Maybe it’s homesickness, maybe it’s nostalgia, or maybe I’m just craving some fresh seafood, but damn you, Nova Scotia, you and your salty breezes are in my blood. As a proud Newfoundlander, I moved to Halifax thinking I could never consider it home, but lookie here, …
Tag: Nova Scotia Travel
I’ve always despised ice wine. While my experience with the syrupy libation has been limited to a few attempts at being fancy while I lived in Toronto, every glass ended in a disappointed, sugary depression. I didn’t like the overt sweet nature of Ontario ice wine, so I …
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 Coastal Cafe on Robie Street.
Regardless of the budget, this place wins out every time because of its inventive menu, great coffee and cozy atmosphere. The Durty Burd is the standard choice, in a wrap with half-salad-half-hashbrowns and a side of mole crema. Pair that with Laughing Whale coffee and you’re set for the dream day.
Follow up with more caffeine at Lion & Bright: cappuccino with red velvet espresso from North Mountain Coffee is my fairyland. If there’s room, nosh on pain-au-chocolat, it’s to die for: Flaky, dark chocolate, divine.
Are you already full? Press on gourmet soldier.
Lunch is downtown. Gio restaurant in the Prince George Hotel is a decadent selection for lunch to say the least, but it’s the dream day. Three courses no less. Pain seared foie gras, calamari, ravioli stuffed with sweet potato, and poutine with polenta fries, duck confit and blue ‘cheese whiz.’ Rich foods to gourmandize with a glass of prosecco at a heavenly Haligonian lunch.
If they have them, order their donuts. The perfect dessert for two, with mini hot-chocolates to match.
After a nap — you’ll need it after lunch — get gussied up and head to Field Guide for pre-dinner drinks. Shane Beehan will concoct delicious libations to make your tongue sing and your brain fizz. Rum punches, old fashioneds, and Imperial Sours are shaken, stirred, and poured to perfection.
For those with bottomless bellies, there are some great apperitifs like Shandaph oysters, lamb prosciutto, or their illustrious Donair steam buns.
A hop, skip, and across the street to EDNA for dinner. With the carte-du-jour changing daily, fresh local ingredients are guaranteed, as is the delciousness. Seasonal dishes with trout, burrata, icelandic cod, beef tartarre, or soft shell crab delight patrons and you’ll understand why they were voted one of enRoute magazines’ best new restaurants 2014.
Stillwell is next for the ones trudging forth. The Barrington Street beer bar will satisfy any hoppy appetite with a dozen taps flowing from the giant chalkboard wall. Fancy beers by the bottle, they have them too. Perched on a stool, one can easily feel like the coolest cat in town in this sudsy spot.
To deal with all the richness and inebriants consumed during the perfect day, grease is an order. Willy’s poutine is the only option. Stand gratefully on the sidewalk of Blowers Street as they pass you a medium cheese-gravy-ectasy through their curb-side window. Walk home devouring your steaming delight.
Good night, pass the antacid.
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 …
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 …
Over the past few weeks I’ve found myself back in the kitchen, finally! During the winter months I relied heavily on old favourites and didn’t venture past my usual winter comfort foods of spaghetti, creamy soups, and spicy curries. But now that Spring is here (sort of) I am experimenting and trying out new recipes in full force.
The first cookbook I am reviewing this season is Chef Jason Lynch’s ‘Straight From the Line.’ This is Lynch’s first cookbook (released in the summer of 2013 with Able Sense Publishing), but with years of experience in commercial kitchens behind him this chef is a veteran when it comes to creating delicious recipes. As head chef at Le Caveau at the Domaine de Grand Pré Winery in Wolfville, Jason Lynch embraces local ingredients and appreciates food that is simple and delicious. In this book he encourages the readers to experiment, make changes to the recipes, and work with local and seasonal ingredients from across Nova Scotia.
First off, the photography is amazing. Jeff Harper’s work in this book is impeccable and creates a professional and mouth-watering atmosphere for the presentation of the recipes. The 140-page cookbook is chock-a-block with fully page glossy photographs. It was fun just looking at the beautiful photos upon first perusal of this cookbook. Yum, just yum.
The work consists of a varied collection of recipes like Chicken Marrakech, Roasted Beet Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette, or Eton Mess. It is divided into typical sections like ‘Salads & Appetizers’ and ‘Sides,’ but also includes lovely anecdotal and informational sections such as ‘You mean you don’t have a staff?’ or ‘ Shopping local: Your ideals and the current reality,’ in which the chef discusses the creation of his recipes, his career, as well as the local food purchasing and consuming climate.
