Archives for January 2014

Your Guide to Delicious

Tongue sandwich?  Yes, and so much more at Field Guide on Gottingen Street in Halifax.  This podcast introduces young owners Dan Vorstermans and Ceilidh Sutherland who have the shared dining experience menu down, from ever-changing creative cocktails to new spins on off-cuts and a revamped Halifax donair.  Special guest Alex Coley talks about local youth programs such as OpporTUNEity and the Youth Art Connection, we learn about the biggest fish ever to be caught in Tatamagouche, hear about awesome local records shops and much more!  Take a Bite Out of Halifax!

Field Guide Youth Art Connection Obsolete Records King Wah

Field-Guide-1-300x200

Field Guide restaurant on Gottingen Street Halifax

LOCAL TASTING TOURS:

Hey everybody, this is Emily with Local Tasting Tours.  Don’t forget to check out our upcoming Halifax North Craft Beer and Food Tour which is in development: starting in May.  We’re here at Field Guide on Gottingen Street with owners Dan Vorstermans and Ceilidh Sutherland.  Dan, one of the first thing I heard about you guys was that you were going to focus on as many local producers as you could.

DAN VORSTERMANS:

Yeah, I mean, the main reason we did it is cause for us, that’s just the way that it makes sense to eat.  Locally grown produce has more nutrients in it because it’s picked in the peak of its ripeness – so there’s that stuff.  In terms of meat and fish, I don’t really see much reason to go out of the province.  We raise pretty much any kind of meat that you’d ever want to get in Nova Scotia, including stuff like llama and emu.  And we have great seafood here, obviously, and seafood again is always best when it’s freshest.  The only oil we use here is locally grown canola oil from Hill Creek Family Farm.  This canola oil, it’s cold pressed, it’s really high quality – it has as much flavour as a good olive oil.  We didn’t really have to think about it that much.  We just said, you know, this is what we’re going to do because it makes sense.

LTT:

Ceilidh, you have so many shared plates on the menu.

CEILIDH SUTHERLAND:

Yeah, that’s how Dan and I like to eat when we go out.  We always really explore menus, and we’ll do things like only order -you know, all of the starters, instead of having three courses to our meal.

LTT:

I understand that you got some expert help on setting up your cocktail menu.

DAN:

Yeah we are now doing a monthly cocktail menu, so we have 12 drinks on there: six classics and six contemporaries.  We have a bar consultant, Jeffrey Van Horne who also works down at the Bicycle Thief, and he’s helped us a lot, both before we opened and since we’ve been open.  And then our head bartender’s name is Shane Behan.

LTT:

I thought it was kind of cute how you were changing the menu more often and people were missing things already?

DAN:

Yeah we started out doing weekly menus.  I mean we still get requests for drinks that were on our first menu when we opened in November, and people were saying, No I still wanted to like – I still wanted to keep drinking that cocktail, but now I’m tempted by these new options… So we decided to just go with a monthly menu so that people could get more familiar with the drinks.

LTT:

Ceilidh, how do you like this neighbourhood?

CEILIDH:

Dan and I have lived in the North End for a few years now, and we would not be anywhere else.  We really always wanted to make our living here as well, and to employ other people who live in the neighbourhood.  Yeah – we love being on Gottingen Street, it’s a really, really exciting time.  We’re closed on Tuesdays and we never know what to do – like we want to go everywhere.  And I think that the things that are happening with food in the North End are really different than what you’re seeing elsewhere in Halifax.

LTT:

I agree, its… the vibe is growing.  Our guest today is Alex Coley and he’s the founder of something called Project OpporTUNEity which is associated with the Youth Art Connection.

ALEX COLEY:

So as an employee for the Cohn auditorium, and working with camps all through my youth, I noticed being exposed to a lot of different live performance – it really inspired me, and I think it had a pretty profound effect on my perspective and what I want to do with my life.  I found myself in a situation where I feel I can provide that experience for other youth that wouldn’t necessarily get that experience.  So I’ve been working directly with Pheonix Youth Choir and Moe Green’s boys groups at Oxford School in Highland Park, some different things through Youth Art Connection.  So, essentially, my agenda is getting these young – youth – into concerts.

