Thursday, September 27, 2018

“Beer is supposed to bring us together”

Revered beer and travel author Stephen Beaumont hosts a story-filled tasting at Stillwell this weekend.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 27, 2018 at 4:00 AM


Guided beer tastings with Stephen Beaumont
Sunday, September 30
Stillwell, 1672 Barrington Street

It's the middle of winter in Finland, and Stephen Beaumont steps out from a sauna room a few hundred kilometres north of Helsinki. He sits down to try some fresh sahti beer, a traditional brew indigenous to the country. In the company of a Finnish brewer and a fellow travel writer, Beaumont sips sahti from a communal wooden drinking pale. After a few cycles of this routine, (beer, sauna, beer, sauna), the group musters its bravery: They venture outside into the snow and dip into a frozen lake.

This is just one of 101 beer experiences Beaumont writes about in his new book, Will Travel for Beer. The sahti story sticks out to him as a favourite.

"It's one of these remarkable things where you could drink that beer, you could go a sauna, but to do both things together and to make that combination...that's the key," says Beaumont of his experience.  

Beaumont began writing about beer as a columnist for the Toronto Star, and since has published, or co-published, 13 books throughout his 28 years in the field. The author released Will Travel for Beer in May. He says his latest book is one that's been "a long time coming," as it chronicles all his years of research.

"I literally woke up one morning with the title in my head," he remembers. After receiving an enthusiastic response from his editor, it was up to Beaumont to sift through his extensive travel memories and choose the best ones to share on paper.

"For me, this book is not about ticking off breweries. It's about going to places where the beer, and the atmosphere and the experience all combine into something truly remarkable," he says. "I think we're losing that in beer. And that's one of the reasons I wanted to do this book."

Beaumont thinks of beer as a way to unite people. But he fears this may be changing.

"We spend so much of our time now looking at screens, looking at our laptops, looking at our iPads. Beer is supposed to bring us together," he says. "One of the great things that beer does is it gets you out of the house, away from your screen, into a bar where you can really communicate and interact with other people...and that's kind of becoming a lost art."

You can hear some of Beaumont's stories and buy his book on September 30 at Stillwell's guided beer tasting event, the author's second time leading a beer tasting at the bar, due to the popularity of last year's event,

"It's all about helping people expand their horizons in beer," he says.

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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

DRINK THIS: Luckett Vineyards' Ortega

The 2017 Ortega, tastes very Gaspereau Valley with a hint of Italy.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 19, 2018 at 6:24 PM

  • Jessica Emin
Sometimes, while everyone else is flocking to the newest wine creations, a classic is quietly released to those waiting in the wings for something like Luckett Vineyards’s 2017 Ortega ($24).

Ortega, an aromatic white grape of the vitis vinifera species, native to Europe, is also moderately hardy, surviving to about -25° C. Winemaker Mike Mainguy of Luckett Vineyards turned heads with his 2011 Ortega, one of the first grape wines made at the vineyard—which, in its early days, produced mainly fruit wine from estate-grown blackberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches and plums.

The 2017 Ortega is a gorgeous expression of the grape and its place in the Gaspereau Valley: It is structured of course, by Nova Scotian acidity, and so, so nicely filled out by aromas of ripe peaches and lime and the richness that fermented fruit offers to the tongue. A note of haystack makes this Ortega reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc and while Mainguy’s 2011 Ortega was Germanic in style, his 2017 rendition gives a satisfying bitter bite that could be almost Italian. Nova Scotian wine is great with food, but this is a bottle to enjoy on its own. Or with a second bottle of the same.
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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Um, QUESTLOVE is coming to Devour

See you in Wolfville

Posted By on Tue, Sep 18, 2018 at 2:17 PM

Today Devour! A Food Film Festival announced that it'll be bringing Questlove—you know, The Roots' co-founder, Grammy-winner, Tonight Show musical director, James Beard Award-nominated author, overall cool human—to the glorious Annapolis Valley as part of this year's event. If you didn't know, he's very into food and food politics.

The eighth annual Devour! will sit the Something To Food About author down with comedian/CBC personality Ali Hassan (who's also co-hosting the fest) for a conversation about "food issues, culinary creativity and his infamous Food Salons" and then a book signing.

This all goes down Saturday, October 27 at 3pm at Wolfville's Al Whittle Theatre (450 Main Street). Tickets are somehow just $25 and available here.

Questlove's Food Salon Featuring Kristen Kish, Edouardo Jordan, Andy Ricker, Jen Yee from Questlove's Food Salon on Vimeo.

