Business is Jammin at The Nook on Gottingen

So many delicious tastings included on this podcast at The Nook on Gottingen with special guest David Perkins from the Black Business Initiative!  We taste the famous Double B sandwich – – ohhh that local bacon – – a beautiful vegan board with exciting new concoctions, and a traditional Napoleon cake made with love by owner Mark Pavlovski’s own grandmother.  We hear about exciting projects underway for youth through Business is Jammin, drool over Rum Baba and get the goods on the popular Halifax I’m So Scotian clothing line.  Not to be missed!

The Nook HFX              Business is Jammin               Ratinaud             IlleVille International Clothing         HFX North Tour

 

Let’s Eat! Korean visit to Halifax and Nova Scotia

These visitors try the best of  Halifax and Nova Scotian local food with a Local Tasting Tours experience, a visit to Peggy’s Cove, lobster tasting and a talk with the Kilted Chef.

Sugah! Halifax Seaport Farmers Market Chives Ciboulette Cafe The Loop Le French Fix  

February Newsletter

Introducing HFX North Craft Beer & Food Tour

febnewsletter01This summer Local Tasting Tours will be adding a new route in the thriving North End of Halifax, with afternoon tours filled with local eats and craft beer. Meet up at the Prince George Hotel and venture with a friendly and knowledgeable guide down Gottingen and Agricola, sampling food from Local SourceHali Deli, Bridge Brewing, Lion & Bright and Ratinaud French Cuisine, just to name a few of the 9 food tastings and 3 beer tastings! You will also get a chance to meet Chef Lauren, contestant onTop Chef Canada! Tickets are $40 (tax included).

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In case you haven’t heard the news, Chef Lauren of enVie was selected to be one of 14 contestants on Top Chef Canada! She is also studying at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and incorporates her learning into her menu planning as well as the cooking classes she teaches at enVie, such as Vegan 101 and Glorious Grains (More Info)Local Tasting Tours correspondent, Lindsay Nelson, recently sat down with Chef Lauren over coffee, to learn what is new at enVie. She also learned a little about how the cashew yogurt cheese is made for the poutine, as well as the gravy of charred leeks and caramelized onions. Pro-tip: “poutine packs”, consisting of the cheese and gravy, are sold to-go at enVie!

Chef Lauren tells us the bar area will be shut down temporarily in March for a major renovation. The restaurant is getting a larger fridge for to-go items and installing a mirror for the cooking classes. In other news, the brunch menu is becoming official – with tofu benny and lentil sausages on the roster. Lauren says a new spring menu is a work in progress, but that there will be an emphasis on “jazzed up” salads and raw and sprouting “living food”. We will also see the results of her experimentation with the dehydrator – raw tacos and pizza, anyone? Whether you are vegan, vegetarian, locavore, gluten-free, health-conscious or if you just love food – enVie has something for everyone!

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The Savour Food & Wine Festival is put on by the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, and stretches from January to March with unique and engaging events. The main event: theSavour Food & Wine Show at theCunard Centre ($79) will take place on March 6. Admission gets you an all-inclusive evening of wine sampling and tastings from restaurants such asLeCaveau of Wolfville, Gabriel’s Bistroof Antigonish, and Elliot’s of White Point Beach ResortHabanero’s new “Gecko Bus” will be in attendance, as well as the folks from Hope Blooms. Also expect to see the likes of Saege,MezzaTessMorris EastThe Press Gang and 2 Doors Down, to name just a few! Your favourite local wineries and microbreweries will be there to wash down all the tasty morsels. This is an event not to be missed! {Buy Tickets}

In Nova Scotia, teams of oxen were traditionally named “Lion and Bright” – Lion was on the left, and Bright was on the right. This seems to be a suitable name for a café sharing the same building as Agricola Street Brasserie, named for John “Agricola” Young, a proponent of Nova Scotia agriculture. It is also fitting that Local Source is directly connected to Lion and Bright, supplying much of its food. There is also a play on words here: during the day it is a café (“Bright’), and in the evening it transforms into a wine bar (“Lion”). During the day there will be drip coffee (as well as skilled baristas), sandwiches, treats and seasonal salads and soups. The evenings will focus on espresso and wine, with bar bites, cold boards (cheese, charcuterie), canapés, hot pies, free-range roasts, and dessert. Fresh pasta and a raw bar are coming soon to this new hip hang-out.