For this review, I chose three different recipes from various sections to sample: An appetizer, a main, and a dessert, and spent a full day playing with these recipes. The menu:
Seared Scallops with Beet Puree and Orange Butter
Gnocchi a la Parisienne with Blue Cheese and Herbs
Flourless Chocolate Cake
Up first, the Scallops.
This recipe was simple and very easy to follow. The directions are pretty short and it doesn’t take very long to prepare, though it takes a substantial amount of time to roast the beets for pureeing. The only problem that I ran into was making the beet puree: I don’t have a food processor, so needless to say, it was really messy pureeing the beets in a blender. My whole kitchen was pink!
But, despite my own personal issues, the recipe is great and turned out deliciously. The beets (though not as pretty as Jason’s) were flavourful with hints of orange citrus and tasted very fresh. The white pepper adds to the dish and is the perfect seasoning to compliment both major components.
For the main course: Gnocchi!
This was the first time ever that I made gnocchi, but I really wanted to try this recipe because it looked delicious. The directions are long, but they are worded in a way that is friendly and easy to follow; it felt like I had a very patient and encouraging chef by my side the whole time. I had very little trouble making the dough and was surprised how easy it was to make in my KitchenAid.
Cooking the gnocchi was probably the trickiest part, when I had to squeeze the dough out of a pastry bag and cut off the gnocchi into boiling water. There was a lot of splashing, but overall it went well, this is clearly something that becomes easier with practice.
The herbs in the little parcels of dough made the gnocchi super flavourful and the combination of ingredients was great. The only issue I had was an omittance of ingredients: Lynch suggests the addition of arugula and pine nuts to the dish after you have fried the gnocchi, however these ingredients are not mentioned in the list at the beginning of the recipe.
This dish would be a great make ahead recipe to impress dinner guests. By making the gnocchi in advance (Lynch says they are good for 2-3 days) and quickly frying them and combining with your favourite ingredients, you have a lovely dish to serve. It looked beautiful, and tasted even better.
And for dessert, Flourless Chocolate Cake!
This recipe was beyond easy: combine ingredients and bake. I didn’t realize before making this cake how easy (and delicious) flourless cakes can be!
Five ingredients, 45 minutes, done. So good.
Cooking directions in this book are short, sweet, and to the point. However, they are not for the first time chef. Though I love the fact that Lynch encourages readers to experiment with recipes and try different ingredients, it may confuse cooks who are not used to substituting or adding their own ingredients in recipes. For example, there is a recipe for Lobster and Avocado Tostadas that requires tostada shells, but doesn’t even mention that there is a recipe for flatbreads three pages later. If you like exact recipes and don’t like to substitute, this book is not for you. There is also no list of materials and utensils that one might need, so this book is clearly intended for the experienced home cook.
‘Straight From The Line’ is for people who love to cook and who want to experiment with seasonal and local ingredients from Nova Scotia. Jason Lynch intended these recipes to be a jumping off point for at-home chefs who want to experiment with solid recipes and make them their own, and he does just that. This cookbook is a great addition to any kitchen bookshelf and is a great arsenal for developing one’s own technique and flavour in the kitchen.
Straight From The Line
Author: Jason Lynch
Softcover: 140 pages
Publisher: Able Sense Publishing (2013)
I finally had dinner at 2 Doors Down! For months, I have been peering longingly into the windows of the Barrington Street location two doors down (get it?) from its older sibling Chives and drooling over the menu online. So, when my dear friend and former classmate …
Last Wednesday while I was supposed to be job hunting, I decided to take a break from gallery hopping and bargain shopping to have some lunch by myself. For some reason, I have always been told that it is an important rite of passage to sit and be able to have a meal alone in a restaurant; in fact, Sex and the City had a whole episode about it. As a woman who has travelled all over the world there have been numerous occasions where I have eaten alone; sometimes it’s great, sometimes it’s not, but something I believe that everyone needs to try at least once.
I stopped along Grafton Street at The Wooden Monkey because I had heard lots of good things about it from both native Haligonians and visitors, and was not surprised to enter the beautiful heritage building and encounter a very busy (and full) restaurant. The kind server encouraged me to go upstairs to find a table for one and as I walked up the antique staircase, I was already feeling at ease in the vintage chic restaurant.
