Monday, June 25, 2007

Photo slideshow!

We will probably get around to doing more posts about the individual places we visited on our honeymoon to mainland and Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. But until we have time for that, here is a slideshow of about 120 pics (yes, it's a little long, but we narrowed it down from 3,000!) with brief info about each place. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Irresistibly Canadian!

For the most part, Canada appears to be a peculiarly accented U.S. What we have in the States, they have here (although, in the case of gas prices, Subway and Kraft Dinner, they just have more). However, delve a little deeper, and you’ll find some unexpected differences. Nowhere is this more evident than in the potato chip aisle at the grocery store. In amongst the standard plain, barbecue, and sour cream and onion were a quartet of flavor oddities. Without further ado, may we present the Lay’s Canadian Collection:

For the graphically challenged, or for those who simply distrust their eyes, those are, in fact Spicy Curry, Roast Chicken, Fries & Gravy varieties of Lay’s. Ketchup flavor was also available. Especially amusing are the enthusiastic profiles on the backs of the bags, which contain not only flavor descriptions, but a stirring appeal to Canadian nationalism.

In the interest of furthering good will and cross-cultural understanding between our two great nations, we took it upon ourselves to sample and evaluate these exotic examples of Canadian cuisine.

First up, Spicy Curry:

Spicy Curry...well, it tasted like curry. Not particularly spicy, but it lived up to its name. Dave found the back especially amusing, as it seemingly thinks that diplomacy, communication, etc. are all overrated- all we really need to induce multicultural harmony is to listen to the sage advice on the back of a potato chip bag.

Next is Roast Chicken, which tasted like we were gnawing on a bouillon cube:

Our third flavor is Fries and Gravy. This is inspired by poutine, a Canadian fast-food treat typically made with fries topped by cheese curds and hot gravy. It's like a heart attack all in one bowl! Anyway, the chips didn't really taste like gravy. Dave said they tasted similar to Funyuns (which also happen to be made by Frito-Lay). We couldn't figure out a better description- they were kind of oniony, but were difficult to pick out as gravy in an eyes-closed taste test.

And finally, winner of the Taster's Choice award for Most Likable Weird Potato Chip Flavor is (drum roll, please): Ketchup!

We actually got 2 bags of ketchup potato chips. They were the flavor we'd be most likely to pick up if we really, really wanted chips and these 4 flavors were our only choices. They tasted like slightly sweet ketchup. The thing that puzzles me is that Lay's puts out ketchup as an example of Canadians' great taste. Now we had some lovely meals on our trip, but I'm not sure any of the nice restaurants we ate at offered ketchup as their primary sauce. I love ketchup; don't get me wrong, but I just don't think it's a good example of a country's high-class taste.

We haven't seen any of these varieties in our grocery store back in the U.S., but take heart, fellow Americans- dill pickle was a Canadian flavor first before Lay's brought it over as a test flavor in the States. If you cross your fingers and write enough nice letters to Frito-Lay, you might just see Ketchup or Roast Chicken chips in your supermarket soon!

The gang is back in KC!

Our internet access dropped out shortly after we posted our first entry from lovely Cape Breton Island, and we haven't had a chance to update until now. We all arrived back in Kansas City safely a little over a week ago and have been settling in after our wonderful honeymoon. With Em's boxes moving in and Eric's boxes moving out, there are boxes everywhere! The kitty would love to use them as her personal climbing gym, but we have been keeping her mostly in her room so she feels safe and we don't have to worry about her eating bubble wrap or packing tape. She is enjoying peering out at her kingdom from the second story window.

Well, we didn't find the real Pinchy, despite the promises of the Lobsterpalooza website that he would be at the Port Hawkesbury Visitors' Center. However, we found a substitute Pinchy, seen above with Joshua Lawrence Chimperlain and Stampey (in a U-Dayton shirt!). Dave suggests thinking of this Pinchy as one of the real Pinchy's helpers, since Pinchy is apparently too busy to be everywhere (like Santa and the mall Santas).

We are still working on sorting through our photos (we took about 3,000! Behold the power of digital cameras!) and will post some of the good ones from Cape Breton and PEI. Up next: random Canadian food we stumbled upon during a stop at the Baddeck Co-Op grocery store.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Where's Pinchy? - Day One

We arrived on Cape Breton Island at approximately 4:30 p.m., almost an hour and a half before the Port Hastings visitor's center closed. That should've left plenty of time to meet and get our picture taken with the Lobsterpalooza mascot, Pinchy the Lobster, and to buy Pinchy-related swag. But not only was Pinchy not there as promised in the Lobsterpalooza online marketing materials, there were no Pinchy t-shirts, sweatshirts, action figures, soaps, playing cards, shot glasses, magnets, giant pencils, stuffed toys, coloring books, candy bars, or quik-dry cement. In fact, looking around the visitor's center, one would be hard-pressed to find any evidence that Pinchy or Lobsterpalooza existed at all. Not so impressive for a "feastival" that's supposed to draw tourists to Cape Breton and extend the tourism season outside of July & August. Besides not having Pinchy there to greet and entertain us when we arrived over the Canso Causeway, not a single visitor's center employee was wearing an "Ask Me About Lobsterpalooza!" pin for us to steal. We are both very disappointed. Tomorrow we will attempt to intercept Pinchy at the Baddeck Yacht Club, where a roaming photographic exhibit and alleged Lobsterpalooza gift shop is scheduled to be held for one more day. We will not rest until that lobster grows tired of posing for pictures with us!

In other news, we spent a night and a fun day in Halifax after our arrival in Canada. We missed all of the "No climbing on the ramparts" warning signs at the Halifax Citadel and proceeded to get some fantastic photos of the city (and a few classy pics of each other) before being yelled at by one of the security guards in an old-timey soldier outfit.

We also had great fun mocking the new kilted summer recruits who were learning to be proper fake soldiers. It was only their second day, so there was still much turning in the wrong direction and getting barked at by the experienced fake soldiers about line spacing. The bagpiper was our sign that it was time to go, and after a brief walk through the Halifax Public Gardens, we headed up to PEI.

We spent a lovely two days on Prince Edward Island, mocking the commercialization that has sprung up around the Anne of Green Gables novels and their creator, including the Shining Waters family fun water park in Cavendish (complete with twisty water slides, just like in the books!). Sadly, we were there a little ahead of the tourist season, so we didn't get to experience Avonlea Village, blacklight mini golf, laser tag, or go-carts. Ah, how fondly I remember the scene in Anne of Avonlea where she and Diana are running away from Gilbert in their go-carts, seeking shelter behind the replica of the space shuttle Columbia...

In all seriousness, PEI was wonderful. We enjoyed driving through the countryside, walking on Cavendish Beach, and exploring Charlottetown. The B&B we stayed in was an easy walk away from the Charlottetown waterfront, and we had some excellent seafood and Cows ice cream. Dave loved the Confederation Bridge and has been taking lots of lighthouse pictures for one of his co-workers.

Tomorrow: kayaking, then vegging out and crossing my fingers that the Pistons will get their act together and win.