actually got out for an activity we would have enjoyed in the olden days (pre-X that is).
we saw that mahone bay was having a mussel festival and wanted to partake. of particular interest was an interesting preparation being performed at the adorable biscuit eater cafe, which is a favorite place of ours in mahone bay.
after a morning of preparation and gathering of baby related items, we set out in that direction. we arrived a little before 2p which was when the event was to start. we were happy to see that the place wasnt packed, so we ordered a rhubarb strawberry crisp to eat while we waited (fantastic, as are all of their goodies).
the mussel preparation we were waiting to see preformed was called "l'eclade" and was billed as such: "back by popular demand - the biscuit eater will be demonstrating one of our favorite recipes from 1606 - l’eclade (a mussel recipe used by champlain for the order of good cheer, which involves burying mussels under heaps of dry pine needles & setting the whole thing aflame.). dramatic, tasty, a little dirty…appeals to the pyromaniac in all of us – i have no idea why this isn’t a more common back yard eating tradition! drop by & check it out."
the cafe owner had a square table set up behind the store to demonstrate. it was really rather easy. plus, it looked fun and tasted great. you wet the table and throw some sea salt down. then you set the mussels up on the table with their hinges pointing up so that when they open, ash doesnt fall in (you can squeeze lemons on top of the mussels at this point if you wish). once arranged, you cover them with very, very dry white pine needles (needs to be white pine variety). then you set the needles on fire (the table is wet, so it doesnt burn). the thing smokes and burns down and then you add another batch of pine needles. a total of 10 minutes or so is usually perfect for cooking the mussels the right amount. then you simply dive into the ashy pile and fish out your open mussels (mussels that never open were dead before and shouldnt be eaten). the taste is smokey and earthy. a different and yummy way to enjoy this seafood treat. it was really easy to do and the activity and results were crowd-pleasing. hopefully one day we can perform this in our backyard for a party.
after the mussel demonstration, we wandered around town. it was super sunny and hot and the area was packed with tourists. we ended up perusing the amos pewter store and grabbing some delicious wildberry and pear frozen yogurt before heading home.
side note: X needed a diaper change while we were in town. dave and i went into the bathroom at the biscuit eater together to accomplish this task. we had forgotten baby wipes (rookie mistake). how!? we had to use damp paper towel. except they were all out. while i went to ask for some, X peed all over her travel diaper changing pad. poor kid, and with ill-prepared parents to boot. rough day.