Over the holidays I was lucky enough to be able to catch up with a dear friend. Danielle is a lovely girl whom I met on my first adventure to Greece in 2008. We were united by our love for the ancients and on our …
Tag: Halifax Travel
*Note: Lot30 is now closed. This weekend past I was helping my old boss Dana with a Bra Fitting and Sales event in Summerside PEI (Dana owns The Boobie Trap in St. John’s NL, and yes, I lived a former life as a professional bra fitter). Though we were very …
As if it hasn’t already been deliciously obvious to readers of The Food Girl in Town, I really love brunch. In fact, I have written numerous articles about my love for the midday delight, and discussed at length the rise in popularity of the filling phenomenon. Because of this love for brunch, I decided to actually use my Masters degree for something useful and do some research about the history of the creation of brunch and, more specifically, my favourite brunch entree, Eggs Benedict. I will not bore the non foodie nerds with a long essay about the historicity of brunch, however, a brief tasting of its fascinating beginnings seems more than appropriate.
Firstly, the obvious consensus among food historians and foodies on the web seems to be that the word “brunch” is a portmanteau of “breakfast and “lunch.” Though there are several myths surrounding the actual coining of the name brunch, the most popular states that the term was created by an Englishman under the name Guy Beringer who discussed brunch and its ideas in an essay entitled ‘Brunch, A Plea’, published in Punch magazine in the late 1890s. The article basically describes how it would be better for people to eat their breakfast later on Sundays so that they could stay up later on Saturday night drinking, which opposed the norm at the time of rising early for church and eating a very hearty meal post worship. Genius, right? The ultimate hangover cure at its earliest stages!
Brunch rose in popularity in America during the 20th century as people became less concerned with formal heavy meals and church going, and more preoccupied with Bloody Marys’, Mimosas and, of course, Eggs Benedict.
The beginnings of Eggs Benedict seem to be much more hazy, with several controversial myths surrounding the delicacy, however, one seems to stand out. The tale begins at what is considered to be the first legitimate restaurant in America: Delmonico’s in New York City (it stills exists, check out there website here!). It was said that in 1893, a woman by the name of Mrs. Legrand Benedict entered Delmonico’s for lunch and when she saw nothing on the menu to her liking, asked for something new to be created for her meal. Thus, Chef Charles Ranhofer came up with Eggs Benedict to satisfy a needy customer, and a legend was born. (Sidenote: Baked Alaska is also said to have been invented at Delmonico’s)
After studying all these wonderful creation myths I decided that I absolutely needed some Eggs Benedict, so Adam and I decided to try the new restaurant at the Delta Barrington, Tempo Food+Drink. Excited about the prospect of a brand new restaurant and intrigued by a chance walk by of the restaurant on its opening night, Adam and I jostled through the hotel lobby that Sunday morning with anticipation and hunger.
As we entered the restaurant through the lobby, the decor is immediately striking with its modern and funky furniture, colourful accents and awesome open kitchen; I was immediately impressed. It is very reminiscent of Bannock, a Toronto restaurant, with its sleek and earthy wooden furniture, which is cosmopolitan but at the same time comfortable. The girl at the counter of the grab-and-go station greeted us warmly, and a server approached us promptly to guide us to our table.
I knew exactly what I wanted, it was the first thing on the menu and number one in my heart: Eggs Benedict. Adam ordered the Skillet and we sipped on our Starbucks brand drip coffee while we waited for our food. Though we did not notice the time pass, our server approached Adam while I was in the restroom and apologized for the delay, saying that there was mix up with the food, and asked us if we would like Mimosas or Bloody Marys’ while we waited. We graciously accepted two Mimosas for our wait, and before we knew it the food had arrived.
It was worth the wait. My classic favourite had been reworked and jazzed up to Waffle Benedict: Poached eggs with crispy prosciutto, white cheddar on savoury waffles with a lemon hollandaise sauce. It was amazing. The lemon in the hollandaise was the perfect hint of sweetness to compliment the waffles and the prosciutto added the salt and the crunch to make this entree fantastic! The meal was presented excellently, with the crispy hashbrowns in a cute little paper bag, and a side of pineapple.
