Saturday, July 31, 2010

Good-bye to the Brewery Market

Posted By on Sat, Jul 31, 2010 at 1:00 PM

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Now that it's history, I can confess: I've always hated the Brewery Market.

Don't get me wrong; I've loved the idea of the market. On paper, thousands of people trekking to a historic building to buy locally grown food and crafts, people watching and socializing is all a grand thing. But the reality is that the market was one humungous claustrophobic pain in the ass. After the eighth time someone stepped on my foot, after the 120th elbow in the gut, the 23rd coffee spilled on me, the proud-of-myself-for-supporting-Farmers'-Markets feeling was replaced with Get-me-out-of-this-firetrap!

I mean, I've been to the most successful markets on the planet--Barcelona's Boqueria, Seattle's Pike Place, the casbah in the old city of Jerusalem--and none were as jam-packed as Halifax's Brewery Market was on any given Saturday. And there was no relief from it. Not in any of the rooms...

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Not in the courtyards...
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Not on the stairs...
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You couldn't even get a good look at the musicians playing in hallways, much less actually stop and listen to them:
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Truly, I stopped going to the Brewery Market a couple of years ago, because of the crowds. I would bring out-of-town guests by the market as part of my tour of Halifax, because it was the kind of thing that we're supposed to show off, ya know? But then one of those guests told me he had enough of it, and would wait for me outside while I shopped. It's then that I realized we had a sort of collective insanity in Halifax, a weird group-think thing that insisted this annoyingly cramped space was actually the coolest thing in town.

Still, I headed over this morning for one last look. I figured I'd play reporter, interview a couple of the vendors, stop by and talk with market manager Fred Kilcup. But it didn't quite work out that way. I took a few pictures, then ran into former Halifax councillor Patrick Murphy carrying a bottle out from the wine room downstairs, and he cornered me in front of the Lebanese stand, recounting his past encounters with drunken councillors. As you can imagine, this was a lengthy conversation, if you can call a Murphy monologue a conversation, and dozens of people started backing up behind us as we blocked the pathway. I kind of nudged Murphy out of the way and mumbled something about having to meet someone, and then squeezed past several hundred people and ran like hell away from the place. Ironically, I then went over to the tiny, relaxed Dartmouth Farmers' Market to pick up a few things on the way home.

All of which is to say, I'm really, really looking forward to the opening of the Seaport Farmers' Market next week. If the space proves as expansive and commodious as it's billed, I'll be a regular customer. As for the Brewery Market: good riddance!

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Hungry Chili to close

Posted By on Fri, Jul 30, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Hungry Chili will close at the end of August, victim of cascading business relocation. First, Curry Village expanded into the Dresden Row space once occupied by Baan Thai, and the owners of Baan Thai moved into the upstairs of the Blower Street building occupied by Hungry Chili. "He offered to buy us out," explains Hungry Chili's Molly Lee, "but it wasn't enough money." As Lee tells it, what followed was six months of problematic reconstruction of the building, resulting in reduced sales, and Hungry Chili decided to see the restaurant through to the end of the lease, then to close.

Asked if relocation is in the offering, Lee says no. "Seven years is enough."

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Hundreds sign petition to keep Caribbean Twist open

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 4:03 PM

“I’d like to sign the petition.” That sentence is being spoken this week by a steady stream of customers at Caribbean Twist , as a culinary bylaw battle not seen since Dalhousie vs. the Dawgfather casts its shadow on Gottingen Street.

A year after taking over 3081 Gottingen Street, the space formerly occupied by Toulany's Lunch Box, Caribbean Twist owners Lyndon and Sherri Hibbert have been notified that their restaurant violates the residential zoning designation for the building.

“I feel bad for them,” says Jerry Blumenthal, councillor for the north end. “I don’t think they’ll close it down as long as the process is moving forward.” Blumenthal is working with the Hibberts on a zoning change application. “I have hope,” he says, “but you never can tell. I never make promises because promises are made to be broken, but I’ll try as hard as I can.”

An occupancy application was rejected earlier this week by HRM’s Planning & Development Services, but there are two weeks to appeal that decision and an extension until the end of August to work on the application for the zoning change.

“I’m very confident that the end result is that I’ll be able to keep this place,” Lyndon Hibbert says, sitting in the restaurant, flipping through the petition; the list is hundreds of names strong after only a few days. He reads a quote from customer Lester Powell, and smiles. “Diversity is the spice of life… and it’s better with a Caribbean Twist.”

“It will come down to the people,” says Hibbert, as another person heads to the counter. “Email your local reps, let Planning and Development know how you feel. The community, customers and people of Halifax will be instrumental in our success.”

