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Halifax

March Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

Cheese Curds

Cheese Curds

BURGER CELEBRATION

Over 60 restaurants and burger joints across Halifax mark Burger Week from March 19 to 25, with many places offering $5 burgers. Here are some of the highlights.

•With two locations in Halifax (at Gus’ Pub on Agricola Street in the North End and Bearly’s on Barrington Street in the South End), Ace Burger Co. specializes in gourmet burgers and po’boy sandwiches with all the fixings and hand-cut fries.
•Downtown on Argyle Street, Flipburger has over 10 signature burgers plus house-made sauces and fresh-cut fries. Its Blue Cheese and Bacon burger boasts fresh blue cheese, sautéed mushrooms and local double-smoked bacon.
•In Dartmouth, head over to Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers and Poutinerie on Pleasant Street where Chef Bill Pratt serves up a bevy of burger options, including pork, salmon, lamb, vegetarian and beef dressed any way you like.

Photo: Tammy Fancy

Photo: Tammy Fancy

NEW DIGS

One of Halifax’s busiest Thai restaurants, Talay Thai has a new home on the corner of Hollis and Morris streets in Halifax’s South End. Now fully wheelchair accessible, the new restaurant boasts the same Thai cuisine as ever (try the spicy Pat Chaa Beef to warm up a cold day). Check out the inexpensive lunch menu, featuring many signature dishes.

Photo: Trevor J. Adams

Photo: Trevor J. Adams

EDITOR’S CHOICE

With a creative menu, sweeping views of Halifax Common and free underground parking, Seasons by Atlantica is one of Halifax’s best-kept lunch secrets. Dishes like crispy-fried haddock and curried-chicken flatbread are just the thing to power you through an afternoon of adventures.

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BIGGER PIECE OF THE PIE

Specializing in thin crust, New York Italian-style pizza for over 20 years, Salvatore’s Pizzaiolo has doubled its seating capacity (and expanded its kitchen space) thanks to a recent renovation. The landmark pizzeria in the Hydrostone Market of Halifax’s North End now seats 35 people, retaining its signature Italian-style stucco walls and décor but with a chic new bar area. The restaurant has also expanded its drinks menu, offering more wine options as well as local brews on tap, including beers by Big Spruce and Boxing Rock.

Old Triangle

Old Triangle

TOAST THE GOOD TIMES

Your Father’s Moustache on Spring Garden Road has an extensive menu with tasty items like ribs, club sandwiches and nachos, plus three signature beers created by RockBottom brew master Greg Nash.
•Downtown on Prince Street, the Old Triangle Irish Alehouse is a large, three-room pub with live entertainment nightly and no cover charge. A great spot for meeting friends, the Old Triangle has a classic pub menu and serves weekend brunch.
•Get a taste of Irish comfort at Durty Nelly’s on the corner of Argyle and Sackville streets. Hear a local band and enjoy a pint of your favourite brew while digging into traditional Irish dishes like corned beef and cabbage.

March madness

By Trevor J. Adams

Feathered_Trex-web

Dinosaurs Unearthed at the Museum of Natural History.

 

As school kids delight in spring break, Halifax offers lots of family friendly entertainment options throughout the month—science, art, championship sports and more.

AMATEUR ARTISTES
The province’s largest gallery, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia on Hollis Street, marks March Break with day camps from March 16 to 20, allowing young aspirants to learn in the studio from established local artists. Advance registration is required; surf to www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca. And throughout the year, the gallery offers free admission on Thursday evenings, while Sunday is family day, with special exhibitions, in-studio activities and concerts.

GOING FOR GOLD

Niklas Edin leads Team Sweden at the World Men’s Curling Championship.

Niklas Edin leads Team Sweden at the World Men’s Curling Championship.

The CIS University Cup at Scotiabank Centre. Photo: Nick Pearce/AUS

The CIS University Cup at Scotiabank Centre. Photo: Nick Pearce/AUS

•A month of championship sports action begins with the Halifax Rainmen competing in the National Basketball League of Canada playoffs. This minor-pro development league features fast-paced, high-scoring action. Playoff schedules weren’t available at press time. Check TicketAtlantic.com for home-game times.
•Coming to Halifax for the first time, the CIS University Cup runs from March 12 to 15. The Scotiabank Centre on Duke Street hosts as Canada’s top men’s university hockey teams battle for the national title.
•Drawing loyal, raucous fans from around the globe, the World Men’s Curling Championship at Scotiabank Centre, is sure to be a lively affair. Top curlers, including many Olympic veterans, compete for the sport’s crown in internationally televised action from March 28 to April 5.

