Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fid bids farewell

The leader in local, sustainable eats calls its quits after 13 years

Posted By on Tue, Feb 26, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Shedding a tear for the Fid burger
  • Shedding a tear for the Fid burger

When Fid Resto (1569 Dresden Row, 422-9162) announced that it’d be closing in late May, people freaked out a little. Saddened by the loss, the internet threw around dismayed comments about the decline of downtown Halifax and landlord accusations, while in reality it turns out that Dennis Johnston and Monica Bauche just want to take a much-deserved breather, and the end of their lease made for good timing. “We’ve just been doing it for 13 years, and we didn’t want to do it for another five,” says Johnston, who adds that Bauche (his business partner, and wife) likes to “shake things up every decade.”

While Fid’s closure marks the end of an era for some, looking back it’s actually the opposite. The much-loved, locally-minded resto marked the beginning of one. “The big thing is that I'm really happy with is that we were the pioneers for local food here,” he adds. “It’s really nice to see the younger generation of food service owners have the need for local on their lips immediately.” For Johnston, who’s food philosophy changed when he was working as a chef in Montreal during the slow food emergence in the late 80s, buying local has always been what he calls an ethical investment and a bit of a no brainer. “I wanted to show off everything in the province, and show people that it’s all right here,” he says. “A lot of people operate in obscurity but bringing them together and highlighting them, that's what it's all about.”

This may not be the last we’ll see of Bauche and Johnston, but they remain pretty tight-lipped on what’s next. The pair send out big thank yous to their supportive patrons, and the foragers, farmers, fishers and other producers that they’ve worked with, “because they are the reason why we are who we are,” says Johnston. With 12 weeks until Fid’s closure, it's time to get eating. During its last few months, the resto will continue with its backdoor pad thai, small plates (on the last Wednesday of each month, which means there’s one tomorrow) as well as some yet-to-be-announced extra special brunch, lunch and dinners. To keep tabs on all the juicy details, sign up for Fid's newsletter here or follow @FidKitchen.

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Monday, February 25, 2013

Fid Resto to close

After 13 years, popular locavore restaurant calls it quits.

Posted on Mon, Feb 25, 2013 at 4:03 PM

Fid Resto has sent out the following press release:
After 13 years in business, the owners of one of Halifax’s best known and respected dining establishments, Fid Resto, announced today that the restaurant will close by the end of May. The lease was up for renewal and this provided a natural timeline for the owners to review their priorities and future plans.

Chef Dennis Johnston and his wife, Monica Bauche were pioneers in starting the ‘local, sustainable’ food movement for the Halifax dining scene. They began in 2000, opening Fid to rave reviews as a fine dining establishment. Four years ago, they rebranded as Fid Resto and were successful in drawing a wider range of appreciative customers.

“We want to thank all of our loyal customers for dining with us over the years. We also want to thank our incredible food suppliers; the farmers, fishers, foragers, wine makers and others who have been integral in putting Fid Resto on the map. We’ve put a great deal of thought and consideration into our decision. While not easy, it feels right and we are looking forward to whatever the future holds for us both” said Johnston.

The owners met with their staff this past Sunday to give them the news of the closing which is planned for late May. Plans are underway for a number of special brunch, lunch and dinner offerings over the final weeks in the life of Fid Resto.

We'll have more on this as soon as we can.
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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Goodbye il Mercato, hello La Frasca

A new project for The Bertossi group brings a fresh face, and a new hang out, to Spring Garden

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 12:50 PM

La Frasca: the product of an exciting shuffle on Spring Garden.
  • La Frasca: the product of an exciting shuffle on Spring Garden.

Stephanie Bertossi says she's "still crazy after all these years." That's part of the explanation behind the decision to close The Bertossi Group's 19-year-old Spring Garden Road eatery il Mercato Trattoria and open a brand new restaurant in the space just over a month later. “With all of the changes on Spring Garden,” she says, “it needs a fresh face.”

