A week after I started my new job, I was standing in the grocery line getting increasingly annoyed by slow people at the self-checkout when it hit me: “I forgot my blogiversary,” I said aloud. Well, shit. A wave of guilt washed over me, the …
Tag: Halifax Travel
My perfect day, like many days, revolves around food. I daydream frequently about eating three meals a day at restaurants and I’ve decided to let you in on the fantasy. This is my no-holds-barred-budget-busting-shameless perfect day of eating in Halifax. Breakfast is a no brainer: The …
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.
On Saturday, 1000 Haligonians were transported to Paris for a night at the white wonderland that is Diner en Blanc.
Started in Paris in the late 1980s by Françoise Pasquier and a small group of friends, Diner en Blanc is now hosted all over the world in over 40 cities where thousands of people meet up for an evening of food, fabulous fashion, and dancing. The location of the event is always kept secret and the gourmet picnic and dance party ascends onto this location for one solitary evening, only to leave it exactly as they came upon departure. Saturday evening’s party was Halifax’s first Diner en Blanc, but believe me, it won’t be the last!
When I first told Adam about the event he was a little skeptical (mainly because he wasn’t thrilled about wearing white pants) but as the day grew closer, we had a lot of fun getting our outfits ready, hypothesizing about the secret location, and snapping a few photos before we set off for the evening.
As we walked to our meeting spot, (one of many across the city from which guests are led on foot or by bus to the secret location) the anticipation grew; people even stopped Adam and I on the street asking us questions about why were dressed in white and where the party was going to be!
Arriving at the meeting point, I was surprised and delighted to see a large group of fully blanc-clad people. Because Halifax hasn’t had an event like this before, I wasn’t sure how enthusiastic people would be about full white outfits, but everyone was stylin’ in white! Men in full white suits, shiny white patent shoes, women in long fancy white gowns, I even saw a woman with her hair spray-painted white!
And onto the buses we went, only to travel a few minutes down to the south end to King’s College, where everyone came together in the square to set up and get the party started!
There was a frantic excitement as partygoers set up their table settings and food. All attendees are in charge of bringing their own settings and fancy picnics (traditionally people are also required to bring their own tables and tablecloths, but for Halifax’s first event, these were supplied). I found the loveliest ornate clear plates at a second hand shop for our spot, and with crystal votives, a bouquet of lilies, and food mis-en-place, the table was set!
The wine for the evening had to be purchased ahead of time through Diner en Blanc and was provided by Bishop’s Cellar who selected the wine especially for the event. Adam and I chose the Domaine de Tariquet Sauvignon Blanc, but there were also a few reds and even Veuve Cliquot to choose from.
And with the wave of 1000 white napkins, the meal began.
We began our feast with brie and baguette, and quickly moved onto our appetizer: prosciutto skewers with fresh mozzarella, basil, and melon.
For our main course, Adam and I made carpaccio with an arugula and parmesan salad with truffle oil. It was delicious.
Dessert was mini-cheesecakes with Reese Peanut Butter Cups as the crust. I was sad that we only brought two each to dinner. (Don’t fret, the rest were taken care of later that evening)
There were many different types of picnics around, from sushi to gourmet pizza, people went to town with their eats. Ratinaud French Cuisine, Front & Central, and Rousseau Chocolatier also teamed up to make basket meals that you could pre-purchase and bring for your picnic. From foie gras to fish terrine and white chocolate truffles, they had all the bases covered.
The entertainment for the evening was really something special. Swingology brought us into the evening and whisked us off to 1930s Paris with beautiful swing music and singer Cynthia Myers crooning French tunes. Near the end of the meal a group of creepy looking mimes appeared: at first I thought they were really bad mimes, only to discover they were an awesome break-dancing troupe!!
At the end of their performance everyone lit sparklers signalling the end of the eating portion of the evening and the start of the dancing!
Event organizers Michelle Brisson and Dylan Moggey pulled out all the stops for Halifax’s inaugural event, including an amazing light show projected against the main building of King’s campus. Egg Studios’ light show made the building come alive, and with the music pumping and a sea of dancers all in white, the night couldn’t be called anything but a success. Overall the event went off without a hitch, which cannot be an easy feat. Though the line to the toilets was definitely too long, everyone seemed to be having a great time, and magical is the only way I can describe the night.
