Back in Halifax; more eating and drinking

I’m not going to list out all my Halifax eating adventures like I did before. Because it’s insanely cold and I’m a sissy, I’m not doing as much roaming and grazing this trip. During the week I’m mostly just going to Paper Chase and Wooden Monkey because they’re close to my home base, and reliably awesome. But weekends allow for wandering farther afield.

Here are some highlights:

1. Mojito (aka Cotton Candy Martini) at CUT Steakhouse. The liquid was poured over this giant glob of cotton candy, for a sweet, kind of nondescript concoction, but the concept was fun.

Cotton Candy Martini

2. Dinner at Jane’s on the Common, featuring local ingredients. Jane’s is closing at the end of the year *sob* but Jane will continue operating from a kiosk on Gottingen, next door to her daughter’s new restaurant. Go while you can! I had a lovely veggie curry (with Brussels sprouts) plus Digby scallops and Mr. HP enjoyed mussels from PEI with local Sweet William’s sausage.



3. Burritos in Canada cannot possibly be great. Average, sure–it’s hard to screw up a burrito–but nothing to get excited about. Right? Wrong. Craving burritos despite the distance from Mexico, we tried Burrito Jax and were very pleased. With available ingredients like sweet potatoes and cranberry salsa, they’re not your standard burritos. I got a burrito bowl, with all the fixins over lettuce, and almost felt healthy. Almost.

Burrito Jax

4. A hint about The Fireside restaurant. We went to the bar there for a pre-dinner drink because we wanted to sit by a fireplace and forget about the freezing weather. The bar has a silly little electric fireplace, and we laughed, and had our drink by the “fireside” and got up to leave, and that’s when we saw the REAL (gas) fireplace in the room behind the bar. So, go there, have a fancy drink, and sit by the actual fireplace in the back room.

Yes, it’s cold outside, but there’s eating and drinking to be done. Put on a hat and scarf and explore your town!

Week 2 Part A in Halifax. (Spoiler: more eating)

Day 1, Tuesday

Worked for several hours from my office-away-from-the-office, Paper Chase. Can you tell I kind of like that place? My view:

I worked and stared out the window and drank coffee and worked and got lunch: a curry veggie burger with a side of bean salad. It’s a nice combo–the beans are zesty and bright, and the burger is hearty with a subtle curry flavor–but huge and I’m stuffed. Best part: it came on a heart-shaped bun.

I picked up a flyer at Paper Chase for a local festival called City Harvest, happening this weekend. I love local festivals and this one sounds incredible, but we’re getting out of town this weekend to see some of the surrounding countryside. I’m still benefiting from the festival though: I’ve noted a few of the participating restaurants for future checking-out (examples: here and here).

Dinner at my favorite. Can you guess?

Rice bowl, add scallops, at the funky Monkey. So good.

Day 2, Wednesday

Branched out and tried a new coffeeshop for my morning meetings.

Just Us! Coffeehouse won Silver in the Best Coffee (Regular) category [and Bronze in Best Coffee (Espresso-Based), but I’m a regular coffee kinda gal] in The Coast’s Best Of Halifax awards. Just Us! specializes in fair-trade coffee, tea, sugar, and chocolate, and they sell local prepared foods alongside their cafe sandwiches and pastries. In the pastry case were a few Bliss Balls (similar in concept to my dear Eight Balls, but with different ingredients) that I suspect I will go back and try later. It’s a very popular (read: loud) place, and I prefer Paper Chase for these reasons:

  1. It’s quieter
  2. Wifi is stronger (my Skype connection at Just Us! was lousy so I had to leave)
  3. Menu is bigger
  4. View is better

Just Us! would be great for a workday coffee catchup with a friend, if you work in a downtown office; it just wasn’t ideal for my Skype meetings. Good to try new places though.

Lunch: salad from Pete’s, since I had to go grocery shopping anyway. And I love a big salad. Checked out the chicken selection, and was disappointed to see that Pete’s only carries chicken that is only labelled as grain-fed, which I assume means it is not pastured, free-range, cage-free, etc, as those descriptors would also be on the label. Dear Pete, please stock free range chicken. At least the non-happy chicken meat is local.

Day 3, Thursday

Started the day with a nice long run along the harbour and through Point Pleasant Park and was treated to a lovely sunrise over the water, and stunning fall foliage in the park–the one time I don’t have a camera with me. When looking for a link to the waterfront boardwalk for the previous sentence, I came upon a site listing trails in the Halifax area, and decided to check out the Halifax Urban Greenway on my way to coffee. Walked through Dalhousie University on the way. The central buildings are very pretty.

The Greenway wasn’t that interesting, just a paved multi-use trail along a road (I was hoping for water views), but it’s part of a worthy initiative–to connect urban trails and create a network for commuting and recreation.

Halifax Urban Greenway

I had a pleasant stroll through a quiet, leafy neighborhood in an area of town I hadn’t previously visited. For coffee-and-meetings time, I chose The Wired Monk, because it won Best Wifi Spot in The Coast‘s Best of Halifax awards, and I needed good wifi after yesterday at Just Us!. I settled down with a coffee in a comfy chair and proceeded to fight with the internet for a half hour before giving up and leaving. Maybe the wifi was having a rough day, but I fail to see how they won Best Wifi Spot. My connection kept dropping, and when I was connected, it was too weak to allow me to log onto the VPN at my office back home. Very frustrating. At least it’s in a neat house, on a block of neat houses:

Wired Monk Halifax

Afternoon snack: remember the Bliss Balls at Just Us!? Well I got one, and took it down to the harbour for some sunshine.