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

DRINK OF THE WEEK: Dilly Dally's Carrot Spice Latte

Pouring up a mug full of fall

Posted By on Thu, Sep 13, 2018 at 4:00 AM

  • Lenny Mullins

“There’s just this biological thing, you feel a little crispness overnight and it’s like, ‘I need something a little soothing, a warm hug. It’s like our version of hygge or something,” says Laura Draeger of the tendency to usher in autumn (sometimes prematurely) with a little bit of nutmeg. Or, you know, pumpkin spice season.
The owner of Dilly Dally Eats says her staff made a choice to pass on the PSL in the first fall the cafe was open, but still wanted to cater to the sweet drink crowd. “We got together and were like, what gets us excited about fall?”

Among the ideas bounced around by the baristas, pastry chef and kitchen staff were carrots, and more importantly carrot cake. “So we busted out my juicer. The idea was basically to bottle carrot cake.” Out of that came the now beloved (and served all year round) Carrot Spice Latte. With fresh carrot juice, cinnamon, nutmeg—that traditional seasonal spicing—Dilly Dally’s baristas have perfected the syrup that makes the CSL special—Draeger calls the drink a total team effort. “That’s the thing with this drink, and everything we do at Dilly Dally, it’s real food.”
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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Waffle Love re-opens on Friday Saturday

Pierogies and waffles are back in action

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2018 at 4:40 PM

  • via Facebook
When Waffle Love turned off its iron last October, it wasn’t because it wanted to. The sale of its Hydrostone building left the business owners locationless—until now.

“I think we saw every retail space in Halifax,” says co-owner Ania Benko. This Friday Saturday (there were some technical issues) she and Matt Webb will re-open their sweet little restaurant at 2082 Gottingen Street (next door to Field Guide) at 9am.

“Food has always been a big thing for me and my siblings, we’d sneak out to fast food places without my parents knowing. They were really old-fashioned,” says Benko of why she got into the restaurant world. The second iteration of Waffle Love will be a little bigger and a little more modern, offering an expanded selection of pierogies—which Benko’s been making “since I was born”—and the same waffle menu you fell for at the old location. 
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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Luke's Fried Chicken pops up

Saturday sees new beer and lots of chicken at 2 Crows Brewing Co.

Posted By on Wed, Sep 5, 2018 at 7:35 PM

  • Carolina Andrade

Luke Gaston
has a thing for fried chicken. Highwayman’s chef started developing his recipe in 2010 when he was working at Toronto’s The Healthy Butcher—a recipe he’s happily been tweaking and evolving since. This weekend he’s taking a break from his usual Barrington Street post and taking over 2 Crows Brewing Company (1932 Brunswick Street) for the second installment of his pop-up tribute to the always crunchy, sometimes sticky, probably-gonna-need-a-napkin dish.

“Chefs spend most of their days behind closed doors in restaurant kitchens,” says Gaston. “By doing these pop-ups I get to interact with the people while doing something I’m passionate about and proud of.”

On Saturday (September 8) Luke’s Fried Chicken will serve up its southern-inspired menu—think classic fried and Nashville hot chicken and a selection of sides—at the brewery. It’ll coincide with the release of 2 Crows’ newest brew Perfect Situation, a smooth and juicy New England-style IPA with hints of pineapple, passionfruit and papaya. The fun starts at 2pm and ends at midnight, or after you eat every last drumstick.
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Thursday, August 30, 2018

DRINK THIS: Propeller releases rum and ginger in a can

Perfect Storm launches today!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 5:36 PM


The newest addition to the roster of local cocktails in a can comes from one of the city's oldest craft brewers. Because Propeller Brewing Company knows the power of a good pop —its Jamaican-inspired ginger beer, to be exact—it's gone and mixed one with booze.

Hitting the shelves/streets/mouths today is Perfect Storm, a blustery blend of Nova Scotian rum, lime and that spicy craft soda in a cool can. A "perfect complement" to the existing Prop Shop lineup, says Propeller's John Allen in a release, the Storm uses East Coast Spirit rum (blended and bottled by the folks at Steinhart Distillery, purveyors of local gin and vodka) to spike the drink. If you're still looking to pick up long-weekend liquids, this find it at either location of Propeller (2015 Gottingen Street and 617 Windmill Road) or your favourite private liquor shop.
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Room Service amps up and Uber Eats arrives

Special delivery!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 5:02 AM


It was a good week for hungry hungry homebodies. First, the bigwigs of Uber Eats landed on local soil, offering up restaurant delivery services that you can dial up and track via your phone, subtracting almost all human contact from your restaurant experience. (We all deserve the right to hermit sometimes.) Even though we can’t Uber Car here, we can now Uber Eat from spots like Heartwood, Jubilee Junction, CHKN Chop and Unchained Kitchen, plus a sprawling roster of others. You can get that fancy app to see it all for yourself.

