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

    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, halifax,   

    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.






  • simonathibault 7:09 pm on September 11, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Field Guide, halifax,   

    Au Revoir, Assis Toi 

    And so, it is with a heavy heart, and a bit of a buzz that I say goodbye to this season’s edition of  Assis Toithe series.


    To finish the series off, I met up with Passable contributor, Melissa Buote. She had introduced me to a wonderful cocktail called The Trinidad Sour at The Field Guide.  The catch: the cocktail is made with an entire ounce of Angostura Bitters.

    Take a listen as Melissa and The Field Guide’s bartender, Shane, tell us why a cocktail made with such a bracing amount of bitters is actually one of the most balanced cocktails you will ever try.  You can also download the podcast from iTunes.

    I’d like to thank all of the chefs, home cooks, and food lovers who helped make this series possible:

    • Melissa Buote and the gang from Field Guide for laughing and getting me tipsy
    • And last but not least, the producers at Information Morning in Halifax, Sydney, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, and Island Morning in PEI for giving me another opportunity to tell stories from all sorts of kitchen tables. Special thanks to Diane Paquette for spearheading the project, Jerry West and Margot Brunelle for helping me with vetting, and Christina Harnett, who wasn’t afraid to tell me to re-write a script.
  • MB 8:34 pm on July 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , halifax, ,   

    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: , , , , halifax, , ,   

    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?

    (More …)

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

    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……

    (More …)

  • MB 6:45 pm on March 17, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , enVie, halifax, 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 8:59 am on August 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , halifax,   

    Whatever It Takes 

    1-21.09.cover2.inddThis week’s issue of The Coast is one that I’m very happy with. Along with my very talented editor, Allison Saunders, I put together a list of some of the best chef talent in town—younger chefs who have just begun running their own (or someone else’s) kitchen, who are working their way up the culinary ladder in an impressive way, or who are making moves to bring cool cuisine to town, whether it’s through diligent work as a sous-chef, opening their own business, or planning to open a business. Basically it’s just about talent.

    This went from a feature about one young chef making the move from a sous-chef position to running a kitchen and what that transition is like, to a feature about 3 chefs to 5 chefs to 10 chefs to 9 chefs (slashmouth) and back to 10 chefs. We basically kept thinking about more people we wanted to write about. Because there is definitely talent in Halifax. These guys and gals are bein’ the best that they can be. And that’s worth a look. So I hope you’ll read this issue.


  • MB 2:06 pm on June 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: halifax, Kitchen Table, , , sérieusement   

    One of the greatest meals I have ever… 


    One of the greatest meals I have ever had in Halifax happened a week ago, when I sat down for dinner at The Kitchen Table at Ratinaud French Cuisine on Gottingen Street. I wrote a small piece about it for The Coast. You can read about it here! And then you should probably try to get yourself a booking this fall. Because it is très bien, magnifique, formidable, merveilleux, divin, parfait.

  • simonathibault 4:46 pm on May 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , halifax, , The Shack   

    Feisty Chef shucks open a shack on the waterfront 

    Halifax’s firebrand of a chef, Renée Lavallée is embarking on a new project. No, it’s not more cooking classes, or more meals at TIBS. This time it’s all about the briny ocean’s bounty.

    The Shack is a new project by Lavallée, opening soon on the Halifax Waterfront. The Shack will serve oysters, seafood chowders and seafood-based goodies. I chatted with Renée via email.

    So tell me about The Shack. How did it come to be?

     The Shack Oyster Bar is the  idea of my friend, Nick. We’ve been working together for 8 years, and it was just a natural progression of our work/friendship. His product, my kitchen knowledge.

    It’s a pretty simple set-up: raw clams & oysters, steamed mussels/clams/bay scallops, a chowder and a crab & lobster roll. Add some Covered Bridge chips, a delicious non-alcoholic drink by Jeff van Horne and add the Halifax waterfront and sunshine. Where else in Halifax can you get fresh, perfectly prepared oysters & clams? Where you can then take and sit on the waterfront and people watch? It’s a no-frills way to bring some of our best shellfish to the general public and have fun doing it too.

     Who will be your clientele? 

    During the off-season (May & Oct) we are hoping to grab the attention of the locals for lunch. Summer  months, we hope to attract tourists, but ultimately we are doing this for Halifax/Dartmouth.

     It’s funny, ’cause you left the insanity of a kitchen, but now have another insanity. At least in one kitchen, it’s all contained. How will you handle it?

    I’m lucky to have an amazing husband and amazing friends. I live in a community where I can call on a number of people to help out when I’m working. Plus, my daughter Zoe goes to Kindergarten next year so once that happens, who knows what will happen in Dartmouth 

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