East Coast Bistro (ECB) is one of my favourite spots for a dinner out in Saint John, and I was extremely happy that they were open to the idea of having their back patio transformed into a unique urban dining experience. I remember nervously sending Kim, the co-owner and co-chef of ECB, a message asking if she would be interested in a collaborative dinner. She graciously accepted, and we soon met to finalize our plans over a coffee, before I set off to dream up the evening’s style.
For me, bringing an experience like this to life evolves over many weeks, and takes a lot of fine tuning. My initial inspiration was stunning fall dahlias and the beautiful dark blue linen napkins my mother had sewn for me. From there, I scavenged around and came up with brass accents (all collected from my mother and mother-in-law). I wandered through Fabricville, hunting for the perfect piece to cover the table, invested in some dark sheepskins to add a moody autumn feel, and could not resist throwing in some incredibly tall black tapered candles.
Each step of the design process involves pinning ideas on my vision board, talking them out with my in house editor (you’re the best, my love), and many messages and phone calls with my mom to both narrow down ideas and be sure I have every element I want to include lined up. I have been “thinking out loud” for as long as I can remember, and my mom was my sounding board for it all.
My mom also picked up the seasonal white pumpkins and grabbed the cattails for me too – she has a keen eye for natural elements and knows exactly what I like! The day prior to the dinner, we met at our friend Judy’s to carefully pick the dahlias and greenery that I used to create the centrepiece. Arranging flowers is something that I find so relaxing and extremely rewarding! I can’t even tell you how grateful I am to have access to so many knowledgeable people who are teaching me about flowers, using what is in season, and slowing down to enjoy the beauty around me.
Thank you, Kim, for sharing your creative passion around food and for serving the food family style, with perfect presentation. Every bite was oh so delicious! Thank you Nienke, Michael, Brandi, Patrick and Peter for being interested in fun endeavours such as these and for joining me for this brisk fall evening experience.
For dinner, I chose to highlight my favourite staple ECB menu items. In the photos that follow you will see:
Starter: Pan Seared Gnocchi a la Parisienne (Basil Pesto, Tomato Confit, Local Mozzarella, Crispy Spinach)
Main: ECB Beef Burger (Caramelized Onion Aioli, Aged Sussex Cheddar, Crispy Shallots, Lettuce, Roasted Tomato, Housemade Sesame Bun, Hand-Cut Fries)
Dessert: Sticky Toffee Pudding with a Rum Toffee Sauce
Enjoy the photos and have a great week xx
Above, Kim explains her vision for ECB and I love that she holds true to the idea of a bistro – incredible food, but in a relaxed setting, where soup and sandwiches rule the lunch time menu. This spot is a true bistro at heart, with very fine food!