The Weekend Nip – A Maritime Story

(This is a reminiscence by Margaret Harriman about her father and his love of a ‘nip’ on the weekend, a very New Brunswick story.)

My father was a quiet man; a carpenter by trade, and a window and furniture maker by hobby. He could draw a floor plan on a piece of paper and build it, ground up. Yet he couldn’t read, he was unilingual, and the tools of today hadn’t been invented yet; but by word of mouth, he was in demand.

Ad for Teacher's Highland Cream (aka 'The Nip')

Ad for Teacher’s Highland Cream (aka ‘The Nip’)

In the 1950’s, there was no unemployment insurance, so more than half of his seasonal earnings had to be put aside for the winter. While Mother was the spender, Father was a saver, keeping only enough for a ‘nip’ on the week-end.

It had been a standing order in our house that when father had a ‘nip’ on Saturday, then clam chowder would be made. Depending on the degree of ‘nipping’ our main fare would normally be beans, pork chops, and pancakes. Father always made the pancakes. But, when he couldn’t flip because of the nip, we would have clam chowder.

One Saturday night, about two hours after he had already eaten, he asked when supper was going to be ready, “I’m damn near starved!” Mother fumed. Out came the clam chowder for the second time since the five-o’clock-on-the-dot serving.

You see, Father gave clam chowder clues that he knew nothing about: if he headed straight to the basement when he came home, he had bought his nip; if he held his arm close to his body, he had bought a bigger nip.

Either way, the nip was stashed in his secret place, a large grey crock, covered with two pieces of clapboard, under the bench in his workshop. But if Mother was within earshot of the clamor he made, he would stash it in his sawdust bin, where the Sussex Ginger Ale – another glass bottle – was in good supply.

If he got away clean, it really didn’t matter; the minute he took his first nip, his nose got red. When I was little, I believed he was really Santa. He was the only one who had a workshop where we lived, he made my toys, and he had a red nose sometimes. As for his having no beard, I believed he grew it Christmas Eve.

By the time Father came up from his quick trip to the basement, Mother would be peeling the potatoes for chowder. And that’s what she had done, once again, on this particular Saturday.

While the chowder reheated, she set his place at the table. The bowls we used in those days were shallow and had a wide edge. I always found them handy to hide bread crusts under. Father liked them, he said, because things cooled off faster in a bowl like that. Anyway, with a bit of a tilt, and a lot of tipsy, Father made his way to the table.

He sat down, looked at me and started to giggle, “You got no supper neither?”

When Mother set the bowl of chowder in front of him, the thud was so loud, I’m sure I heard the metal rattle on the chrome table. Father paid no mind and proceeded to pepper his chowder until it was blacker than it was white.

Mother beckoned me to follow her to the basement. She was planning a nip raid! One thing about Father, he would never have stood for a tell-tale squeaky board anywhere, so our descent to the basement was an easy one. Nonetheless, Mother made the whole trip on tip toes all the way into the workshop. She was sneaking up on the nip, and by threat of ‘the look’, I mimicked her every move.

'The Nip' - Teacher's Highland Cream

‘The Nip’ – Teacher’s Highland Cream

She went right for the crock. And there it was – the remainder of a quart of Scotch.

I watched her as she eased it out, and followed her, on tip toe, to the laundry room. She took the top off the bottle and with the tap in the set tub, turned on just a little faster than an eye dropper, she proceeded to put water in Father’s quart of nip. “He’ll never know the difference,” she whispered, as we made the tip toe trip back to the crock.

“Sh-h-h” she warned, as she laid back the bottle into the crock, replaced the two pieces of clapboard, and wiped her hands on her apron.

We were tip toeing back up the stairs when we began hearing a noise, a mumble of sorts, that repeated itself. We continued with stealth along the hallway to the kitchen. We peeked around the door casing and there was my father, sound asleep in his bowl of clam chowder. He was snoring, and every time he exhaled, his lips flapped, causing white, black dotted chowder waves that made his red bulbous nose look like a floating buoy.

Mother was right; he never knew the difference.

Written by Margaret Harriman

More to Come

We thought it would be interesting to have a look at the chowder recipe ‘Mother’ used, maybe have a look at the Urban Deli chowder, and take a look at how many people today (and yesterday) have their “secret ingredients.” We may even see if we can’t track down a bit of the history of chowder. (Although there will certainly be differing views of this.) 

