Friday, June 28, 2013

Tin Pan Alley's ready to roll

A new food truck pairs internationally inspired taste, and loads of experience

Posted By on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 12:56 PM

Coming soon to a parking lot near you
  • Coming soon to a parking lot near you

There’s another food truck coming your way and its menu is full of unique international cuisine. Opening full force next week Tin Pan Alley's owner Karl Warmé describes the truck as terrific globally inspired food that he and everyone involved loves to eat.

“Right now we’re doing the Dutch frites with flavored aioli,” says Warmé. He says in the coming weeks customers will also be able to enjoy fresh salads, steak and vegetarian offerings. “It’s going to be a diverse menu.".

Warmé, who has a background in resto management, will be working alongside his wife Jill Warmé—who's a pastry chef—and chef Brendan Sullivan, who also owns Presto PastaWorks and On the Wedge in Sunnyside Mall (1595 Bedford Highway). “We’ve got a pretty good formula,” says Warmé. “It’s going to be a fun ride I’m sure.”

Though the hours for Tin Pan Alley have not been set in stone yet, Warmé says most of the advertising will be done on Facebook and Twitter. “We’re looking at Burnside for lunch, enjoying Bedford in the evenings, since it’s where we’re based and hoping Halifax will take us once and awhile too.”

Find Tin Pan Alley at 1225 Bedford Highway as of Tuesday, and check out @tinpanalleyfax for all the latest hours and updates!

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Plan B welcomes C Cafe

Say (grilled) cheeeeese, says Bill Wood

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 1:45 PM

Cheesus saves
  • Cheesus saves

Halifax comic Bill Wood has opened (as of today) a cafe in Plan B Merchants Co-op (2180 Gottingen Street, 406-1254). However this isn’t your typical, run of the mill cafe. At C Cafe the menu staple is a homemade, old fashioned, mouth-watering grilled cheese sandwich.

“I’m going to have good coffee and nice baked goods, like brownies, that I’ll make there, but if you want something to eat it will have to be in the grilled cheese world,” says Wood. “It’s a great comfort food.”

Wood says he will be serving the classic cheese and bread (Smith's Bakery bread), as well as grilled cheese with bacon. Every day he will change up the menu with a special consisting of different vegetables and cheese. His favorite is mozzarella, bacon and sweet chili sauce.

Wood says he had wanted the space at Plan B for some time and when it became available he jumped on the opportunity. “I love Gottingen Street,” he says. “I perform at the Company House every Sunday night and I’m on the board of the Bus Stop Theatre. Gottingen is like my little 'hood.”

After working for a catering company for 12 years and well as running a sandwich shop is England for a few years with his father, opening a cafe seemed like a natural choice for Wood. Though there are a few other cafes on Gottingen Street, he believes they all serve the community in a unique way.

“For me it’s going to be a quiet place to sit and use the internet,” he says. “But if you want you can come and I’ll read your tarot cards.”

The C Cafe will be open the same hours at Plan B, 11am-7pm, for all of your cheese and tarot card needs. And while we're on the subject of sammies, please direct your attention here.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A time of the signs

The Shack and Ratinaud got all dolled up today

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 9:15 PM

Wooden you know, it's The Shack
  • Wooden you know, it's The Shack

A sweaty summer stroll revealed two wonderful discoveries today—both Ratinaud French Cuisine (2082 Gottingen Street, 446-8222) and The Shack (1751 Lower Water Street AKA Queen's Wharf) installed new signage! And beautiful new signage, at that.

Just thought I'd share. See The Shack's rustic-looking wood work above and check out Ratinaud's bright red beacon below. Note the special shout-out to its pop-up dinners at The Kitchen Table.


This Table's tops
  • This Table's tops

If you're intrigued by said Kitchen Table, check out Thursday's issue of The Coast for some more on that from our Melissa Buote.