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Farmers’ markets galore

Alderney Landing gets a mid-week market

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Just a quick note to let fresh and local food lovers know: Every Wednesday from now until October, you’ll find a farmers’ market at Alderney Landing, 12pm to 6pm.
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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Moda launched

Globally influenced, locally sourced eatery opens with prix fixe options

Posted By on Sat, Jul 24, 2010 at 4:00 AM

The new place downtown, Moda Urban Dining (1518 Dresden Row, 405-3480) had its grand opening a few weeks ago and is now serving customers with a craving for local food in a global fusion menu. Also available are prix fixe pairings of food and wine. “Because Moda is a relaxed fine dining restaurant, we attempt to remove the pretentiousness and thus we felt having food and wine pairings allows for the diner to be educated, try new things, etc., in a relaxed setting,” writes co-owner Melissa Buckley in an email. “Last weekend for instance, we did a local pairing of all locally sourced foods and local wines from the Annapolis Valley.” She says they menus average around $60. “That includes an appetizer with a paired glass of wine, a main dish with again a paired glass of wine, a dessert---which usually involves a wine or alcoholic drink mixed in. Last week was house made vanilla ice cream with a peach poached in Nova 7, and your choice of tea or coffee.” Though there isn’t a schedule for what’s upcoming, the chef takes his inspiration in ingredients he sees during the week and from that the decision is made to pair wines to the foods. “We aim to do it every weekend (Thursday to Saturday) and it’s always posted on our website (modaurbandining.com) and Facebook group.”
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mexican Food booth at the Halifax Farmers' Market celebrates seven years

Will move to Seaport Farmers' Market

Posted By on Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 3:30 PM

The Mexican Food booth at the Halifax Farmers’ Market is marking its seventh anniversary this month. “It started as a fluke,” says Carolina Quintana. “I started the booth because I myself missed Mexican food, and a lot of my friends were asking me to cook for them.” Working alongside her mother, Ivonne Rios, Quintana has created a must-stop at the market, selling both packaged food and hot meals on the spot. And the real exciting news is that the pair will move their operation over to the new Seaport Farmers’ Market when the new building opens next month, and intend to open three days a week.
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Monday, July 19, 2010

VinArt moves, changes name to Harvest Wines and Spirits

Clayton Park wine, beer and spirits store now can be found on Bedford Highway

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Clayton Park wine, beer and spirits store now can be found on Bedford Highway It’s now called Harvest Wines and Spirits (757 Bedford Highway, 443-7897). It’s right next to Clearwater seafood, so maybe you’ll want to pick up some wine with that lobster dinner you had planned?
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Rock Island Cafe is a Bistro

Name change with new management and chef

Posted By on Mon, Jul 12, 2010 at 4:00 AM

If you’ve been by the Bermudean resto lately, you’ll notice a new menu posted outside. The eatery has changed its name to Rock Island Bistro, along with some staff changes inside. The new chef will tempt you palate with more upscale selections, and the patio out on the sidewalk and in the courtyard around the side makes for a great place for a summer evening meal.
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Sunday, July 11, 2010

There’s Something About Mary’s 2

Mary’s Place Café opens a second location

Posted By on Sun, Jul 11, 2010 at 4:00 AM

“The same menu exactly,” promises Mary’s Place Cafe (2752 Robie Street, 454-2558) owner Ray Khouri about the second location of his popular joint. It will be found in the spot on Spring Garden formerly occupied by Brick Oven Pizzeria (5982 Spring Garden), which has closed. Khouri is in there now renovating, and plans to open the new location of his all-day-breakfast-vegan-vegetarian-middle-eastern palace before the students return, so in August, likely. It’s gonna be called Mary’s Place Cafe 2, in the style of all great sequels.
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Friday, July 9, 2010

Morris East offers new cocktails

The days get hotter and the drinks get sexier at downtown gourmet pizza resto

Posted By on Fri, Jul 9, 2010 at 4:00 AM

Morris East (5212 Morris Street, 444-7663) has a wine and beverage director. Yeah, we didn’t know either! Well, it’s true, her name is Katrina Roberts and through the artistic science of mixology she’s created The Rio, a frozen martini whose ingredients include mango, cardamom syrup and the Brazilian spirit cachaça. Too late for the Brazilian World Cup fans, but for those enjoying the bossa nova sounds at the Halifax Jazz Festival, this may be the perfect refresher. And on the subject of the HJF, Morris East is also giving customers with tickets to Spontaneous Combustion a free organic martini with a pizza purchase on the evening of the performance (they run Saturday-Tuesday.) And if that isn’t enough, Morris East’s other summer refreshers include: a mojito, passionfruit & basil punch (muddled basil leaves with passionfruit, fresh lime and vodka) and the balm collins (house infused lemon balm gin, fresh lemon wheels and balm leaves).
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Thursday, July 8, 2010

JiXiang Chinese Restaurant opens

New Chinese on Quinpool Road

Posted By on Thu, Jul 8, 2010 at 4:00 AM

China Classic was once there, now it is gone, replaced by JiXiang Chinese Restaurant (6311 Quinpool Road, 429-2828), offering “authentic Szechwan Chinese cuisine,” with free delivery in the area for order over $25. You’ll find lunch combos run from $7.95 through $9.95, and the hours are Mon-Tues 4pm-11pm, Wed-Fri 11:30pm-2:30pm, 4:30pm-11pm and Sat-Sun, 11am-11pm.
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