Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Picnic presents a Jim Henson inspired menu

Bork bork bork

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 4:00 AM

Not Picnic's chef Allan McPherson
  • Not Picnic's chef Allan McPherson

It’s been 25 years since Jim Henson passed away, and The Dart Gallery (127A Portland Street) is honouring the man behind the Muppets with No Strings Attached, tribute exhibit. But together with pop-up restaurant, Picnic, The Dart is going above and beyond bringing the beloved characters to life via colourful and puppets—it’s hosting a culinary tribute to Henson’s creations. All hail theme menus!

This frigging fun five courser (served Saturday, May 23 at 7pm at the gallery, sans Swedish chef) includes dishes like the Ernie & Bert (a poached pear, stuffed with cendrilon cheese black tea, chili lacquered peach and duck confit), Da Chickie in Da Baskee (pressed chicken, Swedish meatballs, ping pong eggs) and Good Enough For Me (an insane stack o’ cookies) and invites you to BYOB.

Tickets are $65 and by reservation only, click here for more on that.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Beanstalk Baby Food's got you babe

Handmade, preservative-free, locally-sourced baby food

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2015 at 1:00 AM

Aimee Carson and Angela Hersey
  • Aimee Carson and Angela Hersey

Picture this. You're a baby. It's that time of day where dad is bringing the airplane in, piled high with that goopy stuff he likes to pass off as food. Into the hangar (your mouth) it goes, but instead of green pea mush, you taste... squash? And apple and cinnamon? And it is delicious? No need to fight him on this meal, you're sold.

And Angela Hersey and Aimee Carson are selling it. These two food-savvy women have created Beanstalk Baby Food: homemade, almost always locally sourced, preservative-free baby food. And they're launching this week!

These entrepreneurs have been experimenting with local foods, spices and herbs to create a line of baby food unlike any other.

"About a year ago my nephew was born and I realized that there was just so few baby foods on the market that I wanted to feed him," says Carson. "I was really inspired to make homemade food for him and just started experimenting and realized that wow, he can eat really well."

Both with backgrounds in food, Carson and Hersey got to work. Not only on sourcing as much locally produced food as possible, but on having baby food that actually tastes good.

"Babies develop an interest in flavours very early on and lot of other baby foods don't include things like that. We want to try and help parents introduce as much variety and flavour into their baby's meals and lives as soon as they can," says Hersey.

Starting with 10 different flavours (including Bodacious Beets, Purple Lips, Scrumptious Squash and Gingery Parsnip Perfection), Hersey and Carson have set up in the lower level of Spring Garden Place at Bonne Cuisine (5640 Spring Garden Road) on Thursdays and Fridays between 5 and 8pm. Or you can head to the Alderney Farmers' Market in Dartmouth on Saturdays between 8am and 1pm. Click here for more Beanstalk.

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Ghosts and grinds at Plan B

Paranormal cafe serves up coffee…and chills

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 3:36 PM


Nestled in the backroom of Plan B (2180 Gottingen Street), past the stuffed birds and a Pokémon board game, you’ll discover the unexpected: hot dogs, cappuccinos, bacon grilled cheese and maybe the cheapest breakfast in Halifax ($3 all-day for one egg, bacon and toast). It's the newly opened Gateway Cafe.

But it’s a cafe with a certain twist. Owner Leslie Bailey and her new husband Andrew have emerged from their Halloween-style wedding to share their eerie passion with anyone brave enough to venture in—they're paranormal investigators.

Spreading knowledge is their goal and they’re more than happy to indulge anyone willing to hear-in on their chance encounters with the unknown. A tax collector, Leslie grew up in an “extremely haunted” Victorian mansion, the perfect setting for unexplained happenings (i.e. things moving around and doors opening at will). “It was a really spooky house.”

Andrew serves as head of the hobby-group Gateway Paranormal, ghost hunting Haligonians celebrating the art of spirit study. Among his collection of phantom-seeking machinery are peculiar pictures and strange recordings: a woman floating across a set of lockers, a man giving him the finger, a hostile apparition telling him to “screw off.”

