Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kitchen party

Gottingen's Ratinaud French Cuisine plans for Kitchen Table dinners in 2013

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Good things cooking at Ratinaud French Cuisine.
  • Good things cooking at Ratinaud French Cuisine.

On (nearly) the eve of Ratinaud French Cuisine's (2082 Gottingen Street, 446-8222) one-year anniversary, the north end cure for charcuterie cravings released some super exciting news for the new year. Unwrap your brand new 2013 calendar and put a big circle around January 26: It'll be the first of many Kitchen Table dinners at Ratinaud, where a small group (minimum 10, maximum 12) can enjoy a mouth-watering French meal from start to finish, literally. This'll all go down in the kitchen, of course, and will start with watching as owner and chef Frédéric Tandy works his magic through each step of a multi-course meal.

"The whole idea is to be immersed in the kitchen, and see the process by turning the kitchen into the chef's table," says Ratinaud's Tom Crilley. He adds prices will depend on the number of courses and whether the menu leans towards fine dining or more rustic style. Ratinaud will be releasing more details and Saturday night dinner dates soon, so, if you're interested in sitting your butt down at their big, beautiful kitchen table, stay in the loop by joining their mailing list. Also, they'll be taking reservations at

Crilley also tells me that there are other special events in the works for 2013 too...potentially smaller, affordable weeknight meals. Ratinaud's given us all of this good food news on its anniversary—as if there wasn't already reason to celebrate.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy chocoversary

One year of the Choco Cafe=sweet deals

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2012 at 4:48 PM

Now that I've got your attention...
  • Now that I've got your attention...

Calling all chocoholics: The Choco Cafe (1360 Lower Water Street) is celebrating its first anniversary in a really sweet way. In honour of one year of pleasing the sweet toothed folks among us, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (from 7am to 7pm) the cafe will be giving out free coffees with every food purchase, handing out $10 gift cards to every 10th customer (and when you spend $40 or more) and drawing for baskets daily. Have you tried the hot cocoa? You're going to want to go ahead and do that.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Taste of Nova Scotia for the win

The Taste of NS Prestige Awards went like this...

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Taste of NS' Culinary Ambassador Craig Flinn - JULÉ MALET-VEALE

Today, while I sat hungrily at my desk, the wonderful people, and knowers of all that is delicious, at Taste of Nova Scotia gathered with members of the province's booming food and drink community to celebrate the year's big wins at the Taste of Nova Scotia Prestige Awards. After a little catching up on Twitter, I kind of feel like I was in the crowd at Casino Nova Scotia's Schooner Room, but if you haven't scrolled like I have, here's a list of the big winners:

Restaurant of the Year (Essence of Nova Scotia): Trellis Cafe, Hubbards
Restaurant of the Year (Chef Inspired Casual Dining): Wild Caraway, Advocate Harbour
Restaurant of the Year (Chef Inspired Fine Dining): Le Caveau, Grand Pré
Innovative Product of the Year: Ironworks Distillery's Pear eau-de-vie, Lunenburg
Producer of the Year: Fox Hill Cheese, Port Williams
Server of the Year: Andrea Davidson, Fleur de Sel, Lunenburg
Consumer Choice Product of the Year: Eel Lake Oyster Farm oysters
Culinary Ambassador of the Year: Chives' Craig Flinn, Halifax

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Weekend food tip: backdoor burritos

Cantina Mexicana is cooking late night, and will even deliver to your lazy ass

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 5:51 PM

These boots were made for guac-in'
  • These boots were made for guac-in'

I'm a big believer that supper time should be after 9pm. For night owls like me late night food is key, so I was beyond pumped to hear of another addition to the city's backdoor food scene. Cantina Mexicana agrees with my love of after hours snacking and has started up Backdoor Burritos on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. From 8pm to late the Cantina's hefty burritos can be picked up from it's backdoor, or phoned in from the comfort of your couch for delivery. Check out Catina Mexicana's Facebook page here for deets, or if you're stumbling home with a rumbling tummy tonight, give a knock on its backdoor. Here's betting a friendly face and a waft of delish will answer.

