Jan. 4, 2012 • Issue 15 • Volume 145 • 7
Date night in Freddy: Where to go and what to eat In Focus Alex Kress
I may be a student on a budget, but every now and then I can justify a foodie splurge. I’m from Edmonton, where, given the size of the city, there is an over abundance of options. I happen to find comfort in the idea of infinite dining possibilities, but others might prefer a solid, shorter list of reliable establishments to enjoy over and over again. In Fredericton, there’s a healthy roster of great places to take a date, and (bonus) if you live downtown they’re all within walking distance so cab fare can be reallocated to a tasty dessert or another drink. Here are my top five choices for date night locations ranging from affordable and casual to upscale and special occasions. Bang for Your Buck My go-to place for affordable eats downtown is The Snooty Fox. I’ve had plenty a casual date night there because the food is decent and fairly priced. As much as I like quality food and ambiance, I think The Snooty Fox is a fantastic spot for first dates. First dates are often a little awkward and contrived, so the Fox can help by taking the stress level down a notch. It’s casual and usually full, so any uncomfortable silences can be filled by the white noise of everyone else. However, my bet is the lack of excess pressure to have a perfect first date that might be the result of choosing a fancier joint will make for a more laid-back evening, and you can just be yourselves. The Fox has about a billion beers on tap, and they make a mean Caesar. My suggestion for a really cheap, yet satisfying bite is the BBQ Chicken Nachos ($12.99). Sweet barbecue sauce fuses with savoury feta and mozzarella cheeses, plus pickles! If you’re looking for entrees, the Crunchy Chicken Caesar Wrap ($9.99) is super garlicky (they use honey garlic sauce and Caesar dressing), and the Maple Curry Chicken Primavera ($14.99) is a Fox favourite. Sushi Park’s Noodle and Sushi has been the choice spot for my boyfriend and I since we first visited in October. It’s quite small and there isn’t a lot of seating, so often we’ve just been happy taking our order home. We usually get three different rolls of sushi (Spicy California, Crunchy Shrimp, and the Philadelphia), and each roll has 15 pieces, for the most part (some have 10, depending on
the item). All sushi ranges between $7.99 and $11.99. We’ve also had the ever-popular Yakisoba noodles ($9.49). The sushi is hand-rolled and made to order with careful precision. There are lunch specials that change daily, and are usually between $8 and $10. The service is always stellar, and we’ve been so many times that the owner, Patrick Lee, knows our faces and treats us to flavoured milk candies while we wait. The Garrison District Ale House The draw for my boyfriend and me to this former bank is first and foremost the incredible beer selection. They have a sizable separate menu just for alcohol (it’s basically a book), and most of it’s beer. There’s a wide selection of regional beer, of course, like Picaroon’s and Garrison (of Halifax), and an impressive array of international beer ranging from German wheat beer to Belgian darks. As far as food goes, there’s the option to order cheaper, classic pub fare, or to explore more unique, creative items that are a little more expensive. Last time we were there, I ordered the soup of the day, the Red Wine Beet Soup that was absolutely delicious, and the Chicken Quesadilla ($10.99). The soup was $6, but was huge and filling. Another favourite of mine is the Strawberry Chevre Salad ($9.99), which is also huge and so flavourful, but on the lighter side. If you’re looking for a more lavish entrée, try the Grilled Halibut ($19.99). It’s scented with coriander, baked in a coconut and red pepper pesto. Mmm. The Garrison has an incredible wine selection as well, and with the halibut I’d choose a glass (or two) of the Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc. The Splurge The Blue Door is most def initely our favourite special occasion/ splurge date night location. Not only is it unique in Fredericton with its Asian fusion dishes, but the service is always top notch and the setting is totally sexy. Their menu changes with the season and they make great use of their Twitter account to announce daily features, which are always exceptionally creative. If you’re going to spend a night at The Blue Door, make sure it isn’t rushed. You’re going to drop a fair amount of scrilla here, so make it count. In my opinion, it’s well worth the high bill at the end, because a lot of care goes into making the special dishes and many of the ingredients are local and also environmentally conscious. They use OceanWise sustainably caught seafood and meat from New Brunswick farmers. When we go to The Blue Door, we do the three-course thing. Our favourite appetizer is the P.E.I. Mus-
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Finding a place to go for a date can be a difficult task, but Alex Kress has some food for thought. quinn.anya / Flickr CC sels ($10, always to die for), and the Fish Cakes with lime sauce ($9). We like to buy a bottle of wine, probably white considering our menu choices. For dinner, my choice would be the Truffled Mushroom Risotto ($21) and my boyfriend loves scallops, so he would likely choose the Seared Diver Scallops ($26). And, for dessert, we’d try the Raspberry Tart with Cardamom Custard ($8). And then we’d waddle home. Romantic Ambiance My first real date with my boyfriend was at The Palate. Now, this will contradict what I said earlier
about awkward first dates and romantic pressure, but we had been dating unofficially for a while and decided to go out for an “actual” date. It was adorable, because where we’d never run out of things to talk about before, we were a little awkward during the nice date. The setting was romantic and candle-lit, and the food was incredible. We were just a little nervous, but in retrospect, it was adorable. We’ve been several times since and often go for Saturday brunch. I always order the Smoked Salmon Benedict ($9) and he gets the Omelet
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with Chorizo sausage, spinach and tomatoes ($8). When we go for dinner, we go for the P.E.I. Mussels with white wine and maritime dulse ($11), and for dinner, I always order the Digby Scallops with curried risotto ($20) and my boyfriend orders the Lemon Meringue Salmon ($20). For dessert? I’d opt for the Key Lime Pie ($6), but my boyfriend would likely twist my arm into eating the also delicious Apple Strudel with vanilla ice cream ($6).