After exploring and eating our way around Conception Bay, we checked in to the Doctor’s House. Not because we ate too much and became ill, but rather because we are very, very lucky and got to eat more.
The Doctor’s House is located an hour from St. John’s, and while it’s now an inn, it was indeed once a doctor’s house.
Dr. Charles Boddie spent decades building it for his wife Mary, an avid gardener and lover of the Newfoundland pony. The acreage slopes down to the ocean, has a stand of maple trees, fields for livestock, a pretty white barn, and thanks to Mary, many beautiful gardens.
It’s now been transformed by Jerry Byrne into a premiere wedding venue, guesthouse, restaurant, and spa. With the exception of finding two dudes willing to marry us and throwing a double wedding, we partook in all The Doctor’s House has to offer, and explored every inch of the property.
This meant facials at the spa, a walk down to the water,
a hilarious goat and sheep-feeding session,
(this brown and white one was a particularly greedy little stinker, but Dana very diplomatically managed to ensure they all got in on the treat),
and a tour of their barn-turned-dining room which, with its ocean view and curved wooden ceiling, is one of the most spectacular venues we’ve ever seen. See? Almost worth finding a stranger to marry....
Of course, we also enjoyed several exceptional meals at their restaurant.
Executive Chef Chris Chafe may only be 26, but he's no kid in the kitchen. In fact, he took on his first role as executive chef when he was just 22! He’s self-taught, and incredibly skilled at combining Newfoundland ingredients with global culinary influences.
On our first night, our amuse bouche was a red wine-poached pear with blue cheese, candied pecans, and a nasturtium flower.
The courses that followed included scallops with honey-marinated grapefruit and mustard seeds;
a salad with prosciutto, asparagus, soft-poached egg, and a crisp parmesan cracker;
seared duck breast with crispy fennel and chevre, blueberry, and chard risotto (WHOA, GOOD);
a refreshing little spoonful of watermelon sorbet;
and a cod caprese dish with roasted tomatoes, balsamic pearls, fresh mozzarella, and a pesto that was SO good, Dana described it as “ballin” in the notes she'd scribbled as we ate. I belly laughed when I read that description. It's so very apt.
For dessert, we had chocolate mousse and this lovely, pink strawberry frozen yogurt with meringue crisps and coulis.
On our second night, Cate – the restaurant’s sous chef – served up a comfort food feast. We ate Caesar salad and cod chowder; steak with mushroom sauce and Stilton butter (something that should go on all steaks from now until forever more); cod with pilaf and fresh local vegetables,
and finally, blueberry crisp and Cate’s famous bread pudding, which is worthy of its reputation.
Our take on these meals? Ballin' for sure. Many thanks to Jerry, Chef Chris, Chef Cate, and the entire team at the Doctor's House for making us feel so welcome. I think we were both ready to stay forever, quite frankly.
Spoiler alert: we didn't stay forever. Next, we're off to explore a town that redefined the word "rural" for us.