Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Backoos is back in action

An expanded menu, soju and beer and a renovated location bring new life Birmingham’s Korean joint.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 14, 2018 at 4:00 AM


Backoos Korean To Go
1360 Birmingham Street

Breathe a twice-fried sigh of relief—after eight months, Backoos Korean Food is reopening on Birmingham Street with an expanded menu and dining area.

Formerly known for its takeout, the tiny restaurant has doubled in size with an inviting, slightly industrial feel. Wooden benches line the walls, accompanied by tables with steel panels for hot pot.

"I wanted to make this space cozy," says co-owner JoungMin Kim. "I was once a customer at this kind of place. The average person, like me, can come here with friends, spend time and relax."

Along with its traditional, made-to-order fried chicken, the menu now includes new appetizers, rice meals and a selection of hot pot and hot grill meals, such as spicy ribs and bulgogi.

Backoos' famous fried chicken flavors—crispy original, soy garlic and sweet and spicy—now have a new contender: Mustard and onion. Popular in Korea, the dish consists of crispy chicken topped with sliced onion and a spicy Korean mustard that has a wasabi-esque piquancy.

  • Lenny Mullins
Additionally, the restaurant now offers a drinks menu starring beer and soju, a Korean spirit, with an option to marry the two in a strong, flavorful cocktail. Good Robot Brewing and Saltbox Brewing hosted several of Backoos' many pop-ups last year, and customers can now find their craft brews on tap.

Kim says people can expect to find Backoos at just as many bustling pop-ups this year between May and September.

This reopening is a new direction for Backoos. The original space and the Bedford location were roughly personalized by Kim and his co-owner, Sang Ho Back, within the budget constraints of a budding business. Now, the restaurants have branched off into two differing, yet complementary business models: Dine-in and takeout.

Calling in an order, picking it up and holing away to munch on that crispy, crunchy chicken may be indulgently comforting, but Kim is excited to see customers sticking around to enjoy his food. Customers are encouraged to linger.

"I just can't wait to see people having a good time here," says Kim. 

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Drink this: North Brewing's Twinkle Pony cookie stout

For beer fans with a sweet tooth.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 3:51 PM

Brad Wilkinson, who brewed Twinkle Pony, poses for a photo. Label design by Nicole Giancomantonio. - PETER BURBRIDGE
  • Brad Wilkinson, who brewed Twinkle Pony, poses for a photo. Label design by Nicole Giancomantonio.
  • Peter Burbridge

If Cookie Monster drank beer, this would probably be his favourite.

North Brewing Company’s latest release is adorably titled Twinkle Pony. It’s a cookie stout which includes flavours you'd find in a bakery, brewed with macarons from Le French Fix Pâtisserie.

“Pastry stouts are a fun style you see lots of breweries experimenting with these days,” says North Brewing co-owner Rozina Darvesh, who worked out the recipe with fellow co-owner and brewer Josh Herbin. “I love French macarons and beers with coconut in them, so we decided to use the macaron as inspiration and experiment with this style using toasted coconut, toasted almonds and vanilla.”

The chocolate notes come from the malt, but the toasted coconut, almonds and vanilla were added when the fermentation was finished. This gave them more flexibility when they wanted to adjust the flavour, Darvesh explains: “We ended up adding three times the amount of coconut than was originally intended.”

Cans of Twinkle Pony—featuring a colourful label by illustrator Nicole Giacomantonio—will be available at both the Dartmouth and Halifax locations of North on Friday, March 9. It’ll also be pouring at Battery Park.

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Apartment 3 Espresso Bar slated for Sackville Drive

Third wave coffee!

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 12:45 AM

  • via facebook

and Alex Stephen took the road less travelled to wind up at small business ownership. The couple—she’s a former World Cup bobsleigh competitor from Edmonton, he’s a St. FX basketball alumnus—made the move from Toronto to Lower Sackville three years ago seeking a more subdued, outdoorsy life, and now they’re gearing up to open Apartment 3 Espresso Bar (833 Sackville Drive).

“Every time I’m travelling I’m always checking out the local coffee shop, specifically the third wave scene,” says Heather . “We just noticed there weren’t any third wave coffee shops near Sackville. If you wanted to socialize or have a meeting you had to leave, go to Bedford or go downtown.”

After spending the last few years hunting for the perfect spot, the Stephens are working to create a comfortable, minimalist, bright space to enjoy great coffee, baked goods and art, with the goal of an early April opening. “Apartment 3 was a place we lived in Toronto, an old row house. We always had tons of people over for great coffee, great food and great discussions,” says Alex. “It was just a really great space. So we thought, why not try to recreate that?”

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Open Book Coffee to open on Strawberry Hill

Hey book nerds, it's a cafe cousin to Nimbus Publishing and Vagrant Press

Posted By on Tue, Mar 6, 2018 at 5:42 PM


Nimbus Publishing
and Vagrant Press are moving their offices and with the new, improved digs (3660 Strawberry Hill Street) comes an added bonus. A coffee shop! In partnership with the publishers, Joe Tinney—partner of Nimbus/Vagrant GM Terrilee Bulger—will open Open Book Coffee sometime in May.

After a 30-year career as a flight attendant allowed him much exploration of coffee shops across the world, Tinney is bringing hot drinks and an appreciation of literature to the neighbourhood. “The way we want to set it up is tapping into a couple of needs we see in the community—there’s really nowhere around there where you can get a coffee shop experience. It’s also at a good location for being at the nexus of people coming from Bedford, Dartmouth, Clayton Park and the peninsula,” he says of the deep north location. “We’re hoping to tap more into the literary community and make a venue known for that.”

Tinney says the cafe will host events, sell coffee from Java Blend Coffee Roasters, baked good courtesy of Easter Seals’ New Leaf Enterprises and have a distinctly industrial, steam-punk-inspired vibe.

“I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life,” he says of Open Book. “ I’m very fortunate that I can put a few things I’m passionate about—food and drinks, and I’m a voracious reader—into a possible career. I’m really geared up about it.”

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In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 17
September 19, 2019

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