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For 22 years, Cafe Chianti was a South Street staple. A 2010 fire forced proprietor Jan Wicha to move his restaurant, and he found the perfect spot on Barrington where Bear was bowing out. He managed to rescue the painted walls, adorned with Italian-style artwork, which he has embedded and mounted on the walls of the new restaurant, giving it a classic feel. The next big change happened last March when Terry Vassallo, the celebrated chef fromTrattoria della Nonna was appointed head chef. Since then, the menu has adopted a distinctly “Vassallo flare”. Some loyal customers are lamenting the loss of the long-time favourite, Transylvanian Goulash, but they should stay hopeful. Mr. Wicha is looking to take a new direction with Czech-Hungarian dishes in the future. Meanwhile, Cafe Chianti has been named Restaurant of the Year by the Chronicle Herald, while its tapenade crusted rack of lamb landed best entree. It is also well known that Chef Vassallo makes a mean halibut using only the freshest fish. He was awarded silver at the Gold Medal Plates Event, which is a fundraiser for our Sochi-bound Olympians. In fact, Chef Vassallo was invited as one of only two Canadian chefs to attend the Sochi Olympics! Don’t miss your chance to taste Chef Vassallo’s cuisine on the Downtown SoMo Food Tour this summer!

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

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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!

 

TIBS! The Barista Handshake

TWO IF BY SEA CAFE tasting with ZANE KELSALL and guest ROBERTA BARKER from DAL THEATRE

In this lively podcast, meet DAL theatre professor Roberta Barker and owner of Two If By Sea Cafe in Dartmouth, Zane Kelsall as we taste famously flaky and giant croissants, cookies, and wicked locally roasted coffee.  Learn a secret barista handshake and hear about favourite less-than-healthy childhood dinners from our guests, as well as stories of the beginnings of the I HEART DARTMOUTH movement.  Fave Halifax restaurants the Brooklyn Warehouse and Ko-Doraku on the menu as well.

twoifbyseacafe.ca – DAL Theatre

LOCAL TASTING TOURS:

This is Claire with Local Tasting Tours.  Today we have crossed the harbour, and for very good reason.  We’re sitting at Two If By Sea, the wildly popular cafe and bake shop.  And I’m here with the founder and owner, Zane Kelsall, and Roberta Barker, who is a theatre history professor at DAL.  She also teaches at King’s College, and she won Best Professor in the Coast’s 2013 awards.  So we’re here – we’re sipping some of this beautiful coffee.  We’ll start with you, Zane.  How much has this area changed since you opened?

ZANE KELSALL:

It changed really drastically.  It took about a year to open after we secured the location, so it’s been about five years that we’ve been really close to the neighbourhood.  And it’s been- it’s all the young families who have moved into the neighbourhood, and cheap housing – but that’s created this awesome sense of community.  So I live two blocks away from the cafe and, yeah, we love it.

LTT:

That’s great.  We’re in Anchored Coffee, which is the roastery next door to Two If By Sea – and when did you get this underway?

ZK:

So BDC, the Business Development Commission came to me and said, ‘We’re doing a contest – we think you should enter it.  It’s for youth in business; if you have an idea on how you’d like to expand your business that we could classify as innovative, you should apply.’  And I did.  Roasting coffee was always something that made sense from a vertical integration standpoint, but it also made sense from a passion standpoint for me.  We made a video, we put it out to this contest and we ended up winning.

LTT:

The coffee that you sell at Two If By Sea, is that all your own roasted coffee?

ZK:

No.   I started TIBS to focus on quality coffee, and I think if I was to only feature my own coffee all the time that I’m patting myself on the back.  So being where we are in the world, I think it’s important to bring in coffee from everywhere I can to feature roasters from, anywhere from Portland, San Francisco, we’ve had a roaster in from England a couple of times – just so that we can offer something unique and really good to our customers.  But primarily we use Anchored.

LTT:

So Roberta, I just want to talk a bit about your projects.  You teach a number of different courses at both DAL and Kings, and I know that you also pursue research and some publishing.

ROBERTA BARKER:

Well, I think the different aspects of what I’m working on right now are quite entwined, actually, because in the theatre department right now I’m teaching two classes this term.  I’m also teaching a class for first year, a seminar for first year students across the faculty of arts and social sciences at DAL, so that’s really really cool – that’s on the performer in society.

LTT:

So that’s students from all kinds of different programs.

RB:

Yeah, anyone who wants to take it who’s in first year.  It’s kind of a pilot thing at DAL to help first year students have more of an intimate experience, so they’re like small, first year seminars on particular topics.  It’s really fun, it’s a really neat opportunity to meet students from all over the world and get to work kind of more one-on-one with them about, you know, getting used to university.  In the theatre department I’m teaching a class on stars and stardom on stage and screen.  I’m also teaching a class on 19th century theatre, from melodrama to realism.  And that hooks into my – they both hook into my research, so, it’s really neat to have the opportunity to kind of share my research with students and also have the students’ enthusiasms and insights feeding into what I’m researching.

LTT:

Right.  And you were in Europe recently, is that right, doing some research?

RB:

I was, yeah.  I’m sitting here looking at a really, really beautiful looking croissant and it’s reminding of my weeks this past June in Paris.  So that was really great, really fun being in the old 17th century Bibliotheque Nationale all day, and then coming home in the evening, seeing some great theatre, eating some really great food – so it was awesome.

LTT:

So yeah, let’s sample some of these snacks and talk about the coffee that we’re drinking.

ZK:

So this is just a filtered coffee.  We feature a coffee every day.  It’s a Honduras – roasted by Anchored.  It’s grown by a guy named Efren Guadalupe Munez, in the Ocotepeque region of Honduras.  And then as far as treats go, we have a prosciutto and provolone croissant, and a chocolate chip cookie.

LTT:

Classic, yeah.  We were talking about – how I’ve tried most of your croissants but actually never the butter – just because all the other flavours are always so enticing.  Ok so let’s have a sample.  I want to get a sound clip of the like, flaky flakiness. If you…

RB:

That weight of that croissant is beautiful.  You can tell that’s pure butter.  Mmm.

LTT:

And these cookies, it’s like it’s still sort of soft in the middle, like it’s just come out of the oven.

ZK:

We make them fresh every day so they’re unbelievably good out of the oven, and we tweet every day when they come out of the oven – we call them “freshies”.  So a tweet that just says, “Freshie!” – that means the cookies have just come out of the oven.

LTT:

Good to know!

ZK:

Another coffee I ordered for us just showed up.  It’s called the Macchiato Special.  So what that is, we start you with a single espresso, and then follow you with a single macchiato.  We kind of joked around about doing it when we were first openeing, cause it’s kind of like the barista secret handshake.  Like if you go into like a really quality focused cafe, say you’re like in Montreal or something, and you’re like, “I’ll have a single espresso followed by a single macchiato,” it’s kinda like… “Step up!” you know?  Like… you know? So we thought it would be fun to put it on our menu as like one drink.

LTT:

It was more than awesome.

ZK:

The point of that is to like have the espresso like really coat your palate, and then the like awesome sugars and fats that are in the milk then react with the acidity of the coffee that is already on your palate, to create an olfactory reaction.  We’re the only shop in Canada that I know that you can come and order like just basically a deconstructed macchiato.

LTT:

That’s so great.  Roberta, I think that should be yours.

RB:

I’m so excited to find out about this secret, this…

LTT:

Now you can be cool in cafes all over the world.

RB:

This is my plan!

ZK:

Our espresso is like a true medium, so not dark roasted at all, but it is a little darker than our filter, to try and like neutralize some of the acidity that’s in the coffee, because espresso’s like a magnifying glass for acidity, so if you don’t roast it a little bit darker, the shots are unbelievably sour.

RB:

I often drink macchiatos, and I see exactly what you mean about having had the espresso first.  Just kind of… yeah it does, and kind of magnifies the caramel-y flavours, and … really delicious.

LTT:

And you also, I find you sort of appreciate the milk more, because you’ve had this like, totally straight up, and then you, then you get the creaminess of the milk.  Oh yeah, I just – before I move on to our questions, I want to point out your I HEART DARTMOUTH slogan campaign, cause you guys started that, yes?

ZK:

Yes we did.  We expected to open our doors and have no one come.  Like for the first year, we thought it would be like a really hard slog, thought the community would come around us but we didn’t expect it the very first day we opened. After week one, we were looking at how everything had gone, and it was actually my wife went out and wrote I HEART DARTMOUTH on our chalkboard sign.  Just to say, ‘Wow, this has been awesome’ -like  people were bringing us flowers and cards…

LTT:

Kind of like, ‘Thank you, Dartmouth,”

ZK:

Yeah.  Then got a stamp made, that had I HEART DARTMOUTH on it…

LTT:

Which goes on all your bags now, right?

ZK:

Yeah, and then we were like, ‘We need to put this on a t-shirt,’ – and I think there’s – we’ve sold 5000 I HEART DARTMOUTH shirts.

LTT:

Oh my gosh.  That’s like your – your second business.

ZK:

Yeah we can’t keep them in stock.

LTT:

Ok guys, well, we’ll wrap up by asking our two usual questions: Do you have a treasured childhood food memory that you’d like to share with us?  Roberta?

RB:

Well, if my mom hears this she’s going to kill me, because my mom is a really – gourmet, absolutely fabulous – so, throughout my whole childhood I can remember really amazing food, amazing baking.  She would really be loving this food today.  However, my most treasured food memory from my childhood is what we used to call ‘goulash’ although having since had goulash in Hungary, etc, it didn’t really have much to do with goulash.  It was basically Kraft dinner, ground beef, and a can of tomato soup, sort of stirred together.  And when I think of my childhood I think of goulash nights, you know?

ZK:

I did not grow up with gourmet parents, but I’d say my favourite childhood memory are those – the nights that we got to have breakfast for dinner. It was pretty awesome to come home.  My dad would make crepes, and then we just sprinkled powdered sugar, and rolled them up.  That’s what we had for dinner.  Probably, like, you know… once or twice a month. (laughs)  So…

LTT:

And what about a favourite local business?

RB:

Well there’s so many of them.  I would want to mention the Ko Doraku sushi in Spring Garden.  They have such awesome lunch specials and particularly the Ko Doraku roll – I’m a big fan.

LTT:

And Zane, what about you?  A local business?

ZK:

My favourite restaurant in town is definitely Brooklyn Warehouse.  The owner’s a good friend, or has become a good friend cause I go there so often.  But like, especially since having a kid a year ago, like that’s – if we have a babysitter – that’s where we’re going.  They’re just an amazing restaurant – young chef, young owner, and – yeah.

LTT:

Great.  Yeah those guys are great.  So Zane: Two If By Sea, are you open – you’re open every day of the week, right?

ZK:

Yep – 7:00 – 6:00 during the weekdays, and 8:00 – 5:00 on the weekends.

LTT:

And Roberta – in terms of getting in touch with you?

RB:

Yeah sure – you can find my email and phone number and etc on theatre.dal.ca – and if you check that out you can also see the details of our theatre season and all sorts of cool activities that are going on in theatre at DAL.

LTT:

Wonderful!  Well I want to thank you both so much for being here today – and I’m so excited to have come over to Dartmouth!  So this is Claire with Local Tasting Tours.  Take a tour, take a bite out of Halifax!

Local Art and Spicy Indochine

Local Tasting Tours’ Claire Gallant spends an afternoon at Liz Smith’s Indochine Banh Mi in downtown Halifax, tasting a myriad of spicy culinary delights with guests Adriana and Crystal from Argyle Fine Art.  In this podcast we find out some history behind the tasty Banh Mi sandwich, hear about an amazing Nova Scotian cookbook written by popular local musicians, learn about the best kind of marshmallow birthday cakes and also Grimsmo, a favourite ladies’ boutique on Barrington Street.

Indochine Banh Mi – Argyle Fine Art

tea

crystal-e1382014838947

Zuppa does edible landscaping with Common Roots

In this podcast in the glorious heat of summer, Jamie Melrose from Common Roots Urban Farm takes us through the amazing garden in downtown Halifax where our high school used to be.  During tastings from day lilies to buds which inspire courage, special guest Alex Mclean from Zuppa Theatre Co takes adventurous bites and tells us about upcoming productions including new stage work on the culinary side of theatre with a famous chef from New York.  We learn all kinds about gardening in the city and where to find the best burger in town, as well as stories of religious fish and chips and fab local businesses such as CarShareHFX.  Join us!  Take a bite out of Halifax!

zuppatheatre.com – partnersforcare.ca

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!