48 hours in Charlottetown : Foodie Weekend

If you’re a consultant like me, time is typically precious and you’re doing weekend trips. This means that you’re getting in on a Friday morning/early afternoon and leaving on the latest Sunday night flight. While Prince Edward Island is famous for Anne of Green Gables, there is definitely enough to make a couple weekends here. It’s easily one of the most beautiful spots in Canada, and one of more picturesque islands I’ve even been on … and this is coming from the Trinidadian. It’s completely surrounded by red shore beaches, sand dunes and ocean views – which really helps to differentiate it from other island experiences. Charlottetown is its biggest city with the usual historical bravado … home of the Confederation, Acadian music and Canadian culture. Here’s a sample itinerary to help you crush your way to a “48 hours in Charlottetown” foodie experience


So let’s work with the following assumptions : You get in on Friday and leave Sunday … of course this is applicable to any 48 hour weekend. Here’s the details

  • Day 1 (or Friday morning)

    • 10am : Breakfast at Maid Marians
      Maid Marians is a Charlottetown institution. This is not a fancy place … in fact, it’s downright homely, but the food is generous and you’ll really see where the locals come for breakfast. On weekends, expect a link at 11am. The food is typical Maritime food and the only place you can have a Turkey dinner for breakfast! I love this place because it’s exactly what you’re looking for to start your foodie tour.  Ignore the nonsense on TripAdvisor … MM doesn’t pretend to be a posh place with 25$ breakfast, you can have your Turkey dinner or Fish and Chips for $7.95+ tax … along with overhearing some great gossip and chat.
      10530692_10152321494268165_4668168149580638910_nMaid Marion’s : 7 Ellis Rd, Charlottetown (902) 566-4641

    • 1pm : PEI Fries snack time at either the Old Triangle or Ken’s Island Fries
      After you have your breakfast from 10 to 11am, you’ll be stuffed for a while and you’ll want to do something interesting. You’ll probably head down to the waterfront or just wander about downtown. Around 1 to 1:30pm, you’ll need a snack. Do it right with some PEI fries … I mean come on … PEI potatoes are world famous. Their fries are pretty goddamn special too … it’s impossible to have bad fries here unless you roll up to a fast food joint and if you are eating Wendy etc … then why are you reading this blog.My first recommendation through convenience is the fries at the Old Triangle pub with their curry gravy. It’s spectacular!! They do have the Pub Style Chicken Curry and Chips for $13.50, but this is a snack. So just order a large portion of fries and a double side of the curry gravy, pair up with a Black and Blue (Guinness and Blueberry Ale) and you’ll be golden till about 6pm.If you want to have a little drive, then my second recommendation is Ken’s Island Fries, here’s my last post about the fries (http://www.rishiray.com/pei-2-go-epic-pei-fries-tour/). They’ve changed location to the new Canadian Tire.  I recommend the large fries with gravy in a poutine container doused with Bacon salt. Your mouth will thank me later … your guts … maybe not 🙂 If you’re really feeling adventurous and want to not eat for about 24 hours, then you have their “loaded fries” or “the works” which comes with fries, gravy, cheese, peas and ground beef.

      With the works!!

      Ken’s Island Fries :  Buchanan Road, Charlottetown, (902) 675-3541
      Old Triangle Pub :
      189 Great George St, (902) 892-5200

    • 6 pm : Dinner time on Vic Row
      Victoria Row is one of the gems of Charlottetown. Not only is the area full of restaurants, cafes, shops and galleries, but this cobblestoned street is lined by some of the most beautiful historic buildings in the city.  Located on Richmond Street, between Queen and Great George Street, Victoria Row is closed to vehicle traffic during the summer months and transformed into a pedestrian mall. Victoria Row is a must-see location for everyone visiting Charlottetown.The food is quite good on the row but I wouldn’t say it’s world beating food. You’re going to have a meal there because of the ambience and the people watching is fantastic. I would start with a drink upstairs on the Fishbones patio and then sample of the restaurants downstairs,  then you can head out to a local pub for some drinking and socializing.

      Welcome to Victoria Row
      View from up Victoria Row
      The view up Vic Row.


    • 1am : Drunken Donairs from Jack’s Pizza
      My first introduction to the Donair was in Halifax after drinking at the Casino and not being to find anything to eat. When I actually saw one being made, I was horrified by the sauce.  Typically, it’s best eaten late at night after about 10 beers, it is a sweet and savoury, tasty and messy snack for meat lovers. Personally, I can’t handle the sickening sweetness of the sauce, especially because I am lactose intolerant, but there are those that I’ve seen eat the sauce only and leave the Donair alone.To the uninitiated, the Donair is intimidating. First, there is Donair meat, heavily spiced ground beef that’s shaped into a large loaf and roasted on a spit, then shaved and seared on a flat top range. The meat is placed on a thin, Lebanese-style pita and topped with tomatoes and raw onions. The Donair sauce has been described as a sweet blend of evaporated milk, vinegar, garlic powder and sugar. The sandwich is wrapped in about 16ft of aluminum foil and eaten out of hand.  As the pita has a tendency to sop up the juices and sauces, making the bread fall apart, Donairs are best eaten over a cardboard plate and as far away from your body as possible.When you’re in Charlottetown, I order from Jack’s Pizza and I only order the “Super”. It’s the size of small child and I’m pretty sure I’ve lost years of my life because of the ridiculous cholesterol and fat content but damn it’s good. I get it super well done with the sauce on the side and no cheese.Here’s what the Jack’s Super Donair looks like in stages at 2am for us. The pictures don’t actually truly give the impression of the size of this thing!

