Source is a force | Restaurant Reviews | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

Source is a force

There are still some kinks to work out, but Local Source Market is doing good work and making good food, says Melissa Buote.

Source is a force
Local Source's pear-and-quark Danish makes a dense dessert but a tasty breakfast treat.

There are big goals stored in the little hole in the wall that is Local Source Market. Their aim is to build community through food culture, connect the peninsular population with the province's farmers and promote quality food that is healthy and organic. That's a lot of pressure to put on a few hundred square feet.

I walk into the tiny store, past the counter full of delicious local cheeses and shelves stacked with preserves, syrups and artisan breads, into the small, casual dining room. It's just three or four tables clumped together near a big window in what seems to be a hallway. My friend Simon is already there, sipping on a hot mug of tea ($1.40).

We doff our coats and wander back to the market counter to order. There is a vague feeling of health food in the small menu, but really it just boils down to using fantastic ingredients: seasonal vegetables, meats and cheese from local and organic farms, natural sweeteners, fair trade coffee.

The menu is written on a handful of little chalkboards behind the cash register. The items change daily or weekly, according to the chipper server behind the register. She gestures to the slices of their daily croissants, something to whet our appetites. We take a few pieces of a pear and cheese pastry. It's good.

A honey garlic sausage is featured in both a quiche ($4) and in a panini ($7). We order one of each and the daily salad, named "cool crazy carrot." They've unfortunately run out of the soup of the day. Coffee ($1.40) in hand, we return to Simon's still-steaming mug of tea and install ourselves at the bright window table to wait for our simple lunch.

The salad and sandwich are delivered first, each with a little fan of sliced apple on the side. The apple is a great accompaniment, especially with the sandwich. While the sandwich is delicious, it falls a little on the heavy side with melted gouda, smoky sausage and quark easily dominating the golden beet puree. Sliding in the wedges of apple adds a punch of sweetness and acidity and a missing crispness that makes it feel complete.

While beautiful to look at, the salad is also missing acidity. I love the first few bites, but the red wine vinaigrette, mustard, garlic and maple syrup fail to round out the sweet bowl and halfway through it feels a little staid, even with an occasional pop of flavour from cranberries.

The quiche arrives a few minutes into our meal. It's good, resting heavily on its egginess, the sweetness of the honey garlic sausage and tasty leeks. Beyond that, the flavour is a little flat; the garlic and fenugreek are lost in the mix and the havarti doesn't add enough tang to make up for the lack of simple salt and pepper seasoning.

We decide to go check out the baked goods to give our meal a sweet finish. There are quite a few options---brownies, cookies, croissants and Danishes. We get a spelt brownie and a pear-and-quark Danish.

The brownie is really dense and heavy, as expected. The chocolate flavour is dark and delicious. The icing is unfortunately chalky and dry. The Danish is better. The sweet pear, savoury quark and crunchy coarse sugar on top is a really nice combination. It proves a little heavy for a dessert, though, made with whole wheat flour. I imagine it more as a breakfast treat, one that I'd be happy to eat any morning.

Lunch has been a bargain at under $25. On top of that, it feels good to support local business and local farms. While they haven't nailed seasoning, they have approached seasonality in a thoughtful, delicious way.

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