LTT:

The ARTPRENEUR program I thought was kind of neat – so it’s almost encouraging kids, if they have an artistic skill that they want to develop, to look at that as a career?

ALEX:

So Ryan Veltmeyer and Ann Denny who are the creators and directors of Youth Art Connection… and I mean, they’ve really been mentoring me.  What they do with their Artpreneur program is that they find mentors in different art communities to mentor these young professionals that want to pursue a career in the arts.

LTT:

And there’s a fundraiser coming up, I understand – – ARTCELERATION…? (laughs)

ALEX:

That’s happening on January 29 from 5:00 to 7:00 at McInnis Cooper.  So that’s going to be in collaboration with the Michel Jean Foundation, and it’s going to be trying to create a dialogue around how the arts can create a positive impact in the community and on people’s lives.

LTT:

Okay.  I thought it was kind of cool how your menu is just on a chalk board – and then, if you have a group of people you suggest….?

CEILIDH:

Yeah, we suggest that you try the whole menu.  So normally there would be about 10 things on the menu.  It’s a really, really fun way to experience all the food.  And then often they’ll end up going back and kind of ordering their favourite dishes.  So often they’ll re-order the donair steam buns cause there’s two in an order, so that’s been really cool to see.  And if someone does that, we always throw in one of our desserts for free as a little incentive for trying the whole menu.

ALEX:

(mouth full)  So what’s in the donair?

CEILIDH:

The donair is a house-made donair meat which has pork and lamb, and also lamb liver, and spices and salt, and we kind of cook it like a meatloaf, and then it’s cut into these thick slices and put inside a traditional style open-faced steam bun with a house-made donair sauce that does not have sweetened condensed milk in it.  Which – (laughs) I’m always happy to tell people.  And we have some tomatoes and onion on the plate.  So it’s just like a really fun take on the classic Halifax donair.

LTT:

The little steam bun – you say you take inspiration from other cities…

CEILIDH:

Yeah we had eaten at Momofuku last year and they have amazing steam buns.  They have – yeah, like so, so delicious.  Like maybe you don’t even want to eat the ramen because the steam buns are so good.  Like you could just go in and eat all the steam buns and not have anything else and be totally satisfied.  So – yeah, definitely took some inspiration from them.  And we find that every time we make the steam buns they get a little bit better – so perfecting that recipe.

LTT:

And you do a lot of your own bread baking here – that’s a beautiful looking tongue sandwich.  You said that you have older customers here, and then younger customers who are getting… adventurous?

CEILIDH:

Yeah, I’ve been really pleased to see a really wide demographic of people coming in and enjoying the food.  Yeah, a lot of our older customers who are coming in are seeing things on the menu like bone marrow, and tongue, other offal and off-cuts and stuff like that and they’re really, really excited about it.  They sometimes actually get annoyed when we don’t have enough of it on the menu.  And then, yeah -the same with younger people – I’m really noticing a huge trend of younger people just wanting to try everything and not being freaked out about it.  And saying, ‘Oh, I’ve never had this thing before, and I don’t know if I’m going to like it, but I’m willing to spend a little bit of money and try it.’

LTT:

Alex, can you give me your take on the donair?

ALEX:

Yeah, I mean, I haven’t eaten a donair in quite a few years because after I eat them I feel like I’m going to die.  But that was delicious.  That was easily better than the donairs I’ve had before.

LTT:

It’s kind of light.  So I asked you immediately Alex if you were ‘freaked out’ by the sandwich, but you said you made a decision to sort of change the way you eat?

ALEX:

Yeah when I was probably 11 or 12, I remember I was eating calamari, and I was holding up a piece and I looked at my dad and I said, ‘This kinda looks like octopus,’ and he said, ‘It is octopus.’ And I thought he was joking.  I guess that was a big moment where I realized that just because something looks gross doesn’t mean that it can be gross.  And I ate it, and I decided that I still liked it, so – why not try all these other things?

