Thursday, May 28, 2015

Three cheers for the Good Cheer Trail

The province’s latest tourism initiative, The Good Cheer Trail, is a great excuse for a summer roadie.

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 4:00 AM

ILLUSTRATION BY AZIZA ASAT
  • illustration by Aziza Asat

Merging historical anniversary with a reason to drink, next week marks the launch of the Good Cheer Trail. With over 30 stops at breweries, wineries, and distilleries, the trail was created by the province to promote discovery of lesser-known regions of Nova Scotia, while building awareness of the gastronomic explosion happening from one end to the other. Participants receive a passport to keep track of their visits, which also makes a nice memento of the trip even if your memories are hazy. The stops span province-wide, including in regions that tourists might never have heard of, let alone have thought of visiting (or spending their money in). While the trail is being promoted mainly to outsiders in target markets like Toronto and Boston, nothing stops any libation-loving native Nova Scotians from grabbing a passport and discovering their own province too.

In addition to the drink stops, the trail includes two historic sites: The fortress of Louisbourg in Cape Breton, and Port Royal in the Annapolis Valley. This year marks the 400th anniversary of North America’s first social club, The Order of Good Cheer, founded in 1606 by Samuel de Champlain. While the order was initially founded to keep the settlers’ minds off the brutal winter and rough living conditions while they established Port Royal, this modern interpretation of Good Cheer promises all of the good times without the fear or freezing or starvation. Win, win, right?

The trail can be self-guided, says Taste of Nova Scotia’s Christine White, although since the point is to bounce around the province drinking, she stresses that people should secure a designated driver. Or, to make sure nobody feels left out, organized tours are being set up to shuttle people around. Nova Scotia’s tourism website offers a six-stop package with a visit of the fort at Port Royal, tastings and designated driver included in the $125 fee

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Tuesday, May 26, 2015

It's taco time at La Cantina

Brought to you by your Halifax abuela

Posted By on Tue, May 26, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Let's taco 'bout La Cantina
  • Let's taco 'bout La Cantina

David Parks first fell for taco stand culture at 18 when his lack of a summer job and love for his Intro to Spanish class landed him in Mexico. Since then he’s been spending time there on-and-off for about 20 years, learning and enjoying the ins and outs of authentic Mexican cuisine along the way. “I love the food and and I love the culture. Taco stand culture and cantina culture, it’s a very joyous, celebratory sort of alive appreciation of food,” says Parks, who’s channelling that vibe with his La Cantina Taco Stand, an evening of real deal Mexican eats.

This Thursday brings ranchera music, old telanovelas, piñatas, aguas frescas and his flavour-heavy charcoal-cooked meat, veggie and vegan tacos to Pat’s Kitchen (5530 Kaye Street), a cafe by day that’s all about sharing its space with pop-up events and restaurantless chefs. “It’s as Mexican as your can get north of San Antonio,” laughs Parks, who likens himself to a Mexican grandmother when it comes to cooking, whether it's for his family or all of your hungry mouths—all tradition, no corner-cutting. “Anything on a tortilla can be called a taco, but my commitment is to bring authentic Mexican tacos, like you’d find in taquerías. You won’t be seeing a donair taco at La Cantina.”

As of now, this taco stand’s a one-time deal—from 4 to 9pm, Thursday, May 28— but judging by buzz, a second serving of La Cantina might be a necessity. Mas tacos, por favor.

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Monday, May 25, 2015

T-Dogs—Halifax's hot dog hot take

Homemade sausages and a New York-style cart hit the corner of Agricola and Charles

Posted By on Mon, May 25, 2015 at 12:54 PM

Frito Pie Dog whaatt? - VIA FACEBOOK
  • Frito Pie Dog whaatt?
  • via Facebook

If summer had a scent it would totally be barbecue smoke. And if you, like me, tend to follow your nose to wherever the source of such smoke is, soon you'll be spending a lot of time on the corner of Agricola and Charles Street. Come early June, the Chapman Autobody lot (2500 Agricola Street) will be home to T-DOGS hot dog cart, Halifax's newest mobile food seller.