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A Resto development

Bedford gets new neighbourhood eats in the old Cellar spot

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM

Lookie what we found
  • Lookie what we found

A true family affair, Resto Urban Dining (1516 Bedford Highway, 240-5113) is the recent brainchild of Del and Marlene Kenley and their daughter and son in-law Marley and Ryan Hayes, a crew that has more than 70 years of food and drink expertise between them.

Taking over the recently former location Cellar Bar & Grill—where Marlene was the general manager for a whopping 15 years— Resto will put their well-honed chops together to bring great food and wine back to the space. “We just want to be a comfortable neighbourhood restaurant, where you could go for a business lunch, girls night, first date or family dinner,” says Ryan, who'll be at the helm running the kitchen, where he says pretty well everything will be made from scratch.

Avoiding labelling themselves into a corner, the pair says Resto will be a "middle of the road" casual dining spot for people to enjoy a broad menu of entrees and appies, and a thoughtful wine list as well. Opening in mid-to-late July, we're excited that this well-known spot's not one but TWO patios will be put to good use.

“We know so many people in the HRM and especially Bedford, we’re looking forward to opening the doors and seeing those faces again,” adds Marlene.

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Hurricane watch

Sam's Place is out, Hurricane City is in

Posted By on Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 4:38 PM

There's a storm a brewin' here at Hurricane City
  • There's a storm a brewin' here at Hurricane City

You may or may not have noticed that Sam's Place (26 Portland Street) is no longer.

But, luckily, just like a fierce nor'easter, a new tenant has already whipped through the downtown Dartmouth venue, giving it an swift overhaul, starting by re-painting the interior some bright, Mardi Gras-esque colours. As of June 1 the white and blue building you knew as Sam's became Hurricane City, a New Orleans-inspired blues bar. Still in its early stages, the hangout will offer a menu of Cajun and Creole eats—gumbo, anyone?—and, in the future, live music.

This Saturday Hurricane City welcomes karaoke legend Jackie Smith to the stage—this gives four nights to prepare your best rendition of "Rock You Like a Hurricane" to celebrate this new Dartmouth bar.

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Sunday, June 16, 2013

Go for the Gold Medal Plates

Here's who you'll since at the prestigious culinary competition

Posted By on Sun, Jun 16, 2013 at 3:54 PM


The time of year that people deem awards season is over, but not for Canadian foodies. Gold Medal Plates, the country's most prestigious culinary competition, will return to Halifax October 17.

For Gold Medal Plates, the top chefs in 11 different Canadian regions are chosen to sharpen their knives and create their most innovative dish and pair it with a Canadian wine, spirit or beer. The best of the best then compete for the honour of national top chef in Kelowna, BC next February.

The competition is not all about food however. Proceeds raised by Gold Medal Plates are given to support Canada’s Olympic athletes (hence the gold medal). Each event features current and former Canadian athletes and musicians as special guests plus a live auction where guests can bid on amazing travel experiences with these same musicians and athletes. Since 2004, the events have raised over $7.4 million for the Canadian Olympic Foundation making it an excellent combination of food, entertainment and sport that Canadians can be proud of.

The competition has only been to Halifax three times out of the seven years it has been running but this year it’s starting off in our city, hosted by local laugh-maker Shaun Majumder. “It’s just saying, ‘you know what Nova Scotia is a culinary destination and we’re in line with everyone else in Canada,” says Taste of Nova Scotia's Christine White.

The nine chefs selected from our region are: Bryan Corkery, Elements on Hollis; Mark Gabrieau, Gabrieau’s Bistro (Antigonish); Roland Glauser, Charlotte Lane (Shelburne), Sam Jaggi, Grand Taj; Jason Lynch, Le Caveau (Grand Pré); Martin Ruiz Salvador, Fleur de Sel (Lunenburg); Tahir A. Salamat, RCR Hospitality Group; Geir Simensen, Saege Bistro and Terry Vassallo, Café Chianti.

