On Saturday, November 18th we packed up my favourite knives, whetstones, and chef tools from the shop and headed for the mainland. Fredericton, New Brunswick (my hometown) to be exact.
The Fredericton pop-up was the fourth time we have hit the road to promote the shop. The first trip was in the summer of 2016, when we made stops in Bonivista & St.John's Newfoundland. Then earlier this year we made two trips over to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Upon arrival to any city, the first thing my wife and I do is figure out where the local farmer's market is. In Fredericton however, I knew exactly where the farmer's market was. Throughout my childhood my parents would take me on Saturdays to get a meat filled pita in the form of souvlaki or donair, and a tasty pastry from one of the many bakers inside.
In my teenage years the Boyce Farmer's Market was the place to go for punk rock gigs. Some of my fondest memories come from crowd surfing at shows like the Lagwagon/Chixdigit/Strungout show circa 1995. The venue also played host to other acts such as The Hanson Bros, Eric's Trip, NFA, Sciolism, Bad Luck No.13, and a slew of other bands. The Fredericton punk rock scene in the 90's was legendary, that is for sure.
Sorry, I'm getting nostalgic, back to the vendors. If you haven't been to The Boyce Farmer's Market, and you are someone who can appreciate artisan craftsmanship, then you should check it out. There are beautiful handcrafted rolling pins, beeswax candles, soaps, more than one booth offering sausages & Pâté, and a cheese booth aptly named The Cheese Market with a wicked selection of domestic and imported cheese with all the accompaniments .
Saturday night we popped over to say hello to Jennie Wilson and Chef Peter Tompkins, the husband and wife team that own and operate 11th mile.yfc, which was the venue where I hosted my pop-up. Peter and Jennie were in The Cook's Edge in the late summer getting their knives sharpened and checking out some Japanese steel at the recommendation of friends. This is how it all came to be. The couple have returned home to NB after spending many years working in Toronto to open, in my opinion, a much-needed fresh take on dining in Fredericton. Peter focuses on a changing menu of sharing plates. The menu both reads and eats very well. Jennie and Peter are both super warm and welcoming, and the atmosphere in the restaurant is very upbeat with a great vibe. I did not snap any photo's at dinner because I am trying not to be that guy. Dinner was awesome and the Brassica salad with walnut crema was a highlight.
However, Peter did make some steak, eggs, and avocado toast after the pop-up which I managed to grab a pic of with my Cannon. I also was lucky enough to try one of his biscuits and jam, and I have to admit his biscuits are worth a detour (biscuit & taco pic courtesy of @11thmile.yfc instagram). The raspberry jam was made by one of the cook's grandmother, and it was the prefect pairing to the crispy biscuit.
Overall, the day was a great success. I made some awesome new friends, and there was an excellent turnout of local chefs and home cooking/knife enthusiasts. We had chats about knives, stones, and the traded industry stories. I can't thank the whole team @11thmile.yfc enough for inviting me into their home for the day, hopefully we can do it again before the winter is over! Thanks Peter & Jennie.