LTT:

And the tongue sandwich… I just got that really rich, beef flavour, too.

ALEX:

Like I said, I don’t know if I would have even known it was tongue if I’d been eating it… it just tastes like a really tender piece of roast beef.

DAN:

So we get the beef tongue from Oultons up in Windsor – and basically I salt it overnight with some herbs and garlic just to build a bit of flavour and then poach it, and then slice it thin.  So it’s served cold with a parsnip/caramelized onion kind of sauce that goes with it, and then we serve it on a house-made kind of milk bread.  And then there’s a bit of the Dutchman’s old growler gouda on there, which is nice and salty and sharp, which adds a lot of flavour.  And then some fresh parsley, just- I like fresh parsley on every sandwich ever, just because it makes it taste nice and fresh, obviously, and kind of brightens the whole thing up – so yeah.

LTT:

Just a couple of questions: Alex – do you have a favourite kind of cherished food memory from your childhood?

ALEX:

Yeah.  I remember back before King Wah took out the MSG in their food.  They made dumplings, and all my family lives in England, so around Christmas, that was kind of the time I got to see all of my family and I just, I have these great memories of sitting around one of those big tables with the kind of wheel in the middle and all of us fighting over the last dumpling.

LTT:

And Ceilidh, you said you could remember some stuff from your childhood in Tatamagouche?

CEILIDH:

So I grew up in the country, I have two older brothers and an older sister – we would make our own maple syrup in the spring.  My brothers are really, really into fishing, they’re still into fishing, and we live right beside a river.  I remember one day when my brother caught a trout with…a leaf…on… a hook… His brother can also catch fish with his bare hands.  Anyway he just brought it home and he was so excited, I mean, running up from the river cause it was like the biggest one, and like taking photos of it and it being this big thing.  And then like going into the garden and like digging potatoes, and picking peas, and having this like big beautiful family meal in the summertime.

LTT:

It’s a beautiful story.  Dan, do you have a favourite locally owned business in the province?

DAN:

Yeah, I mean, since we’re based in the North End, I really love how many small, independent businesses there are up here.  One that comes to mind is Obsolete Records in the North End.  I just love it – it’s a tiny little shop.  The guy who owns it is there every time you go in – great guy, they have an awesome selection of records which I spend way too much of my money on.. and yeah, it’s just a great place.

LTT:

Um…Frederic from Ratinaud just came by and borrowed some buckets… I thought that was an interesting community feel here.  And Alex – do you have a contact for people who want to learn a little more about Project OpporTUNEity?

ALEX:

Yeah -so we’re hoping to get a website up and running quite shortly, but until then you can check out Youth Art Connection at their website – youthartconnection.ca – and then if any of you wants to contact me directly, they can email me at AL698302@DAL.CA!

LTT:

Oh that’s so easy to remember (laughs).  Ceilidh… well first of all, what are your hours, and how can people come down and find you?

CEILIDH:

So we’re closed on Tuesdays.  We’re open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6:00 until 12:00 – – and Friday and Saturday from 6:00 until 1 am.  And you can find out more information on our website which is fieldguidehfx.com – and our twitter and instagram is also @fieldguidehfx.  So you can find us there!

LTT:

Thank you so much for this beautiful food – thank you everybody for taking part.  Really looking forward to more meals here, and to hearing more about OpporTUNEity.  This is Emily with Local Tasting Tours… take a tour… Take a Bite Out of Halifax!

Wild Leeks and Leibovitz at AGNS

This podcast was recorded at Wild Leek food and juice bar during the fall of 2013 and features Shannon Parker from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and chef and owner of Wild Leek, Kirsten Taggart.  In this episode, learn how to make seitan sandwiches, hear about the Year of the Corn in the Annapolis Valley, and all about local love for our NS Farmers Markets and the joy of making cookies. Best of all, hear the nitty gritty on the newest stunning donation to the AGNS – an Annie Leibovitz collection 2000 prints strong.

wildleek.ca – artgalleryofnovascotia.ca

wildleeks

 

LOCAL TASTING TOURS:

Hello Halifax!  This is Claire with Local Tasting Tours.  Today we are at Wild Leek food and juice bar on Windsor Street.  And I’m sitting in the light of a lovely afternoon with Kirsten Taggart, who is the owner and chef here at Wild Leek.  And Shannon Parker from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia; she is curator of collections at the art gallery.  And we have a beautiful looking meal in front of us:  we have a seitan banh mi, and a little salad with curls of beet and carrot and this incredible looking dill dressing, which I hear Wild Leek is famous for.  And we also have this juice, and it’s called The Energizer.

