A Big Day

For the third year in a row, Passable was invited to participate in the Big Day Downtown, a marketing and promotion strategy put on by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission.  They invite various bloggers in the HRM to visit and shop in the downtown core, armed with $100 gift cards to use as they see fit, and then write about their experience.

This year, the DHBC decided to send the writers out in teams picked at random. I was paired with Nicole Trask from Halifax Magazine’s Blog. Nicole and I decided to take each other to some of our favourite haunts and introduce each other to shopping experiences they the other may not know about.

We decided to meet up at that morning at the Seaport Market at eleven. Now, this would be a rare experience for me, since I am usually out of the market before the clock strikes eight, as I like to get there early.  And Nicole does shop at the market, so it wouldn’t be a completely new experience, but she wanted to see where I shopped. We were in the market for something meaty, and so we headed to Getaway Farm Butcher Shop.

I was worried that the shop may have already sold out of what I wanted, so I made the decision to call the Chris deWaal, the owner, the night before. I’ve interviewed Chris before, so I wanted to introduce him to Nicole. You see, as we were standing in line, Nicole told me that she doesn’t eat meat very often, mostly for ethical reasons vis-a-vis its production.  She doesn’t completely eschew it, but she is wary of buying it. I knew that if she talked to Chris, he may assuage any of her concerns.  We walked out of there with a couple of sausages for her, as well as a flank and hanger steak for me.

I went on to help Nicole pick out some gluten-free bread from Schoolhouse Gluten-Free,taught her how to get the seeds out of the vanilla pods we bought at The Grainery, bought some potatoes from Elmridge Farms, and I treated Nicole to a cannelé from Julien’s. But that wouldn’t be my last cannelé of the day.

Our next stop was at Gourmandises Avenue, so that Nicole could pick up some truffles for a friend. I, however, decided to get some cremeux des salins, a deliciously sweet and salty caramel spread. Nicole decided to return the favour of my cannelé treat and purchased it for me. The cremeux would prove to be a beneficial purchase later on that day.

With our food shopping done, Nicole and I headed down to Bishop’s Cellar, where she found a lovely bottle of wine, while I went for a bottle of Pimm’s. We decided to head down to Historic Properties, as it was now Nicole’s turn to take me to some of her favourite haunts.  On the way there, we stopped in at Two If By Sea’s Halifax location for a couple of cold brewed ice coffees, and a cinnamon & sugar TIBS bit.  I didn’t share the pastry, greedy as I am.

You could almost say that my purchase of Pimms earlier on was serendipitious, considering our next stop.  Nicole was planning on taking me to London Loft, a furniture and gifts store in Historic Properties.  Nicole and the staff helped me pick out a lovely scarf and a Union Jack wallet.

Image by Nicole Trask

Nicole then took me to Inkwell, located on Market Street, a lovely boutique filled with handmade cards, letters, posters, totes, as well as stamps and inks for making your own.  I’m a sucker for “thank you” cards, so I purchased some lovely yet simple ones.

After four hours, Nicole and I decided to part ways. She would go home to rest and work on her supper, while I headed back to Dartmouth and sip on a Pimms cup.  But I wasn’t done shopping. I had already spent my $100, but I was craving cannelés. So I dropped in to Le French Fix on Prince Street and purchased some cannelés.  Later on that evening, I would slice them in half and slather them with the cremeux des salins from Gourmandises Avenue.

I got home and emptied my bags. And there was the bounty on my table.

It was kind of nice to go shopping somewhere new. If and when I spend my money, it usually goes to food in one form or another. So to take some of that money and spend it on something different, along with experiencing and being introduced to new places, made for a rather memorable Saturday indeed. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some booze to drink, and some sweets to eat.