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The Chickenburger flies the coop

The sky is falling on the Queen Street location of the popular diner.

Posted By on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 at 4:41 PM

I dream of milkshakes. - SCOTT BLACKBURN

Lovers of The Chickenburger who waited with bated breath for the arrival of it’s downtown location last spring: you’ve got a few days to get your last fix. The restaurant’s owner Mickey MacDonald has announced that he’ll be shutting down the Queen Street diner on December 1, in preparation for it’s demolition before the year’s end. The reason? He wants to get working on development plans he has for the block.

“With all the offshore work, the big ship contract...all of the work the city’s going to do downtown, if I don’t do it now, I might miss the boat,” says MacDonald, who’ll be working on development permits and architectural plans in early 2013 and hopes to break ground in late spring/early summer. He adds that the two proposed buildings will feature first-floor retail, with apartment space above. “It fit in there pretty nice,” says MacDonald of the loss of the shiny, new Chickenburger space. “It’s unfortunate, but with all the things that are happening, it’s the right time to do it." Noting that his Queen street resto has been incredibly popular, MacDonald says he hopes to re-open the spot, alongside other retail, in his new development. "It'll bring more employment, more traffic,” he says. "It'll be a win-win for everyone."

While I always welcome the excuse to snack at the Bedford location (juke box hog, here), you can still get your south end chicken fix on by taking your cravings to Dalhousie's Student Union Building. Yeah, there's a Chickenburger there, too.

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

RANS' besto restos

Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia Awards winners are...

Posted By on Thu, Nov 22, 2012 at 4:44 PM

WHERE Halifax Magazine’s Best New Restaurant is Cheese Curds
  • WHERE Halifax Magazine’s Best New Restaurant is Cheese Curds

We're a wee bit late on this, but the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia gave out there annual awards last week. The event was paired with what sounds like an insane meal; each of the five courses were prepared by a different local chef!

So, without further rambling, the winners were (drumroll, please):

Best Green Restaurant: The Wooden Monkey, Halifax
Best Design & Décor: Onyx, Halifax
Best Wine/Beverage Menu: Obladee Wine Bar, Halifax
Best Small Restaurant: Morris East, Halifax
Best Large Restaurant: The Bicycle Thief, Halifax
RANS Supplier of the Year: Jost Vineyards, Malagash
Local Food Hero, Presented by Select Nova Scotia: Bare Bones Bistro, Parrsboro
WHERE Halifax Magazine’s Best New Restaurant: Cheese Curds, Dartmouth

Congrats all, and thanks for making our food scene so damn tasty.

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On the cover: New Restaurants 2012

With Ace Burger Company, Edible Matters, Jincheng Chinese Cuisine, blogger bites and more.

Posted on Thu, Nov 22, 2012 at 10:17 AM

Plan your next breakfast, lunch and dinner HERE.
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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Hali Deli has arrived

Got lunch on the brain?

Posted By on Thu, Nov 15, 2012 at 10:14 AM

  • WANT

I THOUGHT I smelled smoked meat on the walk to work today. OK, maybe I just wished I smelled it, but it turns out that my wishful thinking wasn't so far off. Cancel your lunch plans north enders: Hali Deli has arrived.

Victor and Sybil Fineberg's Old World Delicatessen opened its doors at 2389 Agricola Street this morning at 9, and will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, 9am to 7:30pm. Have you checked out the menu? Smoked meat is just the tip of the iceberg. Hali Deli's "All the Time Breakfast" will have you stumped with 10 options that include Corned Beef Hash, Sybil's Lox Shmear Platter and a deadly sounding Mish Mash Hash. We're tempted by the borscht, chicken matza ball soup, knish and sammies galore but you can also grab your diner classics, and milkshakes, too. Is 10 too early for lunch?

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Greek Village returns home

Quinpool: the shuffle continues

Posted By on Wed, Nov 14, 2012 at 11:53 AM

Welcome home
  • Welcome home

With word that the beloved Greek Village will soon reopen at its old stomping grounds, 6253 Quinpool Road, suddenly all is right with the world again. The food world, that is. In early September Greek Village announced it'd be closing its doors at 6303 Quinpool (the former Athen's) where it had been cooking up big breakfasts and tasty traditional Greek eats for about a year-and-a-half. The restaurant's owner Stefanos Kalogeras says he'll be happy make the move down, back to the resto's cozier location. "I prefer the smaller space," he says, adding that he hopes to be open within "eight or nine days."