SHOWTIME
A trip to the movies is the ideal way to pass a blustery winter day. Cineplex Theatres has cinemas around the city. The mother ship is Scotiabank Theatre on Chain Lake Drive. It boasts daily matinees, an arcade and the city’s only Imax theatre. You’ll also find Hollywood hits and made-in-Canada fare in Lower Sackville, Dartmouth Crossing and downtown Halifax at Park Lane. Also in Halifax on Oxford street, you’ll find a single-screen Cineplex Theatre, the last of the city’s old-time movie houses, specializing in screenings you won’t see elsewhere.

SIMPLY SCIENCE
Hands-on science activities abound at the Discovery Centre on Barrington Street. Learning disguised as fun is the philosophy here, as kids play with interactive exhibits and take in live science shows and field trips. Check thediscoverycentre.ca for details on March break day camps and special events.

DAY AT THE MUSEUM
Just in time for March break, the Museum of Natural History hosts a new visiting exhibit. Continuing through the month, Dinosaurs Unearthed features dinosaur skeletons, animatronic dinosaurs, fossils and more. On the shores of Halifax Harbour on Lower Water Street, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is always a favourite. Learn about pirates, the world wars, the glory days of sail and much more. Surf to maritimemuseum.novascotia.ca for details on special events and March break programming.

Concierge Q&A

Andy-headshot-2-webAndy McIntosh is head concierge at the Prince George Hotel and a member of Les Clefs d’Or Canada. A Halifax native with 25 years of experience in hospitality industry, he’s also the past director, Atlantic Region with Les Clefs d’Or Canada.

What’s your recommendation for a can’t-miss March break event in Halifax?

The Halifax Mooseheads, the city’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League team, are home at the Scotiabank Centre on March 18 and 21. There games are always a great time with friends and family. And throughout the month at the Museum of Natural History on Summer Street you can see the interactive exhibit Dinosaurs Unearthed, complete with fossils and animatronics displays.

What’s your favourite spot for a leisurely weekend brunch?

There plenty of great spots for a weekend brunch in Halifax. A couple of my favourites are Le Bistro by Liz on South Park Street and Edna Restaurant on Gottingen Street. And don’t be fooled by unassuming exterior of the Coastal Cafe on Robie Street. It’s a local favourite for inventive brunch offerings. If you like waffles, bananas, peanut butter and bacon, make sure to try The Elvis.

What’s the ideal made-in-Nova Scotia gift to take back home?

Kiln Art Fused Glass is created with a unique process of fusing glass in a kiln, creating unique glassware pieces that are decorative and functional. If you’re day tripping on the South Shore, visit their retail shop in Chester or find their works at Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia on Spring Garden Road. There are pieces on display at Gio restaurant as well, with some pieces used for dinner service.

What restaurant do you suggest for a romantic dinner for two?

Chives Canadian Bistro on Barrington Street offers one of the best dining experiences in downtown Halifax. It has a private room for dinner with that special someone. The building was home to a bank years ago; the restaurateurs converted the old vault into a wine storage room and a private table for two.

What’s an ideal place to see some live entertainment?

For a great night out take in a live show at Casino Nova Scotia’s Schooner Showroom. It hosts great live music: rock, blues, country and Maritime music.

January/February Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

Cut Steakhouse

Cut Steakhouse

CLASSIC CUISINE
•Dry-aged Alberta AAA steaks cut and weighed tableside are the specialty at Ryan Duffy’s, a stylish steakhouse on Bedford Row. The menu also includes fresh local seafood like oysters, lobster and halibut.
•At Cut Steakhouse on Salter Street, pick your dry-aged premium steak from the rolling trolley of cuts. Match your choice with delicious sides including tempura onion rings or lobster risotto.

