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Xtreme's tricky treats 

A hero in our midst dares to dine on Halifax's scariest dish. Can you?

My love affair with takeout food is no secret. My office cooler ramblings about the places I order from, the foodstuffs I've subjected my digestive system to, landed me with this task in honour of Halloween: find the scariest food experience in Halifax.

My first thought was to finally eat the Irish Giant burger from Pógue Fadó. It has a fried egg on it! Or rather, had a fried egg on it---sadly, this heart-stopping double-pattied beauty is no longer on the menu. Second on my list was The Cheers Wall of Fame burger. If I ate this 28oz behemoth, my name would be etched on a plaque on a wall. In Cheers. Forever.

No, I realized my true calling was to dive into the new, unstoppable world of specialty poutines. Not content with mere cheese curds and gravy, pizza shops all over HRM are upping the ante in a cholesterol-driven arms race. Thanksgiving stuffing, hamburger, donair meat, breaded chicken, steak, pepperoni, lobster...the topppings run on and on.

So where do I go when I want my grease-eating paradigm shifted? Xtreme Pizza. These guys do not fuck around with the word extreme. Their offerings run from bewildering pizzas like chicken broccoli, taco, chili and the deservedly popular Thanksgiving pizza, to almost typical pizza-shop fare, like "chicken bacon cheddar ranger burgers" or "bacon cheeseburger garlic fingers." And (of course) they created 10 artful variations on a poutine.

To order from Xtreme, one must go extreme. I settled on the Hero poutine ($7.40 for a small). A true hero sandwich combines Italian meats, provolone cheese, roasted peppers, vinegar, olive oil and lettuce slapped on a crusty roll. Not in Xtreme land.

I compare the menu description of the Hero pizza to the description-less Hero poutine and find myself a little let down. Their Hero pizza holds "donair sauce, donair meat, Brothers pepperoni, onions, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese" and, of course, "more donair sauce."

The Hero poutine replaces vegetables with french fries. Thankfully, they drop the donair sauce. And yet, why am I disappointed by the absence of donair sauce? In the end, it's probably a good thing. Donair sauce and gravy combined? Gross.

The verdict? At 4am on a weekend, this moderately spicy feast would be orgasmic, but in the face of sobriety and its nagging sense of responsibility to my health, eating the Hero poutine becomes a bit of a chore. The first few bites are surprisingly good. The meats are cut thick, piled on liberally, then slathered in a generous river of thick gravy and topped with mozzarella cheese. Sure, donair and pepperoni play nice together in the poutine playpen, but you can't really get past its heaviness. The bulk of the small order remained unfinished.

Was it the scariest food in all of Halifax? I wouldn't go so far. Granted, this is coming from the perspective of an artery-hardened takeout-eating veteran. What did my dietitian-in-training girlfriend have to say? "Fat content" was a big winner along with something about daily caloric intake, maybe a couple of sodium references, all peppered with more than a few "oh-my-god-are-you-really-going-to-eat-that" for good measure.

Maybe it is pretty scary in the end.

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