Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Yay for Ray

Ray's Lebanese Cuisine celebrates its grand opening in Burnside

Posted on Tue, Sep 23, 2014 at 4:00 AM

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Aren’t happy endings the best? When renovations and rent hikes forced Ray’s Lebanese Cuisine out of Scotia Square Mall’s food court last March, he found a bigger, brighter new spot in Burnside to serve up the award-winning eats that he’d been dishing out to the downtown lunch crowd for 31 years. Last Friday, after a summer of getting his footing in the new neighbourhood, Ray Khattar had his grand opening at 75 Akerley Drive, feeding over 500 eager diners and doling out celebratory cake and desserts. Here's a photo we snapped while celebrating the new beginning for the friendly face behind the legendary falafel and heaping shawarma platters.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

Looking back on Alimentary Ideas

"It feels like a lucky time to be digesting things in Nova Scotia, whether it’s food or thoughts"

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 3:32 PM

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When Alimentary Ideas took place in Chester in last weekend, chefs, food producers, writers and literary-minded food fans congregated at the Chester Playhouse for a series of talks that explored food and words through the experiences of a handful of people who have shaped the things we eat and how we see them, through producing maple syrup or writing personal essays.

It was difficult to know what to expect from Alimentary Ideas: the speakers were disparate and the threads that connected some of the conversations were somewhat tenuous, but a lot of people had a lot of interesting things to say. Mark Singer, famously of The New Yorker, was slightly—and rightly—unwilling to fully take on the mantle of “food writer.” A self-professed generalist, Singer specializes in profiles and characters, and food sometimes overlaps with that. He is a writer that embeds himself in the story without getting in the way of it, a true journalist. While he is still entirely relevant, listening to him spin tales of the work he did in the 1970s, '80s and '90s had the ring of a luxurious echo from the past, a lifestyle that none of the young writers in the room would ever have the opportunity to grasp, and could only imagine. It was basically the opposite of the “in my day you had to walk five miles in the snow, uphill all the way” stories that grandpas tells their kids.

William Allaway from Acadian Maple was a real highlight of the day’s talks. The conversation between Allaway and Scott Norton from Sir Kensington’s ketchup was an interesting look into food businesses that are “too small to be big, and too big to be small,” as Allaway says. While the two business models couldn’t be any different from one another, their conversation gave an interesting peek into small-scale and large-scale growth and distribution. In fact, when the conversation veered into the nuts and bolts of their businesses it started to get very interesting. It perhaps wasn’t the right conversation for a literary festival, but it would have been nice to see it continue.

Seeing Jeremy Charles, one of the most important chefs in Canada, in Nova Scotia for an event was a real joy. It was only unfortunate that he wasn’t cooking. Raymond’s in Saint John, Newfoundland, has become a global culinary destination. It would have been nice to see a discussion that allowed Charles to talk about embracing tradition and focusing on local food and how he has modernized that and to discuss whether or not there is lightning in a bottle in Newfoundland or if Atlantic Canada can expand its culinary domination. Tanya Kelly from Blunt Roll got a bit of a short shrift on this panel as there was no way to build a great conversation that could include her innovative, cool product into a conversation about food tradition. I would have liked to have seen the two on different panels, as I think some great conversations could have taken place. Having Charles on a panel with some other chef/operators and Kelly on a panel with artisans and crafts people who are developing niche markets would have, perhaps, been more interesting and more fertile ground for expansive discussions.

All-in-all it was fun and exciting to see a bunch of intelligent people talk about their passions. As a writer it was great to see Singer crack jokes about Donald Trump and talk about his passion for storytelling and compulsion to write. And as someone who is interested in food culture, it was wonderful to see people who grow food, cook food, write about food, and love food come together to share ideas and passions. I hope to see this festival grow over time. With VegFest and Open Farm Day upon us and Devour on the horizon, it feels like a lucky time to be digesting things in Nova Scotia, whether it’s food or thoughts.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Seahorse is moving to Hell

One of Nova Scotia's oldest bars is leaving Argyle to shack up with The Marquee

Posted By on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Double the fun at 2037 Gottingen
  • Double the fun at 2037 Gottingen

UPDATED: The last show at The Seahorse's Argyle Street location will be December 27.

