Monday, March 26, 2012

Big Day Downtown, the Series! Episode 3

Here, it is!  Episode 3 of Big Day Downtown, The Series! In this episode, I get to do what so many women love to do: shopping!  

I'll talk to local designers, Lisa Drader-Murphy, owner of Turbine Fashion, and Bruce Trick, with FireWorks Gallery to find out the method, and inspiration behind one-of-a-kind clothing and jewels!

So when you're shopping for your girlfriend's birthday present, or one momma for Mother's Day, why not purchase a locally made fashion; be it clothing, jewels or accessories, and be sure that your first stop is one in downtown Halifax!

Find out what's happening on in downtown Halifax. Discover hidden gems or rediscover old favourites. This series explores food, music, events, fashion, art, culture, entertainment, issues, good causes and cool products and services. 

Get your city fix with Big Day Downtown: The Series on EastLink TV. EastLink Magazine premieres on EastLink TV Sundays at 7:00 pm and is also available in HD on EastLink OnDemand.

Check the full schedule:

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Eating light at Elements

A few weeks ago, my one of my bf's best pals was in town from NL.  After a few nights of partying, we were quite content to spend a low-key, relaxing night out for a late dinner.  When you live in my hood, there are several dining options, but in this case, we were dying for some rosemary brioche cooked in a tin can - so Elements resto it was!

After being seated we ordered a bottle of Grand Pre's L'Acadie Reserve - our usual pick here since NS wines are priced at just cost + $5.  After pointing out our favorite dishes to our pal, I decided to try a few new-to-me dishes, and order the Micro Greens Salad ($7) and the Roasted Squash Soup ($8) - two of the  lighter menu options.  

The salad was delicious; with farmer's market vegetables and a lovely pear and ginger vinaigrette, it was a fresh choice that provided great crunch.  I ordered the dressing on the side - always cautious of dressing overload - but my friend's salad was expertly dressed, so I'll likely order the dressing 'on' the next time around.  Mitch chose the Indian Point Mussels ($10) as he often does.  The mussels are steamed in L'Acadie Blanc with garlic and herbs - which made our wine a very good choice - and they're served with a nice, sweet potato roll.

Micro Greens Salad

The soup is also fantastic, with the presentation being just as good as the soup itself.  Our server placed a bowl in front of me with a dollop of goat's cheese, several small cubes of squash and some crispy fried sage leaves.  Then, as his colleague poured my warm, thick soup from a lovely kettle, I could smell the squash's sweet aroma.  I'll have to go back again before the weather heats up - this is just the thing for a chilly night.

Roasted Squash Soup

Always a fan of the gnocchi ($21), Mitch ordered Element's latest version with braised lamb, sauteed mushrooms, Brussels sprout leaves tossed in a warm lamb jus.  On top of the tender gnocchi was a sage millet crumble.  This was pretty tasty, but the contrast in textures was a bit to abrupt for me, so next time I'd order that crumble on the side. 

This is a fairly heavy meal - but wonderfully warm and rich and the lamb jus lends just a hint of mystery to the dish. I love when Mitch orders mussels & gnocchi as he can never finish the pasta and my fork swoops in to save the day and clear away the last few delectable morsels!

Braised Lamb Gnocchi

Unfortunately, our pal doesn't live here, so we can't go to dinner with her all the time, but it was nice to be able to spend such a lovely, relaxed evening for her last night in Halifax.  And, lucky us: at the end of the meal, we were given some envelopes with an unknown perk. We'll have to visit Elements again to redeem it, but since our pal went home to NL, we left with three.  Weeeeee!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Big Day Downtown, The Series Episode 2

I mentioned before in a previous post, how excited and lucky I feel to share with you the first season of Big Day Downtown, The Series.  In my last post, we explored some of the great restaurants that downtown Halifax has to offer.  In Episode 2, we take on some of the great things to do downtown, after dark!

This is the nightlife episode; I chat with Aime Moore at the Casino Nova Scotia about some of the great events they host, as well as with Mimi Breslow from the Dalhousie Swing Dance Society about a fun initiative that's in 'full swing'!

I hope YOU can get out and experience some of this cool stuff; The DSDS is a lovely group of people, and there is a plethora of affordable events going on all the time at the Casino.  See you downtown!

