Friday, September 21, 2018

Water-Prince Corner Shop - Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Our Holland America cruise ship stopped in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (PEI) for the day and we took a morning ship excursion out to the north side of the island, in Cavendish, to see the Green Gables farmhouse, and related museum, trails, etc., relating to the Anne of Green Gables book. On the way out and back we drove through PEI National Park and saw the oyster farm for Raspberry Point Oysters out in a bay. Our bus stopped for a brief picture. 
The bay.
The boxes or cages used to grow oysters visible in the bay. 
Our guide told us that Malpeque oysters, which grow in waters off PEI, were named the world's tastiest oyster at an exhibition in Paris in 1900. On the way back, the bus driver pointed out an area on the other side of the bay (on the other side of the road) where mussels were also being grown commercially. It was about this time that a light went off in my head and I realized the PEI mussels I've seen on the menu at King's Fish House in Rancho Cucamonga are from Prince Edward Island (before then I'd always associated PEI with the name of a company). Oysters and mussels are two of my favorite types of seafood and this got me really desiring to try some PEI seafood while we were there. 

When we got back to Charlottetown we had a few hours before our next tour and Yelped nearby restaurants and found a highly rated seafood restaurant just a few blocks from our cruise ship. Water-Prince Corner Shop, in the historic district of downtown Charlottetown, claims to have some of the freshest seafood on PEI. It is no. 12 of 193 restaurants in Charlottetown on Trip Advisor. We walked a few blocks and found an empty picnic table outside, with a large umbrella, which would hold our group of nine. 
I had to try a good sampling of the PEI seafood. My brother-in-law, Stan, gamely agreed to jointly order with me and we ordered a boat-load of food. 
We ordered PEI blue mussels steamed in white wine, carrots and celery. They were the first item brought to our table in a big steel bowl with some butter. The mussels were not as large and plump as I'd hoped, but they were still good. The broth was quite tasty, but we did not have any sourdough bread to soak it up with, a necessity for mussels, which knocked the restaurant down a peg in my estimation. 
Next we got fresh PEI steamed clams served with clam broth. I was thrilled to learn that these were not just any old steamed clams, but soft-shell clams, or what I had learned to call "piss" clams. The only other time I've had "piss" clams was in Florida and they were the best clams I've ever eaten. Again, these did not measure up to the clams I had in Florida. They were not as large or plump and I suspect were maybe cooked a little too long. That said, they were still very good and I enjoyed them a lot. 

The soft-shell clam does not travel well, because of the soft shell, and therefore is not as readily available as the harder shell clams. 
The membrane above is broken revealing the clam inside. You grab them by the little foot to dip them in butter. 
Next came a dozen raw PEI Malpeque oysters, which I've since learned grow wild (they are not farmed) west of where we were in Cavendish. These oysters were big and beautiful and I enjoyed them about as much as any oysters I've eaten. They came with Tabasco sauce which is not as good as the cocktail sauce that is served at King's and many other seafood restaurants, so I only tried it on one and then ate the others that were part of my share plain. This may be my favorite oyster eating experience, given the setting and the fact we were eating them so close to where they are from. 
Finally, we got an order of fish and chips which came with two pieces of breaded and deep-fried haddock. The haddock was moist, but the breading was not my favorite and the french fries were only so-so. This was my least favorite part of the meal, although I still enjoyed it. 
Over-all, it was a very nice and memorable seafood lunch with a great variety of fresh local ingredients and one of my favorite eating experiences on our trip. 

1 comment:

  1. The outdoor table was also fun. Overall, I loved PEI--scenery, tourist sites, people, and food. All good.