So what do you need to know for next year’s event? Well first of all, you are going to get a lot of emails about the particulars for the event; Diner en Blanc has a lot of etiquette and rules about what to bring, what to wear, etc. Do not get bogged down by the details. As long as you follow the guidelines you will have a great time. The beauty in the organic and wonderful feeling of this event is that everyone attending works together to make it cool, and it is so cool. A party spontaneously explodes onto a secret location, and for a few hours, it’s heavenly. For next year, get your whites ready, research your picnic recipes, and prepare to be transported to a wonderful world of white. Halifax rocked Diner en Blanc.
On Friday evening Squiggle Park was hopping! The corner of Gottingen and Falkland became a lively night market hosted by Squiggle Park food truck in residence, The Food Wolf. North by Night Market (NXNMRKT) is a newly established monthly event that showcases local vendors, food trucks, and …
Who doesn’t love Dim Sum? I could pretty much eat it everyday, and luckily Kee Heong Cantonese Bakery in downtown Halifax offers up delicious breads, pastries, and Dim Sum everyday of the week!
Kee Heong is the epitome of delicious hole-in-the-wall. In fact, the first time I went to this place, I walked right by it and had to Google map myself back to the tiny Granville Street location. I heard about Kee Heong from a friend who was raving about the pork buns, and though it has been open for over a year now, I think this place might be one of the best kept secrets in Halifax. (That is of course, until I blab about it all over social media. Sorry Janet, I have to let the world know about how yummy it is!)
My friend Erin and I stopped by a few weeks ago on a busy Friday lunch hour and though the restaurant’s seven tables were full, we only had to wait a few moments for a spot to open up. The decor is simple, the furniture functional, and the pastry case is full of mouth watering treats.
Once seated, our server appeared with a steaming pot of tea and we wrote down our list of dishes to share from the array of options available including steamed buns, dumplings, soups, even chicken feet!
A few moments later, the server returned with a quizzical look on her face. She was very confused about my ordering number 16, the Szechuan Spicy Pork Tripe.
The conversation went something like this:
Server: “Do you know what number 16 is? It’s organs!”
Me: “Yes, I know.” (With a sly grin on my face, I have actually never tried tripe before, but I was feeling adventurous.)
Server: “Most Canadians don’t like number 16.”
Me: “Bring it on!”
(I totally felt cool, like Anthony Bourdain, for the rest of the meal)
Well let me tell you, number 16 was delicious. Slightly tender, the Szechuan Spicy Pork Tripe ($4.00) resembled the texture of calamari, but with a spicy peanut flavouring that Szechuan is known for. Even Erin seemed to like it, though continuously asked not to be reminded of what it actually was for the duration of the meal.
The pork buns. Oh, the pork buns. The Baked BBQ Pork Bread ($1.80 a bun) in the ‘Bread’ section of the menu (not to be confused with the steamed buns), were warm and fluffy and stuffed with soft pork coddled in a tangy BBQ sauce. Perfection.
You can’t have Dim Sum without dumplings, and we opted for the Pork with Cilantro Steamed Dumplings (6 pieces, $3.50). The flavour of the cilantro was prominent, but in the most pleasant of ways; super fresh and light and complimenting the pork perfectly.
Surprisingly, one of my favourite parts of the meal was a non-meat item, the Pan Fried Crispy Corn Cakes (3 pieces, $3.50).
Filled with fresh corn and sweet peas they were a delight. Light but filling and just the perfect mount of greasy, we gobbled them right up!
We also had the Duck Egg Inside Pork Balls (4 pieces, $3.50). They might read odd on the menu but they were very tasty. My only complaint about the entire meal was that the egg inside was very well cooked, making the balls a little dry.
For dessert, I just had to try one of the cute little Milk Tarts ($1.00). The filling had a slightly odd texture, but the pastry was delicate and perfect. I have also tried the Coconut Tart ($1.00) at other visits, and swear by their moist filling; skip the Milk and go for Coconut.
