No meat? No problem.

This is the second post in a series I am doing as an official #SausageFestHFX blogger.

I have to admit, I was excited to find out I was covering EnVie: A Vegan Kitchen as part of my official Sausage Fest blogging duties. I’m a big fan of vegetarian and vegan food (when it’s delicious and creative) and it was a way to squeeze a healthy day into my week of sausages.

Today I stopped by for lunch at EnVie, and owner Diandra walked me through the special Sausage Fest creation they put together. I chose the kale caesar salad as my side, and when the plate arrived it was a very generous size for lunch. I couldn’t even finish it all.

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So what we’re looking at here is a white bean and lentil sausage on a toasted white bun from Local Source. The sausage is made with ground miso, smoked paprika, caramelized onions, garlic, balsamic and fresh thyme and sage. The binder (the reason it doesn’t require a casing like a meat sausage) is vital wheat gluten. The sausage is on a bed of crunchy romaine.

On top, there is a grainy dijon “aioli”, a beautiful sweet apple chutney finished with Garrison IPA and crunchy fried green onions. A huge sausage! I had to fork-n-knife it after the first couple bites because of the size. Great flavours and textures coming together here; I thoroughly enjoyed. Shamefully, this was my first visit to EnVie, and I’ll definitely be back. The kale caesar was so garlicky, creamy and delicious, and the coconut “bacon” added a great little twist on the salad.

Vegetarians and vegans rejoice — you, too, can enjoy Sausage Fest 2015!

Big feast of small plates at Field Guide

If you haven’t been to Field Guide, at the corner of Gottingen and Falkland in Halifax’s north end, make plans to go this weekend. Whether you’re in the mood to sip and savour what are, in my opinion, the most expertly made cocktails in Halifax, indulge in local craft beer, wine, or experiment with small plates, Field Guide has achieved the hipster neighbourhood vibe without any pretension. No cold shoulders here; it seems we’re always greeted by the server named Josh, whose mannerisms and friendliness seem to suggest he’s an owner, although he’s not. (Best kind of server to have.) I’ve been to Field Guide a few times, to sit at the bar for drinks, to eat small plates at a low top table, and once even to interview head bartender Shane Beehan for a magazine article.

Classic gin sour.

Classic gin sour.

Just under two weeks ago, we met a couple friends there who like to eat like us (lots of different things in one meal) to fill up on small plates, before heading to the Matt Andersen (with the Mellotones) show at Olympic Community Centre. With Shane at the helm and Jeff Van Horne as a bar consultant, there’s no wonder the cocktail list is ever-changing and exciting, mastering, as Field Guide puts it, both “the classic and the contemporary”.

Hands down this place has the best negroni in the city, a favourite of both Geir’s and mine. As is encouraged, I ordered “off-menu” and asked for a classic gin sour. It did not disappoint. Next, we tried to please my friend’s tastes by requesting a gin cocktail that also had elderflower liqueur in it. Nailed it. Once over the summer I enjoyed a blackberry gin fizz here that I’m still thinking about. (I have a thing for gin.)

Trouts and beets.

Trouts and beets.

Food-wise, the chef and co-owner Dan was present in the kitchen, so you know there’s a lot of care being put into the preparation. The open kitchen is just behind the far end of the bar, not a very elaborate setup, but they make it work.

We perused the chalkboard menu and chose a few priorities; starting with a small charcuterie board and also the cheese selection, accompanied by house-made sour dough. Next, the trout and beets, such a delight, and what a pretty plate; crispy skinned trout, delicately roasted purple and golden beets, pickled onion and fresh dill. Next up the pork carnitas.  This was the second time I’ve enjoyed these. The beer-braise on the pork really amps up the depth of flavour and makes this dish; sour cream and a crunchy slaw seal the deal. We then tried the halibut with kimchi and sunchoke purée (this worked) and finished off with their famous donair steam buns. Josh deliberately served these last, as he says, if you’re enjoying a series of small plates, they obliterate your taste buds. Thanks, Josh. The texture of the steam bun is incredible, housing all the flavours (in one or two bites) of the ultimate guilty pleasure food… the Halifax donair; as one Instagram follower commented on my photo of them “these are crack”. Yup.

Mothers has garlic fingers!

Imagine my surprise and delight when last week we sat down at Mothers Pizza for a good old cheesy carb feed, and I saw garlic fingers on the menu! My guilty junk food weakness. My shameful delivery order after a late night out. Garlic fingers.

I hadn’t been to Mothers in a while, but typically I’ve had good experiences there. I like their hearty pizzas with lots of toppings (Canadian style) and the fact that they use so many local suppliers. Their pizzas are very cheesy, and the service is always super friendly. Also, I like the small wine list.

At Mothers, they’re calling them “garlies,” and of course we had to try them. We ordered the small (9-inch) to start, which was served with house-made marinara sauce for dipping. The garlies were insanely cheesy, to the point of greasy, in the best possible way (they’re supposed to be, in my opinion). I’ve never met a garlic finger I didn’t like. If you’re looking for a critique though, I’d say pump up the garlic a notch, and also experiment with donair sauce. The marinara was nice, but I love the sweetness of the traditional donair sauce with my garlic fingers. (Call me old-fashioned!)

Garlies and marinara.

Garlies and marinara.

After devouring the garlies, I could barely put a dent in my vegetarian pizza. It was absolutely loaded with various seasonal veggies, plus I added anchovies. The pile of spinach on top was a little hard to navigate. The leftovers were awesome, though.

On other trips to Mothers, I’ve very much enjoyed both the White Pizza, and The Agricola. Check out their menu here.

Did you know in other parts of Canada, garlic fingers and donair sauce aren’t a thing? Tell me: What are your favourite garlic fingers in HRM?