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  • MB 6:12 pm on November 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Made With Love Contest Winners! 

    The winners of our contest to win pairs of tickets to Made With Love Halifax are:

    • Iain K. MacLeod
    • Ann Marie Danch

    Both of these lucky folks correctly answered the question of who won 2013’s Made With Love Halifax. That winner was Matt Boyle from The Bicycle Thief.

    Cheers to the winners!


  • MB 8:49 pm on October 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , contest, drinkies, ,   

    Win Tickets to Made With Love!! 


    This summer I was lucky enough to be a judge at the qualifiers for the 2014 Halifax edition of Made With Love. 18 of Halifax’s best bartenders shook, stirred, and mixed their way to the finals, which are taking place next week. Passable is now lucky enough to have a contest to help you guys—as long as you are over 19!—win tickets to this rad event. (“Neat!” — a person who likes cocktail puns.)

    Made With Love is taking place on Monday, November 3, at the Halifax Seaport Farmer’s Market, starting at 6pm. A ticket gets you in to taste  the 18 competing cocktails, snack on some food pairings, and gives you the chance to vote for the best cocktail from one of these 18 finalists:

    • Sarah Amyotte, Cheers Bar and Grill
    • JP Angelopoulos, Pacifico Nightclub
    • Shane Beehan, Field Guide
    • Matthew Boyle, The Bicycle Thief
    • Andrew Campbell, Independent
    • PJ Cavanagh, The Bitter End
    • Lincoln Creaser, The Press Gang Restaurant
    • Jordan Dickie, The Viral Barman
    • Bret Dodson, Durty Nelly’s
    • Steven Fudge, Taboo Nightclub
    • Michael Hopper, La Frasca Cibi & Vini
    • Josh Jackman, The Stubborn Goat
    • Evan McNeil, The Middle Spoon
    • Joshua Preston, Fiasco Restaurant
    • Peter Quinlivan-Hall, Agricola Street Brasserie
    • Katherine Ryder-Burbidge, EDNA
    • Brandon Thompson, Level Bar, The Prince George Hotel
    • Rony Yousuf, Halifax Club

    Passable is giving you a chance to enter for your chance to win one of 2 pairs of tickets to Made With Love by answering the following skill-testing (The skill: Googling) question: Who won 2013’s Made With Love Halifax competition ??

    Send the answer to passableblog(at)gmail(dot)com. You can enter starting now (Oct 28!) and ending noon on Saturday, November 1. The winner will be announced that afternoon. GOOD LUCK!

    Just to remind you: you’ve gotta be 19 to go to this event. Sorry, kids.

    Here are some photos from the Made With Love qualifiers:


    To find out more about Made With Love, visit enjoymadewithlove.com.






  • MB 8:57 pm on September 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Small Victories   

    Big Day Downtown: People's Choice 

    Another summer, another Big Day Downtown. Every Summer the Downtown Halifax Business Commission bribes a bunch of bloggers to write nice things about the downtown core with $150 credit card. For one beautiful afternoon we get to happily turn a blind eye to the crumbling facades of empty buildings that Starfish Properties continues to collect in their seemingly endless endeavour to create an empty husk of a city and, at least in Passable’s case, focus on eating everything in our path.

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  • MB 10:00 pm on August 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bourdain, cosplay, fish, goss, , Michael Smith   

    All the Goss: August 7 

    Gossip Time!!!


    I guess Guy Fieri was busy, because Devour: The Food Film Fest has had to settle for his BFF, boring ol’ Anthony “I Wear My Sunglasses On the Front of My Face Like a Boring Non-Guy-Fieri Person” Bourdain, as a special guest this November. I guess Wolfville will never get to be renamed Flavourtown now. THANKS, BOURDAIN. Anyway, I hope he refuses to eat anything that isn’t served to him on one of those awful little ceramic spoons they use on The Taste. I also hope he glares at something.

