To The North (part 2)

Today marks the conclusion of my recent trip to Bathurst (here), but before I get to that I wanted to thank you for passing the links around! I was actually posted on another site because of it!

Now, the first half of my story told how Rob and I travelled to see his parents, who live in a littler city up north (about 3-4 hours drive, depending on who is behind the wheel :p). Neither of us drive so we usually go up by Acadian Bus Lines. This time however Rob decided that I should have a go on a train, so we bussed up halfway to Moncton, then after a largeish stop-over Via Railed-it to Miramichi. I’d never done a train before, and the experience was really fun! I actually posted while I was on it and even wrote you some train-travel tips! Check it out here!

So, if I’ve written about the actual travelling… what did I need a second part for? REVIEWS!!

When you travel by multiple ways of transport, generally speaking there are small windows in which to catch your next mode. Every travellers’ worst thoughts involve missing connections and getting stranded or even more faulty; have vacation time lost to dumb circumstances. When your layover is longer than an hour or so however, it makes the perfect time to explore! That’s just what we did (to a point) in Moncton both ways through.

The first time we had about 4 hours to wait before the train arrived and we were hungry! There had been issues with my brain functionality earlier on in the morning (ah Tim’s runs…. I documented my trials in the second link above haha) so we had yet to actually eat anything and it was pushing mid-afternoon. As chance would have it, a good friend of ours had recently moved to Moncton and had the day off; so we all were able to head out and find a place for lunch.

After walking along Main Street for a while looking for some place interesting to eat, we ended up stopping at a place called The Old Triangle. Now, I have heard stories about this place (and yes they have locations in Halifax and Charlottetown for those that are remembering the name) but had never tried it myself. It looked like your average  Irish pub so I knew I was game and could find something on the menu that I would like. I wish I had some decent photos of this restaurant because it was a real treat inside; big comfy armchairs and sturdy wooden dining chairs that you could just slump in after a hard day of travelling, high ceilings that I would kill for in my apartment, a bustling patio located just out the front window, and the most glorious staff I had met that day! We picked a table next to a big fireplace and felt really cozy for the next hour and a bit. I perused the menu for a little while, and noticed that everything seemed “fresh”. It’s hard to describe… just… green and friendly? Scattered throughout the tome were neat Irish names like the Ploughman’s Lunch, Fairy Tree Onions, and the Classic Omagh Town Club Sandwich. It was all just so inviting! I kept going back to how each description was written… every item carefully and thoughtfully represented and broken down into impressive detail. There was that one feeling too that I couldn’t shake…

I ended up ordering the Belfast Burger, which is a 6 oz burger served with fixin’s on a Kaiser. When it came I was in awe and just sat there grinning! That first bite was savoury, memorable, and epic! When the waitress came by upon finishing I asked her how much they did in the kitchen (like if the kaiser was homemade or store-bought for example), to which she replied, “everything at The Old Triangle is made in house.” This just blew me away, and confirmed what I had suspected when I was reading the menu (‘fresh’). I was floored to think that that delectable relish smeared across my burger was homemade!

We couldn’t stay in Moncton for too much longer after lunch, so we bid farewell to our friend and the city and chugga chugga-ed away… only to return for a slightly longer stay in a couple days.

This time we were on a mission, to try something familiar to compare! Both of us are big breakfast fans (and who wouldn’t be? You can eat ANYTHING at breakfast!), so we sought out one of the three Cora’s Breakfast and Lunch locations that we knew of in Moncton. One was handily right on Main Street, so again we trudged down the street passing a lot of rainbows on the way (more on that in a little bit…).

Alas, my camera was not on
my person this time so a
Blackberry would have to
suffice!

While some might say that going to a place you already know and have to eat is boring, it’s exactly what one needs when they aren’t having the best of days. At this point during my trip I was really tired and just wanted to be in my own space so Cora’s was thought to be a break and time to recoup. WRONG!

As stated, both of us are huge fans of Cora’s. For those of you that have never been; they specialize in breakfasty things like pancakes and waffles and eggs, and it all comes with MOUNDS of fresh fruit. Everything for the most part can be substituted or changed, and at our spot the staff are really nice and fun to be with. They have this attitude at the Fredericton location that you actually feel like you’re just hanging out with friends. I thought this quality extended to all stores in the chain for I had never been to another. I was a little off…

It was busy for them that day, and it looked like all hands were on deck. There were quite a large number of large groups, so it was a little noisier than I particularly wanted. No worries; not the restaurant’s fault. We got sat literally next to a pillar (seriously.. it was almost smack dab in the middle of the table; afterthought much?), but as we had a couple bags with us we were able to tuck them out of mind and out of sight. It was at this point that the experience was starting to go downhill.

Our waitress was a little more preoccupied with our neighbouring table (full of rather attractive guys I might add… obviously) than us, to the extent that I sort of felt ignored. I ordered one of their new limited-time-only specials, the Perfectly Peachy Waffle. It’s one of their really nice (and huge) waffles topped with peaches, plain yoghurt, muslix, and caramel sauce. To me it sounded like a weird combo, but I had a theory that the flavours would blend really nicely. I don’t even like peaches all that much and I was excited! Rob ordered a fruit cocktail with his meal, and I a coffee.

Neither drinks arrived at our table for at least 10 minutes, and Rob had to wait an additional 10 minutes for his. That seemed odd to me, as we went without anything to drink until quite a while into our visit. When his drink did arrive, we waited an additional 15-20 minutes for our meals. For breakfast, that is kind of a big deal in my head. Yes, they were busy. But it’s just quickie food. We saw no hide nor hair of our waitress either for the entire time we were there, so we I had no idea what was going on, how long it would take, or even if she actually put our order in. I should correct here actually; she was seen… but only when she was catering to her boys next to us. Yuck.

After almost 3 quarters of an hour in, our meals arrived with no mention of why it took so long. This scares me, as to me it means that it wasn’t a big deal on their end and it could potentially be normal. IF we wait more than ten minutes at our location in town for our drinks, the staff make sure that we are happy and they float around numerous times checking in. Rob’s food was of course cold. Mine was odd…

I like Cora’s waffles because they are light and fluffy, so much so that you can slice them with a fork. I couldn’t even slice this one with a knife. It was hard and overcooked on most of the surfaces, and almost not cooked inside. It was cold as well, but I could live with that if it wasn’t almost desiccated and flattened in some places. Picture what happens when you give a child a slice of bread to break up and feed ducks with… they will smoosh it into oblivion into a gummy pasty square and then break it apart in oddly shaped chunks to feed the duckies with. This is normal for a child, it’s what they do and it’s adorable and eatupable. This isn’t adorable when you spend a day travelling on a train with small (though loud) children who have boundary issues. This isn’t adorable when you’re trudging through and unfamiliar city on an empty stomach with luggage. This certainly isn’t adorable, or even passable, when your paying for it.

Cora’s Breakfast and Lunch (at least this location) is a fail for me. Apart from the lack of service (lack of attention, lack of visibility, lack of words, lack of drink refill requests….), the food was terrible. I never make it a point to judge a restaurant by my first and only visit, but this time I may have to make an exception.

The best part of that second day in Moncton was that it ended up being Moncton Pride’s Parade day! Good show guys, from one Pride to Another! (For those of you that don’t remember I am a member of Fredericton’s Pride Committee :P)

—————————————————-

The Old Triangle Irish Alehouse is located at 751 Main Street in downtown Moncton, and can be checked out here.

The Cora’s Breakfast and Lunch location I wrote about is at 730 Main Street in downtown Moncton. Their website is here.

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