The new spot, which Bertossi says will be eclectic, vibrant and loaded with custom-designed decor, will be named La Frasca Cibi & Vini, taking inspiration from her husband and business partner Maurizio’s Italian roots. A frasca is a social custom in Friuli—Maurizio’s home province in Italy— that Bertossi calls “the original pop-up bar”, where families hang a tree branch near the road, inviting passersby in for “great wine, great food, conversation, cards and music.” With a casual vibe and a massive bar, La Frasca will encapsulate the tradition and boast a plentiful menu of imported wines, classic cocktails and flavourful Friulano food. “Every time we build I say ‘this is the best one yet,’” says Bertossi of the ambitious project. “We’ve done it so many times we’re getting really good at it.”

While the downtown il Mercato will serve it’s last meals on April 13, its Bedford location (1595 Beford Highway, Sunnyside Mall) will keep on keeping on, incase you’re prematurely mourning the loss of your favourite dish. “Both Maurizio and I love doing business in Halifax, and love being able to constantly do new things. It’s really important in the industry to be fresh,” says Bertossi. “Halifax loves new, but they love what they love, too.”

La Frasca is set to open its doors, and arms, on May 21 and the Bertossis will be blogging the restaurant's progress starting April 15 at lafrasca.ca (that site won't be live until next week). “I think we're really going to see a big difference on Spring Garden,” says Bertossi. “This next evolution of the street is going to be really exciting.”

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Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A warm welcome from The Works

In a collaboration with Feed NS the brand new burger bistro offers up FREE food

Posted By on Tue, Feb 19, 2013 at 2:33 PM

The subject matter of my dreams as of late.
  • The subject matter of my dreams as of late.

The newest patty in town has arrived, burger lovers. After finding out that Ottawa-based chain The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro was hitting Hali last summer, the curious and hungry among us have been waiting, and waiting, to sink their teeth into one of these famous burgs. This Thursday and Friday marks the official arrival of the first Works in Atlantic Canada—make that the first Works outside of Ontario—which has taken over 5431 Doyle Street with its 70 burgers (and something like 420 combinations), 50 plus shakes and tons of tempting sides and starters (like that Tower o’ Rings I’ve been dreaming about nightly). Sure, the menu is intimidatingly massive but that just means you’ll have to get to know it. Study up, folks.

Owned by husband and wife team Alan and Jody Garner, who call the business venture their honeymoon, The Works is kicking off their first week up-and-running in a big way. Before its official grand opening on Friday (February 22) comes Free Day. In a collaborative effort with Feed Nova Scotia, on Thursday (February 21) The Works and the Garners welcome you to eat for free, yes FREE, if you make a donation to the local charity. Both cash and non-perishable food donations will be accepted in exchange for damn good burgers and more from 11am to 2pm and 5 until 8pm on Thursday. See, good karma exists, people. The proof is in the patty!

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Monday, February 18, 2013

May I Imbibe you a drink?

The city's best mixologists tell a cocktail story on Thursday

Posted By on Mon, Feb 18, 2013 at 1:39 PM

See Jeffrey Van Horne work some magic on Thursday - PHOTO BY RILEY SMITH
  • See Jeffrey Van Horne work some magic on Thursday
  • photo by RIley Smith

In case you forgot, the Savour Food and Wine Festival—the month-long celebration of all things tasty— is still in full swing, and this week it's debuting a brand new event dedicated to the art of mixology. And it is an art alright. Thursday brings Imbibe: A Cocktail Story (Schooner Room, Casino Nova Scotia, 7pm) an event that'll make you think differently about the next gin and tonic you pound back. Gathering the best cocktail artists in town, Imbibe provides an environment for them to show off their skills, share their tricks and tips and help you (you being budding bartenders, or plain ol' booze lovers) learn by example what it takes to make a serious cocktail.