    Wingdings is closed. A new chicken wing restaurant will be popping up in its place, and unfortunately it is not called Wingdings2 or Wingdings3 or Dingbats or even Zapf. Way to go, marketing geniuses. Instead this place will be called Wing N It. Which, let’s be honest, is Blow N It. Who is going to delight typeface designers now?!

    Afishionado Fishmongers will be opening at Local Source later this summer, and then, I’m assuming lording their name over every other fish store in Nova Scotia for the rest of their lives. They should call up that wing restaurant and give them some help. Because that is a great name. Whoever came up with that is Nail N It.

    With the closure of Crumbs causing food industry types to immediately sandblast the year 2014 in the year-of-death space on the tombstone marked CUPCAKES, it should come as no surprise that the Dresden Row location of Susie’s Shortbreads has closed. But just hold on a minute before you throw yourself into any open graves while screaming “take me with you, buttercreammmm!” — the Bayer’s Lake and Purdy’s Wharf locations are still open. So don’t look so smug, cronuts. You haven’t won yet.

    Not content with Boom Burger darkening our doorsteps, those wily Islanders are sending Gahan House this-a-way, too. Our pal Halifax ReTales suspected it would be in the old Hart & Thistle location, and it is. Meanwhile, I suspect Celebrity Chef Michael Smith, long-time Northern Exposure cosplayer and Crown Prince of Prince Edward Island, is playing some sort of game of Risk with Atlantic Canadian chefs and is shoring up his occupation of Bedford with troops on the peninsula. I can only hope that Celebrity Chef Craig Flinn will roll the dice, gain some territory near Stanley Bridge or New London, and DESTROY HIM.

    Picnic Halifax, a roving pop-up business, launched. Dinners will be on Thursdays, and Picnic will change menus and locations every six weeks. If Dr. Richard Kimble hadn’t found that one-armed man, I bet he would have totally stolen this business idea.

    Certainly Cinnamon‘s secret is out: they are expanding their catering business. The Coast found out all the biz. The only thing that matters to me is that ain’t nothin’ gonna get in the way of my cinnamon rolls. The cafe is business as usual.

    The Seahorse will be moving out of its historic location because—I’m not sure if any of you know this—the developers in Halifax are actually a team of producers who are remaking 28 Days Later and want to make this production run as smoothly as possible so are doing their best to ensure that downtown Halifax is TOTALLY FUCKING EMPTY. Jesus. Anyway, the part of Jim, originated by Cillian Murphy, will be played by one of Bubbles’ cats from Trailer Park Boys. It should be great!

    Edited to add:

    My condolences to fans of club sandwiches, as the Midday Bistro in downtown Dartmouth is under new ownership now, and no longer trades in pork products. So that’s the end of the line for you, bacon. To make up for this loss, the menu is going to be featuring more Middle Eastern specialties, like the stuffed grape leaves that have been added to the display case. This is a classic case of Boo/Yay. I’m gonna miss those sausages, though.

    And it’s good news for fans of Steve’s Hotdogs, the work-a-day, classic hot dog cart that used to be at Piercy’s on Robie Street. While the dummies at RONA didn’t keep him around because they hate greatness, Steve’s will now be just up the road in a space behind the Forum.



    • Allan 8:28 am on August 8, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I wish I had gone with our original name now “Picity-nickity-wickwack-ty” just to fit in better!

  • MB 8:34 pm on July 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ,   

    All the Goss: July 16 


    Grab your favourite condiments and get ready to party! There’s a Food Truck Party on July 31 at the Museum of Natural History. There’ll be tons o’ trucks: Cheese Gypsy, The Firefly Feast, FoodStruck, The Food Wolf, Halifax Press, Ol’ School Donuts, Tin Pan Alley. And Lemon Dogs and Mortiscycle, the edible sideshow will also be there. CKDU will be providing some tunes, so there is a $2.00 cover to this party. And, of course, the Museum is right there, ya ding dongs. Get a hot dog and get some culture, already.

