Thursday, July 30, 2015

New restaurant alert: Hong Yun Chinese

Authentic eats on Brenton Place

Posted By on Thu, Jul 30, 2015 at 5:09 PM


In the former home of The Cellar Bar & Grill (5677 Brenton Place)—which closed back in March—rises Hong Yun Chinese Restaurant, the latest spot to add to your to-try list . The new eatery opened to downtown diners in mid-July, serving up both authentic Chinese and Canadian Chinese cuisine. Owners Sui Fang Yu and Gigi Yu have long aspired to open their own place and it's no wonder, there's over 30 years of restaurant experience between them. Their promise? Top quality, authentic food. Period.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Nice night for a waffle

The Chameleon experiments with experiential marketing and gives back to the community via waffles

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2015 at 10:42 AM


On Barrington Street, a poster of a woman is plastered on a darkened window. Her hands rest on her shoulders, her head facing forwards. Her gaze is obscured by her sunglasses made of waffles. Below her is an enigmatic phrase: “We Dream of Waffles.” Above her, “Pop-Up Event Coming Soon.” No other information is available on the poster. It is vague and cryptic, a waffle-wrapped riddle. One can’t help but be intrigued by this poster, and that’s how Rebecca Singbeil wants it.

“There’s a lot of mystery behind it,” she says. “We’re teasing people.” Singbeil, along with a her friend Allison Ghosn, is a co-founder of The Chameleon (1587 Barrington Street, the former Games People Play), the space the waffle bar will occupy. Singbeil and Ghosn started The Chameleon as a flexible venue for events and the waffle bar serves as their soft launch. “We had a whole list of events we wanted to do,” she says. “Waffles sounded fun.” The Chameleon’s mission is to use“experiential marketing,", promoting brands by giving the consumer a memorable experience. Singbeil dreamed of dipping her toes into such a venture and when an empty space on Barrington Street opened up, she leapt at the chance.

“Every business should look for ways to give back to their community,” she says. The waffle bar will honour that spirit, since a portion of its proceeds go to its partner, Nourish Nova Scotia. Founded in 2012, Nourish NS focuses on healthy food education and giving nutritious food to those in need. Singbeil respected their mission and offered a partnership to raise the company’s public profile.

“We’re a small organization,” says Margo Riebe-Butt, the executive director and secretary-to-the-board of Nourish NS. “We always need good partners.” Waffles may not seem to be the healthiest food but Riebe-Butt said a nutritious waffle option will be available. For those craving more decadent creations, a creative variety of "not your typical waffles" will be available—including an eggs benedict concoction. Along with the waffles, which will be made by Kitchen Door Catering, will be DJ Zora the Sultan and“bohemian garden” decor designed by Black Market.

Singbeil hopes to create a memorable, short-lived experience at the waffle bar. It is only up from August 7 and 8, from 7 to 11pm. A brief flash before vanishing into the ether. So break out the maple syrup; waffles are on the way.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The countdown to Halifax Oyster Festival is on

We sell seashells by the sea shore

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 4:52 PM


Who's ready to get shucked up? You'll have to wait until October 3, but the inaugural Halifax Oyster Festival (full disclosure, a Coast-planned event) is coming for all of you local-loving, wine drinking, seafood enthusiasts. Also, anyone who likes to have fun.

Let's dig into the details. Together with Afishianado, Benjamin Bridge, Select Nova Scotia and Waterfront Development, The Coast is celebrating the great fruit of the sea by bringing over 40,000 oysters to the corner of Lower Water and Salter streets. The most important words you need to know to start planning —all you can eat oysters. The two sessions of Oyster Fest (2-5pm and 7-10pm) will welcome you to eat your heart out, offering up tastings from 12 different Maritime producers, plus shucking competitions, craft beer, local wine (everyone gets a free glass of Nova 7!) and food trucks (in case all of the oysters isn't enough). You can slurp to the sound of DJs, feel the salty fall air in your hair and marvel at how amazing our east coast waters are at bearing good eats.

Early bird tickets are going fast—over 60 percent of them have sold— but you can get yours here whether you're an early bird, or a late-comer. Or, you could just volunteer. Either way, I'm picturing a lot of this happening:

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Highway to Bells Ice Pops

Homemade popsicles on wheels!