KIRSTEN TAGGART:

Apples and carrots and ginger.

LTT:

That sounds very energizing to me.  And so seitan is a wheat gluten sort of fake meat, right?  So how do you make that?

KT:

So the process to make the seitan is: you have two bowls, one filled with gluten flour, spices, nutritional yeast; and the other one is with cold water, olive oil, soy sauce, chopped onion.  Pour the cold into the dry, mix it with a wooden spoon.  Eventually you get this bread like mixture that you place into cheesecloth, sausage form, put it into a boiling pot of water for an hour and a half, and you cut it and saute it on a pan.

LTT:

It’s a great texture.  So Shannon – what do you think of this sandwich?

SHANNON PARKER:

This is incredible.  I actually don’t recall eating such a good sandwich before. The flavours and the combination of the crisp and the spice and the fresh bread and everything is fantastic – I may have a new favourite meal in Halifax.

LTT:

Yay!  So what else can we find here at the Wild Leek?

KT:

Our menu changes monthly; you can also find our daily quiches which are made with Acadiana Organic tofu which is local.  Breakfast burritos… we do breakfast and lunch here.

LTT:

That’s great!  Yes, vegan breakfast is I think something that you can’t find too many places in town.

KT:

We do full vegan, so it’s kind of cool that we offer breakfast sandwiches, like the breakfast muffins, pancakes… we do coconut bacon, also, so that’s pretty cool, I think people really enjoy that as well.

LTT:

And is it like the meat of the coconut fried up?

KT:

So it’s not the meat of the coconut, it’s called coconut chips, and we marinade that here and bake it and it tastes like bacon.

LTT:

That’s amazing.  I’m interested in your customer demographic.  Do you have a sense of how many people who come in are vegan?

KT:

I come out and talk to the customers as often as I can, but I really am not concerned with if they are vegan or if they’re not vegan – I just want to serve good food, you know?  So for me, personally, you don’t have to be vegan to eat vegan food.  Like you don’t have to be Italian to go to an Italian restaurant.

LTT:

No that’s a very good point.  So Shannon, can you tell us a little bit about what’s going on this fall at the Art Gallery?

SP:

Probably one of the biggest things happening is the Sobey Art Award exhibition – the exhibition’s just opened up – it will be on exhibition through early January.

LTT:

I just wanted to mention this big donation the gallery received in June of the Annie Leibovitz photographs.

SP:

It’s an amazing donation.  It’s not only an amazing collection of large scale and medium scale prints, but also a collection of over 700 vintage file prints so you can really see, in many cases, examples of the photographs she took before she ended up with the one we all recognize.  And those are really exciting.  Looking at the larger prints, it’s amazing to see how the quality of print makes such a big difference, and the difference of printing in a magazine, versus something that is almost two feet wide is pretty substantial.  It’s incredible, and we do have an exhibition in the works, so we’re talking close to 100 photographs for that first exhibition.  But when you consider that we have over 2000 photographs as part of this gift, it’s just scratching the surface of what this collection is.  It still requires a lot of work on our part to get everything matted and framed and ready to go – so we’re hoping the winter/spring we’ll be re-opening the third floor with an exhibition devoted to the Leibovitz collection.

LTT:

Are there photographs that you’ve been given that haven’t been seen by the public before?