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Monday, November 12, 2012

A new downtown Hideaway

The Hideaway Pub & Grille opens on Brenton Place

Posted By on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 3:01 PM

A wee tease of The Hideaway Pub & Grille's pub-side
  • A wee tease of The Hideaway Pub & Grille's pub-side

New food alert! The former Cellar Bar and Grill space on Breton Place has been brought back to life as The Hideaway Bar & Grille (5677 Brenton Place), opening for your eating pleasure this weekend.

The Hideaway will have two personalities: a classic pub style eatery in one room and a more "upscale casual" setting in the other. "The menu has a little bit of everything," says owner John Mihelcic of his new spot in the long-loved downtown location. "There'll be something for everyone." The pub menu features go-to favourites like nachos, wings, sliders, salisbury steak and pot pie, while the grill menu will have your finer side salivating over steaks, seafood, duck and lamb dishes.

Mihelcic, a Toronto-native who uprooted himself from Bermuda to set up shop in here, says Halifax's pace is a nice balance between his two past homes, making it the perfect spot to dig in his heels. The Hideway's slogan calls it "the best place to be found", and considering that's coming from someone who spent years living in paradise...our curiousity is certainly piqued.

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A taste of Spain at the Seahorse

Tapa time, brought to you by Atlantic Flamenco Productions

Posted By on Mon, Nov 12, 2012 at 11:40 AM

Sangria is the best.
  • Sangria is the best.

One of the best things about Spain is the food culture...particularly the tapa culture. It's all about really enjoying food by sampling a little of everything, and sharing your eats with your friends. It's a beautiful thing. Finally my dreams of a Spanish tapas bar in the HRM have been satisfied (albeit temporarily) by the same folks that bring us Fall to Flamenco festival every autumn. YES!

Maria Osende and Atlantic Flamenco Productions were inspired by Spain's traditional tablaos while planning this new monthly event. A what, you say? A tablao is what replaced Spanish cabarets, or cafés cantantes, in the late 20th century; basically it's a pub or restaurant that serves up eats and drinks paired with red hot entertainment in the form of flamenco. It's where dancers got their start, and partons got their fill.

Starting this Thursday (November 15) the always intimate Seahorse Tavern will play host to AFP's first installation of its Spanish Happy Hour, where from 6 to 7:20pm and 7:30 to 9pm there'll be live flamenco performances, thirst-quenching sangria and a tapas sampling menu. Garlic shrimp bowl? Tomatoes stuffed with zucchini and manchego cheese? Calamari with spicy yogurt and watermelon salsa? Um, two of each please. Performers include Maria Osende, Natalie Lynn, Audrey Barber and Lindsay D'Ambrogi with live music from Enrique Rojo, Bob Sutherby and Ayman Amer. This is merely the first of a series of Spanish Happy Hours, check out additional dates here.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Flavours of love

Get your belly ready: the Flavours of Nova Scotia Trade Show is tomorrow.

Posted By on Fri, Nov 9, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Be sure to say hi to Avondale Sky - TERRI LYNN BLANCHARD, LORRAINE VASSALO
  • Be sure to say hi to Avondale Sky
  • Terri Lynn Blanchard, Lorraine Vassalo

Local foodies have likely already begun their pre-Flavours fasting to make sure they've got plenty of room to get a true taste of Nova Scotia. Or dozens of them. Tomorrow the Flavours of Nova Scotia Trade Show brings a whole plethora of farmers and food vendors from across the province into one room to tempt your palates with many a snacks. And folks from Just Us!, Avondale Sky Winery, Iron Works Distillery and Propeller and Garrison breweries will be on hand to help you wash down surf, turf and locally grown goods from everywhere between. If you'd like to get in on the eating (and mingling, of course) follow your tastebuds to for more info, and tickets.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Top chef goes to Turkey

Brenan Madill's top spot at the national Jeunes Chefs Rotisseurs Competition take him to Istanbul.

