Monday, October 27, 2014

Rogues Roost joins PEI's Murphy family

One of Halifax's brewing vets has a new owner as of today

Posted By on Mon, Oct 27, 2014 at 5:30 PM


Sixteen years ago, Doug Johnson had the great idea to open a pub that’d only serve only house-made beer on tap, his brainchild Rogues Roost (5435 Spring Garden Road) has been a downtown drinking fixture ever since.

Today, Rogues officially became part of Charlottetown’s Murphy Hospitality Group—an extended family of two breweries and 12 restaurants, which includes recent arrival on Halifax’s Waterfront, The Gahan House.

It’s a change of hands about two months in the making, and MHG’s Kevin Murphy couldn’t be happier to both welcome one of Nova Scotia's oldest craft brewers to his roster and expand further into Halifax’s food and drink scene. “We’re very excited. I look at the beers they produce, and the brand has quite a following—we’re excited to enhance it and grow it,” he says. But, fear not regulars, enhancing and growing don’t mean anything has to change...the staff, food and brews you’re used to will be staying put.

“It's good news for everyone. When we were opening Gahan [in Charlottetown] way back, I remember drinking the beer at Rogues and how great they all were,” says Murphy of his own Rogues-related nostalgia, and his taste for brewmaster Lorne Romano’s concoctions. “We think we’re really fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of Rogues Roost chapter two—as we’re calling it.”

The longtime talk of the redevelopment of the corner that's home to Rogues, Tom's Little Havana, the Bank of Montreal and Mid Point Cafe is something that Murphy's taken into account, too, though he says that's still a minimum of one year out. "We’re taking it one step at a time, whether we’re part of the new development or looking at a new location," he says.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

DRINK THIS: Saison de L'Acadie

Avondale Sky winery and North Brewing Company team up for an extra-special brew

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 1:50 PM


“It definitely tastes like something from our brewery,” says Peter Burbridge of North Brewing Company’s (2576 Agricola Street) latest experiment— a collaboration with Avondale Sky Winery and his friend, Avondale’s winemaker, Ben Swetnam. “It’s always been something I’ve had in the back of my mind,” says Burbridge of the partnership. “And Ben had some extra grape must.”

The new brew blends pilsner and wheat malts with 200 litres of L’Acadie Blanc, balancing out the acidity with some Cosman’s honey, to arrive at the Saison de L’Acadie. “Only 15 percent of the volume is grape juice,” he says. “But the wine character is sort of the star of the beer.” Taste it for yourself starting this Friday at the brewery, or get a preview pint tonight at Stillwell (1672 Barrington Street).

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EDNA's one of Canada's top restos

enRoute magazine names the Gottingen Street local as one of the country's best newbies

Posted By on Thu, Oct 23, 2014 at 1:26 PM

  • photo by Scott Blackburn

One of our favourite new restaurants of 2013, EDNA (2053 Gottingen Street), should be toasting itself with a glass of something cold and local today—it's been named one of Canada's Best New Restaurants by enRoute magazine.

Ranked as number 10 in the entire country—the only Maritime restaurant to make the list—Jenna Mooers' gorgeous north end hangout wowed with its fresh seafood, Annapolis Valley veggies and chef Robert Reynolds' "clever but not fussy cooking". And victory seems to be a family tradition... Mooers' mother's jane's on the common once owned this number 10 spot, too. Guys, it's too perfect.

Congratulations to team EDNA, we hope someone makes you dinner tonight.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Coming soon: Elle's Bistro

Cousin's alum opens her own spot on Barrington Street

Posted By on Tue, Oct 21, 2014 at 2:32 PM


If you’ve eaten at Cousin’s Restaurant (3545 Robie Street) in the last 11 years, you probably know Mary Elle Planetta.

The longtime fixture at the legendary family restaurant decided about a year ago that she wanted to venture out on her own, resulting in the soon-to-be Elle’s Bistro, which opens at 1678 Barrington Street (the former Just Us! Barrington) in early November. “It just seemed like everything in Scotia Square was going to franchises and everything homemade was getting the boot,” says Planetta of her choice to open up downtown. “I felt like I was filling a void.”

Elle’s will focus on homemade, family-style comfort food—like soups, sandwiches, burgers, all-day breakfast and her dad’s chicken parmesan — and house-made desserts. It’ll serve beer and Caesars as well. “It’s a small version of Cousin’s,” Planetta says, which means much more than a great diner burger—running an efficient kitchen is one of the major tricks she’ll take away from her former employer.

The 25- to 30-seater, open-concept spot will be open from 7am-7pm, Monday through Friday, and 10am-3pm on weekends. Cousin’s regulars missing Planetta can catch her cooking and running food, “I’ll be everywhere,” she laughs.

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Friday, October 17, 2014

Renée Lavallée wins Gold Medal Plates

Picnic snacks reign supreme at last night's chef competition

Posted By on Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 12:03 PM

Simply the best: Renée Lavallée and team Canteen - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Simply the best: Renée Lavallée and team Canteen
  • via Facebook

Last night nine local chefs faced off at the annual Gold Medal Plates competition—a Canada-wide celebration of food, drink, art and athletics that also raises funds for Canada's Olympic athletes. Major congrats go to the almighty Renée Lavallée, of The Canteen and Feisty Chef fame, who took home top honours thanks to her Nova Scotia Picnic, which dished up a snow crab and lobster roll on a brioche bun with potato salad, Acadian sturgeon caviar and of course some Canteen pickles. Diners washed it down with Tideview Cider Heritage semi dry. So fitting for the summery October day that was yesterday.