Though I am definitely not an expert on Cantonese baked goods, I can certainly say that the eats at Kee Heong are delicious. The pork buns are to die for, and seriously, you cannot beat the cost. The meal for the both of us, including tea and some pork buns to go came to $24.00! Whether you are feeling adventurous enough to try chicken feet and tripe, or craving a comforting bowl of Wonton soup, the next time you are downtown with your tummy grumbling, head to Kee Heong Cantonese Bakery for a Dim Sum feast or some pork buns to go! Why not go right now, you know you’re already drooling.
Field Guide is a small but unmistakable spot on Gottingen Street that debuted late in 2013 amongst the flurry of openings in the North End this past Fall. Owners Ceilidh Sutherland and Dan Vorstermans cleverly named their restaurant as a means of ‘guiding’ patrons through their …
Ahhh the muddled cocktail. Muddled cocktails have made a huge resurgence in the past few years, possibly as a result of the 1920s reincarnating itself into hipster coolness, the re-release of the Great Gatsby, or maybe because they are just plain delicious. Whatever their reputation, they …
Lion & Bright is the best of both beverage worlds: A café with delicious coffee, pastries, and sandwiches, and a wine bar with beer, wine, bar snacks, and great dishes with local ingredients.
And attached to a local market at that!
It’s genius really, and very easy to spend a full day at this place. I’ve done it. Several times now in fact.
Located on trendy Agricola Street wedged between Agricola Street Brasserie and Local Source Market, this coffee-shop-wine-bar is the newest hot spot in the North End for coffee, food, wine, you name it; it’s got a bit of everything. I have been to this place a dozen times now and the only day that it wasn’t busy was probably the first day it opened in mid-January. Since then, this place is always buzzing with people.
The space is light, bright and full of natural wood and industrial lighting. Chalkboard menus list daily specials, classic cocktails, and coffee any way you want it. There is communal seating, tables made of big slabs of wood for cozy couples, and two large tables designated for work purposes set up with multiple sockets for all your electronic needs. This place exudes cool.
Cleverly named after the term to describe a team of oxen, this place juxtaposes two eateries (café & wine bar) and melds them into one unique spot. The café side is BRIGHT: there are lots of delicious coffee drinks with beans supplied by North Mountain Coffee of Berwick, NS.
The Red Velvet Espresso is delicious and their Cappuccino is quickly becoming one of my favourites in the city. The Pain-au-chocolat is filled with luscious dark chocolate, and they have lots of other delicious goodies to sooth your sweet tooth.
The daytime menu features savoury soups, sandwiches, hot pies, and salads. With the Local Source through an open doorway (both are owned by Sean Gallagher) and daily lunch specials like Fish Tacos, a Pint, and a Cookie for $12, how can you go wrong?
One day for lunch I sampled the Grilled Cheese: it was smothered in cheese, mushrooms, and pear butter, which I’ve never heard of before but man was it ever tasty. Served with a delicious homemade ketchup, this sandwich is a winner.
The wine bar is LION: At 5pm sharp the place fills up with the hip afterwork crowd looking for libations, delicious food, and great company. The bar has a great selection: L&B Old Fashioneds and other classic cocktails, Bulwark Cider on tap, and a large list of craft beer both on tap and by the bottle. There is also an extensive wine list from Nova Scotia and all over the world, not to mention a great Scotch list.
Lion & Bright has an array of bar snacks including cheese, charcuterie, Sweet Potato Chips, even Beef Jerky! There are a number of small plates with choices like Roasted Golden Beet Carpaccio or Baked Raspberry Point Oysters. I was also surprised to see a small selection of full meals on the menu for the evening, including a Duck Confit with Cardamom Plum Jam.
This place has pretty much become my new office, and whether you are in the mood for a cappucino and pain-au-chocolate or an Old Fashioned and homemade beef-jerky, this is the place to go. The atmosphere is awesome day or night, and it’s easy to spend a lot of time here drinking coffee, drinking cocktails, reading or chatting. It’s got a great vibe, and a great play list to match.
You can Lion & Brighten my day anytime.