So keep an eye out in the days to come for a follow-up. And also keep an eye open for more Maritime stories from Margaret Harriman. :-)

 

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Six Years Later, Still Going Strong

We’ve put another year under our belt – we’re six years old today! We opened Urban Deli on July 13, 2009. And we’ve had a blast ever since making and serving the delights on our menu, catering, and being a part of the great Uptown Saint John community.

Meeting the people of our city is one of the best parts of being here. So may characters! So many stories! So many delightful people! It really is a thrill.

There is always a grocery list’s worth of people to say thank you to but to make a small dent we want to send a huge thanks to our fabulous staff, the tremendous vendors and suppliers we get to work with and, of course, our fabulous customers.

“Thank you Saint John,” doesn’t come close to saying how grateful we are to the Port City but, thank you Saint John!

Urban Deli in Uptown Saint John

Urban Deli in Uptown Saint John

We’re Open on Canada Day!

Kids enjoying Canada Day, 2010

Kids enjoying Canada Day, 2010

A Mari Usque Ad Mare (From Sea to Sea) … That’s our national motto and you know that there will be plenty to do across the country on our birthday and there will be loads to see and do here in Saint John.

And we’ll be open! So if you’re in the Uptown on Canada Day (July 1) and you begin to feel peckish, pay us a visit. We’re open during our regular hours, 11:30am to 3pm, and we’d love for you to join us.

And we’d love to hear any stories you care to share from your own experiences of this great, big, beautiful parcel of land we call home, Canada.

If you’re planning on the evening events Uptown, like the Boardwalk Entertainment that will be going till late in the evening or the dazzling fireworks at dusk, don’t go hungry! Our evening persona, Italian by Night, will also be open, beginning at 5pm.

It’s one of our favourite days of the year and we’d love see everyone in Saint John getting out and showing the rest of the country what Canada Day means in the city where so much of the nation’s history began.

Canada Day in Saint John

Word of the Day: Burgers

Burger Week is officially underway and we’re featuring our UD Detroit Style Big Baby Burger and our Peanut Butter Burger (see pics below). It’s the first day and so far it’s been delicious!

Keep in mind that as a little something extra, and because at Urban Deli we’re big supporters of the Saint John SPCA Animal Rescue, for any burger we sell during Burger Week $1 goes to our local SPCA. (This applies to any burger on our menu.) Now, here are the featured burgers …

UD Detroit Style Big Baby Burger

UD Detroit Style Big Baby Burger: Char grilled beef patty topped with corned beef, cheddar, tomato, lettuce, pickles, and onions.

Peanut Butter Burger

Peanut Butter Burger: Char grilled beef patty, bacon, aged white cheddar, satay peanut sauce, lettuce & tomato.

We also have our other burgers from the Urban Deli menu and please keep in mind that $1 from each burger will go to our Saint John SPCA and that includes any burger on our menu.

  • Urban Burger* – beef patty, balsamic caramelized onions, roasted garlic aioli (add bacon & cheese)
  • Veggie Burger* – grilled whole portobella mushroom, sundried tomatoes, spinach, Swiss, pesto
  • Tuna Steak Burger* – sesame seed crusted seared tuna loin, spinach, tomato, wasabi aioli (med-rare)
  • Salmon Burger* – wild pacific salmon fillet, spinach, tomato, lime caper aoili

It’s day one and we have a full week of burgers ahead. There are 25 restaurants in the Uptown taking part — lots to choose from, and lots of culinary imagination! Make it an adventure and try as many as you can.

Burger Week - May 4 to 10, 2015

Burger Week – May 4 to 10, 2015

Burger Week Coming to Uptown Saint John

We are all set and geared up for next week: Burger Week! “25 uptown restaurants are ready to serve you some amazing, delicious burgers during our 2nd annual Uptown Burger Week, May 4-10!”

Burger Week - May 4 to 10, 2015

Burger Week – May 4 to 10, 2015

As a little something extra, and because at Urban Deli we’re big supporters of the Saint John SPCA Animal Rescue, for any burger we sell during Burger Week $1 goes to our local SPCA. (This applies to any burger on our menu.)