Halliburton_dining_Room-web

STORY TIME
At Stories, the intimate restaurant located at the Halliburton Hotel on Morris Street, Chef Scott Vail’s inspired menu changes with the seasons. His specialties include a range of flavourful dishes featuring local game, lamb and seafood.

cinnamon-bun-web

THE SWEETEST THING
Located in the West End on Quinpool Road, Sweet Hereafter is the spot for enjoying decadent desserts in an elegant setting. Savour artisan cheesecake by the slice, locally roasted organic fair-trade coffee and gluten-free and vegan options.

Rockbottom Brewpub

Rockbottom Brewpub

PINT PERFECTION
•Downtown on Grafton Street, The Maxwell’s Plum has the widest selection of local and craft beer in the city. Choose from 60 brews on tap, including beers from top East Coast craft brewers like Cape Breton’s Big Spruce Brewing.
•Visit the Red Stag Tavern for a pint at Halifax’s historic Brewery Market on Lower Water Street, plus tasty eats like pale-ale battered fish and chips.
•Uptown on Spring Garden Road, Rockbottom Brewpub crafts award-winning small-batch brews on site. The menu includes its Fathom IPA, Jacktar Stout and seasonal selections like the Ultimate White IPA.

Photo: Janice Hudson

Photo: Janice Hudson

EDITOR’S CHOICE
New on Halifax’s vibrant diner scene, Robie Street Station is a bright and colourful eatery near the Halifax Common on Robie Street serving all-day breakfast and global-inspired comfort food (try the hearty Banh mi sandwich, which comes with hand- cut fries). For your next coffee fix, hit up the Robie Street Express next door for a bevy of hot beverages and baked goods to go.

Photo: Kelly Neil

Photo: Kelly Neil

COZY COMFORT FOOD
Chef Andrew Farrell of 2 Doors Down is making waves in Nova Scotia’s dining scene, creating soulful recipes like deep-fried mac and cheese and traditional potpie using fresh local ingredients. Find them in the heart of the downtown on Barrington Street.

 

Culinary adventures

By Trevor J. Adams

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Restaurants, wineries, breweries and food producers from around the province share their best at the Savour Food & Wine Show on March 5. Photo: Tammy Fancy

The Savour Food & Wine Festival returns, celebrating the best of Nova Scotia’s dining scene.

Each year, the Savour Food & Wine Festival gets a little bigger and better.

Originally conceived as a February event to get diners and restaurants through the mid-winter doldrums, the festival now runs from January 29 to March 5, featuring several signature events and kicking off a yearlong promotion of Nova Scotia’s unique culinary offerings.

“We want to spread the show out further and fill up those slow winter months with events for diners,” says Gordon Stewart, executive director of the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia, which organizes the festival. “We’re doing a few more things each year.”

The festivities begin on January 29 with the Decadence: Chocolate, Wine & Cheese show at Casino Nova Scotia on Upper Water Street. At the event, culinary students from Nova Scotia Community College’s Pastry Arts Program create chocolate dishes to pair with artfully chosen wines.

Back at the Casino on February 12, Imbibe: A Cocktail Event offers just what the name promises. Nova Scotia’s top mixologists and bartenders take over the Schooner Showroom at Casino Nova Scotia for an evening of creative cocktails made with premium liquor, paired with hors d’oeuvres and live music.

Following that on February 27 is the Rare & Fine Wine Tasting. This tasting, in the Compass Room at Casino Nova Scotia, is de rigueur for serious wine aficionados. “Every wine you’ll taste really is rare and fine,” says Stewart. “They’re all wines that have scored 90-plus points in reviews and they aren’t normally available locally.” A live jazz performance sets the tone for this intimate event.

The festival wraps up on March 5 with its signature Savour Food & Wine Show at the World Trade & Convention Centre on Argyle Street. With some 75 booths, the show spotlights Nova Scotian restaurants, brewers, wine makers and food producers. “It’s show-and-tell time for Nova Scotia’s culinary scene,” says Stewart. “Foodies love the show because they get to learn something new, and the exhibitors love it because it’s a chance to meet their customers and do something new.”

Photo: Tammy Fancy

Photo: Tammy Fancy

Geir Simensen, Head Chef with Saege Bistro and Scanway Catering, is a long-time booster of the event. “I’ve been part of Savour right from the beginning,” he says. “The people that go are the people who go out to dine, they’re our customers, our guests. At a restaurant, it can be hard to work the room. At Savour, you get to talk with everyone face to face. It’s fun for everyone involved.” He also appreciates the chance to connect with his fellow chefs. “It’s good to see other chefs on that level,” he adds. “I enjoy the camaraderie.”