Then, local hangover heroes/mobile convenience store Room Service announced it loves Dartmouth just as much as Halifax and would be expanding its service area across the bridge. (There’s even a promo code—hellodartmouth—for those thinking of ordering something.) Dartmouth’s delivery will start small, between 6 and 11:30pm with a slightly limited offering, but marks the beginning of Room Service’s HRM expansion. No need to leave home ever again!
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Night time is the right time at Ko-Doraku

The Purdy's Wharf location is closed, but Spring Garden's got izakaya!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 4:14 AM

  • Classic Ko-Doraku
  • Meghan Tansey Whitton

One of Spring Garden’s most sparkling gems, Ko-Doraku/Dora-Q (5640 Spring Garden Road) is expanding its evening offerings. Starting this weekend (August 31 and September 1), the small-but-mighty sushi joint below Spring Garden Place will up the ante on its usual menu, adding izakaya (Japanese bar snacks) to the mix. Those heading out of town for Labour Day, fear not—this will be a regular thing going forward: Ko-Doraku (which is licensed, by the way) will serve izakaya dishes every Friday and Saturday from 5 through 10pm.

This news softens the blow that Ko-Doraku’s sibling location in Purdy’s Wharf (211-1949 Upper Water Street) has closed up shop. The sushi gods giveth and taketh away.
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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Drink in the memories with the Drink Atlantic highlight video

For an event that takes alcohol education seriously, the cocktail festival sure looks like fun.

Posted By on Tue, Aug 21, 2018 at 11:28 AM

Was the inaugural Drink Atlantic Cocktail Festival a great way to kick off the summer? We'd definitely like to think so, because it was a Coast co-production with The Clever Barkeep. But you should take this one-minute video trip down memory lane and decide for yourself.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

DRINK THIS: Planters Ridge's Infatuation

An off-beat rosé frizzante, you’ll go gaga for.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 16, 2018 at 5:49 AM


Planters Ridge
, still a new kid on the wine block in Nova Scotia, has been releasing an array of clean, innovative, high-quality wines since opening in 2014. It seems the winery nails it every season with at least one wine, and in very competitive categories— last year Planters Ridge made my favourite Tidal Bay by including the little-used grape Frontenac Blanc in the blend. The year before, the winery's Rosé killed it. And the year before that, its Riesling was a triumph.

But Planters Ridge does well by off-beat wines, too. The Port Williams winery just released its latest vintage of Infatuation, a rosé frizzante, made from the German Dornfelder grape. Given that Dornfelder is known for its intense pigment, it’s impressive that the wine is such a delicate pink. The grapes were pressed whole-cluster and the must (skins, seeds, stems and pulp) discarded immediately, leaving the juice only slightly stained.

Dornfelder is a smart vinifera (European species) grape to experiment with in Nova Scotia, being disease resistant and early to ripen, with strong canes and consistent yield. It is also known for its good acidity, its florality and its textural richness. Infatuation smells like chamomile and ripe, ripe raspberry. It fills the mouth with an almost-creamy apple-rhubarb experience, acidity and sweetness (only very slight) in excellent balance. It’s a no-brainer for this summer's patio sipping.

Get it while you can: supplies are limited. Infatuation ($24) is sold at the winery and at farmers markets in Truro and Wolfville, as well as the Brewery Farmers’ Market (1496 Lower Water Street) and Seaport Farmers’ Market (1209 Marginal Road).
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Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The Middle Spoon's delivering drinks

The downtown desserterie is taking their cakes, and cocktails, on the road

Posted By on Tue, Aug 14, 2018 at 12:21 PM

  • via Facebook

Knock knock. Who’s there? Cocktails.

Yup, thanks to The Middle Spoon Desserterie (1563 Barrington Street and 1595 Bedford Highway) you can now get a bottle of mixed drink delivered directly to your doorstep. The source of sweets and boozy concoctions added delivery to its resume at the end of July, giving folks the opportunity to have their date nights and just desserts at home in their jammies if the mood strikes. But alongside the cakes, pies, salads and sandwiches on its online order form are 500ml, pre-mixed cocktails.

“Over the years since we opened lots of people have said, ‘Hey I wish you guys could bottle this stuff so we could have it at home,’” says the Spoon’s co-owner Ciaran Doherty, who’s been working on the logistics of delivering alcoholic drinks since last fall. “We didn’t want to get into delivering food until we could deliver cocktails as well.”

And now he’s doing just that with two of the longest running cocktails on the bar’s menu—the sweet Aphrodite’s Weakness and Black Currant Press. Each bottle pours the equivalent of over three drinks (and costs $19.99), but the catch is you can only buy it online via The Middle Spoon, no-can-do with take-away. Doherty hopes to add more cocktail options to the mix once the dust settles. 
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Monday, August 13, 2018

NRA’s recipe for moose donair meat takes a shot at Maritimers

Plus you can take the “What is donair sauce made of?” quiz.