It's a best friends business venture that Patrick Lowe and Tony Rinaldo (along with his brother Sam, both sons of this Rinaldo) have cooked up for north end Halifax. After spending some time living in Toronto and Montreal respectively, the lifelong pals decided it was time they collaborated on something they could bring to their hometown. With Tony—who's cooked at Montreal's Nora Gray, Toronto's Parts & Labour, as well as in Europe — as the mastermind behind the menu, you'll be able to get your hands on a simple, but far from basic, lineup of handmade sausages that'll include standard hot dogs, Italian sausages, veggie dogs, his grandfather's Texas Hot sausages, with kettle chips on the side, and weekly chef-inspired specials rounding out the selection of grilled goodness.

These puppies will be gourmet quality, leaning on locally-sourced ingredients to make 'em awesome, but still served from a classic New York-style push cart, which will woo both the grab and go lunch crowd as well as late-night diners on weekends. Rinaldo's putting the dogs before the cart and already cooking up some magic in T-DOGS' north end kitchen, but you should be able to get your hands on one of his creations within the next two weeks.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Picnic presents a Jim Henson inspired menu

Bork bork bork

Posted By on Wed, May 20, 2015 at 4:00 AM

Not Picnic's chef Allan McPherson
  • Not Picnic's chef Allan McPherson

It’s been 25 years since Jim Henson passed away, and The Dart Gallery (127A Portland Street) is honouring the man behind the Muppets with No Strings Attached, tribute exhibit. But together with pop-up restaurant, Picnic, The Dart is going above and beyond bringing the beloved characters to life via colourful and puppets—it’s hosting a culinary tribute to Henson’s creations. All hail theme menus!

This frigging fun five courser (served Saturday, May 23 at 7pm at the gallery, sans Swedish chef) includes dishes like the Ernie & Bert (a poached pear, stuffed with cendrilon cheese black tea, chili lacquered peach and duck confit), Da Chickie in Da Baskee (pressed chicken, Swedish meatballs, ping pong eggs) and Good Enough For Me (an insane stack o’ cookies) and invites you to BYOB.

Tickets are $65 and by reservation only, click here for more on that.

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Beanstalk Baby Food's got you babe

Handmade, preservative-free, locally-sourced baby food

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2015 at 1:00 AM

Aimee Carson and Angela Hersey
  • Aimee Carson and Angela Hersey

Picture this. You're a baby. It's that time of day where dad is bringing the airplane in, piled high with that goopy stuff he likes to pass off as food. Into the hangar (your mouth) it goes, but instead of green pea mush, you taste... squash? And apple and cinnamon? And it is delicious? No need to fight him on this meal, you're sold.

And Angela Hersey and Aimee Carson are selling it. These two food-savvy women have created Beanstalk Baby Food: homemade, almost always locally sourced, preservative-free baby food. And they're launching this week!

These entrepreneurs have been experimenting with local foods, spices and herbs to create a line of baby food unlike any other.

"About a year ago my nephew was born and I realized that there was just so few baby foods on the market that I wanted to feed him," says Carson. "I was really inspired to make homemade food for him and just started experimenting and realized that wow, he can eat really well."

Both with backgrounds in food, Carson and Hersey got to work. Not only on sourcing as much locally produced food as possible, but on having baby food that actually tastes good.

"Babies develop an interest in flavours very early on and lot of other baby foods don't include things like that. We want to try and help parents introduce as much variety and flavour into their baby's meals and lives as soon as they can," says Hersey.

Starting with 10 different flavours (including Bodacious Beets, Purple Lips, Scrumptious Squash and Gingery Parsnip Perfection), Hersey and Carson have set up in the lower level of Spring Garden Place at Bonne Cuisine (5640 Spring Garden Road) on Thursdays and Fridays between 5 and 8pm. Or you can head to the Alderney Farmers' Market in Dartmouth on Saturdays between 8am and 1pm. Click here for more Beanstalk.

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In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 16
September 12, 2019

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