Imagine a food festival where you would meander along the coastline sampling dishes from famous chefs and drinking wine. Musicians would play music while you lingered by the ocean with a full belly and happy heart and you finish your afternoon with desserts in a playground. Well, dreams really do come true.
Poutine has become a quintessential Canadian dish. Chefs are spooning out messy iterations of this gravy-curd-fry combination everywhere, and I love it all. I’ve eaten poutine in many forms and many places — like sitting curb-side after a night of drinking in Halifax or with a knife and pork at Bymark in Toronto.
This past spring, I started writing a column for the Food Bloggers of Canada spotlighting the history of iconic Canadian foods, and first up was the evolution of poutine. After delving into the melting (gravy) pot of history surrounding this gluttonous dish, I knew had to try an original rendition. I spent hours pouring over historical records, now I wanted to pour over a giant bowl of poutine. So, when we began to plan our road trip from Toronto to St. John’s to move home to Newfoundland, I made careful consideration to include a stop for the original poutine in Quebec.
I’m so freaking happy the first restaurant in the “up-and-coming” Canary District is finally open. Souk Tabule — the little sister of Toronto’s Middle Eastern restaurant mogul Tabule — is a fast-casual spot I fell in love with in a hurry. If you read my …
What a year the fourth has been! Another 365 days of events, flights and so much ham. This was a pork-filled year, from The Publican in Chicago to jamón ibérico in Spain. Countries visited? Spain, Mexico and the United States on several occasions. Michelin Stars? One. Weird animal …
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 to be as crazy as the previous two days of good eating, free hummus and Guinness World Record making.
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 …
Imagine a room filled with dining rooms and beautiful food to eat, but not a place to sit.
This might sound like a cruel joke, or a line from an Alanis Morissette song, but it’s actually a unique fundraiser that happened just last weekend.
Dine By Design East was created by East Coast Living magazine to support the Amber Harkins Memorial Scholarship Fund. Harkins was a long-time editor at the magazine who passed away in 2012, and this scholarship will help support design education at NASCAD.
10 designers and 10 chefs come together from all across Nova Scotia to create a magical event. The opening gala was held on Thursday October 30 and I was lucky enough to attend.
Dine By Design East is all about detail. Small touches in dining rooms, elegant plating of dishes, and creative decorating completely transformed the Olympic Community Centre.
For the gala, chefs prepared dishes to compliment the rooms they were paired with.
Henhouse created a lovely kitchen and dining room called ‘Fishshack.’
They were matched with chef Brad Wammes of Kitchen Door Catering who served up some delicious fish and chips.
Their gingerbread tree was the most whimsical thing I’ve ever eaten.
Jonathan Legate Interior Consultation was one of my favourite rooms. I want to move into this space. The white walls, gallery style artwork, and pops of colour are like what I have in my house, but way cooler.
The details in these rooms were impressive. Designers pay attention to little things, creating mood by adding things to the corner of a room. Legate’s touches, like the giant bottle of Moet in the corner of the room were things I fell in love with.
And of course, his match with Gio was perfect. Chef David Woodley’s lamb corn dogs were just amazing. Simple, elegant, comfortable.
Design360’s ‘Dining in the raw’ was a pleasure. The designers used sustainable and reusable materials to create their room, and all leftover produce is going to Hope Blooms.
Agricola Street Brasserie’s duck pairing was a perfect compliment, and was served in a pretty neat way!
Attica’s ‘Breaking Bread’ was definitely the crowd pleaser. Pop-art collided with pop-culture with a Pollock themed floor and Warhol’s soup cans featuring bologna soup and jigg’s dinner.
Their toast wall was the talk of the event. Miley Cyrus’ depiction was the most interesting piece of the evening.
Attica’s chef partner, Luis Clavel from Seasons by Atlantica, created an equal amount of buzz with his molecular gastronomy. There were powders and foams, and it was all freaking delicious.
EDNA was paired with Signature Design Ressource who created a lovely secret garden.