Bliss Ball from Just Us! Coffee

Bliss Balls are locally made from oats, tahini, honey, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries. While the size of the Bliss Ball was more manageable than the Eight Ball‘s, I have to give the flavor prize to Steve-O-Reno’s. The Bliss Ball was tasty, but with a slightly bitter aftertaste; I’m sure it’s less calorie-dense, though, being oat-based rather than dried fruit-based.

Evening snack: Stepping out of Tom’s Little Havana after an after-dinner drink or two, I noticed that Sweet Jane’s was still open, and the alcohol and my sweet tooth ganged up on me. The store is packed with fun gifts and all sorts of candy. I chose a locally-made salted almond caramel:

Lucy Lu's Caramel

Lucy Lu Sea Salt Caramels are also sold at the Seaport Farmer’s Market. It was everything I look for in a salted caramel; my only complaint is that the wax paper wrapper was stuck to the caramel, and eventually I had to give up trying to peel it off and just eat it off. The sacrifices I make for dessert.

I am rambling more than I expected, so I’m splitting this week into two posts. More to come!

(Mostly Eating) Adventures in Halifax: Week 1

(Why do I eat so much when I visit Halifax?)

Day 1

Lunch at Bubba Ray’s because a football game required us to be at a sports bar. It was a fantastic sports bar as far as watching a game goes, but my nachos were subpar.

Dinner at Fid (motto: Local By Nature). Had the Farmers Market Inspiration again, in all its giant bento box glory. Took another crappy phone picture of it.

Fid Resto

Now that I compare pictures, I see that the dish is very similar to what I got last time, but that’s ok because it was delicious. This time I managed to stop eating and take home leftovers instead of hurting myself.

Day 2

Lunch at organic, locally-focused The Wooden Monkey. Had the rice bowl, add scallops. It was incredible. Spouse declared it the best restaurant in Halifax (he got the roast chicken and pesto sandwich, sub apple salad).

Dinner at home: grilled Nova Scotia salmon and veggies from Pete’s Frootique, which specializes in local produce. Pete’s is sort of like the Halifax Whole Foods, but it’s a small independent chain. The Halifax store has a gluten-free cafe and made-to-order breakfast wraps and salads.

Day 3

Ran through Point Pleasant Park to burn some of these restaurant calories. On the way I passed the Inglis Street Urban Garden at Inglis Street Elementary School. Lucky kids!

Inglis Street Urban Garden

 Day 4

Coffee at Steve-O-Reno’s. It was chilly and sprinkly so I did not lounge on the porch.


I had been told this was the best coffee in town, and I can report that it is pretty darn tasty–and very popular with the on-the-way-to-work crowd. They carry gluten-free goodies; I plan to return for an Eight Ball (nuts, fruit, coconut ground up and formed into a large ball).

Lunch from Pete’s ToGoGo (yes, that Pete): West African Peanut Soup and a custom salad. With a little adventure thrown in, trying to find it from Hollis St.

Pete's ToGoGo

The soup is much like my dearly beloved Spicy Senagalese Peanut Tofu from Rev Soup (sans tofu) and hit the spot on a dreary day. The salad packs a lot of ingredients into a small box. This would totally be my lunch spot if I worked downtown.

Day 5

Coffee at my office-away-from-the-office, Paper Chase. Great place to work and caffeinate and stare out the window.

Since it was a pretty day, for lunch I ferried over to Dartmouth for some highly-recommended fish and chips at Evan’s.

Fish and chips at Evan's

It was tasty, but I’m not used to that much fried all at once. One’s plate of food is not supposed to be a single color. Enjoyed the ferry ride and its views:

Halifax from the ferry

Because I was on a nutritional roll, when I got back to Halifax I wanted dessert. I stopped at World Tea House and got an oatcake (more brown food) but my favorite goody in the case was a shortbread cookie with an icing WTH, which filled me with glee until I realized it was the initials of the cafe’s name.

Dinner: back to the Monkey. I got the veggie stirfry, add scallops, which was tasty but not as good as that rice bowl. Oh that rice bowl. I tried a Nova Scotian hard cider, Stutz, and was pleasantly surprised. So I had a second bottle.

Stutz Cider

Day 6

I went back to Steve-O-Reno’s for that Eight Ball I spied on Day 4. It was amazing. Dates, almonds, cranberries, flax seeds. Cashews too, I think? And it was huge.

Steve-O-Reno's Eight Ball

The Eight Ball was my fuel for a long walk to the Hydrostone neighborhood, via The Grainery Food Co-op, which I had read about while researching Halifax CSAs and other local food resources. It was smaller than I expected (I was picturing something more like the fabulous Crozet Natural Foods Co-op, which, oddly, has no online presence. It’s not gone, is it? I haven’t been to downtown Crozet in several years), but did have some local grains and dried fruits, and a bulletin board full of local food info.

Walked down the cute strip of shops at Hydrostone Market,

Hydrostone Market

resisted the pastries at the patisserie, visited some of the neighborhood’s interesting little boulevards and hiked back home.

Dinner was at Jane’s on the Common. I did not take my usual crappy phone picture of my meal because I inhaled it and there was no time for pictures. I got a veggie rice bowl, add scallops, similar to my favorite Monkey meal, but this had a sweet green curry sauce. It was great. Jane’s ingredients come from local farms when possible, and the space is cozy and comfortable. Unfortunately, the restaurant is closing at the end of the year, so get there while you still can. I know I’ll be back.