Thursday, June 25, 2015

Farewell to Fiasco

The downtown restaurant signs off this Friday

Posted By on Thu, Jun 25, 2015 at 10:58 AM

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After nearly 15 years on Brenton Street, and a year under new ownership, Fiasco Restaurant (1463 Brenton Street) will close its doors permanently as of this Friday, June 26. Co-owners—and also the restaurant's chef and pastry chef —Morné Van Antwerp and Sue Ann Lambert extend thanks to their suppliers and customers for their support over the last year.

"When we took Fiasco over, it was kind of somebody else’s dream," says Lambert. "It was a learning opportunity, a way to get to know suppliers and scope out what the market was here, and experiment with where we wanted our menu to go." Sounds like this might not be the last we've heard of this pair. (Check this out for a teaser.)

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Heeeere's Johnny

Johnny K's Authentic Donairs is coming to Grafton and Blowers

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 3:22 PM

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When paper went up in the windows of European Food Shop (5246 Blowers Street) back in April, people prematurely mourned the death of our greasy friend Pizza Corner. Change is hard, it's true, but we've said it before, pizza is forever.

Just when everyone was busy losing their shit over the end of an era—@NBDHFX appeared, letting the people know via hashtag that Pizza Corner Is Not Dead. The new resident of Grafton and Blowers urged hungry drunk-food hunters (as well as the sober daytime ones) to "stay hungry" because "an iconic corner deserves a legendary dish".

That legendary dish is the donair, of course, and earlier this week it was revealed that NBD would actually be Johnny K's Authentic Donairs, a joint effort between Mezza Lebanese Restaurant Group's Nahas family and Marcel Khoury, of HFX Sports Bar and Halifax Alehouse fame. The eatery's namesake Johnny K is John Kamoulakos, the building's owner and supposed donair inventor. In short, these donairs will be the real deal.

Johnny K's is set to open in July, bringing traditional handmade beef, chicken and vegetarian donairs —as well as Greek gyros and Turkish doner kebabs—to diners eating in and taking out. As you await a taste, follow the progress at @Johnnyksdonair

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Get a taste of Sicily with Devour!'s Dinner & A Movie

Cinema Paradiso and a Sicilian feast in Certainly Cinnamon's kitchen

Posted By on Mon, Jun 8, 2015 at 4:49 PM

Allow Alfredo and Salvatore to melt your heart
  • Allow Alfredo and Salvatore to melt your heart

Devour! The Food Film Festival has really good taste. The annual celebration of great food, great films and great food films takes place every fall in Wolfville (and every spring in the Bahamas) but hosts creative screenings, meals and events throughout the year to keeps mouthes watering. Its latest love letter to great cinema takes place this Thursday via Dinner & A Movie, which will feature Cinema Paradiso—1988's love letter to Sicily—and a decadent, communal Sicilian feast.

After the success of last year's event, built around a screening of The Big Lebowski, festival co-founders Lia Rinaldo and chef Michael Howell have continued to look outside of the food-film box when it comes to finding menu and event ideas.

"It opens everything up, we're able to choose our old favourites of all time," says Rinaldo, of not only their nostalgic choice for this event, but upcoming ones as well. (Exciting hint: watch for some vineyard screenings coming soon!) This particular Dinner & A Movie night will take place in Certainly Cinnamon's brand new industrial kitchen on Barrington Street. Forget open concept dining, Thursday's intimate dinner (and movie screen) will be right in the kitchen, hosting a maximum of 50 people.

"[Cinema Paradiso] lends us lots of inspiration because it’s such a beautiful Italian film," adds Howell, who's no stranger to Italian cuisine as a host of many Italian culinary tours with Tempestuos Culinary. This time, though, he's had the pleasure of teaming up with Certainly Cinnamon's Scott Colwell to build an incredible six-course menu of what he calls "la cucina povera", or the poor man's cusine, inspired by the film. "They're relatively rustic dishes, we're riffing on the peasants' food, and southern Italian food."

The meal will of course be paired with all Italian wines, courtesy of Bishop's Cellar, as well as a little Benjamin Bridge for some good (and local) measure. Dinner & A Movie will be a jovial night of eating, socializing and movie watching."It'll be an immersive experience of eating, drinking and watching," says Howell of the event. "And that's what Devour! is about at its core."