His 2015 Savour menu isn’t set yet, but Simensen is giving it lots of thought. “It depends on the weather, what’s growing, what’s available,” he says. “All of our ingredients are local, so there are a lot more variables. I’m thinking maybe something braised, something with beer. I’ll talk with my farmer and my butcher when the date gets closer.”

Photo: Tammy Fancy

Photo: Tammy Fancy

Running concurrently throughout the festival, the Dine Around program offers a great chance to explore, as restaurants around the province offer special three-course prix fixe menus (for $25, $35 or $45). “Lots of restaurants have signed up for that,” Stewart says. “It’s a great chance for diners to be adventurous, which is what Savour is all about.”

For more details, surf to www.edining.ca.

Concierge Q&A

Ron Ring began his career in the hotel business a decade ago, working as a concierge at The Lord Nelson Hotel & Suites for the last eight years. He’s an Unknown-webactive member of Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic Region and loves showing people the best that Halifax has to offer. When he’s not working, you can often seem him cruising in his antique 1964 Chev Bel Air.

What’s the best way to spend a blustery winter day in Halifax?

Exploring our great museums—especially the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic, featuring Titanic and Halifax Explosion exhibits and the Museum of Natural History, which has a terrific new exhibit on Sable Island.

What’s your favourite spot for a relaxing weekend brunch?

Saege Bistro has just the right atmosphere for a winter weekend brunch. There’s a diverse menu with something for everyone, including several variations on eggs benny and the best crab cakes.

What’s the city’s best undiscovered attraction?

It’s well known by locals but many visitors don’t know about the skating Oval on the Halifax Common, which, of course, is only open for ice skating in the winter. It’s a very entertaining way to spend the day in the fresh air. There are free skate and helmet rentals on site.

What’s the best spot for a visitor to enjoy live music while in Halifax?

I always send visitors to the Lower Deck in Historic Properties for excellent live music every day of the week. You can rely on great music, great beer and great food at the Lower Deck and a real flavour of the Maritimes.

What’s the best place to find a unique Halifax souvenir?

Jennifer’s of Nova Scotia on Spring Garden Road continues to offer the best selection of crafts by local artisans including folk art, pewter and pottery.

Making merry

By Trevor J. Adams

Victorian Christmas. Photo: Parks Canada

Victorian Christmas. Photo: Parks Canada

November and December are lively months in Halifax, with dozens of special events marking the holiday season. Read on for our favourites—with an exciting mix traditional classics and new events, there’s plenty here for the whole family.

PARTY PEOPLE
The Holiday Parade of Lights on November 15 marks the unofficial start of the holiday season in Halifax, as some 100,000 spectators line downtown streets to see dozens of floats and musical acts. Back downtown on November 22, Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall hosts the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting, a family-friendly celebration with live entertainment and a visit from Santa. Also on November 22, Halifax Citadel National Historic Site hosts its annual Victorian Christmas, sharing Christmas traditions dating back to colonial days. The party moves across the harbour the next weekend, as the park at Sullivan’s Pond hosts the Dartmouth Christmas Tree Lighting on November 29, where the highlights include the Santa Claus Express Train and fireworks.

CRAFTY CHRISTMAS
Back for its 37th year, Christmas at the Forum is one of Canada’s largest annual indoor markets of its type, with some 450 vendors offering art, gifts, antiques and food. The Halifax Forum on Windsor Street hosts on November 7 and 8. Another beloved market, the Dalplex Christmas Craft Market returns on November 28 to 30, as Dalplex on South Street showcases dozens of Atlantic Canadian vendors.

JOYFUL MUSIC

The Nutcracker

The Nutcracker

Symphony Nova Scotia offers holiday concerts galore, with A Merry Cable Christmas (featuring contemporary holiday classics) on November 27 and 28, The Nutcracker (presented with Mermaid Theatre and Halifax Dance) on December 5 to 14, and Handel’s Messiah on December 19 and 20. A King’s Christmas is back on December 14. Canadian actress and author Shelley Thompson joins the King’s College Chapel Choir at All Saint’s Cathedral on Martello Street for seasonal songs and stories. The holidays get a Celtic twist on December 21, as the Barra MacNeils perform an East Coast Christmas at the Dalhousie Arts Centre.

