Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Getting ready to Devour!

Devour! The Food Film Fest gets big support for this fall's fun

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2013 at 5:56 PM

devour_logo_copy.jpg

Unsurprisingly, people are very eager to feast their eyes on Devour! The Food Film Festival. Today, in sunny Wolfville, the fest proudly launched its lovely new brand (see the slick graphic above for a taste of Spectacle Group's hard work) and a list of the partners hungry to support the project. We couldn't be there to join in on the fun—had to make a newspaper, or something—but were happy to hear all the good news.

Devour! (organized by chef Michael Howell and Lia Rinaldo and formerly known as the Slow Motion Food Film Festival) will take place in Wolfville this fall, November 13-17 to be exact, putting 30 films from all over the world that'll educate and entertain on the big screen and treating attendees to a slew of other special events, like tastings, tours and chef demos. Fall in the valley is pretty darn gorgeous, food in the valley is pretty darn special — it's going to be great.

And I'm not alone in making that assumption, clearly, because Acadia University, Al Whittle Theatre, the community of Wolfville, Taste of Nova Scotia, Slow Food International (and Slow Food Nova Scotia), the province itself and a whole picnic basket full of others have stepped up to support this celebration of the arts, food and food culture. It's kind of like a pot luck, everyone's chipping in to make this showcase of smart films memorable.

Keep tabs on Devour! here and here as this is the first of many announcements leading up to the event.


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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Food court report: Park Lane Mall

Construction, obstruction and spring rolls

Posted By on Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 3:40 PM

There's a neon light at the end of the tunnel
  • There's a neon light at the end of the tunnel

We're big supporters of healthy living. We commend those who remain avid gym-goers despite the taunts of blistering heat and and icy cool beers. We are excited that Park Lane Mall's basement dwelling Goodlife fitness club is getting a expansion/makeover, and even though we'll miss the fountain, we embrace change.

But, as always, we've got food on the brain. In the face of renos, Treats made the move upstairs earlier this summer, but now said construction is causing some troubles for nearby neighbours A&W and Just Spring Roll, and those seeking a quick bite.

So to clarify, yes, there is a large white (temporary) wall obstructing access to all of the Mama Burgers and pad Thais your heart desires, but fear not concerned diners (truthfully, there are some)—THE RESTOS ARE STILL OPEN. According to Park Lane Mall's general manager Mike Samson if all goes according to plan the construction should be out of the way by September, and the two-counter food court will be staying put.

Until then, think of Park Lane's bottom level as a big maze. You're a mouse, and your spring roll is the cheese at the end. You just have to do a little extra work for the payoff.

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Go for the gold with Culinary Team Canada

The country's finest chefs—including Halifax's Luis Clavel—want to cook for you

Posted By on Tue, Jul 23, 2013 at 11:32 AM

Culinary Team Canada with our own Luis Clavel, fourth from the left
  • Culinary Team Canada with our own Luis Clavel, fourth from the left

The euphoric smells of fine food will be flowing through Halifax this Friday night as the Going for Gold, a dinner with Culinary Team Canada, takes place at the Atlantica Hotel.

Atlantica's executive chef, Luis Clavel, is on cloud nine. He is one of the members of team Canada that will be doing some of the cooking for the event and eventual international competition.

“I’m blown away, I’m proud, I can’t even tell you,” says Clavel. “The people that I’m working with on this team, they’re world champions.”

Clavel says medals for team Canada would not only mean recognition for him, but for Halifax as well. Team Canada boasts 12 to 14 members in total, but only those on the core team can receive medals, and he's on the core team.

“Honestly, for me this is the culinary event of the year for Halifax,” says Clavel. “Some of the top fine dining chefs in the country are cooking dinner together to make a meal for you.” Friday's event is just one of the dinner’s Team Canada will be serving up on its cross-country tour. The focus is to cook the food that they will be preparing in Switzerland this November for the actual showcase.

“We will put together the difficult menu in four and a half hours for 100 people,” says Clavel. “People can come in and watch the team perform for five or six minutes live.”

Support for the event is very important for Clavel. He says the event is very similar to the Olympics in that its local talent putting their best food forward at an international level. “We get to showcase what’s happening in Canada with regards to food,” says Clavel. “We’re putting Halifax on the map. This is the Canadian Olympic team.”