But he knows he’s not alone. With books on ghosts and horror films constantly playing in the background, future cafe plans include a logbook where people can drop in, have an espresso and record their own supernatural experiences because as Andrew says, “Everyone has a story.”

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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Wrought Iron Brewing is now Good Robot Brewing

No better time for a rebound than the 11th hour

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 3:39 PM


Wrought Iron Brewing Company is dead. That sounds super serious, but don’t worry, Good Robot Brewing rises in its wake. Same dudes, same beer, different name. Read about how it all came to be here.

“We’re a lot goofier and warmer and personal than that name would project,” says co-owner Joshua Counsil. The new name is rooted a lot more in the three ex-engineer’s personalities and history together—their buddies at Breakhouse described them as “drunk robots”, but these beer connoisseurs saw more in themselves than that. Counsil said that it was music that brought himself Angus Campbell and Doug Kehoe together in university, “and it’s what kept us coming back,” says Counsil.That music vibe is brought to life in the adorable new logo: a robot head fashioned out of a boom box.

“Beer is a social symbol and associated with good times,” says Counsil, and that’s what they’re all about. The brewery will officially open at 2736 Robie Street within the next few weeks, with the tap room to follow in August. Look out for music events, new branded swag. And one last important detail from Counsil? “Growing up is over rated.” Amen.

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Make some Food Noise

More fun on Portland Street

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 11:13 AM


Dartmouth is about to get a whole lot healthier. FoodNoise (158A Portland Street), a prepared food service focusing on healthy dishes made with local, seasonal, sustainable and where possible organic ingredients, is opening up a one-stop shop for all things edible. As of May 1 Dartmouthians and adventurous Haligonians alike will be able to stop by Mon-Fri from 11am-2pm for lunch and Sat from 10am-1pm for brunch to tuck into a weekly rotating menu of yummy goodness.

If you’re in the market for a quick meal for dinner you’ll be able to stop by the shop from 11am-4pm to pick up any of their weekly grab-and-go items. Tasty things like inside out spring roll salad ($8/$14), a variety of chilis ($16), dairy-free lemon artichoke soup ($12), or an assortment of gluten free treats like carob bark with pistachios and cranberries and zucchini muffins. Or if you’re into making your own goods, there’ll be a grocery section stocking Blue Apples products, Just Us! coffee and made-in-house flours made from coconut and arrowroot, plus a weekly pop-up produce stand featuring local farmers. Phew. That's a lot of stuff in one little shop.

But owner/chef Tanessa Holt, a Vancouver transplant, says so far the reception of her ready made meals in Halifax has been amazing and has big dreams for the business. “There’s lots of awareness, lots of exposure and lots of excitement here about healthy foods and healthy living. I’m just trying to make healthy food like, for lack of a better word, fast food—affordable and accessible.”

So far, the plan is working. FoodNoise is in talks with Sobeys about bringing her ready-made meals to the masses and are doing food services for at least two Halifax Montessoris. For a one-woman operation it’s pretty damn impressive. “I’m have a full time chef starting next week and my 10-month old helps out too.” Not too sure how much help a 10-month old baby is, but I do know one thing for sure: I want that lemon artichoke soup in my belly. STAT.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Changes at Chebucto Coffee and Macchiato by Sam

Coffee news

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 8:00 AM

There are big changes percolating in the north end coffee shop scene. Back in early March, long-time coffee entrepreneur Sam Karam decided to hand over the reins at his Macchiato by Sam (2751 Gladstone Street), but no need for jitters (caffeine-induced or otherwise), things at the cafe will stay pretty much the same.

Chebucto Coffee (6430 Chebucto Road) is undergoing a whole latte renovations and reopening the first week of May as La Piazza Resto & Cafe. New owner Albert Zhouri—who also owns Papa Mario’s (6954 Mumford Road)—has big plans for the cafe including a woodstone pizza oven, outdoor seating and a liquor license. He says they are working around the clock to finish off additional seating and the new patio before the reopening. The north end hangout will continue to serve breakfast, lunch and great coffee, along with a slice and a beer.