HILARIOUS HOLIDAYS
December sees the return of a pair of popular holiday-themed comedy events. On December 8 and 9, Cape Breton comic Bette MacDonald returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre with her annual Tis the Season show. The annual Ha Ha Halidays event comes to the World Trade and Convention Centre on December 12 and 13, with Derek Edwards hosting an evening of stand-up comedy.

PLAY ON

Halifax Christmas Tree. Photo: Tammy Fancy

Halifax Christmas Tree. Photo: Tammy Fancy

Neptune Theatre’s long-awaited holiday production begins on November 25. A Christmas Story, based on the much loved-tale of young Ralphie’s efforts to secure a BB gun, continues through January 4. The holiday pantomime at Theatre Arts Guild is another seasonal mainstay. It’s always a lively, rollicking show with lots of audience participation. This year, it runs from November 27 to December 13. And it just wouldn’t be Christmas without Scrooge. Jeremy Webb brings his remarkable one-man performance of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to Neptune Theatre on Argyle Street on December 23, 24 and 26.

AULD LANG SYNE
Finally, head to Grand Parade square in front of Halifax City Hall on December 31 to say farewell to 2014 and welcome 2015. The New Year’s Eve celebration kicks off at 10:30pm, featuring live entertainment and Atlantic Canada’s largest fireworks celebration at midnight.

Hot Shopping

By Suzanne Rent

Lost-Cod-1-web

EAST COAST STYLE

For unique Nova Scotian designs, visit The Lost Cod on Lower Water Street. It boasts an array of hoodies, t-shirts, aprons and crew-neck sweaters, customized with designs celebrating the province’s heritage—defunct sports teams, seafaring history and well-known local companies.

Bishop's-015-web

TOAST OF THE TOWN

•Bishop’s Cellar on Lower Water Street carries more than 800 imported and local wines suitable for every palate and budget. Knowledgeable staff will help you choose the best selection for a dinner party or gift. There’s also an extensive selection of local and imported craft beers and specialty liquers.

Premier Wine and Spirits on Dresden Row specializes in unique wines, beers and spirits. The staff will show you their stock of 400 wines from around the world, a large variety of craft and specialty import beers or single-malt scotch, fine vodkas, tequilas and liqueurs. Wine accessories and gift cards also available.

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EDITOR’S CHOICE

If you’re headed out for a night on the town or a dinner date, drop into Urban 30 Blowdry Bar on Barrington Street to freshen up your look. This is Atlantic Canada’s first salon of its sort, offering convenient wash and blow-dry services for those in a rush. Indulge in a retro high roller treatment and sit under the hooded dryer. Manicures, waxing and threading are on the aesthetics menu, too.

Sugah

Sugah

SWEET SATISFACTION

•For a quick after-dinner treat or gift for a sweet-toothed friend, Susie’s Shortbreads on Upper Water Street or Chain Lake Drive bakes up cupcakes, cookies, whoopee pies and more. The signature shortbreads come in 15 flavours and there are 100 varieties of cupcakes. Everything is made from scratch.

Sugah on Lower Water Street is a dessert-lovers’ dream. All of the confections are locally handcrafted with traditional techniques and fresh ingredients. The chocolates are made in small batches and include coatings or fillings from local ingredients such as sea salt, cranberries and coffee. Be sure to try a scoop of handpaddled ice cream.

Halifax-Folklore-web

MUSIC AND MORE

The Halifax Folklore Centre on Brunswick Street specializes in stringed instruments, including guitars, violins, basses, banjos, mandolins, ukuleles and more. You can bring in instruments for purchase, sale, trade, consignment, repairs or appraisals. The staff are musicians themselves and can help you choose the best instrument for your needs and talent.

Spring-Garden-Place-1-web

CENTRE OF SHOPPING

Spring Garden Place on Spring Garden Road offers boutique shopping in a mall atmosphere in the convenient and bustling downtown core. Find flower shops at My Mother’s Bloomers, cocktail dresses and gowns at All Dressed Up, unique handcrafted jewellery at The Vault, hosiery, sleepwear and other accessories at Sock It To Ya, and artwork and paintings at Tom Rideout Art. It’s also home to Mills, one of the city’s landmark shopping institutions.

