Thursday, April 16, 2009

The rhubarb stimulus package. Only in Nova Scotia.

A timely email landed in my lap yesterday from Rhubarb. Not the tart, stewed slop my maternal grandmother used to pass off as dessert. This was a sweet email from Paul MacInnes, the owner of Rhubarb Grill & Cafe down in St. Margaret's Bay.

I lived in the Bay back in '89 when I first arrived in Nova Scotia. How I got here is another story, but here I am. That gorgeous September, I rented a cottage on the water near Hackett's Cove for $400 bucks a month. Being from Ontario, I was licking my chops at my good fortune. I was told by some ignorant soul that the only thing you'd need for a winter in these parts was a raincoat, and can I tell you how wrong that stupid son of a bitch was, as I huddled by an electric space heater trying to stay alive in an uninsulated cottage in mid February, crying in my Keiths.   

The only things missing in that neck of the woods, at that time, were men with teeth and a finely tailored suit, and a decent place for a gal to dine and find a little warmth. There was some dubious looking pit stop at the highway entrance to my cottage but it was called the "Boil on the Fisherman's Ass" and it was shut down, likely by the health department, shortly after I unpacked my things. 

There certainly wasn't a place like Rhubarb. Or I'd still be down there. 

Since I will be spending the better part of the next 3 days sitting on my duff out in TASA, which for those of you lucky enough not to know, is the St. Margaret's Bay arena. Instead of scarfing back rink fries, I am heading down memory lane to find Rhubarb.  

It seems Rhubarb Paul is trying to have a little fun with this economic shithole we're in. Until May 3, every item on the menu will be priced off of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Huh?  Okay, I am a real blonde so I immediately had head tilted sideways like a golden retriever. Paul, he explained, has tied the prices of the food to the TSX. (1 point on the TSX = 1/10 cent.) Huh? So, if the TSX closes at 8340 points dinner will be $8.34. 

Oooohhh. I am still confused, but playing the stock market isn't exactly my forte. And I don't care, I am going anyway. The menu looks fresh and fantastic and reminds me a bit of Mimi's old restaurant in Mahone Bay.

Plus, Paul says it all started as "a way of making light of a gloomy financial situation, and we weren’t sure about how it would be received, but it people have been very excited and we’ve had a really good time with it". Good enough for me. 

He had me at pie. Or the thought of pie. See once I ran away from home and discovered rhubarb wasn't the ditch you tried to avoid whilst driving, and combined with strawberries and placed in a flaky pie crust, rhubarb was a slice of heaven – my whole world changed.   

Paul also said "one of the most important things Rhubarb stands for is optimism, and I think this promotion makes a strong, optimistic statement: that this too shall pass."

And that my friends is what it's all about. That, and the seafood curry Paul claims to be most popular with the natives. That too shall pass, through me.

Rhubarb is located at 8650 Peggy's Cove Road
Just 5 minutes from Peggy's Cove and a pleasant drive from HRM.