back from our MI visit in time to welcome good friend ntina to town!
i met ntina (pronounced dee-nah) in college, she was a few doors down from my (and georgettes) room in our sophomore year dorm. we later lived in a big house together (senior year) and have been visiting each other ever since she moved away from MI. we have done chicago, DC, virginia beach, boston, st louis, florida, nashville, new orleans, NYC (am i missing any?) together, and, her and ben (her partner) came to see us in france. now she adds halifax to the list (ben was off traveling for work so we missed him). i would (almost) stake my life on the fact that she would visit us in an igloo in greenland, should we ever be so unfortunate as to live there. :) we are so grateful that she is willing to come, wherever we are, and make the most of the weather, the local activities (or lack thereof), and the new lifestyle(s) we find ourselves in.
her flight brought her to us on friday (a little delayed) and dave was able to pick her up. we promptly headed over to janes next door to get some tasty sandwiches and treats to fill our bellies. once consumed, ntina brought out the baby gifts. the lady rarely ever passes on an opportunity to pick out something special for the people she loves and we are always welcome recipients. X got some new books and new clothes (a "mommys monster" onesie and a "babys first thanksgiving" onesie [because its my favorite holiday], plus a white fleece bear suit for the cold weather).
(X and ntina)
then we headed over to her hotel to get her settled. we chatted until X needed a nap and then walked back to the apartment. while X was asleep, we went out for a walk by the water to get a brief view of the city. when we got back, our minds were already turned toward dinner.
i had told ntina that the weather in late september is iffy and with X not liking the car...we might not get to give her a real visit/experience of nova scotia. she said she totally understood and was coming for the company, not the scenery. bottom line. so...i tried to relax about being a tour guide. but, one thing i knew we could do was to satisfy the foodie in all of us and expose her to some of our favorite things here and to brave some new restaurants with her.
before dinner, we headed in the direction of davids tea. my new obsession. they have half a wall of loose leaf teas that are decaf (herbals and rooibos varieties) and i am in love with their "mint chocolate rooibos." after making our drink selections we headed over to the bbq joint we wanted to try called "Q," as in bbQ. it seemed like an odd choice, being so far away from the traditional bbq region of the american south, but we had read good reviews.
thus, we entered at our own risk, but were pleasantly surprised. the atmosphere is perfect for a bbq place (order at the counter, casual dining, brick and old wood on the walls, a big basin near the trash for washing your sticky hands) and the menu has all the options id want, except perhaps greens. we all ordered (me: pulled chicken sandwich, dave: half chicken and ribs, ntina: beef brisket) and took our food up to ntinas hotel room which was right around the corner. the food was good and her room was large so we had a nice time eating, talking, relaxing until we took X home to sleep.
on saturday we woke up ready to shuffle through the crowded farmers market in search of more foodie goodies. we started with a snack of vegetable tamales and a soft pretzel, and then purchased fresh apple cider, a pumpkin muffin, some goat cheese with cayenne and garlic, spinach pies, pita bread, fresh bread loaves, strawberries, and haddock...to be consumed later that day.
after carting it all home, we busted into the stash for lunch. the cider was a highlight for me. yum. couldnt have any last year since usually the good stuff is unpasteurized. made me kinda sad though that there arent cider mills with donuts around here. :( anyway, after hanging out a bit we all retired to take some naps before the UM football game. watching the game alone on the computer has always been tolerable for us, but with another person it just didnt feel like we were getting into the football spirit without a big tv and couch lounging area. oh well. and the night kinda fizzled from there. while dave was making a tunisian fish soup for dinner ntina got a bad headache. she ended up going home to sleep it off and we ended the night alone, with warm bowls of surprisingly decent soup.
(watching the UM game. X is wearing the gift jen and james got her)
sunday was our last day with ntina and for some unknown reason X decided it would be cool to wake up at 4:30a. needless to say, we all started off the day feeling kinda crummy. but, since our list of "must dos" was blank, we took it easy and didnt push ourselves. we just hung out until we felt up for brunch.
my brunch suggestion was to try the new restaurant "MIX fresh kitchen." i had really been wanting pancakes for about...6 months, but i hadnt wanted to waste the time and dirty the kitchen with them so i was pretty amped to get out and feed the craving. the restaurant turned out to have a nice atmosphere and the food was decent (me and ntina had pancakes with local blueberries and dave had a brioche grilled cheese), but nothing mind blowing.
(sitting like a big girl at brunch)
then we walked off some of the carbs along the waterfront and everyone took a food coma nap. but, after that, we were all feeling much better and were looking forward to the end of the day. we had a nice walk in point pleasant park before enjoying daves classic mexican dinner. we were able to wind down and just relax to end the day. and then, after a night walk with X, we said goodbye and thank you to ntina.
so, while we didnt give her a whirlwind tour of the city, get her out to any of the nearby beautiful towns, or do anything particularly "unique," i will say that we had a fantastically terrific time with ntina. we did try some new restaurants and i hope she did get a little glimpse of the city. but mostly it was just as she said it would be, a visit more about the company than the surroundings, even though all of us were at times sick and/or tired. thanks for a good relaxing weekend ntin. ;)