SP:

Yes, in particular the file prints.  In terms of the vintage prints, these archival prints, it’s great – there’s a lot of behind the scenes kind of stuff from her early days in the Rolling Stone magazine, some of the tours.  Some of the very first ones you start seeing is Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, kind of behind the scenes with him and his family, goofing around on the beach.  It’s very exciting to see that work in progress of what led to the final image.  And the stories behind some of the images: the classic Blues Brothers photo, but instead of, in their classic hats and suits and ties, but their faces painted blue instead – that was something that actually Belushi didn’t want to do and so she only got like three shots before he’s like, “That’s it, that’s done.”  John Lennon and Yoko Ono… there’s not just the gorgeous imagery, there’s the stories that Annie Leibovitz has lived through and the connections she’s made.  You start feeling this really weird connection to the people in these images.

LTT:

And obviously this donation means a lot to the gallery.

SP:

It’s one of those life-changing moments for the gallery.  It’s the only collection of its kind in the world; so it sets us up as being not only this great center and resource, but to bring people to Halifax to see this collection, and for us to travel some of these works across Canada.

LTT:

Well thanks for sharing some of the details with us.  I can’t wait until it opens!

KT:

I – one of my focuses when I opened this place was to have a sort of type of community gallery.  The art that I do have is from kids at NASCAD and they’re really good kids, so I would love to have more of a gallery space here.

LTT:

And the high ceilings, yeah, with so much space on the walls.

SP:

I think you could do good here!

LTT:

That’s a great idea. (pause)   This dressing is amazing.  Were you going to say something else?

SP:

I was too busy eating.  It’s too good. (laughs)

LTT:

Yeah – it really is.  Well guys, I’m going to wrap up by asking you each two questions, as we do with all of our guests. And… first I’m just going to take another sip of this juice.  The carrots give it such an incredible colour, too.  So do you have a cherished, childhood food memory?

SP:

My grandfather grew up out west in Saskatchewan, and moved down to the Valley, and always had what we might call a kitchen garden, although a little more substantial than that at times.  And no matter how much he tried, he tried lots of different types of vegetables, and no matter what he did, the one thing that really thrived was the corn.  And there was one summer which my sister and I both remember as the Year of the Corn, where we got so much of it from him, that we had to eat it breakfast, lunch and supper.  Just non-stop.  It was the most ridiculous thing.

LTT:

And what about a local business you like to support Shannon?

SP:

Perhaps one of my favourite ones right now is actually over in the Alderney ferry terminal, the Kings Produce, the Noggins farm that stocks not only valley produce but also Foxhill Cheese, and Tideview Cider, and its location is kind of ideal – it’s the perfect place to stop on the way to or from work and grab my produce for the day.

LTT:

And Kirsten, do you have a treasured childhood food memory you’d like to share?

KT:

So my mom always made cookies – and she made short breads at Christmas which were to die for short bread cookies.  So I think that is, when I think about my childhood, it was definitely the cookie making, the peanut butter cookies, the short bread cookies, the chocoate chip cookies…

LTT:

Yeah, that’s actually how I started cooking as well – my brother taught me to make cookies when I was like five.

KT:

They’re one of the most simplest forms of baking and making something yummy.

LTT:

I think that’s still my favourite thing to cook, of all time, is cookies.  They’re just so easy!  And a favourite local business that you like to support?

KT:

I like going to the farmers market – I used to have a table stall at the farmers market in Hubbards I used to really love – I just loved going there, I loved being there really early in the morning, I loved setting up, I loved talking to the other vendors, I loved getting my flowers.  The first person that got the little flower, the bouquet, you know, it was so beautiful – I was like, “Yes!  I scored!”  (laughs)

LTT:

We love the farmers market too.  Both of our tours in the afternoon stop at the Halifax Seaport Market.  It’s great that Halifax has a real network now of farmers markets – Halifax and of course Nova Scotia.  Thank you both so much for being here today – it’s been a real pleasure.  We have Shannon Parker here from the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, she’s the curator of collections – and Kirsten Taggart, owner and chef at Wild Leek food and juice bar – which is where we’ve spent our afternoon, eating these delicious sandwiches.  This is Claire from Local Tasting Tours – take a tour… take a bite out of Halifax!