As for our Burger Week features, we have:

  • UD Detroit Style Big Baby Burger: Char grilled beef patty topped with corned beef, cheddar, tomato, lettuce, pickles, and onions. This burger needs no sauce – come in and find out why!
  • Peanut Butter Burger: Char grilled beef patty, bacon, aged white cheddar, satay peanut sauce, lettuce & tomato (Our satay sauce has a bit of a kick in the ass! And all need a little kick in the bum once and awhile!) :)

As mentioned, $1 from each burger will go to our Saint John SPCA and that includes any burger on our menu.

Get ready for some great burgers next week, beginning Monday. There are 25 restaurants in the Uptown so there are loads to choose from. You’re invited to turn it into an adventure and try as many as you can. It’s fun! It’s tasty! And it’s burgers – in Uptown Saint John!

A few last things … If you missed it last week, read our post Parking Made Simple in Uptown Saint John. We have HotSpot Parking! Also (and by the way), Liz and her husband are big SPCA supporters. They’ve adopted a cat (Whiskers) and two beautiful dogs: Storm and Bear. They love ‘em all. Have a look …

Bear

Bear

 

Storm

Storm

 

Whiskers, adopted from the Saint John SPCA a couple of years ago.

Whiskers

Parking Made Simple in Uptown Saint John

Look for the HotSpot Parking logo on the parking meter.

Look for the HotSpot Parking logo on the parking meter.

We’re excited to be part of something new in Saint John, something we feel everyone coming to the Uptown will be thrilled about – HotSpot Parking! “Parking, made simple!”

It’s mobile app with a great concept. Rather than digging around for change  or your credit card for the parking meter, you use your Smartphone. Remember the winter we just experienced? Simply look for the HotSpot Parking logo on the meter and you’ll know you can use it.

HotSpot Parking doesn’t just eliminate the need for change, it can help you avoid parking tickets, it eliminates the anxiety of constantly checking your watch to see how much time you have left, and it avoids the hassle of running back out to the meter to top up.

When you use HotSpot Parking, the app sends you a text reminding you that your time is about to run out and it gives you the option of adding more time if it’s necessary. You can set it up to remind you 15 minutes ahead of time, then ten minutes, then five. So you know when your meter is about to run out.

It gets better – and this is where Urban Deli helps out and we are happy to be participating in this pilot with HotSpot Parking. If you’re in the Deli and your meter is running down, the application can give you an additional 20 minutes, at no charge to you. Urban Deli takes care of it.

There are many reasons to love this app including one of ours, HotSpot Parking is a New Brunswick company! You’ll find it in Saint John, Fredericton, Moncton, Charlottetown … and it is growing.

Easy to Get and to Use

UD owner Liz feels HotSpot is a good way to eliminate parking tickets!

UD owner Liz feels HotSpot is a good way to eliminate parking tickets!

The HotSpot Parking app is easy to get and is available for most of today’s phones: Android (Google Play), iPhone/iPad (Apple App Store), BlackBerry (Blackberry World), and Windows (Windows Store).

You can also just enter www.htsp.ca on your phone’s web browser. Once installed, you’ll find it’s easy to use:

Arrive at a parking meter or kiosk open the HotSpot app and press “Park”. You will notice that there is a number assigned to each meter/ kiosk, here you will enter the number and find that the first 30 minutes is free. The option to provide a payment method is presented following the use of this free 30 minutes.

Go on your way and enjoy yourself! HotSpot will remind you when your time is about to run out so that you may add more time to your session.

Didn’t use all of your parking session time? Press the timer count down on your app and you’ll see the “refund” button in the top right corner of the app.

More Information

For more information, see hour page HotSpot Parking in Saint John or visit the HotSpot Parking website.

Support for the SPCA on Rothesay Ave.

If you’ve made it down to Rothesay Ave. chances are you’ve seen this ad:

SPCA ad on Rothesay Ave.

SPCA ad on Rothesay Ave.

We’re proud to be co-sponsor of the ad along with Spicer Jewelry for the Saint John SPCA! Our owner Elizabeth and her husband have three rescues in their family: Whiskers the cat, Storm the dog, and their latest rescue, a sweet dog named Bear.

Hopefully we’ll find a home for Bruno and all the other beautiful pets the SPCA has. We invite you to show your support for the Saint John SPCA Animal Rescue by adopting one of their animals. :-) Because we believe every pet that needs an owner should have one!

(Thanks to Andrew at PATTISON Outdoor Advertising for sending us the picture!)