Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hot off the Halifax Press

April is National Grill Cheese Month and Halifax is getting a grilled cheese food truck

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Jill Johnsrude and Connor Dubreuil aren’t afraid to get a little cheesy. The pair is gearing up to launch Halifax Press—a lime green, newspaper-themed food truck that’ll serve up nothing but variations of grilled cheese sandwiches— in a few weeks time.

“It's our first entrepreneurial adventure and we thought it was the best way to share what we love about the food service industry, and my passion for cooking” says Johnsrude, who you might recognize from Morris East; Dubreuil’s a longtime employee at Salvatore’s. “We’ve been saying, if you take two pizzas and put them on top of each other, you basically get a grilled cheese.”

Halifax Press will have an ever-changing and seasonally-inspired menu of cast iron pressed signature sammies as well as the option to build your own “if you’re just a bacon and cheese kind of gal,” says Johnsrude. Using all local suppliers, like Fox Hill and That Dutchman’s cheeses, these melty meals on wheels (all named with clever newspaper puns and famous headlines) will be sold mainly from locations in the north and west ends of town.

The newest addition to Halifax’s food truck fleet hopes to make its first appearance Easter weekend (that’s April 18), but you find the latest via @HalifaxPressGC and

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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Local Dine Deck is all aces

Dealing out deals from local restos and cafes

Posted By on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 at 2:51 PM

Work on your card tricks, folks
  • Work on your card tricks, folks

We’re in the in-between season now where we’re not quite hyped up for spring, but totally done with winter and it can difficult to drag ourselves out of hibernation. Well, is anyone up for a game of cards?

The Dartmouth-born great idea, Local Dine Deck is a card game where you’re guaranteed to win...discounts on food. It's the brainchild of marketing maven Ian Henman, who helps "small businesses beat up on chains" through his company Elevatz Marketing. He loves local food almost as much as he loves small, indie businesses—Henman's part of three local CSAs, for starters—and wanted a way to work with local restaurants. "But I couldn't really help put more bums in seats," he says. "I wanted a way to help out these smaller restaurants and put more people in them, people that will hopefully come back." So, inspired by a woman he met from Salem, Massachusetts, and her local food discount game Dinner Dealer, he started the Local Dine Deck.

Shuffle this stack of 49 sweet deals (valued at $300, sold for $20, with 10 percent of proceeds going to local food banks) and you’ll find cards that’ll point you to a local resto, offering either $5 off a meal worth $20 or more or $10 off a meal $30 or more, and a couple of wild cards for good measure. The list of participating restaurants is long and varied (from Dharma Sushi to Brooklyn Warehouse to Flipburger to Wild Leek and nearly everywhere between) meaning you’ll have enough random nights out to last until next year. Can’t pin down your craving? Pick a card, any card.

"A lot of people are excited about it because it will get them to get out and try new places," says Margo McGregor, Local Dine Deck's operations manager. "It eliminates having to make a decision, or going back to an old routine."

You can get a Dine Deck online for now, and soon they’ll be popping up at retailers across the HRM.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Canteen spirit

The Feisty Chef's Dartmouth sandwich shop opens on Monday

Posted By on Wed, Mar 19, 2014 at 11:18 PM

Pretty pulled pork
  • Pretty pulled pork

“I just really love making salads and make sandwiches every day for my kids,” says Renée Lavallée of the inspiration behind her sandwich shop The Canteen (66 Ochterloney Street, above her landlords at Two if by Sea) which opens this Monday, March 24.

“I wanted something simple. I want to be able to talk to customers and be able to interact with people. I want to enjoy my job. I’m going to be 40 this year, I think I deserve to have my own way. And after 20 years of cooking I deserve to come in and if iIwant to make a brisket sandwich, than god be it.”

She says the open concept, 20-seater spot will offer an always changing, seasonally-inspired menu of a handful of sandwiches (with all bread and buns made by hand, in-house) and salads and a couple of soups. As the resto develops she hopes to also offer take-away family meals—say spaghetti, meatballs, garlic bread and Caesar salad, or a roasted chicken dinner—that people can pick up and bring home.

Above all she hopes to feed off the TIBS energy, and make The Canteen a community hub. “I’ve living in Dartmouth for nine years,” says Lavelee. “I’m excited to work down the street from where I live.”

The Canteen will be open Monday through Friday, 10am-7pm and Saturdays 10:30am to 2pm.

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Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday's food for thought

Five tasty things worth clicking on and one weird story about cheese

Posted By on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 at 3:14 PM

I would eat a K-dog off the ground, for sure.
  • I would eat a K-dog off the ground, for sure.

