Archives for July 2013

CBC News at 11 – Staycation Foodies

CBC News at 11!

EDNA meets Melanie from the Heavy Blinkers

This podcast was recorded by Local Tasting Tours’ new fab SOMO guide Claire Gallant and features incredible local seafood and beef carpaccio tastings at the highly acclaimed and newly opened EDNA Restaurant on Gottingen Street.  Owner Jenna Mooers discusses neighbourhood dining and communal tables as well as favourite Sunday dinners;  talented local artist Melanie Stone from bands Dark for Dark and The Heavy Blinkers talks Julia Child and local music as well as a cool late night cafe on Agricola.

ednarestaurant.com – Dark for Dark – Heavy Blinkers – Jane’s Next Door

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LOCAL TASTING TOURS:

Hi everybody. This is Claire with Local Tasting Tours.  We’ve had a great start to our 2013 season. We have three tours running – they will be running until the 20th of October.  So today’s podcast – we’re at EDNA restaurant on Gottingen Street, and I’m here with owner Jenna Mooers.  You guys have been open for about a month – and – tell me what it’s been like since you’ve been open.

JENNA MOOERS:

It has been fabulous.  Honestly beyond my wildest projections.  Had really really great responses from Jane’s regulars as well as a hugely positive response from the neighbourhood.  About 90% of the people that come through the doors say, “Oh, I just live right up the street!” So that has  been really special.

LTT:

That’s the wonderful thing about EDNA, it seems to me – I also live really near by.  It’s a really kind of small, like community based place.  And then this area doesn’t have that kind of thing – like continuing that Jane’s/Brooklyn Warehouse “in a neighbourhood” tradition.

JM:

That’s it – I feel like traditionally Halifax has been a bit separated – from my experience living in other cities, I found that when you have that mix of commercial and residential, is what really creates community.  Where you have a coffee shop to get your coffee in the morning and somewhere to grab a glass of wine at the end of the night that’s within walking distance – that allows you to bump into your neighbours, and meet people in your neighbourhood – you know I really feel like it contributes to creating a sense of community.

LTT:

Our guest today is Melanie Stone, Halifax musician.  Melanie’s part of a lot of different projects.  You recently were just part of the CD release for Dark for Dark.  And what kind of other stuff do you have on the go?

MELANIE STONE:

I’m in a band – not exclusively a lady band, but a band made of ladies incidentally – with my friend Rebecca Zolkower and Jess Lewis and we released a CD in May this year.  And then I sing with a band called the Heavy Blinkers, and we’re trying to release a CD this summer as well.  So that’s been the focus.

LTT:

Yeah the Blinkers, is that – that’s  a double CD?

MS:

It’s not – but it would be a double vinyl if we put it on vinyl.  It’s a long one. It’s been a long time coming – it’s a project that we started about seven years ago, and it’s just being finished and sent out to the world now.  It’s pretty exciting.

LTT:

It’s fantastic.  Well – we have two dishes here… Jenna why don’t you tell us about these two dishes.

JM:

Sure.  So first we have the Atlantic Bouillabaisse – it’s sort of a classic bouillabaisse – did a bit of a twist on.  It’s got scallops, shrimp, mussels, chorizio, fresh corn, pan-seared halibut, grilled toast, bit of saffron, sugar snap peas.. it’s got a little bit of an almost, sort of Spanish aroma to it with a bit of saffron and chorizio sausage, but all locally sourced fresh Atlantic seafood- and with our homemade focaccia there on the side as well.

LTT:

Totally gorgeous.  Well, let’s taste it!

JM:

So the chorizio is from Ratinaud, which is right across the street.  I always tell folks, we spent seven months renovating this place and  it was so great to have Ratinaud across the street – we were having the classiest work site lunches, you know, with the plumbers and the electricians sitting down eating prime, you know duck proscuitto…

LTT:

My gosh. Amazing.  You can really taste how the corn really flavours the broth.

JM:

It’s one of my favourite dishes because it’s so simple and it’s all about just really fresh, properly cooked seafood.

MS:

My past experience with bouillabaisse is just watching Juila Child make it, in black and white on DVDs from the library – that’s just as real to life experience.

LTT:

Gosh.  It’s classic though.

MS:

It’s everything that I thought it would be.

JM:

Our fresh oysters we’re getting right now from a couple of different suppliers.  We’re changing our menu so often… because we’re sourcing local, you can’t always, you know sort of guarantee that consistency of quantity.  With that being said, you know the structure of the menu often remains the same however the sides will change, depending –do we have beets?  Or do we have parsnips?  Or…we’ll sort of switch it up.

LTT:

It’s such a wonderful way to put together a menu, though.

JM:

You know it’s fun for us as a staff, as front of house, even as servers, you know, to learn more about food.  So, carpaccio is a very lightly seared beef that is sliced nice and thin so it’s next to raw in the middle.  This is a grass-fed beef from PEI.  We’ve got horseradish lemon creme fraiche, a little black olive tapanade on the side, parmesan, and these are yellow beet chips.  The tapanade adds this sort of a hit of salt too.

LTT:

Is this your concept of the menu, Jenna?

