The other night we went to the Cork & Cast which is a floating restaurant with 10 tables in the marina by the cruise ship terminal. It’s a very quiet area, the food is very good and we have known the owners for some time. They have one cocktail I love called the Gin and Pink, it is basically a gin tonic with a fruity popsicle in a mason jar, I go there just to get that drink. The menu is simple, its fish, mussels, oysters and salads. I had the haddock on soft shell tacos. They also have a nice chowder. The food is good and well prepared, this is a place to relax on the water, no families or kids, just quiet.
Then yesterday I came upon images of the Summer in Rome, the city residential neighbourhoods have lots of treed streets, many are fruit trees, orange or flowering trees all along the sidewalks. In our area which was just outside the walls at Porta Pia, all the streets had shrubbery, trees and flowering bushes. It made for very pleasant walking.
I saw these two photos which brought back memories.
This one is just a coffee place and you can get a snack, simple no corp ownership.
This other photo is of a German artists who is working on his terrace while friends are having lunch. The ruins are the extension of the imperial palace built by Caligula and they are on the edge of the Roman Forum, in the background we see a church which is built into the Temple of the Divine Antonius Pius and Faustina. We also have a lateral view of the 3 columns of the Temple of Castor and Pollux. The terrace is very typical is a bit unkept, with large plants in terracotta pots, what a view.
Well this is what you can expect after a big storm, the skies are clear and it is bring sunshine on brighter white snow, blinding really. It is still very cold but the wind died down.
It is suppose to snow again tomorrow, will see. I am also getting my booster shot in 2 days. I reconfirmed with the pharmacy just to make sure it is on.
For his Birthday Will got a bottle of Pastis made by Henri Bardouin in Provence. Pastis is a drink found in most mediterranean countries under various names, it is basically 65 herbs mixed with Anise. You served one ounce for 5 ounces of water. Pour the pastis first into a empty glass, then add the water and you can add one ice cube. It is important to remember to add the water after you poured the Pastis not before. It turns milky white as it mixes with the water and ice. It is an excellent aperitif and is good with any kind of hors d’oeuvres, like olives, peanuts, or an oriental Mezzeh. I first had the drink in Egypt, usually you will drink one Pastis before dinner, it is usually served with tons of finger foods, the trick is to remember that you will have a full dinner after this drink, so do not eat too much.
So many times in Egypt, Lebanon, Syria or Jordan, I would see Westerners eats all the hors d’oeuvres or Mezzeh and have 2 or 3 drinks of Pastis only to discover at their horror that dinner which was usually lavish 6 course meal follow. The reason why many did this was that they did not understand the Aperitif culture and the need for the host to show off generosity of food prior to the dinner and then to serve an even more elaborate dinner. Also drinks and mezzeh was never served before 8pm and dinner around 10pm. This is the tradition in the Mediterranean region from Spain to Syria. In Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt dinner at 11pm was common, especially at receptions for special occasions. Your hosts are so wealthy that they do not understand the notion of having to work the next morning, there is no point in trying to explain it.
The first sip of that drink reminded me of my days in Cairo, the Consul Pasha days. What a wonderful time that was.
Well we are in mid-October already, how time flies. Thanksgiving was nice and quiet and the weather
though gradually getting cooler and the days shorter, is still very mild and pleasant. Beautiful Indian Summer on the island
and very pleasant all around, difficult to think that we will be changing time in early November and then Winter will slowly set
Weeks go by quickly and each week brings new activities, I have to keep a calendar agenda. No time for boredom here.
This Thursday in the news, it was announced that Alitalia the Italian transport company was ceasing operations after 75 years. It was created in 1946 as the New Italian Republic was created with the abolition of the Italian Monarchy and the end of the Second World War. I remember back in 2009 when we lived in Rome, Alitalia was already then in deep financial trouble and bankrupt. However the Prime Minister then Sylvio Berlusconi refused to allow the airline to disappear or be bought by another carrier. So he bailed it out of trouble with grand plans to reorganize and start anew. Nothing came of it and today finally it was buried. Changes in transportation in Italy itself with high speed trains connecting all the major towns and regions made flights within Italy obsolete.
International flights with the pandemic took a serious hit and Alitalia really had no future with its bloated staff and far too many unprofitable routes. However the Italian Government has decided to create as of tomorrow a new company called ITA or Italia Transporto Aereo with far fewer routes and only a quarter of the staff the old Alitalia had.
Back in the period 2007 to 2011 when I was posted to Rome, I had to travel to Albania often, in fact I went to Tirana 38 times during that period, a record really. I always flew with Alitalia direct from Rome for the one hour flight, the plane would fly from Rome to Bari and then cross the Adriatic to Tirana. However with the constant threat of bankruptcy on one particular trip I really thought Alitalia was going under and I would be stuck in Tirana. The crew stayed at the same hotel I stayed at, there were only 2 choices in Tirana, one was the Sheraton and the other was an hotel operated by an Austrian chain with a good restaurant. The Sheraton did not have restaurants, it was attached to a shopping mall which had gone bankrupt and the only restaurant or stand served awful burgers and hotdogs. The Austrian Hotel was much nicer with a beautiful garden and pool and far better service and amenities and was an easier walk to the Canadian Consulate. Thing is, in Tirana like in all Balkan countries, roaming big feral dogs are a feature, it is quite a problem and you should avoid them. It is much worse in other Capital like Belgrade or Bucarest or Sofia.
