I promised you all an alcohol-free entry, so here are two.
This past weekend was Doors Open Days in St. John’s, an event put off by the city so that tourists and cheapskates can wander around some of the historical sites without paying anything. TOR was up bright and early to check out some cathedrals and churches but I passed on those, as running off 10 lbs of booze was more important. So was my make-over. She also did yoga in the park, with people honking at her as she stretched her little heart out.
Anyway, so we decided to check out the Newman wine vaults. For a little bit of a history lesson, check out this website (I’m going to do a travel blog about this on Matador later, so I’ll spare ye the details). The tour was good, surprisingly short, and I kinda weaved back and forth in a hungover haze, but the vaults were trippy: big stone arches, massive wooden support beams, huge half-ton casks of wine…and a distinctive red mould growing on all the walls, apparently only characteristic of the Newman wine vaults in Newfoundland and Portugal, and found nowhere else in the world.
My favourite part of the tour was a little anecdote told by our guide. Back in the day, the casks would be transported from the vault to the ship by horse and carriage. One day, unable to withstand the heavy load, a carriage collapsed under the weight. One of the casks ruptured, spilling a half-ton of wine all over the streets. The middle and lower class citizens of St. John’s could not let such wealth go to waste, of course, so everybody came running with cups and mugs to scoop the wine off the streets. The mayor was outraged and ordered the police to barricade the area until the wine was cleaned up.
And if that doesn’t perfectly sum up the people of Newfoundland, then I don’t know what does.
We checked out the Railway Coastal Museum next, an enormously large structure located on Water Street. The museum was well laid out and there were quite a few interesting displays, including several replicas of train cars and their contents, but I was most amused by the model train in the children’s room. And the extremely ugly baby that some woman carried. I couldn’t tell if it were alive or not.
When we returned home, TOR and I began cooking up our supper (we decided to give Chef a night off, he was practically a zombie): bottled moose meat and boiled veggies. Proper Newfoundland meal, luh. I’m actually not a big fan of moose meat — I choked on a piece as a child and never fully recovered – but the smell of the meat being warmed in the pan brought back a flood of memories.
TOR is apparently more of a baywoman than I am, because I had absolutely no idea how to prepare the meat or make the gravy. But the meal actually turned out fucking delicious, and Chef has apparently been completely obsessed with moose meat since then.
In a previous blog entry, someone asked me to describe the taste. I posed the question to my roommates, and we mused over the possible answers as we sipped our chardonnay (moose meat and chardonnay, wtf?).
We compared it to beef, but it was useless. TOR, however, summed it up best:
“It’s just fucking amazing.”
There you have it. Fucking amazing.
(I just realized that this entry was supposed to be alcohol-free, yet I started off with a description of a wine vault. A taste test of Newman port was also involved).