The event isn’t until October so if the spirit moves you, you have the opportunity to pre-taste all of the chefs' dishes and form your own opinion. To purchase tickets for the 2013 Gold Medal Plates Halifax, head to

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Ladies Beer League starts TONIGHT

This is the best

Posted By on Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Everyday I'm guzzling
  • Everyday I'm guzzling

It's hard to express how happy this makes me. Tonight marks the inaugural meeting of Halifax's Ladies Beer League, a righteous craft club giving we beer-loving women (or beer-hating women for that matter) a place to get together to learn about and think about great beer, plan beer-related events, and of course, do some drinking.

The crew will get together for a few brews on the second Thursday of every month. Tonight it all goes down at Garrison Brewing Company (1149 Marginal Road) at around 8pm, and $5 will get you entrance and three drink tickets to get you started. Join the ladies in tapping the Nit Wit cask and planning for what the future LBL get togethers will hold. We're pretty there are many, many good times (and good beers) to come.

You're going to want to give the ladies at follow at @LadyBeerLeague to keep tabs on upcoming goings on. Watch next week's issue of The Coast for the ultimate craft beer lovers' summer roadie itinerary.

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Cafe Brea's park place

The Dartmouth cafe gets the go-ahead to open in Shubie Park for the summer

Posted By on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 at 12:09 PM

Come July 1, you can get your Cafe Brea fix right where commission volunteer Suzanne Roy is pointing to
  • Come July 1, you can get your Cafe Brea fix right where commission volunteer Suzanne Roy is pointing to

Shubie Park has welcomed a new resident to its grounds. Cafe Brea will be opening up shop Canada Day weekend on the patio at the Fairbanks Center (54 Locks Road). The cafe usually slings coffees and more from 530 Portland Street in Darmouth, this new location will be its second.

“We’re really excited,” says owner Melita Scott. “When we first heard about the opportunity it sounded like a great fit for us.”

Brea was chosen after the Shubenacadie Canal Commission invited local interest in its search for a vendor for the Shubie Park cafe. Cafe Brea has a strong belief in the buy local movement as well as a firm focus on sustainability, using biodegradable cups and lids because they compost faster. “We will ensure that we are being mindful at Shubie by setting up recycling bins and keeping our part clean,” says Scott.

The cafe supports the local scene by roasting its own coffee, selling Propeller sodas, Farmers ice cream and locally sourced baked goods. And it's currently on the search to find a local vendor for doggie treats.

Scott says the menu will change a little at first to determine what the demand is. But Scott says the public will still be getting the same welcoming and community oriented space they find on Portland Street.“To start off were just going to be offering the brewed coffee, baked treats and maybe the smoothies,” she adds.

Cafe Brea does have something new brewing, though—its very own Shubie Blend coffee, with a percentage of the profits going back into supporting the work of the Canal Commission. Scott says this is their way to give back and support the cause.

The new location will be open seven days a week from 8am until 8pm from Canada Day weekend on.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Jenner Cormier is Canada's Best Bartender

The Middle Spoon's mixologist is the Diageo World Class Canada champion

Posted By on Tue, Jun 11, 2013 at 11:29 AM

Jenner Cormier is the champion, my friends - PHOTO BY RILEY SMITH
  • Jenner Cormier is the champion, my friends
  • photo by RIley Smith

Raise your glasses Halifax (if there was ever a time to use that cliche, it is now) or at the very least, spike that coffee—your very own Jenner Cormier has been crowned Canada's Best Bartender of 2013. This week the mix master behind the bar at The Middle Spoon and Noble travelled to Toronto for a national shakedown otherwise known as the Diageo World Class Canada, to compete against nine of the best in the country (including, also, your very own Best of Food winner Jeffrey Van Horne).

Last night at the Sen5es Cafe and Restaurant , Cormier reigned supreme, winning not only the Bartender of the Year title but also the rights to compete in the Global Finale, while sailing on the French Riviera in July...NBD. Major congrats to both Jeffrey and Jenner. You've done us proud!

