How to have a root, rant, roaring time: My Food Hike in St. John’s

Roots, Rants and Roars looks a little different this year. But then again, doesn’t everything in the time of COVID?

Let’s just say I was pretty bummed when I heard (not surprisingly) RRR wasn’t happening this year in its original form. Usually Roots, Rants and Roars is one fun weekend, jam-packed with world-class eating events. From gobbling down chowder at Cod Wars to hiking through Elliston snacking with chefs from across North America it's truly one of a kind. But this year it’s a full month! My Food Hike celebrates all the goodness of Roots, Rants and Roars — the hiking, the eating, the music — and spreads it out over the month of September.

You pick your picnic from one of the twenty restaurants participating, you pick your hiking trail and you pick the music from the curated Spotify playlist and BAM! You’ve got yourself a root, rant, roaring time!

The new Roots, Rants and Roars in St. John’s

For My Food Hike, I chose to stay in St. John’s. I ordered a picnic for two from The Old Dublin Bakery and started planning our RRR excursion. That Saturday, my husband and I donned our Roots, Rants and Roars face masks and picked up our bag packed with goodies before our hike.

For a full list of 2021 participating restaurants, check out our website.

Lunch with a view

The best part about opting to stay in St. John’s for My Food Hike is the East Coast Trail! There are so many breathtakingly gorgeous trails within a 15-minute drive of downtown, sometimes it’s hard to choose.

We opted for the Cobbler’s Path portion of the ECT in Outer Cove — it’s only a few hours long, and the views are incredible, to say the least — and set out to find a clearing to enjoy lunch with a view.

We walked for about half an hour before we came upon a clearing overlooking those iconic jagged cliffs and set up our Old Dublin Bakery picnic. And hand sanitized, because 2020.

What a feast! As I slowly unpacked our RRR picnic backpack, I couldn’t help but “ouu” and “ahh.” First came jars of rhubarb lemonade, then sandwiches wrapped in wax paper, then a box of pastries, and then Old Dublin Bakery’s famous cinnamon buns.

The sandwiches were a handful, literally. Two massive slices of pillowy, salty focaccia bread sandwiched the curried chicken and lettuce, washed down with the sweet and sour rhubarb lemonade. Picnic perfection. We made quick work of the pastries as well. The Old Dublin Bakery did a series of miniature versions of their most popular sweets: blueberry flakies, bakeapple eclairs, bread pudding and chocolate cake balls.

We saved the cinnamon buns to have with our Sunday morning coffee.

Whistle while you walk

As if hiking and eating weren’t enough, Roots, Rants and Roars has you covered for the tunes too! They have curated a Spotify playlist filled with great music by local musicians; the perfect addition to any picnic with a view.

Make sure you download the playlist before you head out hiking — reception is minimal along most NL trails!

My Food Hike might not have been what I was planning for Roots, Rants and Roars this year, but it adds to the whole experience in a completely different way! More food, more hiking, more music.

I’ll probably do it again next weekend.


Gabby Peyton is a food writer, restaurant critic and culinary historian based in St. John’s NL. Gabby is the city’s restaurant critic for The Telegram and her other bylines include CBC, Atlantic Business Magazine, USA Today, and Eater. Her series on Food Bloggers of Canada‘s website explores the history of iconic Canadian foods and she is passionate about community cookbooks. A long-time sufferer of persistent wanderlust, Gabby is always planning the next big trip. She has visited more than 15 countries, spent three seasons working on an archaeological dig in central Turkey and surfed on the Gold Coast of Australia. She is passionate about architecture, spaghetti carbonara and Newfoundland food.

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