Going for Gold takes place Friday, July 26th at the Atlantica Hotel. The reception kicks off at 6:30pm with the dinner to follow at 8:00pm. Tickets are $155 and can be purchased at ticketpro.com.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Narrow Espresso minded

A new coffee joint gives Fenwick Street a welcomed jolt

Posted By on Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 4:00 PM

Here's the skinny on the south end's newest cafe, Narrow Espresso—a 10-foot wide, 30-foot deep coffee bar at 5570 Fenwick Street.

After Steve Armbruster, AKA the Steve in Steve-o-Renos Cappucino, was approached by the landlord for the little space (right next to Darrell's) with the proposition to bring speciality coffee to the neighbourhood, he looked to a reliable friend, a former employee, for a little collaboration.

Together, Armbruster and Alex Son have put together Narrow Espresso which, as of this past Monday, offers the same quality java you know from Steve's (brewed from North Mountain Fine Coffee beans) plus smoothies, baked goods (from jane's) and snacks and Son's own flair.

"He has lots of experience," says Armbruster of his business partner's plans for the menu. "He's managed coffee operations in Korea, so there'll be some Korean-oriented drinks and bubble tea."

In true espresso bar fashion, the slender cafe has standing room only, with some outdoor seating to come for those who like to sip a bit more leisurely.

Caffeine lovers, it looks like you've found your next fix.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Be Stillwell my beating heart

Stillwell Beer Bar is coming at you, Barrington Street

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 4:00 AM

The prettiest rainbow I ever did see, a beerbow
  • The prettiest rainbow I ever did see, a beerbow

The family that drinks together, goes into business together. Isn’t that what they say?

Regardless, it’s the case for Halifax-natives Christopher Reynolds and Laura MacDonald and Brit Andrew Connell, the trio behind Barrington Street’s newest liquid venture. Stillwell Beer Bar—set to open this fall—is the product of putting three hop heads together and taking inspiration from their favourite craft-beer-centric hangouts in Toronto, Brooklyn and London to fill a void, and some glasses, in Halifax.

It’s an idea MacDonald and Connell—who met while working at a craft beer bar in London—have had brewing on the back burner for a few years. After the pair moved back to Toronto, where Connell managed barVolo (a family-run beer bar that’s nearly three decades strong) Reynolds, MacDonald’s brother, hopped onboard with the plan, but Stillwell really started to take shape over the last few months when the soon-to-be location, in the over a century-old 1672 Barrington Street, came available.

“Coming back, it's been interesting,” says Reynolds, who returned to Halifax after five years in Toronto. “Craft beer in Ontario, it’s wild watching it happen. It started with just a few in the LCBO [Liquor Control Board of Ontario], now its insane the plethora of options. Its a playground. And Nova Scotia’s starting to do the same thing.”

“I’d buy Propeller and Garrison at the LCBO and was just kind of proud,” he adds. “Nova Scotia isn't very big but man, it's making waves.”

Reynolds, MacDonald and Connell have a serious makeover planned for one-time Captain Sub/Greco Pizza that’ll call upon the talents of Five By Five Renovations and Breakhouse (AKA the people who made Edna so darn pretty). Serving a selection of fine craft beers from the tap and hand-pumped casks, plus a rotating snack menu ('cause what's better than beer and snacks?) Stillwell already has beer lovers anxiously awaiting its arrival.

“Beer fans are of all stripes,” says Reynolds of the diverse crowd he expects Stillwell to draw. “It becomes an equalizer, I guess.” He says the bar is still likely about two months out. Consider my countdown on.

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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

From Lebanon, with love

The 12th annual Lebanese Fest is this weekend!

Posted By on Wed, Jul 10, 2013 at 11:09 AM

Delish grape leaves courtesy of the Lebanese Festival
  • Delish grape leaves courtesy of the Lebanese Festival

It’s that time of year again! Halifax’s Lebanese Festival (July 11-14, Olympic Community Hall, 2304 Hunter Street) is busy preparing for its 12th anniversary and as always, it has many new additions to share with the city.

Nicole Khoury, directory chair for the festival, suggests that people should definitely check out the opening ceremonies, Thursday July 11th at 7pm, because this year it’s bigger than ever. “We’ve never done a big showcase for our opening ceremonies before and we’ve never showcased everything that we have,” says Khoury. “This year we are putting everybody in the show.”