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Hot off the Presser

Downtown's newest food truck, Under Pressers, loves a good sandwich

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 8:51 PM

If you’re the type who’s thinking about lunch from the time you finish breakfast, add this one to the daydream roster. Tomorrow (Tuesday) at lunchtime marks the debut of the newest food truck to roll up downtown, Under Pressers—a sandwich shop on wheels. Graham Wallace and Andrew Muncaster, panini lovers themselves, had started looking for a venue for their sandwich shop a couple of years ago when the Kijiji gods stepped in and offered up a food truck. Unable to acquire one of the city’s allocated food truck spots last year, the pair held off and now are finally slinging grilled gourmet sammies (plus fries and poutine, too) from their sunny yellow vehicle. Find it parked Argyle Street, just next to Grand Parade. Under Pressers is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday, and for the late night crowd on weekends.

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Five questions with 2 Doors Down's Andrew Farrell

The chef who’s cooking up simple, yet thoughtful, pleasures had us at “comfort food”

Posted By on Mon, Jun 10, 2013 at 11:38 AM

Chef Andrew Farrell
  • Chef Andrew Farrell

We got into the kitchen at Barrington Street's newest hangout—and Chives' little sis— 2 Doors Down, to steal some time from its bright young chef, Andrew Farrell. He advises you try the cheeseburger, now.

What’s your style in the kitchen?

My style is kind of nostalgic in a sense. We all have our go to childhood memory food, and that’s what I like cooking. It’s like the perfect diner burger, or spaghetti and meatballs like your mom used to make, just the things that trigger that kind of food memory, you know? Really comforting food.

What was the process like for building the menu at 2 Doors Down?

It was really interesting because it was really collaborative. I’ve worked with Craig [Flinn] and Darren [Lewis] here [at Chives] for three years and it was basically just a big group brainstorm. And then editing and editing and editing. We wanted to do something with the Chives feel to it, but more approachable, better dollar value and more day-to-day stuff. A lot of it was influenced by what we had cooked for staff here, a lot of familiar flavours, a lot of stuff that we cooked at home for ourselves and thought; wouldn’t it be nice on the menu here? It was definitely collaborative. It’s inspired by home cooked favourites but also world flavours.

What’s your favorite dish on the menu to create?

The burger is something that we’ve worked on for a while and it’s a little pride point because it’s something so simple, but if you treat the product the right way from every step—the beef cut, the seasoning, the searing—all these things add up to the final product. That’s one thing that we really enjoyed about this whole process of doing and creating 2 Doors Down, taking all those kind of fine dining steps and stealing the essence of it and seeing what can actually translate into quick lunch and dinner dishes.

What are some in-season ingredients you’re cooking with now?

Right now radishes and hakurei turnips are a big thing and we have in our Caesar salad at the moment a baby kale mix. Pickled radishes are on some dishes, hakurei turnips on some dishes and fiddleheads are around so were using them. We do a lot of preserves so we can have them all year round. For lunch today we had a ham, cheese, and sungold tomato jam sandwich, and the tomato jam was made last fall at Chives. That’s the great thing about 2 Doors Down, we’re able to use local stuff on a larger scale with some planning.

What’s the best cooking advice you were ever given?

I think that simple is better, quality over quantity and just to edit, edit, edit a dish. You don’t always have to have 10 elements or 12 elements on a dish. The great thing about 2 Doors Down is that most of our plates have five or less elements on it and everything has to be focused and has to be good and has to be there for a reason. Focusing and editing is probably the best food advice I ever got.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Going HAM for Canadian Bacon

Canadian Bacon Cookhouse beckons pork lovers to the boardwalk

Posted By on Fri, Jun 7, 2013 at 4:00 AM

Talk about a strip tease
  • Talk about a strip tease

Get ready to pig out Halifax, a new kiosk on the waterfront is bringing home the bacon, literally. Canadian Bacon Cookhouse (1751 Lower Water Street) will be opening its doors within the next week to share its salty, meaty goodness with the city. Founders Louis Brill and Mike Kennedy dreamt up the business after discovering their mutual love for bacon.

“The public can expect terrible puns and really great bacon based sandwiches that will showcase local ingredients,” says Kennedy. “It will be a pretty simple menu that will feature what we call gourmet comfort food.” Aside from the sandwiches, Kennedy says the kiosk will be serving beverages as well as a few surprise desserts.

