a little early this year. I will have to post some pictures, particularily some with the ducks that call Burtons Pond "home". The ducks now have much less water in which to swim as the pond is beginning to freeze over. In wanting to keep the ducks around all year, the university has designed the pond such that a pipe delivers warm water to keep a portion of the surface ice free. I wonder what this does to the health of the pond?

Should I not get the chance to visit with you while in Ottawa, Toronto, or area over the next couple of weeks, I will take this opportunity to wish you a very merry holiday season and happy new year.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Flipper Pie Update!

I realize that it has been only a few hours since I posted about my finds from Bidgood's, but it is now lunch time and I really wanted to try the flipper pie. Let me tell you, this is the real meal deal! To summarize this experience...

Looking at the ingredients list, flipper is the fourth item on the list. So, I had anticipated there being a little flipper, but not as much as was actually found. Essentially, flipper should have been listed first on the ingredients list - there is a lot of flipper in the pie! The ratio of flipper to carrot (the ingredient that is actually listed first) is 5:1. This is not an exageration.

So the big question, how does it taste? I am being completely honest when I say that it is actually pretty good! Maybe a little too much flipper for my liking, but I am certainly not complaining as the flipper is the most expensive ingredient. I would buy the flipper pie again.

I was going to upload pictures of the flipper pie experience, but under the flaky crust, it isn't so pretty. The look of the flipper meat does not do the taste justice!

Mmm... Flipper Pie!

This morning I was off to do some grocery shopping at Bidgood's in nearby Gould's. The mission was two-fold: to take a drive outside St. John's, while also figuring out what sorts of Newfoundland awesomeness I was going to bring back with me to Ottawa for everyone else to sample over the Christmas break.

To summarize, Bidgood's is a traditional Newfoundland foods and craft store. See their website for more information; they do ship across Canada. The store is in a busy shopping plaza, itself called Bidgood's Plaza. In addition to carrying the standard food items you could find at any Dominion, they carry traditional Newfoundland food. While this section of the store is realtively small, they do carry quite a few items, some more interesting than others. For example, there is an entire shelf of seal flippers packed in jars, caribou steaks, and rabbits (which are snared every fall by local residents, cleaned, and sold to Bidgood's). Not to be missed is the large bakery and the Mug Up restaurant, offering daily specials of fish cakes, Jigg's dinner, fish and chips, salt fish and brewis, and toutans. Best of all, the bakery and restaurant items are prepared in the store. You know it's fresh and local when the pies are wrapped in plastic wrap as opposed to being vacuum sealed by a machine! 

So, after spending nearly an hour perusing the aisles, I decided to pick up a few things to taste test. I intend on making another visit to Bidgood's in a couple of weeks with a list of things to bring back to the mainland. Here is what ended up in my cart:

Home style rabbit pie... local rabbits. Tasty!

Home style flipper pie. I am not sure if the flipper is from a seal, but this was a must try! I saw the jars of seal flipper next to the prepared pies. In their raw form, the seal flippers did not look incredibly appetizing. We shall see how they are in a pie format.

There were way to many pies to choose from. I am repeating myself when I say this, but what really struck me was that a lot of the baked goods were hand wrapped!

I decided to try the Bidgood's version of fish and brewis. This looks to be less processed than the version I typically buy at Dominion. Bidgood's is also well known for their spreads. While choosing among the many varieties, there was a sign which explained that for a something to be called jam, the product must contain at least 66% sugar. Bidgood's therefore calls their products spread because they use less sugar and more fruit. Interesting!

With my grocery shopping done, I decided to make a detour to see nearby Maddox Cove and Petty Harbour. For all you Great Big Sea fans, Alan Doyle grew up in Petty Harbour. From the picture, you can see that we have only a dusting of snow on the ground. Fall in St. John's has been great. My fingers are crossed for a nice winter.

A very quiet Petty Harbour.