I suppose if Alitalia did go under, the plan was to drive to the port of Durres and there catch the ferry across to Bari. Another plan was to catch a flight with the Italian Air Force which flew to Albania, the country was an Italian colony between 1939-1943 and King Zog was forced into exile to London, living at the Ritz Hotel. The King of Italy became the ruler of Albania. A strange little country to this day, very much what you would expect from the Balkan. Anyway it did not happen and Alitalia survived.
Alitalia was a nice airline, the service was good as was the food. But it could also be unpredictable in a very Italian way, a flight would be cancelled or changed without notice. It had style and panache which is very Italian. I am sure that ITA will continue in the same tradition, certain things never change.
Well our first snow storm of the Season is in full swing now. It started last evening with rain and winds and changed to snow squalls overnight. Poor visibility and dangerous driving or walking conditions. High winds with pounding surf and higher tides than normal, no time to go walk on the beach now, it can be dangerous. This weekend was the Christmas market weekend but the weather forced a change in schedule and most things are closed or re-scheduled until Sunday like the Santa parade.
We had a lovely dinner at the Club last night and enjoyed the Parlour fireplace. Many members who live within walking distance came. This is a good beginning to the Xmas Season.
Photo taken from our den, showing the famous Water Prince Corner Shop at the corner of Prince and Water street in old Charlottetown. This restaurant specialty is lobsters and seafood. They are famous because many celebrities have been for lunch or dinner and left testimonials. The Regis and Kathie Lee show was also taped at the location a few years back and many tourists coming here to visit will make reservations. Being neighbours we can just cross the street and get a table. Not a big place just about 20 tables, but the food and service is excellent. The Winter Lobster Season started about 4 days ago and 250 boats went out to Sea, it is very dangerous work on the Ocean with waves and winds which toss boats about. Many here on the Island will have lobster for Xmas dinner at home, remembering to use sea water to boil their lobster, tap water won’t do.
One of the many fireplaces in the Club, this one is made of Pink Sicilian Marble which cannot be found anymore. Imported by the original owner of #2 Haviland Street, the young widow Esther Full-Lowden in 1869. This was her parlour to receive friends, after her death in 1896 the Mansion was rented out to the USA Government and this room was the American Consul’s Office, with 18 foot ceilings and fancy moulding. It was wonderful last night to sit by the fire and enjoy drinks with other members.
Today is very quiet with the storm raging outside. Sunday should be quiet also, I may go out to the Farmer’s Market to get my Dresden Stollen from Sabine and Michael S. who are natives of Dresden.
Today is also my late father’s Birthday, he would have been 89 years old. Here the two of us having lunch at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal around 2014.
We all have our little routines every day and develop new ones when life changes. Per example after I retired some years ago, I no longer had a need for business suits except for one nice dark Italian suit and a couple of blazers in case I need them for a special day.
Usually now it is casual wear and here on the Island it is more like vacation comfortable wear, though we have done formal and business suit on a few occasions.
I may or may not shave on a day because I have no were to go and am not meeting anyone that day. On the other hand dishes and laundry gets done promptly now that we no longer have a cleaning lady.
Meals are planned that morning for the day and I keep tabs on what we have in the freezer and the fridge. We also see friends on a more impromptu manner, not much is planned unless it is a special occasion.
Every night we have cocktails at 5:30pm after the dogs have had their dinner. We have a 3 course dinner around 07:30pm unless we are going out to a concert or event. We always use dishes and the table is set with cutlery and place mats. We have dinner in the dining room, a bottle of wine paired for the meal and tapered candles are lit on the table, there is also music softly playing in the background. It is the same routine every night.
When we have guests for dinner or lunch, we will have drinks first, we will set a menu and we will never serve the same menu to guests twice, if we had a chicken dish once, the next time they come we will serve something different. Depending on the season the menu will vary greatly, we never serve a salad as a main dish and I find it very gauche to do so. A salad is just an intermediate course served with a prepared dressing not something from a bottle.
When we have a party, there is one coming up in 10 days, we think ahead of what we will serve, are people coming for a meal, or just drinks and nibbles which means serving good quality nuts and olives, a paté or a hard cheese with selected crackers. In this case we thought of doing a salmon mousse or a chicken liver paté with wine. We will chose a wine something which will go well with the event and if people bring a bottle of wine, I prefer to set it aside and go with what I selected for that night in white and red. Recently we had a pizza party and I asked my guests what they wanted, some preferred vegetarian other with meat or cheese or gluten free. Then I ordered from a pizza place here in town which makes really good pizza on thin crust, it tasted a lot better than the stuff from a commercial chain. We had a great party.
All these little details make for routines which define our lives and make everything more pleasant on any given day.
Telling the stories of the history of the port of Charlottetown and the marine heritage of Northumberland Strait on Canada's East Coast. Winner of the Heritage Award from the PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation and a Heritage Preservation Award from the City of Charlottetown