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Friday, April 17, 2015

You could be The Nook's next owner

The Gottingen Street hang out is for sale

Posted By on Fri, Apr 17, 2015 at 11:05 AM

  • via Facebook

The Nook (2118 Gottingen Street), a cozy, dynamic spot with delicious food and warm drinks, has had a booming first year-and-a-half. This north end joint fills its walls with work from local artists and fills its seats with regular customers and passersby. Due to personal reasons, it is now being sold by owners Mark Pavlovski and Katie Roux.

“It has been incredibly thrilling to be part of the community in the capacity that we have been. The Nook is in a really vibrant neighbourhood that is supportive of local small businesses,” says Pavlovski. He hopes the new owners will continue to run it with the community-minded spirit they have established. “We had not planned on selling The Nook for several more years. It was kind of our baby in a lot of ways but sometimes things in life happen that are beyond your control and send you in a different direction.”

If you’ve ever dreamt of owning an exceedingly charming little restaurant, now’s your chance.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Stillwell's serving up a summer beer garden

Halifax waterfront, here we come

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 4:41 PM

Stillwell's sweet nectar - PHOTO BY RILEY SMITH
  • Stillwell's sweet nectar
  • photo by Riley Smith

"We can't have a patio on Barrington that makes any sense. And we're big fans of drinking beer outside, as most people are," says Stillwell's Chris Reynolds. "We especially like to drink really good local beer outside." Just when we thought it wasn’t possible to be any more excited for summertime, downtown’s packed to the rafters beer bar pours up a big win. Thanks to over a year of planning and team Stillwell's passion for open-air imbibing, come May we'll be blessed with Stillwell Beergarden, a totally Nova Scotian drinking experience on the Halifax waterfront.

"It's been a long-haul to get to this point. Through some of our friends at Taste of Nova Scotia we linked up with Waterfront Development, they're just the best people," says Reynolds. "They're really interested in doing more progressive, homegrown things on the waterfront."

The collaborative pilot project will see a shipping container bar and kitchen—designed by Eric Stotts of Skin + Bones and built by Dartmouth’s CTS—and surrounding seating take over the Summit Amphitheatre (behind 1617 Lower Water Street) for afternoon and evening sipping and snacking. “To present a Nova Scotia craft beer thing in tourist-land is cool, but it also is from a personal perspective, as a person who likes to go to bars and restaurants.” Like beer, Stillwell Beergarden will be an equalizer for both the droves visitors to the waterfront and locals who love local.

"This place will be basically exclusively Nova Scotian, a total Nova Scotia experience," says Reynolds. "They'll be patio beers. We won't have imperial stouts, it'll be more sessionable beers. But a certainly a broad spectrum of flavours." The Beergarden will offer up eight draught taps, six of which will be local craft beer while the other two will pour local white wine and cider.

On the food front, Stillwell chef Graeme Ruppel will be cooking up his own housemade sausages and serving them alongside other local links from Sweet William's and Rose Lane Farm as well as Stillwell sauces and slaws, like his much-loved white kimchi. "We're really focussed on the sausages," says Reynolds. "Almost like a hot dog cart, but tricked out." The resto will also be teaming up with Gingerbread Haus to make sure, in true beer garden fashion, there'll be big ol', fresh baked pretzels.

The Stillwell Beergarden aims to kick-off mid-to-late May, rolling into full time hours (likely noon to dusk) hours come June. Let the countdown begin.

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Friday, April 10, 2015

March Madness 2015: Root Beer wins it all

Soft drinks go hard

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 4:53 PM


There you have it, folks. After weeks of heated battles, and some lacklustre ones, too, we reveal the March Madness champion for 2015. The salty snacks couldn't fight the fizzy power of pop and we were as shocked as you to learn that chips didn't take home the trophy. What gives?

Last night, in a poorly attended showdown, Root Beer—which dug its way to the finals from a fourth ranking—took down seventh seed Party Mix. Even five chips combined couldn't defeat its mean mug. It was an anticlimactic final, but a deserving win, I guess. Really, my feelings about this drink can only be summed up in a poem.