Watch this adorable clip from Cinema Paradiso, assess this menu, and then assess your plans for Thursday. If you're so inclined, get your tickets here.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

EAT THIS: Made With Local's Loaded Oats

Instant oats that swap out the artificial flavours for Maritime ingredients

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 4:00 AM

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It’s time to break up with the Quaker. Fans of his one-minute oatmeal packets should direct their attention, and their kettle, to Made with Local’s Loaded Oats—they’ve got the same convenience factor going for them (you can make them by stovetop, microwave, or with boiling water), but we can thank east coast ingredients for the flavour. The 10-serving bags are available in two flavours—Bumbleberry, with Lunenburg dried cranberries and Valley flax, and Apple Spice, with Nova Scotian apples. You can local-ify your breakfasts at Pete’s (1515 Dresden Row), Local Source Market (2530 Agricola Street), Noggins Corner at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market (2 Ochterloney Street) and The Shelf at the Seaport Farmers’ Market (1209 Marginal Road), they all carry Made With Local.

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Nectar is closing, but North Brewing and Brooklyn Warehouse are moving in

Bittersweet news brings craft beer and award-winning eats to downtown Dartmouth

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2015 at 11:17 AM

Get a final glimpse of Nectar's Dining Room this month
  • Get a final glimpse of Nectar's Dining Room this month

After six years of bringing great meals, cocktails and jazz to downtown Dartmouth, Nectar Restaurant & Wine Bar (62 Ochterloney Street) announced this morning that it would serve its last customers on Sunday, June 21. The doors won't be closed for too long, though—the restaurant has been sold and the unnamed new owners will reveal their plans "in coming days" to North Brewing Company and Brooklyn Warehouse, one hell of a food and drink dynamic duo. This tasty collaboration between Peter Burbridge, and George and Leo Christakos will bring "a beer-centric eatery" and some surprises to Ochterloney Street. "We are very excited in becoming a part of the ever-growing downtown Dartmouth community and food scene," they say, via email.

Nectar's Joelle and Ian Hurst—who took over the five-time Best of Halifax award-winning restaurant in 2012—said in this morning's release that they'll "miss the daily interaction with the members of Nectar's extended family, and our fellow downtown Dartmouth entrepreneurs. This has been a wonderful experience."

From Monday, June 8 through its closing date, Nectar will serve brunch (Saturdays and Sundays) and dinner, and will also host a weekend jazz series during its final weekend (June 19-21).

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Tom's and The Fireside are headed for Birmingham Street

All of your Halifax bar nostalgia in one place

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 4:41 PM

Tom's Little Havana has set the bar as a primo watering hole - PHOTO BY SAMSON LEARN
  • Tom's Little Havana has set the bar as a primo watering hole
  • photo by Samson Learn

Regulars of both Tom's Little Havana (5428 Doyle Street) and The Fireside (1500 Brunswick Street) have been losing sleep lately knowing that both bars would be uprooted come this fall. After years of rumours, the construction of a new development on the Spring Garden/Queen/Doyle/Brunswick block is finally coming to fruition, meaning all of its businesses will be closing or moving—and the thought of a downtown Halifax without a Tom's or a Fireside was a frightening one for many. After fending off an endless stream of "what's going to happen"s from patrons, today co-owner of both bars Lynne Ferguson was delighted to announce they're moving together, just a block away, to the Birmingham Street entrance of City Centre Atlantic. (That's 1535 Dresden Row, but think Premier Wine and Spirits' former location.)

Ferguson says it won't have that "mall entrance" feeling anymore, though. "When you walk into those doors, it’ll be more Tom's," she says. "You'll be walking into Tom's, and The Fireside will be on the right, in the old Premier location." The two bars will share a kitchen and washrooms, but be separate from each other, Tom's will take over the current Top Cuts space and the salon will move to another spot within the mall. "They were terrific about the move because Tom’s was going to be there," Ferguson laughs.

In early May, Tom's put out an online survey looking for the public's thoughts on a new location and the Spring Garden area was a winner over both Barrington Street and the north end. "We just have a ton of regulars and they drive us. On snow days and Sundays they just keep coming," says Ferguson of why patrons got a say on the new spot. "It was important for it to be close by. We’re creatures of habit. I think it was also important to continue being just a little out of the way, off to the side of the main street."

The next generation of Tom's and The Fireside is scheduled to open for October 1. In response to the major public concern—how the heck will they transport the dark, intimate and nostalgic Tom's vibe elsewhere??—Ferguson says a little wallpaper, wood panelling and tablecloths can go a long way. "I hate to say it but I think it’s going to be easy. It’s really the people that make the vibe at Tom's," she says. "It's a little bit the look, but mostly the people. It’ll be fun to see the new Tom's and cry about the old Tom's together"


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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Three cheers for the Good Cheer Trail

The province’s latest tourism initiative, The Good Cheer Trail, is a great excuse for a summer roadie.