Posted By on Mon, Aug 13, 2018 at 4:19 PM

America's National Rifle Association sets its sights on Halifax history with the Wild Game Donair.
  • America's National Rifle Association sets its sights on Halifax history with the Wild Game Donair.

The National Rifle Association’s ongoing efforts to make guns a totally normal lifestyle choice in the USA have now taken aim at Halifax’s official totally normal lifestyle choice, the donair.

An NRA magazine called American Hunter published a recipe for Wild Game Donair on its website this weekend. Apparently meat from moose, deer and elk works “exceptionally well” in donairs, writes Brad Fenson, as long as you remember “it’s critical to emulsify the meat by grinding it three or more times or using a food processor to break the meat down into a paste.” Which sounds appetizing-as-heck and all, but the real reason this recipe caught my eye is its snide attitude towards east coasters.

On the subject of the donair’s background, American Hunter is not content to acknowledge this particular beef-and-sweet-sauce spin on a kebab is a true Halifax dish. Instead, the recipe blends some vague dispute about where the donair came from, with a sweeping generalization about the famous lying nature of people in the Maritimes, to deny the Haligonian heritage of donairs:

A restaurant dubbed “King of Donair” in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada claims to be the inventor of this east coast donair delicacy, but there are others who allege the same. Maritimers are great storytellers, and rumor has it a Greek immigrated to Atlantic Canada and opened a traditional restaurant with the Mediterranean flavors of his native country. The old standbys at home didn’t seem to hit the mark with east coast Canadian appetites, so recipes were adapted using beef and spices preferred by locals to create a unique meal. Add a sweet garlic sauce to the mix, and you have an authentic Canadian donair.
Is the deliberate and unnecessary divisiveness on display in this article straight out of Donald Trump’s playbook? That question’s too easy. For harder sport, do you know the three ingredients in donair sauce? Take the following quiz to find out.
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Thursday, August 2, 2018

DRINK THIS: Avondale Sky’s Benediction

The Geisenheim-based bubbly that packs a gentle punch is back.

Posted By on Thu, Aug 2, 2018 at 1:00 AM


Avondale Sky Winery just released a new vintage of its Benediction, a traditional (Champagne) method sparkling wine made from Geisenheim 318—a grape hybrid bred at (and named for) the Geisenheim Research Centre, from parents Riesling and Chancellor.

The grape may have originated in Germany, but the wine is all Nova Scotia. Apple cider and rising bread on the inhale, and in the mouth green apple and a long, clean finish with a slight bitter pop at the back of the tongue. Though the wine was finished with 24 grams-per-litre of residual sugar, you’d never know it; The balancing acidity makes it feel entirely dry. This wine packs a gentle punch.

One of three grape varieties permitted to be the majority grape in the province’s appellation wine Tidal Bay, Geisenheim is an important varietal in Nova Scotia. (The others being l’Acadie Blanc and Seyval Blanc.) Avondale Sky uses Geisenheim in its Tidal Bay and in other wines, such as its oh-so-popular Bliss, a light, gentle white.

Notes from the vineyard describe a brutal vintage with a happy ending for the Geisenheim-based bubbly. That’s because 2014 saw a colder than average winter that damaged buds, a late spring frost that killed shoots, a tropical storm that destroyed flowers and an average summer. But a good autumn can turn any vintage around, and in 2014 the fall was warm and dry, allowing grapes to ripen fully before frost.

Get it while you can—the last vintage of Benediction sold out years ago—at Avondale Sky’s winery in Newport Landing or the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. It’s $30 a bottle.

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Katch Seafood opens on Pizza Corner

Late night fish and chips anyone?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2018 at 11:04 AM

  • Danielle McCreadie
Downtown Halifax’s infamous Pizza Corner is reeling in a new clientele.

Katch Seafood, a fast-casual twist on the traditional fish and chips, is opening under the same roof as Pizza Girls (1560 Grafton Street). The new brand will have six different kinds of batters, as well as fish tacos and salads.

Business partner Connor Stoilov is excited to showcase the new brand.

“Pizza corner is our flagship location and we've spent a lot of the last few months getting this ramped up and ready to launch, so we're definitely really excited,” he says.

The company opened its first co-branded location in Tantallon in February 2017 and is excited to start rolling it out across the province. It also hopes to franchise the brand across Canada in the future.

“Putting them together down in Tantallon, we've seen a lot of grandparents and parents bringing their kids down, and the kids love the pizza and the adults love the seafood, so it works really well,” says Stoilov.

“What we think is really unique is there's never been any late-night places for fish and chips. It’s something that’s missing downtown,” he says.

The new location will be open until 5am, so you'll be able to get fish and chips after your night out.

Katch also has a location on the waterfront, and will be launching locations in the Halifax Shopping Centre, Scotia Square and in downtown Moncton later this summer.
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In Print This Week

Vol 26, No 39
February 21, 2019

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