Anything but donairs | Food | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Anything but donairs

Donairs have finished thousands of beer-soaked nights, but you could be eating so much more.

Here's the science: beer is mostly empty carbohydrates. Carbs raise blood sugar. A quick rise in blood sugar (when you've finished your keg-stands) shoots insulin through your body. Insulin lowers blood sugar. You are hungry.

 On medical advice, we concluded it would be irresponsible to do a beer guide without mentioning what goes hand-in-hand with beer: quenching that 3am "OMG, a donair would really hit the spot right now" appetite. Yes, as much as the donair is a part of Halifax tradition, right now there is so much more going on to keep your inebriated gullet full in the middle of the night.

 Freemans Little New York (1726 Grafton): Located right across the street from The Dome, so you can step off the dance floor and satisfy that craving for French onion soup nagging at you the past few hours. Once upon a time, you'd have to cab it to Quinpool before 5am, now they serve up a full menu all night long.

 Venus Pizza (1558 Barrington): Stop! Schwarma time. I know you definitely noticed the pillar of chicken slowly rotating next to the donair spit. So fully visualize it: Think of a donair, replace the donair with chicken, add some pickles and exchange that sweet sauce for an express train straight to garlic country. I give you my word: Get it with the works and ask them to add hummus. Trust me on that. A word of advice: That garlic sauce is going to haunt you for a while, so warn whoever has to deal with your breath in the morning.

 Rocky's Filipino BBQ (5237 Blowers): More commonly known as "street meat," this sidewalk BBQ stand has long been a staple in downtown nightlife. You might be tempted to order a sausage and I personally can't fault you for it---BBQ sausages are damn good---but if you waited patiently in line, you owe it to yourself to get a shish kabob. Keep it on the stick or slap it in a bun and dress the hell out of it: sauerkraut, olives, onions, hot sauce. Because you're in line for a shish kabob, you probably won't be making out tonight, anyway. Do whatever you have to do to get there, but at least try the pork skewers. Marinated, then expertly grilled, they are perfect every time.

 Willy's (5237 Blowers): With its total menu items countable on one hand, these guys are definitely not attempting to overspecialize. Handmade burgers, fresh-cut fries, poutine and their trademark Philly cheese steaks are the total sum of their offerings. I cannot stress enough how much you need to eat their cheesesteak. When you do, you will be confronted with the hard choice about what kind of cheese---provolone or Cheese Whiz. Get the Cheese Whiz. That's how they do it in Philly, that's how you're going to do it here.

 Subway (5675 Spring Garden): You can actually eat healthily at two in the morning! Fuck off, you say? If you ask nicely, they might even hook you up with a breakfast sandwich.

 McDonald's (5675 Spring Garden): It's open 24 hours. There's not much else I can really say about it. It's a McDonald's; it's open 24 hours. That's it...or is it? I include it here because this place is people-watching paradise after bars close. Never in your life will you see a fast-food joint packed with so many bros, drag queens, break-ups, street kids and bleary-eyed ravers from after-hours parties across the street, all at the same time. You can't put a price on entertainment like that. Actually, yes you can---the price of one of those perfect shitty little cheeseburgers and some fountain Coke.

Loukas Crowther is the production designer at The Coast. He has a live-in dietician on standby.

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