Last month when we chatted with The Seahorse Tavern's owner Victor Syperek he made it clear that the iconic bar wasn't closing, and any rumours that it was being kicked out of its current location at 1665 Argyle Street were completely false. Maybe we couldn't hear him over the huge sigh of relief from all of you Horsepower-drinking Seahorse regulars, or maybe he forgot to mention it, but it turns out the bar is actually moving. To Gottingen Street!

Syperek announced earlier this week that the iconic downtown bar would in fact be relocating to the north end, shacking up with fellow live music fixture the Marquee Ballroom (2037 Gottingen Street) and taking over its downstairs space, known to many as Hell's Kitchen. Word is it'll be bringing much of the Seahorse decor that you know and love with it.

Our calls to Syperek for more juicy details on the move went unanswered. We'll keep you posted on any new info (opening date, concert listings and the sort) when we have it.

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Living the High Life

Spring Garden Road's members only vapour lounge, High Life Social Club, is open for visitors

Posted By on Tue, Sep 9, 2014 at 2:42 PM

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After a summer of preparations High Life Social Club (5982 Spring Garden Road) celebrated its grand opening last weekend, welcoming Haligonians to take a load off, grab a coffee and vapourize.

“I want to make it easier for people to enjoy and benefit from cannabis, and not continue to hinder people,” says owner of the 18+, members-only vapour lounge, Chris Henderson, who also runs The Hali Connection, an online store for cannabis apparel and novelty products. “Eventually we’d like to have the majority of our members be legal, and that’s our other thing, helping people do that.”

In the wake of last Friday’s raid of Gottingen Street’s Farm Assists cannabis resource centre, he makes it clear that High Life isn’t a compassion club, and it’s not selling weed—it's just a cannabis-friendly place to unwind with likeminded folk. “I’ve already contacted certain people with the authorities to make sure they know we’re not a dispensary and to make sure they know what we’re doing.”

Behind High Life's locked door, above Kara's Day Spa, you'll find over-stuffed leather couches to cozy up on, dimmed lights and the sleek barista's bar…where you can order from a slew of espresso-based drinks and teas. Eventually, Henderson hopes to be able to serve food. "I want to make this place as relaxing as possible, because basically that’s the whole point—to make people feel as relaxed as they can," he says. "Our whole concept with High Life is to have the highest quality products and service and the highest customers on the planet. Also, to respect their privacy."

Once you're a member (and memberships range from $5 per day to $200 per year) you can drop by for hot drinks, buy vapour bags and rent glassware to use (bongs and glass vapourizers, you can’t smoke blunts or joints here) and chill out as long as you like, seven days a week.

"A lot of people have come in and are like, 'wow, how is this possible?'," says Henderson, who says he's happy to put himself out there for cannabis. "It’s a sign of the zeitgeist, times are changing."

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Got Soul Shack?

Honest to goodness soul food pops up in north end Halifax

Posted By on Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 4:06 PM

“My husband is from the States, and my dad is from the States. Soul food is in our roots, it’s in our blood,” says Kita Scott. She runs The Soul Shack catering and take-out with her husband, the chef, Philly Scott. The pair are currently looking for the perfect spot to set up a small restaurant, but for now are known for the hearty meals they’re dishing out from the Army Navy Air Force Club (2409 Maynard Street) Fridays and Saturdays.

From classic southern soul eats, to jerk chicken, fish and chips and curry, the ever-changing menu is full of affordable meals. “We’ve got the best Philly cheesesteak in town,” says Kita of the $6 sandwich. “And my husband says if it’s not, it’s on him.” If you’re craving home-cooking and it’s *not* a weekend, Soul Shack offers pick-up orders daily (call 225-3463) as well as catering for events. Follow @soulshackSb, for weekly menus and updates.

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In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 17
September 19, 2019

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