Thursday, May 31, 2012

Caribbean Twist opening second location in Discovery Centre

"Spicing up downtown," says owner Lyndon Hibbert.

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 3:22 PM

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The much-loved Caribbean Twist is opening up a new location out of the Discovery Center on Barrington Street. Taking over the now-closed Discover Jane’s space, Caribbean Twist will be bringing its tasty, traditional Jamaican grub to Halifax’s downtown.

“I’ve been looking for a place closer to the university students and the opportunity came up,” says owner Lyndon Hibbert. He says the Discovery Center was looking for a restaurant that could provide a niche product and Caribbean Twist fit the bill.

It’ll be a smaller space than the original restaurant on Gottingen Street and will cater more towards take-out than dining in, although the menu will remain mostly the same. Hibbert says there’ll be a chance to dine in between 10am and 5pm during the week and outside of that, take-out options only.

“We’re going to come in and spice up the downtown core,” says Hibbert. And boy, are we ready. The new location is set to open on Monday.

We’re drooling already.

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Red Fox gets a makeover

Broader menu, more entertainment aims to make the Fox a neighbourhood destination.

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Since its opening in 1971, the Red Fox Tavern (7071 Bayers Road, 455-0604) has served as a traditional tavern in the west end of Halifax. But with new management in place, the iconic bar is changing face.

New owner Mark Macneill says he’s hoping to “breathe new life” into the pub-like establishment. Adding more lunch specials, health-conscious options and entertainment over the weekend, Macneill wants to provide a popular space for the workers in the Bayers Road area.

Reading old literature about the establishment, Macneill says he knows it was always a popular place for pub favourites, especially the much-loved chicken wings—he says they’re known for starting the “chicken wing thing” way back when.

“What I see through all this is that it’s known for giving value,” he says. And that’s exactly what he’s going to continue to do. With an expanded and low-priced wine list—ranging from $3.25 to $4.60 for a five-ounce glass—and by dropping down menu prices overall, Macneill hopes to keep those traditional customers around while drawing in a whole load of new ones.

And if those traditional chicken wings are your thing? Don’t worry. Along with those changes comes an added wing night. Not only can you chow down on Thursday nights, but now Wednesdays too.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Shoe Shop turns 17 today

Backstage and Diamond to reopen as well.

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2012 at 10:45 AM

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The Economy Shoe Shop turns 17 today, May 17. The bar will be serving prosecco at its annual party along with “other surprises."

Owner Victor Syperek hints, “There might be birthday cake.”

This is also a time for new starts: The Backstage and The Diamond are getting makeovers to make room for more fun. They’ll be re-opening just in time for the birthday party.

In the kitchen, Chef Matt Costain has just cruised over from The Press Gang to join the team--those of you who’ve eaten there know his impeccable taste. He’s working on a new menu which he says will “showcase Atlantic Canada with a Spanish/Mediterranean flare.” What could be more fitting for this Barcelona-inspired establishment?

Over the past 16 years, The Shoe Shop has become a favourite for artists, musicians, and actors. Even Hollywood celebrities have been known to visit this hub.

“[I remember] the night Liam Neeson, Harrison Ford, Sean Penn, and Elizabeth Hurley were all sitting in here,” says Syperek.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Little Carrot

Bringing wholesome food to Porters Lake.

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 5:26 PM

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If you’ve ever wondered what bread tasted like a century ago, The Little Carrot (4888 HWY #7, 827-4394) is the place to go. Way out in Porters Lake, this health food store is hardly a few months old, but it’s quickly becoming the life of the community.

“We all deserve good quality locally produced products and we definitely have the resources to make that possible,” says owner Jeanette Roman.

One of the products the store offers just happens to be stone milled flour produced by a family at Kingsport. The flour is stripped of nothing and is full of nutrients---great for baking bread. The store also carries honey from Nova Scotia’s smallest honey producer, Les Ruchers d’Acadie. And if you like Acadian cuisine, this place offers fresh-baked Heppy’s pies and Rapure pies.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a health food store without the array of local organic vegetables, gluten-free goodies and free range meats. But the store’s expanding into beauty territory too. The Little Carrot’s stylists Kevin Bish and Jenny Minle can provide you all the chemical-free products for your hair. Bish has even formulated own hair product line made of Nova Scotian sea kelp and essential oils; much better than any ammonia laced dye.

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Jincheng Chinese Cuisine

Bringing Sichuan cuisine to Halifax.

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 4:27 PM

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Chinese restaurant Jincheng Chinese Cuisine (1569 Dresden Row, 431-8588) opened last week, and if you’re thinking, “not another Chinese food restaurant”---think again. Most Chinese food restaurants seen in Western society serve Cantonese style food from Guangdong Province. However, Jincheng serves Chinese food from Sichuan Province, which is known for loading on the spice and garlic. The capital city of Sichuan Province is called Chengdu, but it was historically called Jincheng, which is where restaurant owner Gen Zou got the name.