    Ray’s Lebanese is re-opening tomorrow in Burnside. Get thee to 75 Akerley Blvd!!

    July 30 will be sad day for macrons in Halifax, as MŌDA Urban Dining is closing down. The owners, Melissa and Matthew Pridham, are moving to Bermuda. The space will have a new restaurant opening this fall, with new owners. Stay safe, umlauts.

    A coffee shop is dropping anchor in the middle of Pro Skates at the beginning of August: Anchored Coffee! See what I did there? They will have a 20-seat cafe tucked away in Quinpool’s coolest shop, along with some outdoor seating. This cafe is going to be focusing on trendy ol’ toast as well. The bread will be courtesy of one of the fanastic bakers from The Canteen and will served with homemade butters and other tasty spreads. If that toast is more than, like, two dollars, I’ll be serving up some real attitude right back at them. The other plan is to make super tasty snacks that are the mostessest like Hostess’s, making homespun versions of corner store favourites like Twinkies, Joe Louis cakes, Pop Tarts, and Rice Krispie squares. Those goodies will be baked up in the Halifax TIBS bakery, special for the Anchored cafe.

    Certainly Cinnamon is hinting at some big news on their Twitter (@cinnamonmanHFX). WHAT IS IT????

    Those adorable kids at Hope Blooms got a letter from Prince Charles because they gave him some salad dressing, making each of those kids cooler than Cool Hand Luke.

    The Mic Mac Bar & Grill has closed its old location and should be open for business in the new place on Friday! I’ll miss you, sticky tables and gross floors! You were the best! RIP!

    A new all-day-breakfast place called Robie Street Station is opening in the old Jane’s on the Common spot, with a little take-out joint called Robie Street Express next door. Yay! Nice to see something in that rad space again.

    Apparently Bootz in Burnside — the revamped Rodeo Lounge — has also closed. I guess I’ll never see my dream of a Super Friendz reunion show there, which is a real bummerz.

    Also done: the Bluenose II Restaurant up on Bayers Road.

    And, after two weeks in business, Sushi Jet has closed. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL J/K J/K J/K NO IT HASN’T!!! I just couldn’t resist that big of Granville/Salter humour. It is, however, all-you-can-eat sushi, which is something I didn’t know until today. I’m guessing it’s a tribute to the fact that that building is an all-you-can-close restaurant location?


  • MB 6:12 pm on July 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    All the Goss: July 9 

    In our commitment to casually lean against every grapevine we stumble upon and then print all the goss that’s fit to ip, we have a little follow-up to our first batch of babble and gabble. That was quick, huh?

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  • MB 7:20 pm on July 7, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: bedford, , , , , ,   

    All the Goss: July 7 

    With the recent sale of Highland Drive Storehouse to the Getaway Farm dudes, this seemed like a good time to go over some new joints in Halifax. There has been a lot of action. So it seemed like a good opportunity to unleash a new section on Passable: GOSSIP. I love gossip, you guys!!! Let me tell you this great story I heard about Renée Lavallée… just after the cut… You’ll NEVER BELIEVE IT……

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  • MB 6:45 pm on March 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , enVie, , Lauren Marshall, ,   

    Lauren Marshall: Halifax’s Top Chef 

    Halifax’s first cheftestant on Top Chef Canada is, of course, Chef Lauren Marshall. Sure you can find her at enVie, or maybe back in the day you saw her around Morris East, but you’ve gotta say: it’s pretty fun seeing her on Top Chef these days. I caught up with her to chat about her experience on the show.

    lauren-topchef How did you end up on Top Chef Canada this season?

