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October Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson

Held in cities across Canada, the Gold Medal Plates competition showcases top chefs, battling to crown gold, silver and bronze culinary teams. On October 29, eight Nova Scotian chefs will compete in Halifax, including Chef Terry Vassallo of Café Chianti, Chef Bee Choo Char of Gio, and Chef Mark Gray of The Brooklyn Warehouse. Visit www.goldmedalplates.com for tickets.

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At Stories, the intimate restaurant located at The Halliburton hotel on Morris Street, Chef Scott Vail’s inspired menu changes with the seasons. His mainstays include local game, lamb, seafood, and housemade charcuterie.

A staple of Halifax’s West End dining scene for more than 30 years, Athens Restaurant on Quinpool Road boasts a menu of flavourful classic Greek dishes, including lamb souvlaki, moussaka and calamari. The space seats about 150 people and is a popular breakfast spot on the weekends.

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Baan Thai on Blowers Street has a fresh menu and colourful furnishings from Bangkok. Choose from any number of curries, Pad Thai or a special all-you-can-eat lunch buffet on Fridays. The delicious menu offers spicy noodles, cashew chicken, shrimp cakes and spring rolls, plus much more.


Photo: Kelly Neil

Photo: Kelly Neil

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

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• 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 place to relax with friends, the Old Triangle has a classic pub menu and serves weekend brunch.
• Celebrating one year on Halifax’s brewpub scene, Gahan House is a popular destination in the picturesque Historic Properties. Choose from a range of Gahan’s own handcrafted beers on tap, including blueberry ale and Sir John A honey wheat ale.

4 Favourite Jasper Restaurants

Photo: Courtesy of Jasper's Earls in the Rockies

Photo: Courtesy of Jasper’s Earls in the Rockies

By Afton Aikens

Daily Brunch

Every day is like a weekend at Jasper’s Earls in the Rockies, the only local restaurant to offer a brunch menu alongside the regular menu seven days a week (10:30 am to 2 pm). “The top seller is chorizo mushroom hash,” says owner Rob Olson. Skip the coffee for one of three brunch drinks, including a Baesar with beer, clamato juice and signature Caesar spices.


8 Best Restaurants on Calgary’s Edmonton Trail

Best Restaurants on Calgary's Edmonton Trail: OEB Breakfast Co.

Best Restaurants on Calgary’s Edmonton Trail: The original “Soul in a Bowl” at OEB Breakfast Co. (Photo: Jason Dziver)

Just a four-minute drive north of downtown, Edmonton Trail is the dark horse of emerging restaurant rows. The stretch is punctuated with an eclectic mix of eateries from retro diners serving brunch, burgers and Benedicts to upscale bistros serving fusion cuisine.


6 Mother’s Day Brunch Destinations in Calgary

Dine in luxury at Teatro in the heart of downtown Calgary. Photo: courtesy Teatro.

Dine in luxury at Teatro in the heart of downtown Calgary. (Photo: courtesy Teatro)

Calgary’s many brunch spots feature long lineups on Mothers’ Day. We’ve found six elegant, kid-friendly and casual venues, which are still open for bookings.


Hot Dining: Enjoy Breakfast or Lunch at De Dutch Pannekoek House

Brie, blueberry and red onion tostie at De Dutch Pannekoek House

Think De Dutch Pannekoek House serves just breakfast foods? Think again. In addition to omelettes, French toast and the ever-popular pannekoek, the local restaurant chain dishes up lunchtime favourites such as burgers, wraps and tosties. Stop by the new waterfront location at Canada Place for one of the most stunning views in the city, and you might even learn how to pronounce “pannekoek.”—Sheri Radford

Hot Dining: Brunch at Borgo

The delectable crespelle at Borgo Trattoria. Photo: Courtesy Borgo Trattoria.