Along with loads o' dranks, there'll be snacks, live jazz and special guests mix master (er, master mixologist) Jeremy Parsons, who's one of the best in North America, and Clinton Pattemore, brand ambassador for Canada Dry Mott's Clamato. Plus over 20 local mixologists and over 20 liqueurs to sample from the NSLC. See the full list of exhibitors, and get your tickets here.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The haskap berry gets juiced

It's a great week for this wee berry

Posted By on Wed, Feb 13, 2013 at 4:00 AM

The little berry that could/can/will
  • The little berry that could/can/will

The itty-bitty haskap berry has been making a lot of noise lately, thanks to the agricultural innovators behind LaHave Forests. The super-nutritious, anti-oxidizing member of the honeysuckle family may have originated in Japan, but look out North America, Nova Scotia’s quickly becoming the home of the haskap on this side of the world. As a real Valentine’s Day treat Haskapa--- the first haskap berry juice in North America---will launch on February 14 at The Wooden Monkey restaurants. Toast love, bright ideas and local business, and celebrate the addition of the Haskapa to the The Wooden Monkey’s menus, with $2 samples of the crimson-coloured drink. And hey lovers, it’ll be featured in a special Valentine’s Day cocktail. This week marks another milestone for the berry: on Sunday (February 17) LaHave Forests’ Dragon’s Den pitch will air online at 8pm. Will the haskap berry get some love from the ferocious dragons? Tune in and see how this local product does.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

It's winter, wine about it

Snow storm means Nova Scotia Winter Wine Fest is NEXT weekend instead

Posted By on Thu, Feb 7, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Clip clop your way through Avondale Sky's vineyards
  • Clip clop your way through Avondale Sky's vineyards

It feels like we whined about winter a lot in January. With February comes the oppourtunity for another, much more gratifying type of wining, though. Cue Nova Scotia Winter Wine Festival, two days of celebrating the province’s internationally enjoyed bottles, tasty eats and how the Annapolis Valley has the ability to make every season look great.

The fest was scheduled to hit the valley this weekend, but due to impending doom in the form of snow (please, no!) the event is going by its scheduled weather dates February 16 and 17. So, next weekend, be sure to hop on that crazy carpet, take a snowshoeing tour or a sleigh ride, warm yourself by the fire, snack on some sushi...all with the good company of Nova Scotia’s finest wines. After a weekend of snowstorm hibernation, you'll definitely need to get outta town and check what’s on the go at participating wineries . Find full event details at winesofnovascotia.ca, and then good luck picking just one.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Brooklyn Warehouse's kitchen campaign

The power of crowdfunding! Delish rewards! Collabs with Nomad Gourmet!

Posted By on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 at 2:26 PM

Smart plans live in the brains of George and Leo Christakos - PHOTO BY SCOTT BLACKBURN

Team Brooklyn Warehouse (2795 Windsor Street) knows a thing or two about crowdfunding. Remember last year when they raised over $20,000 in two months, helping them to build a sweet new front room/patio? That was pretty clear evidence of how possible it is to get by with a little help from your friends, supporters and hungry customers and remain free of debt.

Today, the north end resto announced they’re back at it. Taking some inspiration the successful patio project and Barack Obama’s crazy crowdfunding capabilities that have raised millions and millions via small donations, Brooklyn Warehouse is looking to you, the people, to help achieve the goal of a kitchen makeover. The campaign, AKA The Kitchen Crowd, looks to raise $1,000 a day for the month of February to end up with $28,000 and another great upgrade for the five-year-old restaurant. Potential donors, there’s more to this than good karma. Depending on how much you decide to fork over, there are rewards for your support (t-shirts, lunches, dinners and more). If you want to put some money where your mouth is (or, where your mouth yearns to be) check out The Kitchen Crowd.

ALSO, the fun doesn’t stop there. Starting on February 18, Brooklyn Warehouse will join forces with resto on wheels Nomad Gourmet and do it street food-style for two weeks while its kitchen gets that overhaul mentioned above. A special street food menu, prepared by Brooklyn’s kitchen crew, with the Nomad’s (Nick Horne) gear, that you can enjoy in the comfort of a warm restaurant? This is too much goodness to process on a Friday. Check out the menu here.

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