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May Hot Dining

By Janice Hudson



•A favourite place for downtown coffee aficionados, The Trident on Hollis Street roasts its beans on-site, offering an array of hot drinks, loose tea and pastries. After you recharge, browse the eclectic mix of used books.

•Veteran coffeehouse Java Blend on North Street has been in the bean business since 1938 and roasts all of its coffee on-site. Unique coffee memorabilia and an old (but still working) coffee roaster add to the cozy, laid-back feel of the café.

•In Dartmouth, Two if by Sea Café is the go-to spot for coffee fiends, offering not just fabulous coffee but also indulgent fresh-baked croissants that can stand in for a meal. The café has a second location on the Halifax side in the Historic Properties near the Halifax Transit ferry terminal.



Offering French-inspired cuisine, Bistro le Coq on Argyle Street has the atmosphere of a Parisian bistro, with an ornate tin ceiling, elegant artwork and plush booths. Service en français is always available. Choose from tasty French classics like steak frites and glazed duck. There’s an extensive list of wines, with many served by the glass (including champagne). For dessert, try the layered Nutella crêpe cake.



The brainchild of award-winning Chef Renée Lavallée, The Canteen on Ochterloney Street in Dartmouth serves up flavourful sandwiches, salads and take-out dinners. Lavallée changes the menu daily to highlight fresh local ingredients. Breadmaster Jessica Best bakes all the bread on-site, including tasty gluten-free options.


Photo: Janice Hudson

Photo: Janice Hudson

A newcomer on Halifax’s vibrant diner scene, Robie Street Station has become the it-spot in Central Halifax for all-day breakfast and comfort food with a global twist. Colourful murals and local artwork decorate the charming eatery, located near the Halifax Common on Robie Street. Hit up Robie Street Express next door for a coffee and fresh baked-goods to go.



A stylish yet intimate space, Obladee on Barrington Street offers a range of stellar, hand-chosen wines, including special local vintages. Try the monthly cellar wine special: staff uncork top red and white vintages for customers to enjoy by the glass. Pair your choice with charcuterie from the local artisanal producers.

Hot Dining: Sweet Stuff From Beavertails

Beavertails serves up their tasty treats in traditional cinnamon and sugar or decadent chocolate hazelnut

Beavertails serves up their tasty treats with traditional cinnamon and sugar or decadent crumbled Oreo

From Prince Edward Island on the East Coast all the way to Whistler on the West Coast, Canada has been conquered by Beavertails and their eponymous sweet treats. Each whole-wheat pastry is stretched by hand, then cooked in oil and finished with toppings such as the traditional cinnamon and sugar or the more decadent chocolate hazelnut, chunks of Skor or crumbled Oreo. It’s useless to resist the allure of the piping-hot pastry, so don’t even try. Assimilation is guaranteed—and delicious.—Sheri Radford

Hot Dining: Say Cheesecake

Mango Coconut Cheesecake from Sweet Hereafter

Mango Coconut Cheesecake from Sweet Hereafter

For a slice of rich and delicious city-style cheesecake, stop into Sweet Hereafter on Quinpool Road. Sit back, relax and take in the funky décor. Scrumptious cheesecake flavours include apple pecan, white chocolate raspberry, ginger pear, triple chocolate. Gluten-free and vegan flavours available, too.

Hot Dining: Tarts Bakery in Vancouver

Find tarts of all types at this bakery

Find all kinds of these petite pastries at Tarts Bakery

Do you heart tarts? Lisa and Shawna Coan of Tarts Bakery do. Inspired by a coconut jam tart their mother used to make, the two sisters opened up shop to bring their pastry passion to Vancouverites. If you have trouble deciding on just one (and who wouldn’t, with tempting choices like butter pecan, chocolate mousse and raspberry macaroon?), scoop up several of the smaller tartlets to sink your fork into. Savoury options grace the menu as well, and all the goodies are made from scratch. Treats for sweet- and savoury-lovers alike—sounds like a recipe for success to us.—Rachel Dunlop

Hot Dining: Piece of Cake


Second generation restaurateur Beth Grubert is a Paris-trained baker with a hands-on management approach and exquisite attention to detail. Her Osborne Village eatery Baked Expectations been drawing locals to a fabulous display case of mile-high cakes, tortes and pies for three decades. Choices can be tough here, where decadent strawberry pecan torte covered in glistening chocolate ganache competes with rich peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake for a coveted place on your plate. A menu of short-order favourites that stars a triple decker grilled cheese with bacon is equally grand. Let them eat cake!
161 Osborne St, 204-452-5176.

