Friday, February 28, 2014

Got the Urban Blues

Lyndell Findlay's Blue Harbour Cheese

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Findlay's debut cheese, Urban Blue
  • Findlay's debut cheese, Urban Blue

After retiring from spending many years abroad working as a protection officer with the UNHCR Refugee Agency, Lyndell Findlay had a craving to work at home in Halifax. She also had a craving to get into cheesemaking. Now, just two years later, after learning the ins and outs of the craft, taking all the technical courses (at the Institute for Artisan Cheese in Vermont) and interning under an award-winning cheesemaker in Ohio, she’s opened the only city-based cheese plant in Nova Scotia, Blue Harbour Cheese (3555 Robie Street).

“It was like it was meant to happen, everything fell into place,” says Findlay. “And nothing got in my way.” In November she began producing her signature blue cheese from a small north end house (which she shares with O’Dell’s Gluten-Free Bakery) and as of early 2014, her Urban Blue been making an impression around town. “There are very few cheesemakers in Nova Scotia and I wanted to complement what they are making rather than competing with the same types of cheese,” says Findlay, plus, blue cheese is her personal favourite. Find it used at restaurants like Chives Canadian Bistro, The Stubborn Goat and Obladee, or buy your own block Pete’s (1515 Dresden Row), European Pantry (6516 Chebucto Road), Local Source Markett (2530 Agricola Street) and more.

Blue Harbour plans to release two more cheeses this year, to keep on top what's new check out

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All eyes on Piez Bistro

Gourmet pizza for Portland Hills

Posted By on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 at 10:45 AM


“It's meant to be a great little local spot, where you can not only support local but be close to home. I want to have that neighbourhood feel,” says Heather Murray of her latest adventure Piez Bistro (635 Portland Hills Drive). Another new addition to the Portland Hills family, the little gourmet pizza shop opened back in January is serving up creative pies, salads and sides, homemade desserts as well as gluten-free options.

With a background in retail and commercial real estate, and a love for cooking, Murray says she’s always wanted to get into the restaurant biz and the opportunity to open in this Dartmouth community was a perfect fit. With chef Leslie Hull to taking the reigns in the kitchen, Piez focuses on take-away (and soon delivery too), offering up a small seating space for those looking to eat-in.

“I love really good pizza,” says Murray. “I want to have the best pizza in the city, but for right now I think we're doing really darn well.”

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ace + Bearly's = burgers

Ace Burger Co. will take over the kitchen at Bearly's House of Blues, Burgers and Ribs

Posted By on Thu, Feb 27, 2014 at 4:00 AM

Coming soon to Bearly's...
  • Coming soon to Bearly's...

Even the juiciest secrets have to reveal themselves eventually. It’s official, Ace Burger Co. (2605 Agricola Street) will be taking over the kitchen at Bearly’s House of Blues, Burgers and Ribs (1269 Barrington Street), and the switch will happen just in time for Burger Week (March 20-26).

Mimi Iatrou, Bearly’s owner, "had seen what we had done with Gus' Pub, and to him it was a really perfect solution,” says George Christakos of he and his father Leo’s decision to open a second coming of Ace. “Now he can focus on the bar and the music program and not worry about the kitchen anymore.”

There’s also a really lovely family connection to this pairing—Christakos' grandparents once ran a restaurant across the street from Bearly’s in the current Ginger Grass space, and Iatrou’s mother is Leo’s godmother. “It's really cool for me, I'm two generations removed,” he says. “For that collaboration to still be happening is pretty special.”

Along with having more room for seating, the second Ace will serve up a slightly bigger menu than its Gus’ counterpart. Keeping the classic and deluxe Getaway beef burgers as stars on the menu, Christakos says they’ll try some new flavours too, like Portuguese and north African influenced burgs. And that no-frills, all chill vibe will of course remain.

“If there's any place similar to Gus' it's Bearly’s. They're real bars, real watering holes,” says Christakos. “It's the kind of place Anthony Bourdain would fall in love with because there's nothing contrived here.”

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hart and Thistle closes today

Bruce Keith announces his pub's closure on Facebook

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2014 at 11:55 AM


The sweetest spot on the Halifax waterfront is officially up for grabs. Today, via Facebook, Bruce Keith announced that after five years of pub eats and brilliant craft beer Hart & Thistle Gastropub (1869 Upper Water Street) was closing.