Chef Robert Reynold’s marinated shrimp cocktail was fresh and flavourful with tequila, citrus, and avocado mousse.
Up in the mezzanine there were local artists featured from galleries around the city, like Studio 21 and the Teichert Gallery (formally AGNS Art Sales and Rental).
There was also a specially designed ‘Bubble Bar’ for those who wanted to enjoy a glass of Champagne.
Throughout the weekend there were events including a fashion show, a design seminar, and a culinary workshop: ‘Avant Garde Cuisine’ with Clavel.
This event is an amazing opportunity to showcase local design and local food; it embraces what Nova Scotia has to offer and serves it up in a unique way. Dine By Design East is only in its second year, but its continued success will see it go on for many years, and for a great cause to say the least.
Make sure you’re there next year.
Do you need a fork? Sadly this is a phrase that I hear all too often at Asian restaurants. I must look very awkward while using chopsticks, because every time I sit down for a bowl of Pho, a heaping plate of Pad Thai, or a steaming bowl of Ramen, I am almost immediately offered North American cutlery. At first I was offended, I mean who are you to say that I don’t know how to use chopsticks properly? Does this happen to everyone? I just assumed that the waitstaff gave forks to all non-Asians, and then it hit me:
I am really crappy at using chopsticks.
Granted, no one ever taught me how to use chopsticks when I was a kid; authentic Asian food was hard to come by where I grew up. When I finally started travelling and eating various meals that required these cunning utensils, I just went with the flow and taught myself (hence the awkward chopstick handling). It was only after moving to Toronto for grad school, where I fell in love with Asian food, that someone finally taught me how to use them properly. I started to master the art, which I am embarrassed to say, I have yet to achieve. It really is a true wonder to me how people are able to use them with such finesse and ease. I think it’s hard.
A few weeks ago Adam and I went to Truly Tasty on Quinpool Road for lunch. It was our first time there, and I was pretty impressed with the modern decor: The walls were not covered with the stereotypical Asian art and the furniture was sleek and new. We were greeted by a very friendly server and chose our lunch pretty quickly. The lunch menu is small and direct: dumplings and ramen. What more do you need?
After ordering, the server brought water and a small Sprout Salad. The tiny salad was packing quite the punch with its intense flavours of chili and its deliciousness really got our tummies grumbling.
But sure enough, before I had brought the first bite to my mouth, the server appeared out of nowhere and asked: Do you need a fork?
Okay lady, I know I must look like I’m struggling to get this little bean sprout into my mouth, but give me a chance. I managed to eat the salad without the fork, success!
For our mains, we chose the lunch special, Ramen with Pork, and an order of pork dumplings to share (we like pork). The steaming bowls of ramen came out really fast and they were huge even though we had ordered the small! It looked and smelled amazing.
The ramen was great. The pork belly was cooked perfectly, soft and juicy, the egg was magically brown on the outside and was deliciously gooey on the inside. The noodles were the perfect texture, and there was also some tree fungus in there that I couldn’t identify specifically, but it was awesome too! I did have to give in and use a fork, which I was actually grateful for at this point, there was so much yummy food in front of me I didn’t want to slow down to use the chopsticks.
The dumplings were less than great for me, Adam finished mine, but overall the meal was really good! I am so happy to have found a great ramen spot in Halifax and I will definitely be back for more. I encourage anyone who hasn’t tried this hidden gem to Explore.Eat.Repeat. yourself down to Quinpool Road, immediately.
And so continues my struggle with attaining the perfect chopstick skills. I will trudge on in the hopes of one day not being asked the dreaded question: Do you need a fork?
Things Worth Mentioning…
Cost: SO CHEAP! For lunch for two it was less than 25$ plus tip. A great bang for your buck.
Things I liked: The surprising decor and the pork belly.
Things I didn’t: The dumplings.
Best Place to Sit: Near the back of the restaurant, it gets a little drafty on the first level close to the door.
What To Order Next Time: More dumplings. I want to give them another try, maybe the veggie ones.