Hot Dining Halifax: Sweet Eats

The Middle Spoon Desserterie & Bar

Halifax’s first desserterie and bar, Middle Spoon on Barrington Street, is the perfect place for those with a sweet tooth. Indulge in fresh desserts like Chocolate Lava Cake, Peanut Butter Pie, New York cheesecake or a create-your-own sundae. The cocktail menu is just as decadent with choices including the Ruthless Ruby, Obsession and Pretty in Pink.

Fans of cheesecake will love Broadway Cheesecake Co. on South Park Street. But these aren’t your traditional flavours. Try tastes like apple caramel, Baklava, cherry crumble, chocolate banana rum and Reese Peanut Butter Cup. Or you can sample the pies or cupcakes. The menu also serves a selection of savoury sandwiches.

Hot Date: 30 Days of Decadence

APRIL 1-30  Chocoholics will get their fill during Chocolatefest, Ciao! magazine’s annual celebration of everyone’s favourite indulgence. For the month of April, participating bakeries, restaurants and cafés will offer one or more signature chocolate creations — be they sweet, savoury or sippable — for just $7. Call 204-943-4439 for more information.

Winnipeg’s 5 Best Crème Brûlée Offerings

Winnipeg Creme Brulee

Our guide to Winnipeg’s Crème Brûlée (Photo: mrgarin)

This French classic can be found here, there and everywhere, but it takes a true torch and sugar master to nail it. Here, we bring you a rundown of the Winnipeg’s best crème brûlée offerings. Indulge in local chefs interpretations of this rich dessert topped with tantalizing discs of crackling caramelized goodness.


Hot Dining: Mama Mia! What’s New at Halifax’s Italian Restaurants

Dessert from Il Mercato

Il Mercato, a popular trattoria with locations on Spring Garden Road and at Sunnyside Mall in Bedford, offers a top-notch casual Italian menu. A new summer menu has fare such as flash-fried calamari with roasted garlic, tomatoes and chilies, and lamb chops crusted with Sicilian pistachios and breadcrumbs, served with fresh mint. A decadent summer tiramisu is the perfect coda.

After 15 years in its old spot, popular Dartmouth eatery Rocco’s Italian Ristorante is in a new location at Baker Drive. As regulars would expect, the menu still highlights Southern Italian favourites, paired with Italian wines. Try the house specialty Capasante alla Rocco (scallops simmered in Marsala wine and demi-glaze).

Hot Dining: Fantastic Food Fills an Ever-Changing Menu at Allium

Diners can always find something inventive (and delicious) at Allium.

The low-key dining room at Allium has all the makings for a great night: attentive service, delicious food, and a fun atmosphere. The menu changes on the first Thursday of every month, meaning you can make many return visits and try something different each time (they also offer a popular tapas menu on Monday nights). One of the items you don’t have to worry about changing though is the banoffee pie. This to-die-for treat (and local favourite) features a graham cracker crumb crust, banana slices, toffee, whipped cream, and chocolate shavings. A perfectly decadent way to end the meal. 87 Holland Ave., 613-792-1313.


Hot Dining: Soothe a Sweet Tooth at the Middle Spoon

If you’re the sort of person who skips straight to dessert, be sure to visit The Middle Spoon on Barrington Street. The “desserterie” specializes in decadent desserts and cocktails. The Peanut Butter Pie draws rave reviews.

The Middle Spoon, Photo: Michelle Brunet

Hot Dining: Dessert Roundup

The forecast is for sunny skies and summery weather, so we highlight three sweet treats to satisfy your sweet tooth (and one of them is ice cream!).

Local fave Pascale's All Natural Ice Cream is available at stores and restaurants around Ottawa. Photo credit: Alexandre Mattar.

Pascale’s All Natural Ice Cream
Rich, creamy, and made with fresh ingredients. The unusual gourmet flavours, such as white chocolate pistachio and dark chocolate sea salt, have made it a local favourite. Retails for $10.95-$12 for a half litre. Available at The Piggy Market, 400 Winston Ave., and several other stores and restaurants in Ottawa. www.pascalesicecream.com

Flourless, Decadent Chocolate Cake
Dense, moist, and not overly sweet, just what a flourless chocolate cake should be. $8. Flying Piggy’s, 1665 Bank St., 613-526-4900. www.flyingpiggys.com

Banoffee Pie
A restaurant staple at Allium, this pie boasts a graham crumb crust filled with toffee, bananas, cream, and shaved chocolate. $8. 87 Holland Ave., 613-792-1313. www.alliumrestaurant.com