“Sichuan Province is where the giant panda is from. That’s where I’m from too, and we serve authentic food from there,” said Zou. I can’t verify if the menu is truly authentic, but it is definitely filled with variety and plenty of spicy choices. Zou recommends the Jincheng Chilli or Gongbao chicken and for vegetarians, Mapo tofu. Adventurous souls can order a dish of pork intestine, or perhaps firmed tofu with wood ears---sounds interesting.

Jincheng has a private room that seats 20 people and if you book the room between 8am-11, there’s a discounted rate. They also have tax-free lunch specials from 11am-2:30pm. There’s free delivery in the metro area for orders over $30 before tax.

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Cantina Mexicana to open on South Park Street

Chris Curtis brings the healthy back to traditional.

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2012 at 3:48 PM

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“We’re not gonna have any freezers. No microwaves. Not even a single deep-fryer in the whole place,” says restaurant owner Chris Curtis. He gestures around the brightly lit dining area of Cantina Mexicana, opening May 19th, for emphasis. Instead of searing his food Tex-Mex style in heavy grease, he’s preparing his food using more traditional and healthy means.

“We have an oven for baking, burners for boiling, and a lot of the meats will be done through slow cooking,” he explains. His smile widens at the thought. “We’re gonna have Cochinita pibil, which is a Mayan dish for buried pork. We’re gonna cook it in banana leaves and shred it.”

The menu will also feature haddock, chicken, BBQ beef, vegetarian, vegan, and even gluten-free options. The point is, all the food is fresh and local. And though it’s true that his spices are imported, Curtis is also providing varying degrees of flavour to accommodate Haligonian taste.

“We’ll have a really mild salsa like pico de gallo,” he says, “but we’ll also have this sauce I picked up in Yucatan called Xnipeck, which is really hot.”

For such an exotic assortment of food, the place is affordable. Most of the menu items will be about seven dollars, perfect for a lunch out.

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Friday, May 11, 2012

Catch Brooklyn Warehouse's pop up at Gus' or suffer the consequences!

The consequences being extreme regret

Posted By on Fri, May 11, 2012 at 4:43 PM

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Tomorrow, May 12th, as part of the ILoveLocalHFX community, The Brooklyn Warehouse will be participating in Open City by appearing at your favourite watering hole and ours, Gus' Pub, selling burgers, fries, poutine and soda.

“We feel that the North End is our home,” says restaurant owner Leo Christakos, “and so we feel that we could be ambassadors for our neighborhood.”

The Brooklyn Warehouse will start selling their burgers at 11am until 5pm, or until they run out. A portion of the earnings from the day will also be donated to Slow Food Nova Scotia and Feed Nova Scotia.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Behind the greens with Local Source Market

The true story at the heart of a new video

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 9:16 AM

If you like your veggies, you may have seen Local Source Market’s newest seasonal video, in which a greens-starved skateboarder checks a tip for organic and local products. While the video is tongue-in-cheek funny, story behind it is actually, as they say, inspired by real events.

“It felt too good to be true,” says Local Source founder Sean Gallagher. “A regular customer who knew me came in. It was late in the day, Saturday, and it truly the dead of winter. You know, like the end of March, the dark days. And he was like, ‘Sean, come on, you must have some greens.’”

Gallagher recalls he was reluctant. The supply was low and limited, but he went to the back, grabbed a bag from the fridge, and said, “five bucks.”

Coincidentally, Gallagher’s friend, Zak Bush, had been looking to build his filmmaking portfolio by making videos for Gallagher’s business. Bush assembled a team to get the short film made.

“It took a lot of takes because we were an amateur crew,” Gallagher reminisces, himself part of the cast. “But it got easier.” They also had the guidance of film-school student Andy Hines, as well as the improv abilities of then-intern Aly Cox, and surfer friend Myles Baldwin. All the makers, like the products in the store, are local.

Local Source is currently looking for ideas for their upcoming summer video. You can submit yours on their Facebook page.
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Hamachi Group rolls into Bedford

This week is the grand opening of Hamachi Mura

Posted By on Thu, May 10, 2012 at 6:57 AM

The Hamachi Restaurant Group is expanding into Bedford with the opening of Hamachi Mura. The restaurant features a Japanese and Thai menu, similar to Hamachi Kita in the north end. Since its soft opening to the public three weeks ago, Hamachi Mura has received outstanding feedback. “The restaurant has a more modern, yet rustic, looking interior and is larger than other Hamachi restaurants,” says Hamachi co-founder Boris Mirtchev.

For this week’s grand opening of Mura, Mirtchev says several regular customers were allowed to design their own fusion sushi rolls. One customer-made roll called “Da Deal’” is similar to a spicy tuna roll with a sweet kiwi twist on top. Another, “The Kelly,” is a vegetarian blend of mango, avocado, asparagus and sweet potato.

Hamachi Mura neighbours the group’s other new restaurant, Son Vida, which opens later this month and will serve Spanish and Mediterranean food. Altogether, the Hamachi group has five sushi locations and three European ones. “Eight is enough restaurants for now,” says Mirtchev, who plans to focus on keeping every restaurant’s food-quality and service consistent.
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