      Here’s my super Donair wrapped in about 16 ft of foil.
      Here’s the relative size to D*’s head … note all the foil. I don’t know why they wrap it in so much foil
      With all the sauce and no tomatoes … all I see is meat!!!
      Here’s the relative size to my Z10. No giggles about the phone … it’s a free phone!
      With Tomatoes and Onions!

      Jack’s Pizza :  330 University Ave, Charlottetown | +1 902-628-8888

  • Day 2 (or Saturday morning)

    • 9am : Charlottetown Farmer’s Market or the Old Triangle
      Atlantic Canada is known for its super fresh produce, but I couldn’t honestly call it a culinary mecca … however the Farmers’ Market is the only place in PEI, where you can find more than half of the stalls selling “ethnic” food you  ranging in diversity from Shawarma, pierogies, Indian and Moroccan food to smoked salmon and freshly baked bread. There are many local farmers who come out on a Wednesday or Saturday to sell at the Market. One can easily see that the vast majority of the produce isn’t your average chemically laced, inorganic, Monsanto GM type food, but rather honestly grown produce reflective of the real price of cultivation.

      Charlottetown Farmer’s Market : 100 Belvedere Ave, Charlottetown | (902) 626-3373
    • 11am : Clam Digging for lunch
      Once you’ve had a light snack breakfast, then you should be heading for a phenomenal foodie experience where you combine foraging, a love of great seafood and an awesome cultural experience, then you should sign up for “Digging for Dinner” organized by “Experience PEI” … here’s a list of activities that they currently do. Normally, I don’t like working for my food … but the idea of going out into the sea and digging for clams actually sounded like a great activity, coupled with the fact that we would get to cook up what we ate, definitely got me going. Also … who doesn’t love learning a new skill, especially for an activity that inevitably makes the resulting food far more delicious and that could feed you in a pinch.

      Rinsing out those clams!
      You get to eat your clams in a “ghost” caboose!
      You can drink the fresh spring water straight out of ground

      Digging for Dinner : http://www.experiencepei.ca/#!digging-for-dinner/c1u6v

    • 4pm : Lobster Supper at New Glasgow Lobster Suppers
      After your clam bake … and if you haven’t had enough seafood, then you should head on down for traditional lobster supper and my recommendation is New Glasgow Lobster Suppers. The service is fast and very friendly and the drive to Hunter River allows me to stop at the “By the Bridge” bakery. The building itself looks a lot like a small town community hall and the decor reflects this. This is definitely not a fancy type atmosphere, so don’t bring your Sunday best out. While you’re waiting to seated, you can browse through the pictures on the walls showing the original buildings in great B&W perspective. You’ll also learn that lobster suppers have been served there since 1957 when the District Junior Farmers Organization first bought it for their meeting space. The meal for that first supper included hot buttery rolls, potato salad, homemade pie, and tons of fresh lobster. In the end, you’ll have one of the quintessential PEI foodie experiences  … for more information … click here

      New Glasgow Lobster Suppers: 604 Route 258, New Glasgow | (902) 964-2870 
    • 8pm : Dinner at the Lucy Maud Dining Room in Holland College
      As far as cooking schools go, the Lucy Maud Dining room is definitely on the high end of the scale. As the front end of the Canadian Culinary Institute I was not sure what to expect in their dining room. However we sent our parents there and they could not be happier. Outstanding service, wonderful food, great price…what`s not to like? Was pleasantly surprised by the varied and reasonably priced wine selection.

      Chefs at this restaurant, part of the acclaimed Culinary Institute of Canada, are second-year students working under the supervision of master-chef instructors; service is provided by hospitality students. It’s an opportunity to enjoy ambitious dishes that combine local ingredients with international influences. The institute’s dining room could use some freshening up, but nothing can detract from the view of the water out its large windows. Although dinner is served year-round, lunch is offered only from mid-October to mid-May.

      Lucy Maud Dining Room : 4 Sydney St, Charlottetown | (902) 894-6868

  • Day 3 (or Sunday morning)

    • 9am : Breakfast at Casa Mia
      By your third day of the weekend, you should be ready to explode and will only be looking for fairly light fare. I would head over for some eggs and maple hash browns at Casa Mia Cafe. I would suggest either the Blueberry-Cream cheese Stuffed French Toast for $12.99. It’s fresh blueberries and maple syrup sweetened cream cheese between thick sliced bread dipped in the classic beaten egg mixture…fried in butter until golden…served with thick sliced Black Forest ham and whipped cream.A reasonable alternative would be the Potato Cakes and Eggs, also for $12.99. Two of house-made panko crusted potato cakes on a bed of baby spinach topped with two eggs (any style), maple peppered bacon and a rich Parmesan cream sauce.
      Casa Mia Cafe : 131 Queen St, Charlottetown | (902) 367-4440
    • Noon : Lobster Roll at the Lobster Shack
      Finally before you leave, you’ll have to have an excellent Lobster Roll … while there are many pretenders to the throne, the best Lobster Roll we found was at the Lobster Shack on the way to Souris. I’ll let the pictures tell the story!

      Lobster Shack : 8 Main Street Souris | (902) 743-3347

There you have it … a “48 hours in Charlottetown” foodie experience,  where you can crush the some of best food experiences that Charlottetown and PEI have to offer. Please let me know if you have any additions that would make an excellent foodie weekend in PEI.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at rishi@rishiray.com

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