You can direct your cravings for Greg Nash's hoppy creations to Rock Bottom Brewpub (5686 Spring Garden Road).

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Game on at PVP Bar & Grill

Come March 1 local gamers will have a new hangout

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2014 at 2:12 PM


Who says nerdery should be kept confined to the comfort of your home? Not Emily Clarke- Haughn, that’s for sure. She’s and Scott Baker are the dynamic duo behind Halifax’s next hangout PVP Bar & Grill (1668 Lower Water Street, the former Dragon King Buffet)—a place to eat, drink and be gamers, together.

“There already is a gaming community here, people are hosting these things already but if you’re not in the loop you don’t know about it,” says Clarke-Haughn, who’s excited to offer a place to unite the spread out scene. “It’s good to make the gaming more social. It’s not that they don't want to meet up, there’s just not really anywhere to go.”

Inspired by a comic book cafe they found in Toronto, the pair aim to make PVP—that’s player vs player— a place for friendly competition, whether it’s pool, darts or a Call of Duty, StarCraft or League of Legends tournament. The kitchen will serve up pub-style comfort food, home-baked desserts, coffee and creative cocktails to match PVP’s theme nights. The bar, which they’re currently revamping, will showcase Baker’s collectable collection (Clarke-Haughn says he’s the expert gamer of the two first-time business owners), have an a packed events calendar, private rooms to rent and play and will offer a place for esport fans to gather and watch international matches over a couple of drinks.

“There’s nothing really like this,” she adds. “Esports are becoming really big.” PVP plans to be welcoming gamers with open arms and plenty of couch space in early March with hours from 11am-2am, converting to a lounge for the 19+ night owls after 9pm.

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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Sully's is back in action

Starting Monday you can follow the smell of smoked meat to a refitted space on Agricola

Posted By on Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 3:26 PM

Sweet new signage from Eyecandy Signs, via @sullysbeef
  • Sweet new signage from Eyecandy Signs, via @sullysbeef

It was late October when Sully’s Roast Beef & Smoked Meat quietly closed its little Novalea Drive location with the promise of a new, bigger home on Agricola Street. And after three months of cosmetic changes that turned 2733 Agricola Street from what was once Turnstile Pottery into a retro-feeling, 30-seater deli-style restaurant, it’s gearing up to re-open next Monday.

“The last place was just a trial run to see if people liked what we were doing, and they did,” says manager Sean Sullivan of the move. “We outgrew it quickly.”

The new version of Sully’s will still offer the simple but satisfying menu that had the place packed—subs, sandwiches, bagels and soups—adding home-cut fries and specials (boiled dinner!) to the mix and later down the line, beer and live music, too. Sullivan also hopes with more room Sully’s will speed up its service; “We’re shooting to get people in and out as fast as we can,” he says.

Though he expects the same regular crowd regardless of the move, Sullivan says he expects the busy strip of Agricola to work in his favour when it comes to bringing newbies into Sully's. “There was no foot traffic [on Novalea] whatsoever, here everybody’s peeking their heads in,” he adds. “This neighbourhood is good at supporting businesses.” Join that support system by following @sullysbeef.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

enVie's Lauren Marshall is vying for Top Chef Canada

Get glued to the Food Network

Posted By on Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Lauren Marshall's game face is on
  • Lauren Marshall's game face is on

If you weren't already a reality TV junkie, here's an excuse to cross over to the dark (but very entertaining) side. Halifax's very own Lauren Marshall—the chef de cuisine at enVie-a vegan kitchen (5775 Charles Street)— is one of 14 Canadian food wizards, and the only Nova Scotian, who'll battle for the title of Top Chef in season four of Top Chef Canada.

Marshall has cooked her way from Belize to Australia to Montreal to Nantucket Island, she's studied holistic nutrition, she teaches cooking classes and before killing the vegan creations at enVie she was making pizza magic at Morris East. Basically, she's already a champ in our eyes.

Top Chef season four premieres March 10 on the Food Network, and they're calling it the most extreme one yet. We can't wait to see Lauren cook up a storm, tackle general kitchen bitchiness (get it girl) and hopefully, outsmart those other schmucks.

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