    As a huge fan of the series I always thought “Hey, I should really apply for this!” but as a chef who has never entered a food competition before there was always that voice in my head that let me brush any idea or thought of actually trying out for such a huge competition completely out of my head… until last June when Craig Finn of Chives and Three Doors Down sent  an email to local chefs from across the Maritimes pushing us all to apply. After Craig sent that email there was a little voice buzzing in my head and I couldn’t get it out! I was still attending classes at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition at the time and thought if Jen King, the manager of my school, let me reschedule my final exam I would make my audition tape and take a stab at the audition process. After a quick reply from Jen saying “Do it!” I thought there is nothing left to do: I stayed up all night brainstorming and the next day I filmed the audition tape with my auntie. It all happened very quickly and after an on camera interview in Montreal I was told I would be competing to be Canada’s next Top Chef.

    Was this kind of experience something you had been looking for, or was it a spontaneous decision when the casting calls came out this year?

     I literally went to bed two nights before audition tapes were due thinking “I just might do this.”  I woke up the next morning with my auntie on the phone at 7am asking her to spare a few hours for a desperate chef. Completely spontaneous with no actual thought of what could come from all of this.
    What was the experience like? Was there anything surprising about working as a chef, not only on television, but on competitive television? Anything you didn’t expect?

    This experience was like no other. I mean, when do you ever get the chance to shut everything off and just cook? We were living and breathing this competition and nothing else mattered. It really became our only reality, which, when I think about it, is kind of scary, because I believe in balancing work with other joys in life. What surprised me the most is all the time it took to create something as big as the Top Chef Canada series. I think it is all part of the competition: the extremely long days and, even when you think it is all over (the day that is), the surprise element of ‘anything can happen, anytime, anyplace’ would pop out of nowhere! The word ‘relax’ did not exist, and even if there was time to relax, we couldn’t because there was the anticipation and anxiety of what are they were going to throw at us next!

    Tell me what it was like working with so many chefs from such different backgrounds in such a sort of unique set-up.
    It was truly amazing how different each and everyone of us actually were and are.  Everyone had so many different concepts to bring to the Chefs’ Table. This experience was like being at an adult summer camp for chefs but then place us on a deserted island and then let us battle it out Lord of the Flies style.
    What were your thoughts on the “battle of the sexes” aspect of the show? Without spoiling anything, is that something that sort of falls away? Or did you guys even really feel that outside of the marketing of the show? I’m interested in whether or not you feel like this is something that sort of reflects the real life experience of a woman in restaurant kitchens, and how you responded to it.

    I loved the theme Battle of the Sexes. When I found out I thought “finally, an even representation of men and women.” Nowadays us women are killing kitchens and populating cooking schools all across Canada and we don’t see it as much of a barrier as women have in the past. In this competition the prize sees no gender, and in real life a great chef is a great chef. As a professional chef I believe we are recognized for our talent and hard work and not so much what gender category we fall under.

    What did you think of your competitors? Did you butt heads or bond in a way that you wouldn’t expect? 

    I have created bonds with some of my fellow chefs from the season that I will have for a lifetime. I am forever grateful for this once-in-a-lifetime experience and all I have taken from it. I predict many fun cooking showcases with them in the future. Whether we butt heads or not, you will just have to watch Top Chef to find out!

    Were there any judges who came in to critique your stuff who sort of blew your socks off? Any real life inspirations?
    Holy crap! Yes! Susur freakin’ Lee! I remember when I was a very poor student in cooking school at the Culinary Institute of Canada in 2006 and we went on our class trip to Toronto. We had a night off from our scheduled events and some of my friends were headed to Susur’s Restaurant, Susur. I owned his book Susur: A Culinary Life, and read it front to back more than once, but I couldn’t afford to actually eat at his restaurant. I had to say no to dinner with my school buds and stick to a less expensive dinner because of my budget. (The fact that I didn’t even own a credit card at the time didn’t help.) I thought to myself “when I come back to Toronto I will get to try his world class food.” Little did I know that what brought me back to Toronto would be Top Chef Canada, and I would be cooking for HIM! Talk about blow my socks off. When I found out we were cooking at his restaurant I was speechless.
    What did you take away from the experience? Do you feel like it has changed you or your approach to food or the industry? Or was it just a fun experience?