Get your city fix with Big Day Downtown: The Series on EastLink TV. EastLink Magazine premieres on EastLink TV Sundays at 7:00 pm and is also available in HD on EastLink OnDemand.

Check the full schedule:

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Brunch at The Armview

My gal pal Heather and I met up last week for a good, efficient working breakfast.  If you're not aware of it, you should really check out her business Twin Bridges Photography.  She and her work are awesome!!

Anyhow, we're talking about food here, so I'll get to the good stuff.  Originally heading out for brunch at the Heartwood Cafe and Bakery, we were pretty bummed to see that it was closed (which I've since found out was for renos - not permanently).  Since we were in that end of town, we opted for The Armview instead.  I've heard tons about this place, but had never been - carless, I normally stick to restos within walking distance.  

When we arrived, we were greeted by a sweet server who kept our coffee mugs full.  Heather opts for the breakfast sandwich; the Chebucto with bacon, egg and cheddar cheese served with a fruit cup for $8.
 The Chebucto

   I have to admit - I had a bit of food envy.  Look how delish!!

I, as per usual, tailored my order!  I chose the Senorita ($11); poached eggs, avocado and salsa served on slices of tomato as opposed to the English muffin.  I'm always nervous about my benny being drenched in the sauce so I always have it served on the side as well.  This was a pretty good breakfast.  Forget about food groups, I had all the food textures covered; rich & creamy (avocado/Hollandaise), fresh & spicy (tomato/salsa) and salty and crispy (home fries).  Speaking of crispy, those home fries were perfect - for my taste that is.  I'm very particular about my potato products; they MUST have a crispy exterior!
The Senorita

This was a great spot to stop for breakfast - whether working or just enjoying time with good friends.  I think I'll make these two feet do some walkin and stop by another time soon!

Monday, March 12, 2012

New Fave Meal at Hamachi Steakhouse

A couple Saturday nights ago, Mitch and I ended up at Hamachi Steakhouse.  We had just come home from an all-day, around-town excursion and did the usual Saturday night dance of: Take out? No take out. Grocery store to pick up ingredients and make dinner? Too lazy.  Go out to dinner? Done.

After several back and forths, we realized that we had vouchers for the Hamachi Group, so we chose the Steakhouse on the waterfront for dinner.  Unfortunately, the clock on the stove has remained an hour ahead since last Fall's time change (don't judge me) so when we called and said OK to 9pm dinner, thinking it was 8pm....we had a really long wait!

When we finally got down and seated, it was 9 on the nose, and we placed our orders pretty quickly!  This is a great space to go on a weekend night because the place is always rocking with Teppanyaki - the practice of the chefs cooking your dinner on the slab grills in frount of you.  There were about 4 full tables and the hootin' and hollerin' made turned our dining experience into full out dinner theatre!

If you're lucky enough to know my pal Anthony, you'd be jealouse, as he was our server for the night.  We started off with a bottle of wine and sweet-talked A into sweet-talking the chefs into making our (typically) deep-fried platter into a grilled one. We had the Seafood Assortment ($15.99) and instead of panko breaded scallops, calamari and shrimp, we had succulently tender seafood that really shone!  It was served with both tonkatsu sauce and house made ponzu; deliciously mysterious asian flavours.

Seafood Assortment (sans Panko breading)

Mitch loves steak, and often ends up ordieng one whereever we go; and when in a steakhouse....  He ordered the Teriyaki Striploin (8 oz.) served with sauteed veg and a side salad.  It was a pretty good steak for $26....Although I think that I had the better plan!

Teriyaki Striploin

I decided on the "Your Choice" salad - which is like: the BEST salad deal in Halifax!  The 'choice' here is that you can select from steak, salmon, shrimp, tuna, chicken, etc. to top this tasty bed of greens. The salad itself is comprised of spinach, tomato, cucumber, carrots, bean sprouts, edamame and shiitake mushrooms (one of my absolute favorite things) for just $11.99!  This is all served with Hamachi's house-made apple vinaigrette.  I get mine with rare steak and it's fantastic - waaayyy better than a $26 steak, in my opinion, but then again, there is a slight variation in appetites between Mitch and I.

 Your Choice Salad w/ steak

This salad is so good that I get it again that very week when we host a work function at Hamachi.  This time, I order the salmon option.  It's equally delicious and filling.  I've found a new love here.

 Your Choice Salad w/ salmon