Concierge Q&A

Unknown-1-webSandra Smith is a concierge for Air Canada at Halifax Stanfield International Airport. She joined the airline industry 25 years ago after graduating from Saint Mary’s University. She has a deep passion for the hospitality and travel industry and joined the membership of Les Clefs d’Or Atlantic Region earlier this year.

What’s your favourite holiday event in Halifax?

The Parade of Lights—when the sun goes down on November 15, close to 100,000 people will line the streets of downtown Halifax to feel the magic and ignite the spirit of the holiday season.

What’s your favourite undiscovered restaurant downtown?

Le Bistro by Liz on South Park Street has an upbeat staff, charming Parisian décor and a welcoming atmosphere. The menu offers French inspired favourites and there’s live entertainment Wednesdays through Saturdays.

What’s the best place to find a unique memento of your visit to Halifax?

If you are fortunate enough to be in Halifax in November, don’t miss the Nova Scotia Designer Crafts Council Christmas Show at Cunard Event Centre, from November 21 to 23. There will be lots of unique contemporary fine crafts by local artisans.

What’s the best way to spend a blustery winter day in Halifax?

The best way to spend a blustery winter day in Halifax would be cozied up by a fireplace enjoying a locally crafted beer either at The Henry House on Barrington Street or downstairs at the Fireside on Brunswick Street. The casual atmosphere at both of these venues would melt all thoughts of the cold blowing snow outside!

What is Halifax’s must-visit attraction?

The city’s top must-visit attraction is Halifax Citadel National Historic Site. Within the walls of this fortress is an interesting Army Museum. Don’t miss the annual Victorian Christmas at the Citadel on November 22 and 23.

October Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

woodys-Percy-with-Adam-web

BACK TO THE GRILL
Woody’s Bar-B-Q has returned to Hector Gate in Dartmouth Crossing. Savour the menu of authentic Southern classics like baby back ribs and pulled pork. On Mondays, try the all-you-can-eat wings for $10. The refurbished family-friendly restaurant now has a children’s play area.

Ryan Duffy's. Photo: Janice Hudson

Ryan Duffy’s. Photo: Janice Hudson

CLASSIC DINING

•Dry-aged Alberta AAA steaks cut and weighed table side are the specialty at Ryan Duffy’s a chic steakhouse on Bedford Row. Pick from a selection of flavourful extras to enhance your meat choice, including bacon jam, creamed spinach and Béarnaise sauce.

•On the corner of Prince and Market streets, The Keg offers a classic steakhouse experience. Pick from a range of regular and specialty cuts plus mouth-watering seafood dishes. The house-made Caesar salad with aged parmesan is a highlight.

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GET ME TO THE GREEK
A local favourite for over 30 years, Athens Restaurant on Quinpool Road is the spot to hit for a hearty breakfast. On weekends, come early as the booths fill up fast. Return for lunch and sample flavourful Greek dishes, including souvlaki, moussaka and other specialties.

Cheelin. Photo: Julé malet-veale

Cheelin. Photo: Julé malet-veale

THE SPICE ROUTE

•A downtown mainstay since 1984, Great Wall on Bedford Row boasts an array of Cantonese and Szechuan dishes, such as Kung Po shrimp and Singapore vermicelli. Owner Patrick Wong uses fresh local vegetables and house-made marinades. On Sundays from 11:30am to 3pm., try the tasty Dim Sum.

Cheelin has been serving up Szechuan and Beijing cuisine in the historic Brewery Market on Lower Water Street for over 20 years. The Friday buffet is a local favourite, featuring many MSG-free dishes seasoned with traditional spices. You can’t go wrong with ginger beef or wonton soup.

pizza-web2

PIZZA PERFECTION
An anchor of the stylish Hydrostone neighbourhood on Young Street, Salvatore’s Pizzaiolo Trattoria creates scratch-made artisanal pizzas. Pick from over 12 original and specialty pizza combinations, plus a range of hearty oven-baked heroes (the meatball sandwich is a must try). Free delivery on the Halifax peninsula.

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

Photo: NS Tourism Agency

SEAFOOD IN STYLE
On Lower Water Street, McKelvie’s takes fresh seafood to new creative heights. Try the pulled lobster poutine or the blackened salmon with pineapple mango salsa. The crunchy haddock is a top seller among lunch and dinner crowds, boasting creamy BBQ sauce and garlic mashed potatoes.

