Week 3 in Halifax

Day 8, Tuesday

Dreary morning at Paper Chase working, staring out the window, working, and anticipating a lunch meeting at Wooden Monkey. In case you forgot, it is “…where the menu is based on organic, macrobiotic, and locally grown fresh ingredients,” and it’s delicious. Just around the corner from the Monkey is a new patisserie, Le French Fix. The buttery aroma that hits you when you walk in is overpowering, and coerced us to order a [tiny] pastry we weren’t planning on. Le French Fix Patisserie

Delicious. Not really a sit-down-and-hang-out kinda place, though.

Day 9, Wednesday, Halloween

Branching out! Tried Second Cup on Spring Garden for morning coffee. I’d been admiring its window seats as people-watching perches, and the coffee and internet were perfectly adequate. My view (yes, that’s a Starbucks in the background):

Second Cup Coffee

I was nervous after reading a review about the questionable bathroom odors, but fortunately did not have the same experience as that poor soul. It poured all morning with no signs of stopping, so I postponed plans for a food adventure, and instead got a salad and some groceries from Pete’s and trekked home in the rain.

Rainy Halifax

I had two Halloween goals: 1) go out after dinner and do some people-watching; and 2) drink a Propeller Pumpkin Ale. Pumpkin beers are hit or miss for me, and more often miss than hit, but tis the season–and the Propeller brewery is just down the street in Halifax. It took 3 stops to find the elusive ale, and was it worth the anticipation and happy-discovery dance? ……….eh. Didn’t really dig it. It tasted like a hoppy-ish ale with some pumpkin pie spice mixed in. No real pumpkin flavor, just the spices to represent the pumpkin.

Propeller Pumpkin Ale

Day 10, Thursday

What did you do this morning before breakfast? Oh, yeah, well I just went surfing. No big deal. !!! Before coming here, I would not have guessed Halifax had a surf culture, but then I saw the surf shops, and heard tales of year-round surfing made possible by thick neoprene. This morning I had the opportunity to check out the blue crush at the point break at Cow Bay, a popular spot a short drive from Halifax. It was a great time, and thanks to the hooded wetsuit, gloves, and boots, I wasn’t cold at all.

Coffee time at Just Us! on Spring Garden. Much cooler setting than Barrington, in a historic house with lots of small tables scattered around. I had another Bliss Ball for a snack. This one was more honey-y than the last, less bitter. Yum.

Just Us Coffee Spring Garden

Fancy dinner at Chives! So, so good, but kinda heavy food, and lots of it = we were hurting after. Starting with those amazing biscuits, we ate our way through all sorts of local, seasonal vegetables, meat, and seafood. My top two favorite bites were actually 1) sauteed local greens, and 2) a local pickled yellow beet. Chives has won many awards for its creative, responsible cuisine, and glowing reviews are all over the internets.

Day 11, Friday

Heading home to Charlottesville! Can’t wait to get home.

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!