Friday, September 28, 2012

Another north end restaurant to open

Agricola Street becoming a dining hub.

Posted By on Fri, Sep 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Ludovic Eveno, who has worked as a chef in France and locally at Bish and its reincarnation, Bicycle Thief, has purchased the building at 2540 Agricola Street, just across from the liquor store at the corner of Charles Street. He intends to open a restaurant in the space next spring, taking his time "doing it right," he says, hiring in an interior decorating and carefully laying plans.

The 32-year-old Eveno is holding his cards close to the vest, and won't even reveal the name of the place, much less what the menu will consist of. He says only that it will be a "neighbourhood restaurant,a friendly restaurant with atmosphere, a happy place to come to share food with friends."

The Agricola area is becoming a bit of a restaurant hub, with Tess (5687 Charles Street, 406-3133) a half block east, Local Source (5783 Charles Street, 454-6014) a half-block west, Cafe Aroma Latino (5780 North Street) on the southwest corner of Agricola and North, FRED (2606 Agricola Street, 407-3733) and Gus' Pub/Ace Burger (2605 Agricola Street, 423-7786) on the northwest and northeast corners of the same intersection and Bridge Brewing Company set to open this month just a tad north, at 2622 Agricola Street.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Food trucks rev up

Nomad Gourmet and The Food Wolf add to street grub scene

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 5:25 PM

Who’s hungry? This fall, a crew of new food trucks are coming to Halifax, and their gourmet fare ain’t your average street meat.

Earlier this year, Natalie Charavie and Nick Horne set out to improve the municipal bylaw that regulates mobile food serving. “We wanted to make sure it was up with the times and matched the food truck movements that are happening in North America,” Chavarie says.

Now, Nomad Gourmet, Horne’s fryer-free food truck can be found on Argyle Street every day from 11am to 3 pm, by City Hall. Advertising a seasonally shifting menu, Horne promises fresh, local and health-conscious food with an emphasis on environmentally sustainable practices.

The Food Wolf, pioneered by Chavarie, Eric Gunnells and Virgil Muir, is Nomad Gourmet’s competition, and plans to open in early October. The Food Wolf promises to serve traditional Mexican eats with Asian influences—think kimchi quesadillas.

The Food Wolf started as an idea that Chavarie brought to The Hub in October 2010 when she noticed a gap in Halifax’s food truck scene for locally sourced grub. Microfinanced by hosting Young & Dublin open air eating supper clubs, Chavarie tells us that the Food Wolf truck will be parked behind the Bus Stop Theatre on the 2400 block of Maitland Street, with two more locations to come.

Both trucks have big plans to circulate around town, though. Nomad Gourmet was at Summer Sonic recently, serving up snacks for hungry concert-goers, and The Food Wolf has just gotten word that they’ll be involved with Halifax Pop Explosion in October.

“We’re really pumped with just how much support we’ve gotten from people already,” says Chavarie. “This project has been community supported and guided in many ways.”

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The King’s Galley opens

Locally source, inexpensive food on campus

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 5:18 PM

King’s students (and anyone else in the neighbourhood): say goodbye to Subway sandwiches. The King’s Galley has opened up for another year serving locally sourced lunches. Found in a corner of the Wardroom, the King’s campus bar, the Galley is serving soups and sandwiches as well as coffee, tea and other treats.

Besides serving up a mean grilled cheese, the Galley is aiming to take away some of the false pretenses surrounding local food, says John Adams, the King’s Students’ Union’s internal coordinator. “We’re not reinventing the wheel here. We’re trying to prove everyone wrong—you can do local food for not very much money.”

Sourcing much of their supply from Local Source Market on Charles Street, the Galley also offers vegan and vegetarian options. Adams says the Galley arose out of the dissatisfaction with the food available on campus. “An opportunity presented itself with the space being renovated and the students decided they wanted to take it upon themselves rather than going to a third party,” says Adams.

The students put a proposal forth, worked hard to get it approved by the administration, and the Galley finally opened in February of this year. “The students wanted an emphasis on local food, too, so that’s what we did, and they hold us very accountable to our mandate.”

Adams says things are booming. “The whole idea is that we keep it cheap, because we’re not trying to gouge students—nobody’s getting rich off this.” One thing the Galley does splurge on, though, is St-Viateur bagels. No, it’s not local, says Adams, but “until anyone wants to open up a really good Montreal-style bagel shop here in Halifax, we’ll give them our business.”

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Catering from Highland

Former Gio chef Vince Scigilano joins the crew.