R-really foamy
O-origin = sassafras
O-obviously add ice cream
E-easily the best pop
R-reigning champ

That's it until next year, sports fans. Time to hit the links.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Burger Week cheques in

Halifax restaurants raise over $42,000 for Feed Nova Scotia.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 5:06 PM

At The Coast office, several people gather around a giant cheque made out to Feed Nova Scotia.
  • Peeps from restaurants, The Coast and Feed Nova Scotia celebrate that Burger Week 2015 raised over $42,000 for charity.
  • Jennifer Murphy

Remember Burger Week? Of course you do! You’re probably still having dreams of meat sweats and trying to run off that extra beef on the treadmill. After all, it’s not every day that 64 local restaurants work their buns off to bring you patty perfection. The best part of Burger Week, however, isn’t the excuse to eat a burger three times a day for a week, but the fundraising that eating does for Feed Nova Scotia.

This year’s was the third annual Burger Week, and after The Coast-organized event raised more than $30,000 for Feed NS over its first two years, the 2015 donation goal was set at an ambitious $25,000. Well, it sounded ambitious before the week started. Turns out Halifax restaurants and the people like you who ate at them raised $42,347. Today at The Coast’s Maynard Street office, several restaurant owners and representatives of Feed Nova Scotia gathered for the presentation of the oversized cheque.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity and response from Nova Scotians,” says FNS executive director Nick Jennery. “The restaurants, they got behind it, they drove it, they made it meaningful.”

Speaking to the room, Jennery explained that for every dollar Feed Nova Scotia receives, the charity turns it into $15 of food. Meaning that giant cheque is worth over $600,000. Just imagine how many people all those burgers can feed, other than you.

“It’s fun. It’s not competitive,” says Bill Pratt, owner of Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers + Poutinerie. “It’s Feed Nova Scotia that’s the winner of Burger Week.”

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March Madness Day 16: Root beer vs. Party Mix


Posted By on Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 4:05 PM

Last match up, gang. And I can't say this is the club soda vs. Doritos bloodbath I once dreamed of. Party mix turned crunchy Cheetos into mere bottom of the bag dust with 57 percent of the vote. Party mix? Even with those pretzels? Root beer burst Dr. Pepper's bubble with 59 percent of the vote. Root beer is passable, I'll give it that (nothing else makes a float seem like a normal thing to drink). But let's be honest here, both these snacks are kind of the edible equivalent of Ann Veal. (ps video is long but worth it).

The Ultimate Ann Veal (Her?) Supercut from Flavorwire on Vimeo.

Tomorrow we find out the winner and but we owe it to ourselves today to hit up our local pharmacy and try this pairing as it was apparently meant to be consumed: together.

Then they can battle it out in your stomach much like on this poll.

What a ride it's been. Look how far we've come!

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Free Gelato Day is back and as cool as ever

Free frozen treats for a good cause

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 5:59 PM

  • Tower of power
  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

The best things in life are free, and the best foods in life are gelato. So, Humani-T Cafe (5755 Young Street and 1451 South Park Street) probably had you at Free Gelato Day, the third annual fundraiser and positivity dose hosted by both locations of the coffee shop.

“When we first opened the cafe, we had the vision of making it a community space,” says Kiyan Sobhani. “We weren’t just doing it for the money, we were doing it for the community to get together.” While brainstorming creative ways to give back, Humani-T landed on free scoops of gelato—kind of like Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day, but with a donation attached. Each year the growing event chooses a different cause to collect cash for, this time it’s the CNIB. Sobhani says both cafes have been making gelato constantly to prep for the thousands of people who might show up next Wednesday (yes, thousands, or so says Facebook).

“The lineup goes up the street but no one is rushed or stressed. As busy as it gets it a very fun day,” he says. “A way to give off some good vibes in the community.”

Free Gelato Day
Humani-T Cafe, 1451 South Park Street and 5755 Young Street
Wednesday, April 15
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March Madness Day 15: Root Beer vs Dr. Pepper and Crunchy Cheetos vs Party Mix

Rate my MD

Posted By on Wed, Apr 8, 2015 at 3:27 PM

This is it. In what is arguably the most important day of this thing, the final four, you'll decide the fate of The Coast's March Madness final, choosing the ultimate chip flavour, and the ulitmate pop flavour. All blame will be placed firmly on you if Dr. freakin' Pepper wins. Confused about where all my passionate feels are coming from? Read up on the whole game here.


