While having dinner at Acadia (50C Clinton Street) recently, I remarked to owner Scott Selland that the amuse of pickled eggs, confit potatoes and bits of greens and okra reminded me of the beach. I don’t think he really got the correlation, and I’m sure I didn’t explain it well, it was just one of those neuron-firing events where something pulled up images of something else within my brain. So I dug up some photos to see if I could explain it visually.
Above is a photo of some beach detritus, taken at my favourite place in the world, a beach in Nova Scotia where we’d often go when I was a kid. There’s bits of seaweed, rocks, shells and other stuff there, and it feels like a piece of art.
This is a “box of beach” sent to me by my Mother-in-law one year for Christmas. It’s full of the red sand of PEI, not the white sand of my childhood, but the bits of stuff – shells, seaweed, beach glass, a starfish and a tiny crab leg – are typical of both the photo above and what you’d find on any Maritime beach. This little box is one of my very favourite things in existence; it sits on my desk and serves as a stress-reliever – both as a reminder of where I’m from, and as a distraction as I shift the sand and bits of stuff around.
And ultimately, while the amuse dish at Acadia is certainly more tasty than seaweed and sand, you’ve got to admit there’s at least a bit of resemblance there. The shapes and colours and beautiful arrangement by Chef Matt Blondin really do evoke the bits of treasure you’d find on a beach.