Canadian Bacon Cookhouse will be open seven days a week, likely from 11am to 7pm. Look for the bright pink kiosk on Queens Wharf to experience what Kennedy calls, “a celebration of Canadiana for your taste buds.”

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The (Portland) Hills are alive

This Dartmouth neighbourhood's quickly turning into an eater/drinkers paradise

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 3:26 PM

A packed Finbar's in Bedford bodes well for its Dartmouth twin - PHOTO BY MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON
  • A packed Finbar's in Bedford bodes well for its Dartmouth twin
  • photo by Meghan Tansey Whitton

Keep an eye on Portland Hills! Now that the second Finbar’s Irish Pub (635 Portland Hills Drive, 832-9170) is in its final stages of preparation—with a tentative opening set for June—this area is heating up. With the recent opening of Que Tal Restaurante Mexicano in the same complex, and promise of Tomasino's Pizza take-out moving in too, soon it'll be difficult to decide which restaurant to visit next at this address. But, why Portland Hills? 

“It’s a right fit, right neighbourhood,” says Mike Casey, owner of both the Bedford and upcoming Dartmouth location of Finbar’s, the pub that repeatedly wins the Best of Halifax glory for Best Crew of Regulars. “The neighbourhood needs a place like us, it’s similar to Bedford anyway. It was just the right fit for the right time.” The new Finbar's will be almost identical to its Bedford twin, with the same menu and look, with a few upgrades. “Construction is almost complete, licensing and stuff like that has yet to be finalized. The stuff we’re waiting for is out of my hands at this point," says Casey. With dining a range of dining options like this, it’s looking like this summer we’ll be heading for the Hills.

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Eager for enVie

The summer of vegan continues, with a new restaurant on Charles Street

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2013 at 12:10 PM

Vegan visionaries Cory Urquhart and Diandra Phipps in their soon-to-be resto
  • Vegan visionaries Cory Urquhart and Diandra Phipps in their soon-to-be resto

Diandra Phipps and Cory Urquhart have finally found a home for their vegan vision, right in the north end. With an expected opening for July, the couple is taking their knowledge of vegan cuisine and using it to serve up delicious food via their new restaurant enVie - A Vegan Kitchen, at the corner of Charles and Agricola streets.

“The support from the community has been overwhelming,” says Phipps, who mentions they've received Facebook messages from people saying their food—they currently sell to-go meals sold at Alderney Landing Market and Local Source Market—has helped with their chronic illnesses. Not simply vegan, enVie aims to prepare food that is also gluten-free and as local and organic as possible, all while trying to steer away from using refined sugar.

Both Phipps and Urquhart are vegans themselves. Phipps made the change because of influence from her vegan sister and vegetarian mother. Urquhart eased into it, saying if it weren’t for Phipps he might never have made the switch.

Learning the ropes while helping a friend open, and run, a vegan restaurant Heilbronn, Germany called VELO, Phipps is no stranger to serving up good food that's friendly to the environment, and the body. Now she's working with Urquhart to bring delicious food to Halifax customers, vegan or otherwise.

“Everyone will enjoy our style of food,” says Urquhart. “People underestimate what you can do.” He and Phipps both reinforce that people tend to be surprised by how full and satisfied they are after a vegan meal. With plans for a frequently changing menu, inspired by the season, the food will be a consistently new experience that's fresh, healthy, affordable, worldly and served in large portions. Indian and Thai are two cuisines the pair say they’ll probably sample, as both suit the vegan lifestyle.

Though enVie's dishes might transport your tastes to places around the world, Urquhart and Phipps want you to feel immediately comfortable in the space, even if you're only coming into the restaurant’s cafe portion for a cup of coffee. “We want people to feel like they’re coming into our home,” says Phipps.

“We love this neighbourhood,” she adds. We have a feeling this neighbourhood is going to love enVie, too

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In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 17
September 19, 2019

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