Adam was at first baffled at the sheer size of his meal (the server even commented on how it could probably have been shared), and was then pleasantly surprised at how delicious the Skillet was. The combination of three meats (Adam’s favourite food group) with egg, cheese, and hashbrowns was all the heartiness and goodness Adam wanted on that Sunday afternoon.
Overall, brunch at Tempo Food+Drink was a very pleasant experience; we were waited on by a plethora of wait staff, the manager even came over to apologize about the delay of the food, and it was a very comfortable atmosphere. One of the best features of the restaurant was that it did not really feel like a hotel restaurant but more of a place that is a destination, not a stopover. I would recommend this place to any out-of-towner looking for a good meal, or those weekly brunch going Haligonians who love to Explore.Eat.Repeat brunch right in their own backyards. Enjoy!
Things Worth Mentioning…
Cost: 45$ for two entrees, coffee, tax and tip! Probably would have been more had we had to pay for our Mimosas!
Things I liked: The wait staff and brunch served until 5pm…Amazing!
Things I didn’t: The long and complicated walk to the bathrooms.
The best place to sit: Near the windows to people watch through the giant floor to ceiling windows, or in the bar area with its funky lounge seating.
What to order next time: Dinner!
Over Thanksgiving weekend my parents came to stay with Adam and I. On Sunday we were lucky enough to enjoy an amazing turkey dinner that was cooked by yours truly and my mom…who am I kidding? I have to give pretty much all the credit to my mom, Cathy, because she did all food, other than my sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and pecans, which, I might add, got rave revues (the recipe will be posted soon). Though I was thrilled with how the first Thanksgiving in my own place went down, I have to discuss the awesome dinner that we had just a few days before. That Friday, October 5th, was also my mom’s birthday, so we went out to The Bicycle Thief for dinner on that warm Fall evening to celebrate. As emphatic as my rant about French food in the last post was, I just have to say how much I love Italian as well: not just true Tuscan tortellini, but Mulberry Street’s Fettuccine Alfredo in NYC (did you know that Fettuccine Alfredo is not true Italian food, and derives from Little Italy, NYC? Click here for an interesting history), and even the crappy Spaghetti Bolognese from Vanelli’s in your local mall food court. I just love pasta! So when we entered the bustling restaurant on Friday night I was very excited to eat a fabulous bowl of carbohydrates.
At 8:30 on a Friday evening, the restaurant was packed! I am talking full sections, busy waiters, and hungry people seated at the bar. We were taken to our table immediately and were presented with numerous cocktail, wine and food meues, that were big in both content and size (they were huge!). The decor of the restaurant is cozy, vintage, and elegant all at the same time. The walls are covered in framed phtography and paintings, and all the antiques and nic nacs give it a comfortable, familiar feeling.The wooden chairs and tables are accented by big brown leather banquettes and elegant barstools, and the lighting was perfect for a celebratory Friday night meal, or a romantic dinner for two. The Bicycle Thief was busy and had a hip and trendy feel that reminded me of this amazing Italian restaurant that my friend Dana and I went to in NYC called Maialino.
Though The Bicycle Thief brands themselves as “North American Food. Italian Soul.” I was impressed with the selection of Italian dishes on the menu. The dinner menu is very large and is divided into three sections, or courses, which are cleverly labeled 1st, 2nd, and High Gears. A traditional Italian meal consists of five parts with Antipasti, Primo, Secondi, Contorni, and Dolce courses, but most restaurants present the menus in three courses, like The Bicycle Thief. I started our wonderful meal with the Tourchon Foie Gras, something we all know that I cannot resist. Served with Stone fruit chutney and crostini, the foie gras was creamy and delicious and everything I wanted it to be. Adam thoroughly enjoyed his Sweet pepper studded pan seared Crab & Fish Cake with homemade Tartar sauce, and though Cathy thought there was a little too much tomato flavour in the sauce, really liked her mussels. My father, Dan, ordered the Sardines and was very impressed at their size. He loved them and the rest of the table loved that fresh Sardines did not come with the pungent odour that canned ones do. The three red wine drinkers at the table enjoyed a bottle of Côtes du Rhône from France, while I accompanied my appetizer with a glass of Tattinger, which I was very impressed about having on the menu by the glass. I love when real Champagne is on the menu by the glass!