The right notes

By Trevor J. Adams

Natalie MacMaster joins Symphony Nova Scotia for a Maritime Fusion concert.

Natalie MacMaster joins Symphony Nova Scotia for a Maritime Fusion concert.

After giving audiences a taste of the new season during Symphony Week last month, Symphony Nova Scotia takes things into top gear with several big concerts throughout the month. Acclaimed Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster joins the orchestra at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on October 3 for the year’s first Maritime Fusion concert. The Grammy-winner always puts on a high-energy show of Maritime roots music—jigs and reels abound. There’s an encore performance on October 4.

Up next is someone special for classical purists: legendary Canadian violinist Martin Beaver (whose resumé includes 11 years as first violinist with the Tokyo String Quartet). Maestro Bernhard Gueller conducts as Beaver joins the Symphony at the Dalhousie Arts Centre on October 16. They’ll perform the Haydn Variations by Brahms, Mendelssohn’s Symphony no. 3 (Scottish) and Max Bruch’s Violin Concert in G minor. They repeat the performance on October 19 at Alderney Landing in Dartmouth, where the Halifax Transit ferry docks.

On October 24, the Symphony returns to the Dalhousie Arts Centre for one of its most popular concerts of the year: the Halifax Pop Explosion collaboration. This year, it shares the stage with Canadian indie darlings Whitehorse. With strong arrangements, brilliant songwriting and intense vocal chemistry, it’s no surprise that the husband-and-wife duo of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland were nominated for the prestigious Polaris Prize in 2013. Their distinctive alt-country sound is sure to hit a new level when they team up with the Symphony. A repeat performance is scheduled for October 25.

And these concerts are just a taste of what the Halifax Pop Explosion offers. Running from October 21 to 25, the festival celebrates the best in alt and indie music, with accomplished veterans sharing stages with rising stars. Some 200 bands will perform in 20 venues, in front of 30,000+ fans.

Venues include public spaces like Government House and Saint Matthew’s United Church and traditional nightspots like Casino Nova Scotia, The Carleton, The Marquee Ballroom on Gottingen Street, the Seahorse Tavern on Argyle Street, the Company House on Gottingen Street, Olympic Community Centre on Hunter Street and Reflections Cabaret on Sackville Street.

Lights

Lights

Although performance schedules weren’t set at press time, organizers are already tantalizing fans with an all-star list of performers. Highlights include Calgary’s Astral Swans, Wu-Tang legend Ghostface Killah, singer/songwriter Mo Kenney, Toronto rockers Tokyo Police Club, pop multi-instrumentalist Lights, and many more.

For schedules and ticket information, surf to halifaxpopexplosion.com

October Concierge Q&A

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Stephen Morris began his 20-year career in Lake Louise, Alberta as a bellman, moving on to a variety of roles before finding his calling as a concierge. He’s an active member of Les Clefs d’Or, Atlantic Region and considers himself an ambassador for the Prince George Hotel and the city of Halifax.

What’s the best thing about autumn in Halifax?
Aside from having our Halifax Mooseheads back on the ice and in full swing at the Scotiabank Centre, it would be the changing of the seasons. Students are back in university, giving the city a vibrant energy. Cool nights are perfect for a romantic walk along the waterfront.

What’s your favourite downtown brunch spot?
One of my favourite spots is Ryan Duffy’s on Bedford Row—a nice relaxing atmosphere with a great brunch menu and available on the weekend from 7am till 4pm, so you can get your fix all day long. If you are looking for something more casual, step back in time and visit a ‘50s style café, the Ardmore Tearoom on Quinpool Road. With a menu loaded with your favourite brunch items and comfort foods, the Ardmore is a hidden gem.

What’s your pick for one can’t-miss event in Halifax in October?
I would have to say the Halifax Pop Explosion. From October 21 to 25, Halifax comes alive with music of all sorts: folk, hip-hop, indie, punk and everything in between.

What’s the best place to pick up a unique Halifax souvenir?
The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market has lots of vendors from all over the Maritimes. You are sure to pick up something genuine to Halifax and Nova Scotia. Amos Pewter on Lower Water Street is another great place to find that unique to Nova Scotia keepsake. If it’s something fun for the whole family you are looking for, try Cool as a Moose in the Historic Properties, your inner child will thank you.