Has this week been so long that even internet searching is too much effort? (Yes.) Lucky for you I've whipped up a blog buffet of great food-related things that have graced my browser this week. Sharing is caring, right?

1) First and foremost, apparently the Five Second Rule is a legitimate rule that I've been following my entire life. Phew.

2) The wild and delicious Food Wolf is looking for a little help from its friends. One of the driving forces in Halifax's growing street food culture, the beloved food truck is looking to make a few improvements to its rig—new transmission, new bumper and lights, storage stuff, some new cooking gear and other things necessary for keeping the Wolf fierce. Check out its crowdfunding campaign here, read a feature The Coast ran about Halifax's food truck culture here and don't blame me when you suddenly have a serious hankering for a K-dog.

  • Oh FFS

3) Top Chef Canada debuted this week, featuring Halifax's own superchef Lauren Marshall, chef de cuisine at enVie (GO LAUREN!). The show is trying out a new "battle of the sexes" thing that is strange and some marketing material that is offensive. Another local superchef Renée Lavallée (AKA the Feisty Chef) wrote a really awesome blog after the show's debut episode. Instead of trying to echo its great points, I'll suggest you read it here.

4) The weird thing about the internet is when you have "internet friends", people you "talk" to on a regular basis but don't actually know at all. @HalifaxReTales (AKA Arthur Gaudreau) is one of mine and he did something really awesome on his blog last week. Check out his map of the Halifax resto scene 50 years ago. He found 132 restos that were rocking in 1964, only six of which are still standing today. Nice one, ReTales!

Hi gorgeous
  • Hi gorgeous

5) In honour of St. Paddy's day, I'm going to self-promote and suggest you give our annual Beer Guide a read. Stories about Stillwell, the Ladies' Beer League, the power of pretty labels and beer for breastfeeding moms might just inspire your weekend's liquid menu. Once you sample from the wealth of local brews this town has going for it, because it's a holiday honouring the IRISH patron saint you're probably going to want to drink a Guinness or something right? Drink a Crown Float at the Foggy Goggle (1667 Argyle Street) instead. Half cider, half Irish, all good.

And just for fun, this strange thing.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bye-bye Brussels Restaurant and Brasserie

Signing off after five years on Granville Square

Posted By on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 5:24 PM

After five years of serving up an almost incomparable beer selection, tapas and more on Granville Square, Brussels Restaurant & Brasserie (1873 Granville Street) has closed its doors for good. An late-rent eviction notice appeared on its front door (hat tip to my pal Halifax ReTales for crowd-sourcing that), but the resto tweeted “declining business downtown” was to blame. No one could be reached for comment on the closure.

Budding entrepreneurs: this location is a beauty and Granville Square is the cutest, what’s next for this location? Put your thinking caps on!

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Rogues Roost's sweet 15

Fifteen years in the Spring Garden Road brewpub continues to shape the scene

Posted By on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Cheers to you, Rogues Roost
  • Cheers to you, Rogues Roost

One of the first things Doug Johnson did when he first decided he wanted to get into brewing beer back in 1998 was put an ad in the Globe & Mail. He was looking for the perfect brewmaster. With a stainless steel set up (built by PEI’s own brewery builders DME International) and new recruit and beer chemist Lorne Romano onboard, Rogues Roost (5435 Spring Garden Road) opened in March 1999, serving (despite much push from other breweries) nothing but its own creations on tap, an incredibly uncommon trait for a Nova Scotian bar.

“On a good day we'd make three beer,” says Johnson of the early days when the now award-winning Rogues won over its regulars by offering up samples of its additive- and preservative-free house brews. “Now we have six on tap at all times, 12 different beers a year. We’re always doing something new. It’s a real art.”

Focussing on making tasty, drinkable beers (not weak, but not extreme) and “restaurant food at pub prices”, Rogues has kept up its busy neighbourhood pub vibe over its 15 years, sticking with brews and menu items that work—the red, brown and cream ales have been brewed since day one—and bringing fresh ideas to the table. Johnson now has a second brewmaster, Jake Saunders (full disclosure, a relative) working in the lab with Romano—“They both do their homework and come up with something unique”—and this year the bar also started running proper brewery tours and selling take-home growlers.

“To find good staff is hard and we've got some really good staff,” says Johnson, crediting his strong lineup for part of the bar’s success. “Your people are so critical, you need people who like what they're doing.” You can cash in on the celebrations at the brewpub through March 15, Rogues has all burgers on for the “old school price” of $6.99 and has extended its happy hour from 4 to 8pm.

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Vol 27, No 17
September 19, 2019

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