The service was attentive and swift, with several different severs bringing our mains. Though you could tell that our server was very busy, with a packed section, he was still very personable and efficient. You could tell he knew how to do his job well. The wait between our mains was perfectly appropriate and I was so excited to see the presentation of my meal in front of me when it arrived. I ordered the Peppercorn crusted Beef Tenderloin Tagliata that was served with sea salted hand cut Frites, and was presented on a wooden cutting board! Both the presentation and the taste of the meal was awesome. The meat was cooked to the medium rare that I ordered, and though the Peppercorn crust was slightly overwhelming for my taste, was very enjoyable. Adam ordered the Veal Scaloppine Parmigiana, which to us seemed like the most recognizable Italian dish of the night. It was topped with prosciutto di San Daniele, smoked Provolone, and San Marzano tomato sauce and was delicious! Cathy ordered the Double smoked bacon wrapped Pork Tenderloin and loved it! She was astounded by the price of the tenderloin and raved about the Marsala wine reduction. Dan revelled in his Rabbit, and enjoyed the accompaniment of polenta with fresh herbs.
Even though the 2nd Gear section, or Secondi, looked amazing there was no way that any of us would have been able to eat all three courses! The portions were a great size and the ingredients were fresh and flavourful. The funny thing was that none of us ordered pasta because they were for the most part in the 2nd Gear section. However, despite the common assumption that Italian food is based around pasta, the main dishes presented authentic and innovative Italian options. We all decided that we were two full of food and wine for dessert and were completely satisfied with the meal; Mom even got a delicious birthday shot courtesy of our friendly server.
Overall I would recommend The Bicycle Thief to anyone who enjoys Italian food and a good time. It was a great place to celebrate my parents coming to visit and my mom’s birthday. The experience was awesome, and I am anxious to try it a second time, making sure to starve myself the whole day so that I can have five courses in the true Italian fashion and Explore. Eat. Repeat.
Things worth mentioning…
Cost: Around 450$ for four people, including tax, tip, THREE bottles of wine, and more than a few glasses of champagne.
Things I liked: The atmosphere and decor, authentic bubbles by the glass, AMAZING fries, and the washrooms…beautiful.
Things I didn’t: Very little…a little loud for those who appreciate intense dinner conversations, wine by the glass was slightly expensive.
Best place to sit: Anywhere! At the bar, on a banquette or by the window, all have their own ambience. Next time I want to sit outside; the view of the harbour is great, and they provide elegant red pashminas to keep you warm!
What to order next time: PASTA! In particular the BLT Fettuccine, with Pancetta, slow roasted cherry tomatoes, Arugula, and Pecorino cheese.
Saturday midday in Halifax, Adam and I were doing what everyone seemed to be doing: looking for a good Brunch place to satisfy our hungry bellies and our hungover heads. We rendezvoused with an old friend from our Honours Program, Krysi, and set off in search of excellent food and rejuvenating coffee.
Our first attempt at brunch was on Robie Street at the Coastal Cafe, but the minute we entered we knew the effort to drive up from the South End had been futile. The small place was overflowing with young hip people; not a table was open, and there were at least 15 people standing with menus in front of us. I should not have been surprised as the reason I had chosen this place was that it was ranked the “Best Brunch” in the city by The Coast, and would of course be filled with people. Here lies my first rookie mistake in Haligonian epicuriousity: if it’s popular, it will be busy. Krysi, a local, informed me that it is very difficuly to find places to eat in the city that aren’t overwhelmed with people on a Saturday morning.
In my not-so-epic search for brunch, I had only relied on the ‘Best of’ section in The Coast and naively assumed that a place like The Coastal Cafe, which has won best brunch numerous years in a row, wouldn’t be busy on a Saturday at noon. The Coastal Cafe will have to wait until another day, another blog.
So off we went, driving down Robie in search of another Coast selection: jane’s on the common. Lucky for us, there were just enough parking spots on the side street for Krysi to park and the friendly hostess greeted us warmly, informing us that it would just be a few moments until a table would be available.