Posted By on Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 5:08 PM


Corporate lunches can by dry affairs by any stretch---it’s no exaggeration to say that the food is usually the most exciting part. Especially with Jessi Gillis cooking it up for you. Highland Drive Catering is debuting their new fall corporate lunch menu, featuring goodies like a pulled pork jalapeno sandwich and bacon chocolate chip cookies.

Gillis works out of the Highland Drive Storehouse (5544 Kaye Street, 999-7897) in the Hydrostone, a shop she opened earlier this year. She collaborated on the fall menu with one of the newest additions to the Highland Drive Storehouse, Chef Vince Scigilano, former chef of Gio. With a focus on local food, Gillis wants to up the ante when it comes to corporate catering in Halifax.

“I just wanted to create a really delicious menu where we would be able to use local food and create dishes that complemented them,” she says. “Corporate lunches aren’t always seen as delicious or even that important, but we think they can be.”

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fid Resto responds to its customers' needs

Posted By on Sun, Sep 16, 2012 at 10:15 AM

The Fid dining room.
  • The Fid dining room.
Besides being masters of serving high quality meals, Dennis Johnston and Monica Bauché, proprietors of Fid Resto (1569 Dresden Row, 422-9162), have proven themselves keenly aware of their place in the Hali restaurant market, and have responded to changing times in interesting ways.

With the onset of the recession, Fid re-greared its menu, keeping the quality but lowering prices. That commitment to low prices pops up each winter with a special "small plates" menu, a week or so of menu items priced from $7 to $10. Bauché says they're planning to repeat that offering this year, but haven't yet firmed up plans.

Still, it's not just about affordability—there's room for simple fun. This week, coinciding with the Atlantic Film Festival, there's a special "Hunger Games II" menu, offering such dishes as "There will be blood...pudding," "The Codfather" and "The lamb shank redemption."

But besides being adaptive in menu offerings, Johnston and Bauché have extended their core business into interesting and creative side lines.

Last spring, the restaurant started serving "back door Pad Thai"—anytime the kitchen's open, which is from 11:30am through the evening hours, you can simply knock on the Queen Street kitchen door and ask for an order of Pad Thai to go, and the cooks will whip it up for a mere 10 bucks. Bauché says the back door Pad Thai has been wonderfully successful but, thinking of the coming change of season, wonders if people will continue to come when it means waiting outside in the cold. Then, she answers her own question: "A lot of people call ahead to order, so they don't have to wait. Or, if there's room, they can sit at the bar." Problem solved.

It's also time to start thinking of signing up for Johnston's cooking classes, either Thai or French cuisine, generally taught on Mondays when the restaurant is closed, but possibly other days, depending on how fall hours get established. The classes are hands-on, and are not simply a "watch Dennis cook" affair: students handle the food and kitchen equipment themselves, as Johnston walks them through an appetizer, a main course and a dessert, then the group sits down and eats their creations. Bauché says that wannabe students can wait til the classes are officially offered, but it makes sense for those interested to start forming their own groups—at least six people, but only 10 can fit in the Fid kitchen—now, and calling the restaurant to figure out mutually a agreeable schedule. I can't think of a better excuse for a weekly friend outing.

And—how sad is this?—it's already time to begin making plans for the workplace holiday events. Bauché suggests a night at Fid. A typical company outing might be consist of 30 employees, split into three groups of 10, each rotating through a cooking class in the kitchen, a lesson in drink-making behind the bar and a wine-tasting on the other side of the bar.

The defining word here is "flexible." It's striking how much Johnston and Bauché are willing to work with customers to make everyone happy. On their 12th year of business, with that attitude, they'll no doubt continue their success.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Dome turns 30 years old next week

Big discounts, performances all week.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 6, 2012 at 3:06 PM

The Dome turns 30 years old next week, and is celebrating with four days of events, September 12 trough 15, with pretty stiff discounts and a number of great performers and DJs at the various venues. The history of the place is becoming lost as memories fade, explains Gary Muise, VP of operations at the Grafton Connor, the company that operates it. But here’s the short of it: in 1982 owner Gary Hurst bought Lawrence of Oregano pub, and My Apartment Lounge on Argyle Street. Then, in the mid-1980s, the parking lot in between was covered with an atrium, connecting the two establishments, and that’s now The Dome’s dancefloor. The two bars had different kinds of licences, one beer and wine, one that prohibited beer sales, which “made for interesting times,” says Muise. Up above was a country bar called the New Armadillos, which eventually became the rock venue The Attic, and now Taboo. Cheers was tacked on sometime in there as well. People about town started referring to the collection of bars as “the liquor dome,” and “why fight it?” laughs Muise. The Dome sees between 7,000 and 8,000 customers each week.
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September 19, 2019

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