Oyster Shucking & Road Tripping with Ford

On one of the first truly warm, sunny days in May, I was invited to attend another fantastic Ford Canada event. This time, we’d be headed to Oceanstone Seaside Resort near Peggys Cove, to hear author, TV host and travel columnist Robin Esrock speak about his new book The Great Atlantic Canadian Bucket List.

Our ride.

Our ride.

When I arrive at our meeting point, Steele Lincoln Ford, I see my co-writers at Local Connections Halifax Magazine, Lia Rinaldo and Tiffany Thornton. We manage to nab the white Ford Mustang and Lia gladly agrees to get behind the wheel for the 40-minute(ish) road trip to Oceanstone.

Upon arrival we’re immediately swept out to a deck overlooking the ocean, snacking on delicious canapés (smoked salmon crostini and bacon-wrapped scallops) while sipping on Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 sparkling wine.

Nova 7 on the patio.

Nova 7 on the patio.

It’s the kind of day in early spring where you finally feel everything has come back to life. The air smells pleasantly salty, the breeze is warm and the deck offers a quintessential Nova Scotia view: a white lighthouse across the bay and a stunning combination of rocky beach and blue ocean. Operator Lizzie Moore speaks to us briefly about the property and promises to show us around the cottages after lunch.

First course for our lunch is hands-on oyster shucking (and eating) with chef Bryan Corkery. After the demo, a few of us shuck our own, and Bryan makes oyster shooters with clamato juice and vodka. At this point I’m glad Lia has agreed to drive the Mustang. We sit down for lunch (lobster stuffed chicken, potato rosti and seasonal vegetables).

My delicious oyster shooter.

My delicious oyster shooter.

Sometime during dessert Robin takes over for a presentation about his travel experiences and books The Great Canadian Bucket List, and now, the Great Atlantic Canadian Bucket List. The storytelling  and photos are the type that immediately make you want to quit your day job and buy an around-the-world plane ticket. But if you can’t do that, for now, you should at least check out his book on Atlantic Canada and plan some adventures closer to home.

After lunch, as promised, we take a look through some of the seaside cottages (which are unbelievably charming) and soak in the sun, view and ocean air just a little bit longer. I manage to win the prize draw (one night in a Rhubarb suite), which means I’ll be back soon, to eat fresh seafood at the on-site restaurant Rhubarb, and drink Nova 7 by our fire pit on the beach, listening to the waves crash in front of our beautiful cottage. Because there’s no way I’m not upgrading!

Thanks again to Ford Canada for the invite to this event, Oceanstone for the food, drink and views and to Lia for being our road trip DD. Check out the cottages in the gallery below…

Lunch at EDNA, compliments of Ford

EDNA, located in the north end

EDNA, located in the north end

Last week I was invited to attend a Ford media event, at EDNA, where we would hear about the company’s sustainability efforts and the technologies that are making their vehicles “fuel-economy leaders,” including the all-electric Focus. The event started with a presentation by Dr. Ellen Lee, the lead in plastics research for Ford, with some quick slides near the front of the restaurant. One thing that did impress me during the talk by Dr. Lee was the amount of post-consumer material (recycled plastic bottles, scrap cotton from jeans) that Ford is now using to design the interiors of their vehicles.

We then settled into one large communal table for an impressive four-course lunch, inspired by some of the sustainable materials that the automotive giant is now using inside their vehicles (think corn, soy, rice, etc).

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tortilla salad – roasted sweet potato, edamame, black beans, tomato, sweet corn, greens, cilantro, house made corn chips, citrus vinaigrette

First course was a lovely tortilla salad; small enough, light enough and playful enough with textures to serve as the perfect amuse bouche.

We had choice for the next three courses, and I opted for the seafood on both second and third offerings. A meaty grilled octopus dish with a soy Szechuan glaze was up next. Again, the chef had fun with the mouth feel of the dish, throwing in some popcorn. I enjoyed the octopus itself very much, as I love the dense texture and flavour, and it was grilled nicely, but wished the glaze lived up to its Szechuan title a bit more and offered real heat.

grilled octopus, soy Szechuan glaze, coconut rice, pineapple, scallion, Speerville popcorn

grilled octopus, soy Szechuan glaze, coconut rice, pineapple, scallion, Speerville popcorn

I was very excited to see seared tuna on the menu, because it’s just not that common in Halifax. My third course was a hook-and-line caught albacore tuna, nicely presented in a shallow pool of soy and dashi broth with soba noodles, enoki mushrooms, and a luscious parsnip puree. The puree was exceptionally creamy and offered sweetness, which was contrasted by the umami flavours of the noodles and broth. The tuna could have been more rare, for my taste, but to be fair, I wasn’t asked and didn’t put in a request.

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seared hook-and-line caught albacore tuna

Did I mention during this entire lunch, the Blomidon Tidal Bay was free-flowing? Also, we were greeted at the door with Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 upon our arrival. Ford really knows how to spoil the media (a nod to the amazing PR and marketing professionals they work with at the local branch of agency NATIONAL on these events).

coconut cream tart

coconut cream tart

At this point I was reaching my limit, as I normally eat one course for lunch, not four.  Still, I somehow found room for coffee and a couple bites of my dessert, a coconut cream tart. Although the sweet course is not usually my thing, this tart blew my mind, as it arrived on a perfectly executed melt-in-your-mouth, buttery shortbread crust. A really nice finish to a fantastic lunch, and all in great company, may I add (thanks Kate Watson and Jody Euloth for making our end of the table fun). Thank you to Ford and NATIONAL! I’m definitely heading back to EDNA soon for a long and leisurely dinner.

 

Blogging Pays Off

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Last week I finally got to take advantage of this super-glamourous blogger lifestyle that I lead.

(Saracasm.)

Seriously though — I did do something quite fun and exciting. I was asked to participate in the Ford Fiesta Media Drive (a.k.a. Let’s Fiesta) event in Ottawa-Hull, and was flown there on Ford’s dime. They even put me up at the gorgeous Hilton Lac-Leamy, on the 17th floor with a lake view. The trip was very whirl-wind (only two nights)… but I managed to pack in some great Quebec food, lots of fast driving, and plenty of fun, new contacts in the blogging world.

Jonathan at trustednerd.com was my driving partner for the day. The types of bloggers who attended spanned from tech, to lifestyle, to parenting. Luckily for me and some of the other food bloggers, edible treats were a big part of the day.

Smoked seafood at Chelsea Smoked House, outside Gatineau.

Smoked seafood at Chelsea Smoked House, outside Gatineau.

Check out the slide show below for highlights of the day, driving the Ford Fiesta, and some of the snacks I managed to fit in. You will notice we had an amazing closing night gala with a carnival theme. Yes, there was a giant hot wheels track, arcade racing games and more. Good times.

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As I should mention, the Fiesta was super fun to drive. We had a bright red hatchback. There was a built-in screen with navigation, and easy syncing to your smart phone to wirelessly play your own music, or make a phone call… and there’s even an option to have it read your text messages aloud. Good for those addicted to their phones, like myself.

Update: Here’s a video post of our day from the official Ford Blog. Including me answering interview questions!