After a short wait, we were guided to a secluded table in a little nook at the back of the restaurant, hidden from the throngs of chatty undergraduates and ladies who brunch. The atmosphere was busy, but warm and hectic in the most charming of ways, with a comfortable but stylish decor. Our convivial server spoke to us immediately about the specials and was swift in filling our cups with hot, delicious coffee.
Krysi chose the Maritime Breakfast upon the server’s recommendation and she thoroughly enjoyed the lightly breaded haddock fillet, something which she normally doesn’t eat for breakfast, but loved the change of scenery. I ordred my classic brunch choice, Eggs Benedict with Bacon, which felt like a bit of a cop-out at a new place, but I was pleasantly surprised to cut into a sweet potato biscuit, as opposed to the traditional english muffin. The greens were fresh and added a great lunch attitude to the breakfast classic.
Adam was delighted with his Chorizo Sausage and Potato Scramble, which was labelled ‘GFO’ and confused us for a moment until we realized that the key at the bottom of the menu explained that ‘GFO’ meant “gluten free option.” There were also Vegan Options or ‘VO,’ which I found to be very helpful and accommodating to modern day dietary restrictions. He also ordered a side of Sassy Beans, which he thought were good, but nothing to write home about.
Overall I very much enjoyed my experience at jane’s on the common: The well dressed friendly staff were very efficient, yet you didn’t feel rushed, and I almost stole Adam’s slice of sourdough toast, it looked so delicious. I would recommend this self-proclaimed ‘contemporary diner,’ which serves delicious breakfast and brunch classics with distinctly delightful twists, to anyone who loves to eat brunch. I cannot wait to return for dinner to explore, eat, and repeat at jane’s on the common.
Things worth mentioning…
Cost: 55$ for brunch for two, with coffee and a Mimosa (another brunch must for me!)
Things I loved: A hostess at brunch, which I consider a must when you are as busy as jane’s.
Things I didn’t: The lack of potatoes with my meal and the lack of lunch options…you cannot have brunch without the lunch.
Best place to sit: In the back corner nook en route to the rest rooms (sounds weird, but quieter and cozy).
What to order next time: The Ricotta Pancakes…and come back for dinner…and lunch…and maybe weekday breakfast….
On Friday evening my boyfriend Adam and I wandered upon a small restaurant after a bountiful visit to the Atlantic Superstore on Barrington Street in the South End. Immediately the name and the branding of the place caught our eyes; Boneheads BBQ, and we vowed …
The first week in Halifax has been a whirlwind of U-hauls, orientation, mixers and exploring. With my boyfriend entering his first year in law school and in orientation all this past week I have been left to my own devices to explore and find …
I have always wanted to write something, and I love food. Consequently, I had the genius idea that I would like to start writing a blog about my one of my favourite things in the whole world: FOOD! I have travelled to many different countries and what seems to always stay with me are the meals that I have eaten: Whether it be the bizarrely amazing crepe in Nice made with Nutella, cheese, chicken, and peanut butter (sounds gross, but impressively yummy, see http://www.tatotiton.fr/ ) or the best steamed pork dumplings of my life at a restaurant down an inconspicuous alleyway in Melbourne, some of the best memories of my travels revolve around good food, and the great people that I ate it with.
When I moved to Toronto last year to complete my Masters in Art History, I was delighted with the amazing number of food choices. Coming from St. John’s, Newfoundland the variety of ethnic food options were far from diverse and living a stone’s throw away from Chinatown helped expand my horizons even more than my travels had. As I became familiar with my neighbourhood I became more and more adventurous with my food choices and experienced a trip around the world, restaurant hopping all over the GTA.
These experiences, combined with my recent move to Halifax has finally sparked the flame underneath my back-burner dreams of writing a food blog. The concept is simple: I want to experience the food of Halifax, not like a well-versed Haligonian foodie, but a new person to the city who loves food and is trying restaurants for the first time, just like so many students and other émigrés do in this city each and everyday. This blog will follow my culinary adventures and will hopefully help guide the newcomer to Halifax on their gastronomic undertakings in a new place.
My hope is that this blog will inspire adventuresome eating, even if for you this means trying a new pizza place other than your habitual corner slice, or experiencing the tribulations of offal. Explore. Eat. Repeat.