Leaving St. John’s

Before I set out for an adventure, I have to leave something, someone and someplace behind. I guess you can call this my farewell…to St. John’s, thank you for the fruitful four years, where I learned so much as a chef, learned to become more patient (and still working on it), learned a little about handling life and learned to make friends.

My last few weeks in St. John’s was hectic. I learned how to butcher lamb, worked on a few snacks, partied with my friends and cashed in on my Merchant Tavern gift card. To be honest, in my years of living out a suitcase, I have never felt heartbroken to leave until now. I was determined to leave, because I needed it. But at the same time, I knew I was going to miss my friends, and I had to wonder myself if I will ever come back.

Before going though, I knew I was gonna have to have the carte blanche offering at The Merchant Tavern. And I went with one of my favourite people in St. John’s, my almost other half, Sheri. LOL I am a big fan of tasting menus. Having little plates of deliciousness and having to eat whatever the chefs give you (except if you have allergies). I have been dying to try the tasting menu at Merchant, but because of work I haven’t been able to. Lucky for me, we weren’t that busy one Wednesday night — 6 days before I leave, and I managed to get off early enough to go to Merchant and have the tasting menu!

Unfortunately we forgot to take a photo of the first few courses. We had a giant cold seafood platter. I am allergic to crab and they were out of oysters so for our platter we got, NL Scallop Crudo, Mussels, NL Shrimp, House Smoked Ham, Chicken Liver Mousse on Toast. Next, we got a Kale Salad, Seared Salmon, Grilled Chicken Hearts. I kind of grimaced at the hearts. I was never a big fan of offal. Sheri, however actually liked it, even if she has asked not to have any mayonnaise near her food.

For the next course, we got Seared Scallops with Jerusalem Artichokes (I love scallops and J-chokes!), the scallops were cooked perfectly. Our pasta courses (yes, there were two!) the Albacore Tuna Confit Spaghettini which was really good considering the fact that I do not like any kind of fish that has been prepared for canning. Just to clarify, they didn’t use canned tuna. They cooked the tuna sous vide with olive oil. The Braised Rabbit Tortellini is actually more tomato based than I expected and was really good! I am more used to the rabbit tossed in reduced rabbit jus and a dash of fresh nutmeg. The main course was Moose Sausage with Carrot Puree and Charred Raddichio, which was a good ending to the meal, I was so full at this point. And I knew I wanted room for dessert which is a Flourless Chocolate Cake and Beet Ice Cream — so good!!! (But still more partial to Raymond’s Apple Cake. HAHA)

Sheri and I enjoyed our meals. She has never done a tasting and was glad that I had been the one she did it with! And I was also happy that she wasn’t very picky. Except for the mayonnaise. LOL She really doesn’t like mayonnaise. But she ate everything else. So proud of her for crushing this tasting with me.

On my last night in St. John’s my friends hosted a small dinner for me, to celebrate our friendship and to wish me well on my journey! And the Chef — our “kuya” made me my favourite, Crispy Pork Belly!!! I will be forever grateful for having the family that I have in St. John’s. We may not be family by blood, but we are family by choice. There are no goodbyes just see you later.


The Merchant Tavern, 291 Water St, St. John’s, NL A1C 1B9  (709) 722-5050

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