Once seated, I was greeted by a bubbly server who brought me a Perrier while I perused the menu. One thing that struck me immediately was the large selection of drinks; there were teas and fair trade coffee, an array of juices, cocktails and wine, something to wet anyone’s whistle. The menu itself was also large with a variety of salads, gourmet pizzas, and sandwiches for lunch, and some delicious looking entrees as well. One thing to note about The Wooden Monkey is their allegiance to locally grown and organic food. Most people these days like to know not only what they are eating but also where it comes from, and The Wooden Monkey is dedicated to using local and organic ingredients in their food. In the explanations of the menu items they are careful to state what is locally grown and where it comes from and, in fact, most everything on their menu is.
My selection for lunch was the Scallop and Almond Salad, and after a short wait (very short for how busy the place looked), I was presented with a large salad topped with feta cheese. The fresh greens with cherry tomatoes, carrots, and almonds were a delectable bed for the herb encrusted phyllo pastry basket that cradled five enticing Digby scallops. It was heavenly. The sweet onion vinaigrette complimented the luscious greens and scallops so well, and it was a very satisfying meal. I had no trouble finishing every last bite; the salad was indeed a lovely lunch companion, while it lasted!
It’s interesting the things you notice in a restaurant when you are alone, as opposed to being focused on what’s going on at your table. For one thing, the people. There were all sorts of different people gathered at The Wooden Monkey at 1:30pm on a Wednesday: Business types speaking and eating briskly, old friends on their third bottle of wine, moms and daughters with new babies, and of course, the classic young women out for lunch with their friends. I also noticed how many people were confused about which bathroom is men’s and which is women’s, something I had trouble with myself, but which must be forgiven in the old heritage building, where indoor plumbing is a more recent alteration.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere at The Wooden Monkey, it was friendly and very food conscious without being pretentious about it. Overall, I enjoyed my solo lunch experience, and would advocate it to anyone who hasn’t tried it. Think of it as a new dining experience, even if it’s somewhere you have eaten before, or you could choose The Wooden Monkey, and explore, eat, repeat.
Things worth mentioning…
Cost: 25$ for Salad and Drink with tip….slightly pricy for lunch, but worth it for the fresh Digby scallops.
Things I liked: The wide wooden floor boards, the friendly and attentive service.
Things I didn’t: The tablecloth was a little too worn, and the bathrooms were confusing…minor details.
Best place to sit: By the window…there are many, upstairs and down!
What to order next time: Come back for dinner for the Free-Range Steak and some Jost Sparkling.
Rating: 8 out of 10
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 …
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 lots of yummy restaurants to try!
The first place that Adam and I visited is a fundamental landmark on Spring Garden Street: Your Father’s Moustache. A mecca to students and pub goers in the South End, Your Father’s Moustache was bustling with patrons of all kinds, even on a Wednesday afternoon! Folks dressed in business attire and girls in headbands and Lululemon were all enjoying the brews and large menu of pub fare that the restaurant offers.
We sat at a table overlooking Spring Garden and were immediately approached by a lovely waitress to order our drinks. Adam went with a Heineken and I chose a Rickards White. The food took a little while to come, but the staff is more than friendly and made the wait much more than bearable with their friendly conversation and constant refilling of drinks. I had the Pub Club which was a classic Club sandwich, but made an awesome French bread. The Sweet Potato Fries that Adam had with his excellent Nor’ Eastern Chicken Sandwich came with an amazing honey mustard curry dip that the waitress claims is a secret recipe and is still making me ponder the ingredients!
On Wednesday evening we were too tired to cook after a long day of exploring and drinking beers so we wandered to find the highest awarded Thai restaurant in the city: Talay Thai. Located on Barrington Street in the South End, the nicely decorated restaurant was busy even at 9pm on a weeknight, a sure sign the food is good. I ordered the Pad Thai, my go to for testing the quality of a Thai place, and Adam ordered the Pineapple Pork.
The meal came fast and was delivered by a friendly server who suggested an awesome Thai beer that went well with my Pad Thai. My meal was a more than generous portion with some extra vegetables like brocoli and candle corn which only added to the excellent Thai classic. Adam’s Pineapple Pork was sweet and sour and had giant portions of pineapple and pork. Overall the meal was big and tasty, and more than satisfied my desire for excellent Thai food.
Though these short descriptions of restaurants in the first week are somewhat vague, they were both excellent experiences and I am eager to try more things. Everyday I wander down a new street and find a new restaurant that I want to try. I was excited to discover Lebanese and other ethnic restaurants that I have not had before and thrilled to see numerous Turkish restaurants so that I can introduce Adam to all the amazing flavours of Turkish foods! Halifax seems to have a myriad of restaurants from corner pizza places all the way up to high end fish restaurants, with French Bistros and Italian trattorias in between, and I am so excited to Explore. Eat. Repeat!