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 11:01 AM

The Bells mobile
  • The Bells mobile

When I hear bike bells in the summer I still crane my neck hoping to see a Dickie Dee rip around the corner in my direction, but it’s usually for naught. Until recently, when Susan Patterson’s handmade popsicle wagon Bells Ice Pops rolled its way onto Halifax and Dartmouth’s streets.

Patterson rekindled her love for popsicles while she was in labour with her daughter, when they served as more than a sweet treat. "At the time it seemed like the best thing in the world," she says. "When I got home I craved popsicles but didn't want the artificial colours and a ton of sugar so I began making them." A former pastry artist with an entrepreneurial spirit, Patterson started planning her own venture based around handmade, preservative-less versions of the corner store treat, made with local ingredients.

"In researching popsicles online I became enamoured with cute bicycle wagons and overtaken by the nostalgia of them from my childhood," she says. "While doing something because it is cute and nostalgic isn't necessarily the right reason to jump into business, I felt there was a market for healthier, handmade, yummy treats that can pop up at local events and gatherings and I wanted to get back into the kitchen."

Now, she's peddling seasonally inspired popsicles in flavours like key lime pie, strawberry rhubarb, salted caramel, peach iced tea and raspberry lemonade (and also “pup-sicles” for the sweaty dogs, the world’s cutest creation) on a pop-up basis. Last weekend she was on Gottingen Street, tomorrow she'll be cooling folks off at the Halifax Food Truck Party. (And Bells Ice Pops is also on the Street Food App.)

"As a neighbour told me her young son was entranced by the idea of a popsicle bicycle that comes to your street. There is the element of the unexpected when it does come down your street and when you hear the bells, there is anticipation and the fun of finding where the sound is coming from," says Patterson. "And who doesn't love a frozen treat on a hot summer day?"

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Ratinaud gets an upgrade

More space, more Kitchen Table

Posted By on Sat, Jul 11, 2015 at 10:05 PM

Kitchen Table four days a week - MELISSA BUOTE
  • Kitchen Table four days a week
  • Melissa Buote

Ratinaud French Cuisine (2082 Gottingen Street) opened at the tail end of 2011, as Frédéric Tandy’s one man show. After almost four years of growth and expansion, including numerous staff additions, a partner (recently Tandy reacquired full ownership), several sausages, a veritable chorus of cheeses, and 2013’s launch of a limited-seating restaurant program, The Kitchen Table, Ratinaud is making its biggest move to date: a move to 2157 Gottingen Street, the Vogue Building.

“We’re just moving down the road,” says Tandy. “It’s a much bigger space, with about three times the space than we have right now. The space is divided into two floors: the main floor will have the restaurant, The Kitchen Table. We’re expanding it to 20 seats and it will be available four nights a week.”

Tandy says that the bigger Kitchen Table will have a “very similar concept, but be very different.” Part of the difference will be the addition of executive chef Joe MacLellan. Formerly a sous-chef at EDNA, and chef de cuisine at Des Barres Manor Inn before that, MacLellan will work alongside Tandy on the dinners. “It’s going to be great,” he says.

Along with the revamped Kitchen Table, the expanded kitchen space will allow Tandy to add to the retail products that the Ratinaud shop offers. “We will expand our product line as well,” he says. “Especially on the curing side. And we will have also other products on the side, like condiments.” Chris Young already a regular fixture at Ratinaud, will be managing the charcuterie side of the business with Tandy.

Tandy hopes to have the move completed and the new shop open by mid-September. Don’t fret about a confit shortage or a charcuterie blackout, though; there shouldn’t be much interruption to business during the move.

One thing we can all hope for is to see some creative sausage/slushie pairings with their new neighbours at @ScotiaPharmacy.

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Craig Flinn to open Temple Bar, Cocktails and Kitchen on Barrington Street

Save your One Door Down jokes, he's heard them all

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2015 at 1:19 PM

Good things come in threes for Craig Flinn
  • Good things come in threes for Craig Flinn

Craig Flinn’s restaurant family is growing. This September he’ll welcome another bundle of food and drink joy, Temple Bar, Cocktails and Kitchen, to 1533 Barrington Street, the former home of J&R Grimsmo—which is conveniently one door down from both his other establishments, Chives Canadian Bistro and 2 Doors Down. The idea sprouted when Flinn’s landlord contacted him upon hearing of Grimsmo’s closure, offering him the soon-to-be-vacant space.