Not only does Lavallée's victory mean she and her Canteen crew took home a massive metallic plate (which I hope they ate celebratory sandwiches off of), but it earned her a spot at Canadian Culinary Championships, which will take place in Kelowna, BC in February.

Silver honours went to Brooklyn Warehouse's chef Mark Grey (and his fenugreek and maple-braised lamb shoulder), while Jason Lynch of Le Caveau (and his red deer tartar) was awarded the bronze medal. And over on the drinks side, Domaine de Grand Pré, 2013 Vintner’s Reserve riesling was the gold winner, with Tideview Cider Heritage semi dry and Devonian Coast Wineries’ 2013 Jost Tidal Bay taking silver and bronze, respectively. Well done, y'all!

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Welcome to The Darkside

Art gallery/cafe opens this Friday on Windmill Road

Posted By on Wed, Oct 8, 2014 at 12:28 PM


Megan Hirons Mahon and her husband Oliver moved to Dartmouth just over a year ago and quickly noticed that in their neck of the woods there was no coffee option other than Tim Hortons—an incredibly sad reality, if you ask me. So when the former Karma Bridal space opened up, a mere few streets from their house, they decided to flex their entrepreneurial muscles.

This Friday The Darkside Cafe will open at 196 Windmill Road, but it's not just a 20-seater cafe serving up espresso, sandwiches, soups and samosas—it'll be an art gallery, too. The Darkside will focus on showing and selling work from local artists, eventually including Mahon's own photographs. She encourages anyone interested in showing their work to get in touch.

"It's a really nice family neighbourhood, young families with kids and artists. This can be a nice meeting place for the neighbourhood," says Mahon of The Darkside. "We're so proud to be part of the Dartmouth community, everyone in this area is. This is all about neighbourhood pride."

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Food Wolf finds a home for the winter

Keep on trucking at the Mayflower Curling Club

Posted By on Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 4:00 AM

  • Photo by Lenny Mullins

So it turns out this winter thing isn't all bad. Your friend the Food Wolf—the roving white truck known for dishing out divine fusion eats and championing food truck rights in Halifax—has found itself an indoor home for crisp months it usually spends off-road. We're happy to inform you that The Mayflower Curling Club (3000 Monaghan Drive, just off Young Street) is officially your new hangout (and your source for K-dogs).

"We were thinking about it in July, funnily enough Food Wolf is mobile and transient but we were kind of pawing around close to home. We looked at the Mayflower and though it would be a good fit," says the Food Wolf's Natalie Chavarie. Then, while visiting Ontario to sit on a national panel about food truck bylaws, she learned her one of her favourite trucks was taking over the canteen at a local arena for the winter. "We just looked at each other and were like, this is Canadian food trucking guys, we just cracked it. It's a way for food trucks to support and enhance and grow their business at the right scale."

The Food Wolf has officially moved into the Mayflower's canteen, serving up some of the favourites you'd normally find on the truck's menu, as well as some diner favourites and on Sundays, brunch. Bonus? There's also a bar here. And you don't have to be hurrying hard to partake in all this fun, the club's open to the public, curling enthusiasts or otherwise. The extra elbow room allows for Food Wolf to experiment with recipes and special events (watch out for a Night Brunch event during Halifax Pop Explosion), as well as collaborate with other businesses.

"For us going into the Mayflower represents the same kind of growth as scaling up from a backyard restaurant to a food truck," says Chavarie. "We're scaling up to a backyard curling club."

The Mayflower's new Food Wolf canteen window will be open for lunch (11:30am to 2pm-ish) and dinner (5 to 9pm-ish) Monday to Friday, as well as Sunday brunch from now until March. The truck isn't parked for the winter quite yet, though. Continue following @thefoodwolf for location updates.

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

FIRST LOOK: Alex Oh Sushi & Rolls

Dresden Row's newest sushi restaurant aims to appeal to all of your senses

Posted By on Thu, Oct 2, 2014 at 4:00 AM

After taking a road trip to the east coast and falling in love with the ocean air, friendly people and quality seafood, Alex Oh decided to move his family from Toronto to Halifax and open the restaurant he’d been dreaming of, Alex Oh Sushi & Rolls (1589 Dresden Row). This week, he debuted the re-imagined space (in the former Susie’s Shortbreads) and his personal sushi style, treating his first 100 customers on October 1 and 2 to try a complimentary roll. Talk about a warm welcome.

Chef Alex Oh wants to feed you - PHOTO BY RILEY SMITH
  • Chef Alex Oh wants to feed you
  • photo by Riley Smith

1.Chef Alex Oh has made sushi in Japan, Thailand, Korea, most recently Toronto’s Yuzu No Hana—where he fed the likes of queen of the world, Beyoncé—and now, we’re lucky enough to have him crafting beautiful dishes in Halifax. He hand-picked his small staff to ensure he is surrounded by people who love food, and love making food.

2. The menu is focused on sushi, sashimi and rolls, but strives to go above and beyond your standard (and sometimes generic) Japanese fare—every sauce used is made from scratch, in-house and there’s a major focus on how your dish looks. Here you’ll get “traditional Japanese dishes mixed with European-style plating,” so chances are your dinner will look like a work of art.

3. Oh’s personal principle is “people before food.” He understands there’s a lot more to enjoying a meal than how it tastes (though that matters the most). “Food is supposed to be eaten with your eyes, nose, mouth...even the general ambience plays a part,” he says, hence the passion for presentation, and the new restaurant’s bright, clean and welcoming vibe.

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