Swank uptown Italian eatery Borgo Trattoria offers a delicious brunch menu Saturdays and Sundays that is both ample and affordable. The steak and eggs are given an Italian treatment; thin, broiled strips of sirloin are served alongside scrambled eggs with truffle oil and crispy smoked prosciutto. The crespelle is another instant classic consisting of two delicate fried crepes filled with caramelized onion ricotta and topped with prosciutto, sage and maple syrup. The flavours are heavenly and the sweet to savoury ratio is just right. (more…)

Hot Dining: Mill St. Brew Pub

The Mill St. Brew Pub

Located in a 165-year-old heritage building that started its life as a pulp mill, Mill St. Brew Pub is a new — and welcome — addition to Ottawa’s dining scene. Several Mill St. beers can be found on tap and are switched up regularly, and three are brewed on site (and boast locally inspired monikers to boot): the Portage Ale, the Ambre de la Chaudière, and the Valley Irish Red. In keeping with the Ottawa trend, many of the ingredients from the pub’s menu are locally sourced. Popular dishes include flatbreads, tourtières, and mussels, and brunch is always a crowd pleaser. Bonus: Mill St. is a short walk away from the Bluesfest site at LeBreton Flats, making it the perfect spot for a pre- or post-concert meal.

555 Wellington St., 613-567-2337. ottawa.millstreetbrewpub.ca.

Hot Dining: French Bistro Fare at Le Parisien

Roasted Pacific cod with ratatouille provençale and brandade croquette, at Le Parisien. Photo by KK Law

Le Parisien, John Blakeley’s remake of the much-loved former Café de Paris, pays homage in true bistro style. Locals flock to the West End hideaway for addictive smoked chicken liver and foie gras parfait, cassoulet, côte de boeuf, sweetbreads and just-crispy duck confit. Another tradition reborn: you can drop by for an early-morning cafe au lait and croissant, or for a full-blown weekend brunch, complete with boudin noir and crêpe Bretagne.—Tim Pawsey

Hot Dining: Baked Goods and Brunch

How does a buttery croissant sound right about now? If your mouth is watering at the thought, then a trip to The French Baker is in order. Along with flaky croissants, this bakery is also popular for its French macarons and pains au chocolate. As if that weren’t enough, nestled in the back of the downtown location is Benny’s Bistro, with an original brunch menu of both sweet and savoury dishes (think French toast with roasted apple compote and salmon gravlax). The bistro is also open for breakfast and lunch throughout the week, and the bakeries are open daily.

ByWard Market, 119 Murrary St., 613-789-7941, and the Glebe, 801 Bank St., 613-236-7579.

Hot Dining: Mother’s Day Brunches in Vancouver

Photo copyright Fotohunter/iStockPhoto

Mom’s the word on May 13, which is Mother’s Day in North America. It also happens to be one of the most popular days of the year to go for brunch, so reserve ahead. Treat your marvellous mama to a delicious spread at Bacchus Restaurant and Lounge, Coast Restaurant, Fleuri, Horizons Restaurant or Raincity Grill. She’ll love it almost as much as she loves you.—Kristina Urquhart

Editor’s Picks: Best Choices for Mother’s Day 2012

Victoria Conservatory of Music Garden (Photo: Maureen Flynn-Burhoe)


Mother’s Day Paint-In
At this arts and crafts fair at Hatley Park National Historic Site, browse the works of local artists, purchase plants and locally made jewellery, food items or beauty products and more. Other diversions include bands, face-painting for kids and tours of the historic Hatley Castle and gardens.
Hatley Park, 2005 Sooke Rd., 250-391-2666; May 13, 10–4; May 12 and 13, 10–4; free. (more…)

Hot Dining: Sleek, Chic Downtown Dining at ARC Lounge

Dishes made with local, seasonal ingredients fill the menu at ARC Lounge

Nestled in ARC The.Hotel, ARC Lounge is a chic gem. This downtown restaurant manages to be both sleek and cozy, and is the perfect place for a business meeting over lunch (it’s also a go-to for a romantic dinner or after-work drinks). Known for fresh and local seasonal menus that blend sophistication and creativity, this is a place that is generating increasing buzz. Head over in the morning and order the Arc French Toast — oat and cinnamon crusted cranberry focaccia with maple syrup and orange butter — for a nice wake-up call. 140 Slater St., 613-238-9998.