TIBS Family Dinners

TIBS Family Dinner

Last night I attended the March edition of TIBS Family Dinners at Two if By Sea Café, which I mentioned elsewhere in this month’s Atlantic Canada Roundup blog on the enRoute website. The Family Dinner happens once a month, with Chef Renée Lavalée planning and executing the delicious menu. What makes these dinners special is the fact that they truly do embrace the idea of a family dinner—two long tables are set-up in the small café where diners join together to pass around platters filled to the brim with delicious food, lovingly made using local ingredients. It really emphasizes the sense of community you can find in food, from the farm to the kitchen to the table. You talk to strangers, laugh with friends and become a little family, even if it is only for a few hours.

The menu last night was fantastic—we started with a flaky biscuit and molasses butter and a little bowl of cauliflower and smoked haddock soup, and moved on to new potato salad topped with crispy wisps of Roselane Farm Westphalia Ham, deliciously buttery turnip purée and a hearty stew made with tender lamb from Wood ‘n Hart Farm, topped with biscuit stars. We finished the meal with a rich bread pudding made with TIBS croissants and apples, complete with a fluffy dollop of fresh whipped cream. People shared wine, and the café brought out coffee to accompany the dessert course. My Passable pal, Simon, also brought a jar of vodka-soaked blackberries.

Everybody was incredibly full when they packed up to leave for the night. Fond farewells were bid, as people went home to tuck in for long, stew-fueled sleeps.

This morning there are two tall TIBS coffee cups in my fridge, one full of stew and the other a little more than half-full of turnip. The ramekin with my almost wholly uneaten dessert also awaits me, safely wrapped and sitting seductively on the bottom shelf. I left the family dinner with leftovers, you see. Just like I would any other family dinner.

This is a great, unique food experience in Halifax. (Well, Dartmouth.) The staff at Two if By Sea, Lavalée and their team—their family—have done something great for our community. I can’t wait to go again.