As you can clearly see, some impaired decision making went down yesterday. Stupid idiot Dr. Pepper (sixth rank) beat out Cream Soda AKA Dream Soda AKA eighth place unicorn juice. And crusty old pretzels beat Cheese Puffs. OK, Party Mix feat. pretzels beat Cheese Puffs. It was a seventh place versus sixth place, and a tight 19-13 match, so all's fair in love and snack, I guess.

Today sees aforementioned fool Dr. Pepper—who I'm totally going to slay on Rate My MD after this—taking on nature's candy, brown sugar and fourth seed Root Beer. HOPE FLOATS, y'all! I'm rooting for the beer.

The swan song on the chip side is a kind of silly one. It comes down to third seed Crunchy Cheetos on their own, or mixed in with a bunch of other delicious stuff in seventh seed Party Mix. Are you a conservative Cheetos eater or an adventurous one?

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

March Madness Day 14: Dr. Pepper vs. Cream Soda & Cheese Puffs vs. Party Mix


Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 4:42 PM

Guys, I am very excited for today's matchup but also still reeling over yesterday's results! This is what March Madness is all about! See?


Before we proceed, let's debrief. My two favourite babies, root beer and ginger beer had to battle it out. It was really hard to watch! Like two kittens playfighting! Root beer, the slightly more down to earth beer, won out over my personal favourite ginger beer with 59 percent of the vote. Wow. Goodbye ginger beer, it hurts to see you go almost as much as it hurts to drink your sweet and spicy contents.

While I'm already crying, let's discuss the chip category. Doritos—my moon and stars—LOST to crunchy Cheetos and you know what the worst part is? When I mulled over this seemingly insane occurrence, I sort of got it!! If this isn't a huge betrayal I don't know what is, so I immediately threw on the hairshirt and crucified myself (#topical).

It's hard to write now what with the stigmata so I'll make this short. Vote on today's brutal match, Dr. Pepper (spicy, cherry-flavoured, bizarre) and cream soda (vanilla, candy-like, pink or white).

And/or chips: Cheese puffs (light-as-air, nostalgic, comforting) versus Party Mix (diverse, could potentially have cheese puffs IN there, but pretzels)

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Monday, April 6, 2015

March Madness Day 13: Ginger Beer vs Root Beer and Doritos vs Crunchy Cheetos

A fight is brewing

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 2:01 PM

Just as the chocolate-induced Easter acne begins to appear, here we are to worsen it with the remaining eight competitors of this sweet and salty tournament. The bests of the bracket are in battle mode all week, and by Friday we'll have a March Madness 2015 champion. Who deserves the crown—Ginger Beer, Root Beer, Dr. Pepper or Cream Soda? Or will it be Doritos, Crunchy Cheetos, Cheese Puffs or Party Mix. Two lessons we've learned thus far—fake cheese flavour kicks ass when it comes to chips, and guts win over glory in this junk competition.

Look at this beautiful thing!


Day 12's match ups had the entire weekend to air out their differences and we still wound up with a tie. Eighth seed Cream Soda and 10th ranked 7-up still sit at 18-18 as I type these words, and as my fellow sportscaster says tie=ladies' choice and this lady is all about the Cream Soda, so that settles that. In chips, literal mixed bag Party Mix, a seventh place chip, beat mixed flavour All Dressed by a cool 21-16. Are you snacked out yet? We hope not.

Today brings us to the old timey Pop Shoppe, with classic concoctions Ginger Beer (the spicy wonder and our number one ranked drank) and fourth place sweetie Root Beer facing off. These beers both rule, but which makes the best use of plant bits? Which would you rather crush a two-four of?

Things are leaning cheesy in the first round of chips final four, with top seed Doritos taking on number three Crunchy Cheetos. Let's get real for a second here, some of the Doritos family (say Zesty, or Nacho) actually taste a hell of a lot like a Cheeto. The flavour powder is probably the same. So, unless you're voting based solely on the magic that is Cool Ranch, or Sweet Chili Heat, this is a texture contest. Thin, triangular flavour bursts, or dense little cheese sticks. I'm all in for a Cheeto champ. Go ahead, hate on me for it, I can't hear you over my crunching anyhow.

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