“It was a pretty logical thing in our minds, to put something between the other two spots, in terms of guests that were waiting, but we also want to create a different kind of experience,” says Flinn. Temple will be “bar-forward”, with a strong focus on iconic cocktails with a seasonal, Nova Scotian twist, local craft beers, cider and wine by the glass. From the kitchen side of things, you’ll still get that Flinn-esque farm-to-table experience, but with an international twist—he’ll be calling on Spanish, Italian, French and UK influences to build a bar menu of appetizers, sharing plates and a multi-course tasting menu. “It’s a place to catch the overflow that we lose to other places on busy nights, but it’s not a holding bar. It’s a separate business, with a separate identity and feel. It gives us an pop to create something new. A new feeling.”

Despite enduring some construction and sidewalk related headaches on Barrington Street as of late, the chef, restauranteur and honourary block owner (just saying, shouldn’t he be?) is excited to have the opportunity to keep his establishments together.

“I have great difficulty letting go of the reins. I know have a fantastic team of chefs, sous chefs and business partners, but I still want to be able to keep an eye on things... I can be in each of my three restaurants with in three minutes of each other,” says Flinn. “I’m very hands on. The product is personal and it’s not cookie cutter, you need that hands on kind of thing. I don’t chop the onions or caramelize the sea scallops, but I like to be around all the time.”

While a 25-foot bar will be Temple’s centrepiece, Flinn says they’ll be using the space’s natural charms—stone walls, exposed bricks, pillars—to inform that new feeling he’s talking about. With the space currently under renovations, he's aiming for a early-to-mid September opening.

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Have you tried the Jamaican food truck yet?

Jamaica Lee Style Cuisine awaits you in Dartmouth

Posted By on Tue, Jul 7, 2015 at 8:47 AM

  • photo by Samson Learn

He's a plumber by trade, but Ludlow Lee has major skills in the kitchen. "It's in his blood," says Michelle Lee of her husband/business partner's Jamaican home-cooking. "Most of his recipes are from his mother." Ludlow moved from Jamaica to Canada back in 2010 and married Michelle soon after, but it was just over a week ago that he made his debut as a chef via the pair's new food truck Jamaica Lee Style Cuisine.

"He was coming home so tired and exhausted, but i knew he had these skills. And he was doing this job that didn’t suit him at all," says Michelle. "I said, maybe we need to take the risk" After spending the winter hunting for a truck, and some retrofitting, the bright green mobile eatery made its debut on Caledonia Road and Main Street in Dartmouth (just across from NSCC), serving up Ludlow's authentic, family recipes. Jerk chicken with rice and peas, salt fish ackee (or just ackee, if you're vegetarian), oxtail and beef patties (the only menu item Ludlow doesn't make) round out the menu of naturally-spiced, Jamaican eats, the Lees say they'll build on that selection with time. For now, Dartmouth is Jamaican Lee Style's stomping (or parking) grounds, but they're on the hunt for new spots to explore. For starters, they'll be serving up a taste of the Caribbean at the next Food Truck Party, but track the truck down daily using the Street Food App.

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Friday, July 3, 2015

Help enVie expand, and help some fellow north enders

enVie A Vegan Kitchen launches a crowdfunding campaign with #wethenorthend

Posted By on Fri, Jul 3, 2015 at 3:29 PM

  • photo by Curtis Rothney

It's been a big two years for Diandra Phipps and Cory Urquhart's north end vegan eatery enVie: A Vegan Kitchen. After taking their farmers' market based business to the next level and opening a restaurant at 5775 Charles Street, they've added cooking classes, juice cleanses and catering to their roster of offerings—on top of being one of the city's most popular new restaurants, no biggie. The problem is, they're running out of room for all this growing. Luckily, team enVie's secured a sweet space in the same building as the restaurant, which will allow for a prep and catering kitchen and community space, perfect for hosting all of those classes, lectures and events.

It'll be a $60,000 expansion when all is said and done, so enVie is looking for a little bit of support via this Indiegogo campaign. It's a little different than your standard crowdfunding asks though—one-third of the restaurant's $30,000 fundraising goal will be re-directed to help three nearby community organizations that are doing important work for the north end, and the city. So, in helping enVie build a new kitchen, you'll also be helping Hope Blooms, Ark Youth Outreach and Ecology Action Centre build on the inspiring stuff they're working on. It's a cool idea! Check out the video below, and the fundraising page here.

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In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 17
September 19, 2019

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