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 4:00 AM

ILLUSTRATION BY AZIZA ASAT
  • illustration by Aziza Asat

Merging historical anniversary with a reason to drink, next week marks the launch of the Good Cheer Trail. With over 30 stops at breweries, wineries, and distilleries, the trail was created by the province to promote discovery of lesser-known regions of Nova Scotia, while building awareness of the gastronomic explosion happening from one end to the other. Participants receive a passport to keep track of their visits, which also makes a nice memento of the trip even if your memories are hazy. The stops span province-wide, including in regions that tourists might never have heard of, let alone have thought of visiting (or spending their money in). While the trail is being promoted mainly to outsiders in target markets like Toronto and Boston, nothing stops any libation-loving native Nova Scotians from grabbing a passport and discovering their own province too.

In addition to the drink stops, the trail includes two historic sites: The fortress of Louisbourg in Cape Breton, and Port Royal in the Annapolis Valley. This year marks the 400th anniversary of North America’s first social club, The Order of Good Cheer, founded in 1606 by Samuel de Champlain. While the order was initially founded to keep the settlers’ minds off the brutal winter and rough living conditions while they established Port Royal, this modern interpretation of Good Cheer promises all of the good times without the fear or freezing or starvation. Win, win, right?

The trail can be self-guided, says Taste of Nova Scotia’s Christine White, although since the point is to bounce around the province drinking, she stresses that people should secure a designated driver. Or, to make sure nobody feels left out, organized tours are being set up to shuttle people around. Nova Scotia’s tourism website offers a six-stop package with a visit of the fort at Port Royal, tastings and designated driver included in the $125 fee

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's taco time at La Cantina

Brought to you by your Halifax abuela

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Let's taco 'bout La Cantina
  • Let's taco 'bout La Cantina

David Parks first fell for taco stand culture at 18 when his lack of a summer job and love for his Intro to Spanish class landed him in Mexico. Since then he’s been spending time there on-and-off for about 20 years, learning and enjoying the ins and outs of authentic Mexican cuisine along the way. “I love the food and and I love the culture. Taco stand culture and cantina culture, it’s a very joyous, celebratory sort of alive appreciation of food,” says Parks, who’s channelling that vibe with his La Cantina Taco Stand, an evening of real deal Mexican eats.

This Thursday brings ranchera music, old telanovelas, piñatas, aguas frescas and his flavour-heavy charcoal-cooked meat, veggie and vegan tacos to Pat’s Kitchen (5530 Kaye Street), a cafe by day that’s all about sharing its space with pop-up events and restaurantless chefs. “It’s as Mexican as your can get north of San Antonio,” laughs Parks, who likens himself to a Mexican grandmother when it comes to cooking, whether it's for his family or all of your hungry mouths—all tradition, no corner-cutting. “Anything on a tortilla can be called a taco, but my commitment is to bring authentic Mexican tacos, like you’d find in taquerías. You won’t be seeing a donair taco at La Cantina.”

As of now, this taco stand’s a one-time deal—from 4 to 9pm, Thursday, May 28— but judging by buzz, a second serving of La Cantina might be a necessity. Mas tacos, por favor.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

T-Dogs—Halifax's hot dog hot take

Homemade sausages and a New York-style cart hit the corner of Agricola and Charles

Posted By on Mon, May 25, 2015 at 12:54 PM

Frito Pie Dog whaatt? - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Frito Pie Dog whaatt?
  • via Facebook

If summer had a scent it would totally be barbecue smoke. And if you, like me, tend to follow your nose to wherever the source of such smoke is, soon you'll be spending a lot of time on the corner of Agricola and Charles Street. Come early June, the Chapman Autobody lot (2500 Agricola Street) will be home to T-DOGS hot dog cart, Halifax's newest mobile food seller.

It's a best friends business venture that Patrick Lowe and Tony Rinaldo (along with his brother Sam, both sons of this Rinaldo) have cooked up for north end Halifax. After spending some time living in Toronto and Montreal respectively, the lifelong pals decided it was time they collaborated on something they could bring to their hometown. With Tony—who's cooked at Montreal's Nora Gray, Toronto's Parts & Labour, as well as in Europe — as the mastermind behind the menu, you'll be able to get your hands on a simple, but far from basic, lineup of handmade sausages that'll include standard hot dogs, Italian sausages, veggie dogs, his grandfather's Texas Hot sausages, with kettle chips on the side, and weekly chef-inspired specials rounding out the selection of grilled goodness.

These puppies will be gourmet quality, leaning on locally-sourced ingredients to make 'em awesome, but still served from a classic New York-style push cart, which will woo both the grab and go lunch crowd as well as late-night diners on weekends. Rinaldo's putting the dogs before the cart and already cooking up some magic in T-DOGS' north end kitchen, but you should be able to get your hands on one of his creations within the next two weeks.

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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

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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

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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

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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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  5. Farewell to Fiasco   (The Feed)
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  7. Comfortably Hum’s   (Restaurant Reviews)
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Vol 23, No 4
June 25, 2015

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