Posted By on Thu, Nov 8, 2012 at 11:46 AM


Seasons by Atlantica's decorated sous chef Brenan Madill will be joining some of the world's best young chefs in Istanbul next September for the International Jeunes Chefs Rotisseurs Competition. Madill (an NSCC grad) earned his spot after beating out eight other chefs from across the country by creating a three-course, dinner for four from a black box of an interesting combo of ingredients that included lobsters, sturgeon caviar, lentils, bacon, leeks, chocolate and a variety of liquors and herbs. Working with that mix sounds like a big enough challenge, but competitors were graded on taste, presentation, originality and kitchen technique as well. Congrats on being the best Brenan! And Turkey in September? We're only mildly jealous over here.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Ela! on Argyle closes

Longtime staple in the downtown food scene moves their focus to suburban bellies

Posted By on Tue, Nov 6, 2012 at 11:20 PM

We're crying tzatziki tears
  • We're crying tzatziki tears

Argyle Street has lost one of it's sturdy bookends. Ela! Greek Taverna (formerly Opa) announced today they'd be shutting down their downtown location, effective immediately. That's right, sadly there isn't even time for one last souvlaki. A statement posted on the restaurant's website explained that the closure of the Argyle and Blowers resto would allow for greater focus on their two suburban locations (Bayers Lake and Dartmouth Crossing) as well as further growth outside of the HRM. And luckily, they were able to retain their staff.

The release goes on to say:

Downtown Halifax and Argyle street specifically has changed its facade. It is no longer a dining destination for Haligonians but for late night entertainment seekers. "We are sitting in a key location in the heart of the late night Entertainment District on Argyle Street and are confident that a new concept will be able to take advantage of the infrastructure fairly quickly."

This is sad news for downtown food lovers and downtown in general. We raise a glass of ouzo, and bid the Argyle Street Ela!, an 11-time Best Greek winner in our Best of Food survey, farewell.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Pete's turns 20

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2012 at 3:27 PM


Everyone’s favourite gourmet grocery, Pete’s, is celebrating a whopping 20 years in Nova Scotia next month, and to mark the occasion, owner Pete Luckett and company are pulling out all the stops to show us how much they appreciate our business.

A lot can change in 20 years—starting off as a modest market in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford, Pete’s has since expanded to two other locations (Dresden Road and in Wolfeville),won a mantle full of Best of Halifax awards (best smoothie, anyone?), adapted to all the complicated dietary restrictions the world has developed in the past 10 years—lactose intolerant, celiac, gluten-free, diabetic, amongst others---and continued to serve some of the freshest grub in town.

Now with two Pete’s To Go Go locations, one gluten-free cafe and bakery, three stores offering local and organic produce and international products and a newly introduced loyalty card (save 10 percent off on every 10th purchase), Pete’s is a pro at staying on the cutting edge of foodie culture.

Holly Chmelyk, operations manager for the Dresden Row location, says Pete’s always has one ear to the ground. “We’re always looking for opportunities in the food and grocery business—things are always moving and shaking, and it’s important to be on top of trends.” What’s most important, says Chmelyk, is listening to what customers want. “For our anniversary we have a big chalkboard in the middle of the store, and we’re asking our customers what they want to see in the future±they really dictate what we do at Pete’s.”

On November 3, all three locations will be hosting a big ol’ party with their customers, staff and suppliers. Chmelyk says there will be in-store demo booths, contests to enter, music±Willie Stratton will be playing at the Dresden Row location—and of course, lots of good eats.

So what’s the secret to a successful 20 years in the business? Chmelyk says it’s got to do with delivering top notch customer service along with quality products. “It’s about creating a food experience for our customers when they come in to grocery shop. It’s exciting when we hear customers saying, ‘I love coming into your store, because Pete’s make grocery shopping fun,’” she says. Great employees certainly don’t hurt, either. “We definitely wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t have such great people working for us.”

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Vol 27, No 16
September 12, 2019

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