Tuesday, July 8, 2008

'Flex' your stomach muscles for a real good meal

In celebration of Canada Day, I went to PEI's Festival of Lights with a native Islander. Now, my traveling companions were going for the concert, which of course interested me to some degree, but my real purpose was to make a trip to Flex mussels in Charlottetown.

The initial appeal of Flex is the menu. Owner and Executive Chef Garner Quain offers inventive, seafood heavy selections, as well as providing diners with an oyster bar and separate mussel menu.

My friend and I each ordered a different variety, and we split the two. Though her pot of San Daniele mussels were fantastic, with a sweet white wine, salty pancetta and caramelized onions, my pot of Bombay were spectacular; ginger, lime, Indian curry, fresh mango puree and cream made for an explosion of spicy sweetness. The mussels were served the way I like, not in a boring broth, but in a thick rich sauce that enhanced the shellfish's mild flavor. I washed it all down with a bottle of Stella- YUM.

One of my absolute favorite meals is mussels, fries and beer. Flex dedicates an entire section of their menu to boast about their fries, and rightfully so. Claiming that their fries will be the "best you've ever tasted", they came pretty damn close. In the classic cooking method, the potatoes are fried twice; the first to cook the potatoes, the second to crisp them. Then, they're sprinkled with crunchy sea salt.

Check out Flex's website. It provides all of the the restaurant's menus, but there are also fun mussel facts-There's even a mussel cam! This is a great place to spend an evening, or a leisurely afternoon, especially on the patio. The restaurant is also a member of the Slow Food movement, and supports local fishers in their quest to flex your taste buds.

Flex Mussels
#2 Lower Water Street
Charlottetown, PEI

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