    Ok. Sure, it was fun. But it was so much more than that. It’s one if those bucket list things, like how most of us would like to see the wonders if the world before we die. I was able to be categorized in a very small group of talented chefs who competed in a unique competition that will only be truly understood by those who have shared the same experience of competing in this mind blowing culinary competition.

    The best thing about the food industry is there are so many pieces to the puzzle and sides to the industry. Competition and television is just one or two of the many pieces that make up the industry and I just feel super fortunate to have been able to gain some more pieces to see a new side of this puzzle. I feel more confident and sure of myself than I ever have before and am grateful to gain experience on a new side that I had never seen before. As a chef you really need to stay up on the trends and be open to new experiences. There is no time for sleep, much like this competition.
  • MB 8:56 pm on October 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Kitchen Witch, , Tea Leaves   

    The Kitchen Witch 


    It used to be an annual tradition, getting our tea leaves read. My mother, my sister, and I would take a scenic drive through the country from my parents’ house in Rusticoville, past the kids gleefully throwing themselves off of Stanley Bridge, past the gleaming white and green historical kitsch of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s birthplace in New London, to Long River Road. To The Kitchen Witch.

    The cracked white paint job of the refurbished 19th-century schoolhouse turned into a homey restaurant and gift shop, has been a familiar sight for almost as long as I can remember at this point. I was always happy to scramble through the gravel parking lot, up the rickety steps and into the old fashioned dining room, eager to see what banalities my future would hold. Homemade soups and sandwiches, like the classic open-face ham and Swiss with a ring of sweet pineapple, set the scene for a whole lot of tea drinking. Orange Pekoe and Earl Grey were our standards back then; there weren’t as many exotic and floral options available to us in rural PEI. So we’d sip our steaming cups and then hope for the best.

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  • MB 10:13 pm on October 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bicyclette Publishing, cookbook, , desserts, Kelsey McLaren, photos, Tara MacDonald, , TIBS Guide to Desserts,   

    The TIBS Guide to Desserts 


    You guys. I am really excited about this.

    On November 2, at Two if By Sea Cafe in Dartmouth, Bicyclette Publishing will be releasing The TIBS Guide to Desserts, a wonderful book filled with delicious recipes by the wonderful, talented Tara MacDonald. The book focuses on Tara’s homespun, warmhearted approach to baking—giving people who love eating handfuls of butter the opportunity to learn how to make things like her famous chocolate chip cookies and her delectable scones.

    I am delighted to have had the opportunity to work with two singularly talented friends—Tara and Kelsey McLaren (publisher at Bicyclette Publishing)—on this book. Kelsey is basically a genius. A lawyer-by-day, publisher-by-night. Her devotion to this project has been bonkers, and the publishing world is lucky to have someone with her talent even spend a tenth of her time working in their industry. And, of course, Tara is a ridiculously talented, shockingly humble baker. Her creativity and naturalness in the kitchen has led her to make an indelible mark in Nova Scotia’s restaurant community. The TIBS croissant is a unique (and gargantuan) beast, a signature of style that I think basically makes Tara the Dominique Ansel of self-taught bakers. Is it a perfect croissant? No. Is it a perfect food? Yes. And that is what is at the heart of Tara’s encouraging, wonderful, simple approach to desserts. I took the photos for the book over a number of crazy days filled with baking fun.

    It was important to us that the book be authentic to Tara’s self-taught ethos. Tara is a workhorse, not a show pony: nothing is staged or faked, made to look illusory or otherworldly, or given artifice. The photos were all taken as Tara baked from scratch, and the end products were simply plated as they would be in any home, without any pretense. Mistakes were made, captured, and enjoyed. To me, it truly captures the spirit of a great home cook. It truly captures the spirit of Tara MacDonald.

    So go on down to TIBS on November 2—the 4th anniversary of the cafe!—and celebrate with Tara and Kelsey. They have put together a really fantastic book. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do. I think you will.

    Check out Two if By Sea’s website or twitter for more info on the book release/anniversary party.

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