Dinner Out with Christy Ann Conlin
By Scott Campbell
When my editor told me that the upcoming issue of the Grapevine was going to celebrate the literati among us by featuring great summer reads I was pretty excited. I knew exactly what I was going to do. One of the best summer reads available is Christy Ann Conlin’s, The Memento. This follow-up to her bestselling novel, Heave, was described by Caroline Adderson as “a grab bag of Gothic delights.” So I had an idea. What if I contacted Christy Ann and asked her to join me for dinner at a local restaurant and then I’d write about it. And she agreed.
We decided to go to The Noodle Guy in Port Williams. Many of you may recognize The Noodle Guy from the Wolfville Farmers’ Market and the mouth-watering aroma of the garlicky pastas that are being offered up there. But believe me, the menu board of this fantastic little restaurant offers much, much more.
Both Christy Ann and I began with a fresh (as in – picked that morning) salad featuring Mrs. Noodle Guy’s greens, organic green onions, and carrots from Taproot Farm, all tossed in a delicious white raspberry balsamic dressing. What a fresh, tasty way to begin. I don’t think I’ve ever had a salad with such fresh ingredients and a dressing that burst with such sweet and tangy raspberry flavour.
For our mains, Christy Ann went for Nic’s Pick of the Day. This was spinach ravioli with sun-dried tomatoes and chêvre topped with dark balsamic caramelized onions. I decided to go for the Tagliatelle pasta served with tomatoes, basil, and garlic. I also opted for “the works” and added Longspell sausage and feta cheese to my pasta. Both of these dishes were amazing. The homemade pasta (and all of the pasta here is homemade) was done perfectly. The aromas wafting from our table as the dishes were set before us were so enticing that, although Christy Ann and I are rarely at a loss for words, neither of us said much until our plates were empty. I can’t wait to get back there and work my way through the rest of that creative and tempting menu.
And speaking of tempting… when asked whether we had saved room for dessert, we both decided that would be a good idea. I had homemade strawberry and white chocolate bread pudding. Although strawberries may be my most favourite fruit (this may change with the seasons) and although I love bread pudding, I had never had something that was a combination of the two. Wow. The tart strawberries with the occasional hit of sweet white chocolate all wrapped up in that moist, sweet bread pudding is something I will very likely be back to try again. Soon. And, as amazing at that was, Christy Ann assured me that her homemade carrot cake was the best carrot cake she’d ever tasted. I need to tell you just how profound that statement is. Christy Ann is an aficionado of the carrot cake and a statement like that, coming from her, should not be taken lightly. The cake was moist, the cream cheese icing was perfect, and the taste was everything that the spectacular presentation promised. We both agreed we had ended our dinner together on a very high note.
I would like to thank Christy Ann for helping me out with this article. She is always a very busy woman but I think I need to point out that she was particularly busy this day because, on top of her crazy book-related engagements, she was also preparing for her own wedding which was happening in two days.
So, while you’re whiling away the dog days of summer, I would urge you to make your way to Port Williams and try The Noodle Guy. The restaurant is fully licensed; has a laid back, casual atmosphere; and offers live musical entertainment some evenings. Check out their website at thenoodleguy.wordpress.com where you can see all kinds of upcoming events. And, of course, if you’re looking for a good read this summer The Memento is available at most book stores and online.