I am a Taste of Danforth virgin no more. The street festival that takes over Greektown every summer is in its 22nd year and is as big as ever — it’s actually Canada’s biggest. Sunday afternoon was the final day of the festival and didn’t seem …
From the top of the mound you can see the dust of Sadik’s van before the green beast crashes into view — Ayoup’s whistle blows from somewhere and calls of “pidos!” ring throughout the trenches. It’s time. We slowly wind our way down the incline …
Roma. A city containing gorgeous crumbling architecture, an actual country, and a lot of damn good pizza and pasta. To be honest, I don’t have a lot of great photos of the food I ate in Italy. Frankly, I was way too busy eating, and Rome was no exception. We ate some good food, and we ate some bad food, and we paid way too much for pizza near Trevi fountain.Finding breakfast, lunch and dinner can be a challenge, so I’m only going to talk about three restaurants in Rome.
Here is Rome for breakfast, lunch and dinner
This being my second visit to Rome I was much more excited about eating than I was about partying — which I did a lot of my first time — and we totally splurged on the hotel. White bathrobes, big bathtub and best of all, breakfast in bed.
Breakfast in Rome (in bed)
That’s right, every morning a lovely man would knock on our door with a tray of fresh pastries and hot coffee. High living at Roma Dreaming. It might not look like much, but the fresh berry pie was dense and moist and prepared us for a day of travelling back in time to when Augustus reigned supreme. The cappuccino was perfect. The ‘juice’ was meh.
The view from the balcony wasn’t half bad either. Even my atheist boyfriend marvelled at St. Peter’s dome.
Lunch in Rome
Lunch was a surprise. Apparently I have hipster radar and stumbled upon the only sandwich shop in Rome straight out of Brooklyn.
Gorgeous baguettes lined one full wall at My Bags baguetteria near the Piazza del Popolo. I went simple; prosciutto and mozzarella, Adam went for Cotto with smoked provolone and shaved ham. No need for condiments.
The place was packed inside and out, so we ate our sandwiches in the Borghese Gardens a short walk away with a one-legged pigeon I just can’t forget.
We worked up an appetite exploring ancient ruins.
Adam jumped around the Colosseum like a kid at Christmas — the exact reaction I had the first time I visited — the history nerds gleefully wandered, topping each other’s historical facts about the Colosseum and the Roman forum.
Dinner in Rome
The June evenings were warm, just cool enough to wander down the Corso to find a restaurant.
A rule of thumb: try to avoid the well-priced prix-fixes english menus in Rome. It might look appealing, and they are certainly in abundance, but they are average meals with pre-made sauces. Look for Italian menus on quiet streets for the perfect Roman meal.
Antica Enoteca is on the via della Croce a 3-minute walk from the Spanish Steps and a great place for alfresco dining.
Cacio e Pepe. I’d heard about it for years and somehow it had evaded my eyes on menus the first visit to Italy, probably because the only thing I ate was Carbonara (not that there’s anything wrong with Carbonara).
Cheese, pasta, pepper, perfetto. I cannot even describe how delicious this plate of pasta was, I won’t try, you’ll just have to take my word for it.
Adam’s mushroom ravioli was also amazing. But not as amazing as the meat salad I had for my main. There aren’t any pictures of my Carpaccio di Manzo because I was too busy scarfing it down and moaning at how the thinly sliced beef melted in my mouth while warm parmesan reggiano and arugula danced on my tongue.
Every night there was gelato. Anywhere and everywhere.
I always had half-white chocolate, half-dark chocolate. Adam always went white chocolate.
Walking through Honfleur on a sunny day is like walking through a painting. Courbet, Monet, and Boudin came here to paint the quaint harbour town in northern France in the 19th century. The dreamy greys, slates, and earthy reds echo impressionism beg to be painted. The town …
Last week I went to the movies and Anthony Bourdain sat in front of me. It was hard not to reach out and rustle his mostly salt and pepper hair. The lanky 6’3 rebel chef took the tiny university town of Wolfville, Nova Scotia by storm when …
The most underrated restaurant in Halifax is waiting to be found, hidden in the halls of the Akerley campus of Nova Scotia Community College.
Fresh Twenty One, formerly known as the Akerley Dining Room, is a fine-dining restaurant that is run completely by the students of the Tourism Management program, who team up with the Culinary Arts and Pastry & Baking Arts programs to dish out some pretty darn good food.
People talk up this place all the time, but the reservations in the evening don’t go much higher than 30 people or so. After eating there, I can’t understand why. There are 20 eager and talented chefs that want to cook amazing food for you, for dirt cheap, plus an army of servers waiting on you hand and foot. How can this not be enjoyable?
I went for lunch a few weeks ago with average expectations, I thought ‘How good can it be, they are students?’
Needless to say I was impressed.
Adam and I were greeted at the door by someone who took our coats and ushered us politely to the hostess stand. Walking past the bar, a view of the buzzing pastry arts room brings the place to life.
The dining room at Fresh Twenty One is fancy, which you wouldn’t expect walking down the dim hallways of the campus past auto-mechanic and welding workshops.
Tables are beautifully set with white linen, polished cutlery, and elegant touches, like the tiny posies from the garden.
Fresh Twenty One grows herbs and veggies right on their own terrace.
Service is attentive and purposeful. The servers are dressed to the nines in black and white, with crisp aprons and bow-ties, and they aim to please. Bradley MacDonald, faculty member with Tourism and Hospitality, oversees the restaurant and keeps a watchful eye on the staff.
Though students run the show, every now and then he will interject with a comment about their service, but it didn’t bother us at all. Even though this is technically a classroom, it didn’t feel that way.
Our server Alina brought over my giant glass of white wine ($4), which was the daily pairing: a 2011 Domaine de la Condemine Macon-Peronne.
After devouring our fresh warm rolls straight from the baking & pastry arts boulanger (students can buy goodies from the bakeshop daily), our appetizers arrived.
I had the Beet-Cured Scallop ($7) served on watermelon carpaccio. The accompanying sweet corn creme brulee is like nothing I’ve ever tasted, so corny and creamy, so good. The presentation is darn impressive.
Adam’s Smoked Ham and Caramelized Onion Ravioli was the star of lunch.
Served on a bed of tarragon green pea puree, and topped with crispy parsnip, this could have served as a full entree.
It cost $7.
For the main event, I chose Roast Chicken with Squash Risotto Stuffing ($12). The best part of this dish was the prosciutto and potato pavée; super tasty.
Adam’s Mushroom Dusted Salmon Filet ($12) was slightly dry, but flavourful. The drool-worthy french-toast corn bread accompanying the salmon more than made up for it.
Overall, lunch was a delightful experience. While the food may not be the very best Halifax has to offer, the dishes are certainly nothing to be ashamed about, and definitely worth the trek into the depths of Dartmouth. The food is good, the service is great, and students bring out all the stops.
With the bill totalling $45 plus tax and tip for two courses and wine for two, it’s very affordable. Dinner is a steal at 5-courses for around $35 per person.
This place is really underrated and I encourage everyone to go and give Fresh Twenty One a try.
Do it for the kids, do it for your tummy.
*Fresh Twenty One does lunch service at 1130am and dinner service at 6pm every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from mid-September to mid-April. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling (902) 491-4961.
A Collaboration for the Love of Peaches: Words by Gabby Peyton & Images by Kelly Neil Last week Kelly and I went in search of peaches. Having visited a friend in Berwick a week earlier and discovering that Dempsey’s Corner Orchard grew peaches (amongst a …