Looking moody but beautiful on an uncharacteristically chilly day in San Antonio, Texas. Remember the Alamo!
Opening night for the new Tower of Poisedon at Atlantis The Palm, Dubai. Race a companion on twin tubes Slitherine, feel the fear as the floor drops beneath you and plummets you into Poisedon’s Revenge, or try one of two raft rides. Above, Aquaconda, is the world’s largest water slide tube. I screamed…
Call off the hunt. I’ve found the best seafood in Atlantic Canada.
Last night I stayed at Rossmount Inn, a lovely historic inn in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. Dinner was a joy. I smiled. I oohed and aahed like it was Fireworks Night. I nommed, repeatedly.
Owner Chris Aerni is the man responsible. He takes the area’s beautiful fresh ingredients and, with a true chef’s alchemy, makes them even better than the sum of their truly lovely parts.
I started with the lobster cocktail, where tender chunks of crustacean sit on top of a creamy celeriac remoulade and a tangy beetroot salad. Dessert was a sinful chocolate mousse that highlights Chris’ Swiss roots. The star dish was my main - a tuna steak so butter-soft I hardly need slice it, Turkish-delight pink in the middle and with a fiery peppercorn crust. The corn it sat on was a bit of a revelation - I’ll usually push the lumpy yellow bits around and hide them under my knife, but this creamy primrose creation was a different beast entirely. If it wouldn’t have appalled the other diners, I’d have licked the plate.
The Kingsbrae Gardens in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick endeared themselves to me on three levels. They’re manageably-sized - you can stroll round in an hour - there are some very cute llamas, and inexplicably there’s loads of Big Stuff, from a huge trowel and an overgrown avocado to a giant deckchair.
I love wine regions. For starters, it’s where they make wine. They also always seem to be insanely beautiful to look at. And the wine region of Gaspereau Valley in Nova Scotia is no different. The wine’s not bad too.
Take a day trip - you can get a hop-on, hop-off bus from Wolfville, or even from Halifax itself, so there’s no need to swill and spit.
My first stop was Domaine de Grand Pre, a Swiss family vineyard making the best wine I’ve tried in this area. The Tidal Bay - the local appellation - is excellent, and the rose is nice and dry. The whites of this area tend to be a bit sweet for me, but the driest are L’Acadie Blanc - good with a local lobster.
A new one for me was their apple dessert wine - it’s rather like ice cider but the apples don’t freeze on the trees. It’s called Pomme D’Or and is truly golden, and delicious.
When it’s lunchtime, head for Luckett Vineyards. If you’re a little light-headed and heavy-tongued from a few too many tastings, a substantial board of antipasti and the absolutely stunning view from the terrace cafe will set you up for the afternoon.
Started by Nottingham-born Pete Luckett, the vineyard has a very British red phone box amidst the vines, and the signature white and red wines are named after it.
I’m no gardener but Beverley McClure’s Tangled Garden is a little piece of heaven. It’s just on the road into Grand Pre, Nova Scotia. The name is pretty descriptive - this isn’t one of those martial gardens with straight lines and order imposed. It’s wild but beautiful, and full of herbs, fruit and flowers which Beverley turns into the most delicious jellies, jams, liqueurs and ice-creams. I couldn’t resist picking up pots of ginger lime preserve, cucumber dill jelly (with salmon, I’m thinking), and a damson plum liqueur that be divine in a glass of prosecco.
Five scallops. A burger bun. Some sort of buttery sauce. It’s the best nine Canadian dollars you can spend. It’s the Scallop Burger at Kedy’s Inlet Cafe in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia.