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).


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!


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.


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!

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