A wine tasting event has also been added to the festival where five Lebanese wines will be showcased (Saturday, July 13, 5:30pm, $25). This is one of the events that Khoury is looking forward to most. “I’ve never tried these Lebanese wines,” says Khoury. “But, everybody talks about the rich taste and how it reminds them of being in Lebanon.”

The festival has something for the little ones in the family too! The site is set up into sections, with the children’s section offering security detail for any parents who want to drop their children off and enjoy the festival solo. The kiddy corner has many activities including a bouncy castle, face painting and arcade games.

Of course, food continues to be a big draw for some people and this year shawarma is being added to the menu. The public will still be able to get their tasty favorites including tabbouli, which is one of the festival’s most popular items.

This festival committee has changed their focus a little this year, placing their efforts on the décor at the venue. “We took some pictures in Lebanon and had them blown up,” says Khoury. “We’re going to be focusing on the site and being a more welcoming festival. We want people to feel comfortable coming in for the first time.”

Last year the festival brought in over 250 volunteers while a whopping 25, 000 attendees enjoyed the festivities. Khoury says she believes the festival remains strong because the focus is on the city of Halifax.

“People think we have the festival for us but we don’t,” says Khoury. “We bring the festival for Halifax so everybody else can experience the food, culture and entertainment. We feel so welcome in Halifax and we want to do something for the people in return.”

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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

More Morris East

These pretty pizzas hit Bedford in August

Posted By on Wed, Jul 3, 2013 at 4:30 PM

Jennie Dobbs has her eye on the pies - JULÉ MALET-VEALE
  • Jennie Dobbs has her eye on the pies
  • Julé Malet-Veale

Morris East is heading north. Wayyy north. The popular downtown restaurant will be opening its second location at Nine Mile Circle on the Larry Uteck Boulevard in August. Restaurant owner Jennie Dobbs, who grew up in Bedford, is looking forward to bringing Morris East to one of the fastest growing areas of the province.

“We want to be a neighbourhood restaurant and bring good food, great design and strong customer service to the area,” says Dobbs. With more space and as a result more cooking equipment, the Bedford location will give Morris East the opportunity to expand their menu. Dobbs says at the moment the staff is excited for the arrival of their spacious new oven which they will be developing many tasty recipes for.

In addition to the added space the restaurant will feature an exhibition kitchen. This open concept set up will let customers watch with hungry tummies as their pizzas are made before their eyes. “It provides our customers with some dinner theatre,” says Dobbs.

The Bedford location will also be home to a wine bar and a designated take-out area. “Right now were testing wines to expand our wine list,” says Dobbs, who's planning on hosting different wine event nights at the restaurant. She believes it will be beneficial for the area because it currently doesn't have much access to wine events.

And sure to get things cooking is Luc Castilloux, who will be joining the restaurant in Bedford as the new executive chef. Originally from New Brunswick, over the last few years he has worked at an upscale restaurant in the Bahamas. “We’re really excited to have him on board,” says Dobbs.

Morris East Bedford will be open seven days a week from 11am to 10pm.

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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Go ahead and Bite Me

Another food truck to add to our fleet! Bite Me Urban Diner opens on the Bedford Highway

Posted By on Tue, Jul 2, 2013 at 1:47 PM

BAM! Bite Me Urban Diner
  • BAM! Bite Me Urban Diner

“Without a risk, there are no rewards,” says the wise Matt Brewer, the chef behind the wheel of Halifax’s newest mobile food venture, Bite Me Urban Diner.

After two years cooking alongside some of the city’s finest at Seasons by Atlantica, he was approached by his now partner Paul Matchett to join him on the street food scene, and so Bite Me was born.

“I loved my job but this was just such an opportunity. The amount I learned in those two years, from those people, will go a long way.” Now, a one-time fish a chip truck—re-painted in bright graffiti by Brewer and some friends—serves up classic diner food with a modern twist and a local focus. Not a fan of boundaries and labels, Brewer serves up eats like a pizza burrito, seafood fritters with urban ’slaw and a killer burger, from 1200 Bedford Highway (just across from the Bedford United Church) everyday from 11am-6pm.

And that’s just scratching the surface of Bite Me’s plans. The truck’s also waiting on a permit to share an Argyle Street space and indulge the late night crowd, plus it’ll be catering as well. “What you can expect from us is an experience,” says Brewer. “We want you to come to the window, we want to talk to you, we want to know our customers, we want to see people’s smiles when they eat the food.”

Get the latest via Facebook or Matt's tweets.

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In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 4
June 20, 2019

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