JM:

Robert and I worked pretty closely together.  I mean our inspiration for the menu really sort of came out of the way him and I like to eat out.  Which is: I like to try a little bit of everything.  So that’s why we decided to sort of incorporate fresh oysters, cheese platters, charcuteries – – keeping things light, playful, relatively simple but with really high quality local ingredients.

LTT:

What do you think of the carpaccio?

MS:

I took – I think I took a lot of parmesan with it, but very, very flavourful and I don’t eat a lot of – I certainly don’t eat a lot of carpaccio.  Jenna do you find that the concept of sharing, the way that you’ve designed the  menu is more the way that – anyone who comes in the restaurant, you know, someone who’s not accustomed to sharing, or family style, having that experience – does it kind of inform them when they come in and they see everyone doing that?

JM:

I think it definitely opens it up for folks to have that experience.  Because I really think people are looking for that interactive dining experience these days.  I like to say that we’re beyond the point of coming to a restaurant and sitting at your little table alone, you know, your food arrives and you have no idea where it came from, you know?  That’s why we have a semi-open kitchen – people want to see what’s going on back there.  And I think people want to talk about the food they’re eating, they want to know about it, you know?  They want to go that next step.  I hope that – it’s allowing those people who are not so accustomed to having that dining experience to do so, and I’ve seen it happen…

LTT:

I notice you have a communal table, which is unusual for Halifax restaurants, and fantastic – do people talk to each other?

JM:

People have been loving that communal table.  I thought about it for quite a long time.  I remembered something that happened at Jane’s on the Common.  It was one of the first restaurants in Halifax to do a long bench with tables that were pretty close together – that was a new thing for Halifax.  We got a lot of people back on the bench: “…the tables are too close…” – this and that,  but over the years people started to love that bench.  And the most magical moments I witnessed in that restaurant were complete strangers pushing their tables together at the end of the night… we even saw somebody offer somebody else a bite of chocolate cake, off their plate, to an envious onlooker at the table next to them.  And you know these friendships were formed and relationships were built based on just sitting beside each other and sharing a meal.

LTT:
That’s so fun.  Melanie, do you have a favourite local band?

MS:

There are lots – like, too many.  Too many.  Stewart Legere – I’m biased, he’s a friend, we perform together sometimes.  Kind of I guess an actor first – he works with Zuppa Theatre, so I met him through that crowd.  He’s working on a debut record and he’s just an incredibly talented singer/songwriter.  He’s got a really interesting voice in terms of his own writing, but his actual singing voice is one of the best I’ve ever heard.

LTT:

So we’ll just end with a couple of questions.  Do you have a favourite food from your childhood, Jenna?

JM:

My mom was a single mother – she worked 9:00 – 5:00.  We always cooked a big Sunday dinner, and we always had different friends and families, and boyfriends, and whoever over during those Sunday dinners and I think that’s sort of what resonates with me the most.  I have to say one of my favourite childhood dishes that my mom would make is – it’s my Aunt Mary’s seafood stew in a puff pastry… what’s it called?  Those little puff pastry shells with the tops on them?

LTT:

Yeah –

JM:

Do you know what I’m talking about?

LTT:

Yep, yep.

MS:

I remember Sunday dinners, but usually they were cooked by my grandparents.  And my father’s parents made a lot of corned beef, dumplings – like meals that were all in one pot.  And we would all kind of crowd around a small table – so those are nice memories.

JM:

Vol-au-vent.  That’s what it was called.

LTT:

Vol-au-vent!  Ahh….

JM:

Vol-au-vent.  The pastry.  It came to me. Vol-au-vent.

LTT:

And do you have a favourite local business, either of you, that you like to frequent.

MS:

There’s a coffee shop across the street – directly across the street from my house – Cempoal – – I can’t pronounce it right…

LTT:

Is that kind of like – it’s kind of like a secret coffee shop….

JM:

Is there a sign- – on Agricola…

MS:

Yeah.  There’s a sandwich board on Agricola.  But through my window I can see whether they’re open or not, and they’re usually open until 11:00 pm all things considered and they open early in the morning.  They have amazing baked goods, they have some of the best date squares I’ve had in the city.  And you can get Java Blend espresso based coffees, or play chrokinole or see live music…

JM:

I have to say that my favourite local business would probably have to be Bishop’s Cellar.  The products that they carry but above all their service is unbeatable – they really go above and beyond.  Great selection – I think they’re just doing something really special for Halifax.  They also stay open really late, which is great.

LTT:

Yes!  On Sundays!

MS:

I know!

LTT:
We can find EDNA – – on your website, right?

JM:

Yep – www.ednarestaurant.com.

LTT:

And you’re on twitter?

JM:

Twitter, yeah.  @ednahfx, as well as instagram.

LTT:

And Melanie, where can we find out about your projects?

MS:

Well Dark for Dark recently got a Facebook page.  So we’re officially on the map.  And we’re just re-doing the Heavy Blinkers site but that will be TheHeavyBlinkers.com.

LTT:

Well thank you both so much, it’s been absolutely delicious, and wonderful.  This is Claire with Local Tasting Tours.  Take a tour – take a bite out of Halifax!