Lunch at EDNA, compliments of Ford

EDNA, located in the north end

EDNA, located in the north end

Last week I was invited to attend a Ford media event, at EDNA, where we would hear about the company’s sustainability efforts and the technologies that are making their vehicles “fuel-economy leaders,” including the all-electric Focus. The event started with a presentation by Dr. Ellen Lee, the lead in plastics research for Ford, with some quick slides near the front of the restaurant. One thing that did impress me during the talk by Dr. Lee was the amount of post-consumer material (recycled plastic bottles, scrap cotton from jeans) that Ford is now using to design the interiors of their vehicles.

We then settled into one large communal table for an impressive four-course lunch, inspired by some of the sustainable materials that the automotive giant is now using inside their vehicles (think corn, soy, rice, etc).


tortilla salad – roasted sweet potato, edamame, black beans, tomato, sweet corn, greens, cilantro, house made corn chips, citrus vinaigrette

First course was a lovely tortilla salad; small enough, light enough and playful enough with textures to serve as the perfect amuse bouche.

We had choice for the next three courses, and I opted for the seafood on both second and third offerings. A meaty grilled octopus dish with a soy Szechuan glaze was up next. Again, the chef had fun with the mouth feel of the dish, throwing in some popcorn. I enjoyed the octopus itself very much, as I love the dense texture and flavour, and it was grilled nicely, but wished the glaze lived up to its Szechuan title a bit more and offered real heat.

grilled octopus, soy Szechuan glaze, coconut rice, pineapple, scallion, Speerville popcorn

grilled octopus, soy Szechuan glaze, coconut rice, pineapple, scallion, Speerville popcorn

I was very excited to see seared tuna on the menu, because it’s just not that common in Halifax. My third course was a hook-and-line caught albacore tuna, nicely presented in a shallow pool of soy and dashi broth with soba noodles, enoki mushrooms, and a luscious parsnip puree. The puree was exceptionally creamy and offered sweetness, which was contrasted by the umami flavours of the noodles and broth. The tuna could have been more rare, for my taste, but to be fair, I wasn’t asked and didn’t put in a request.


seared hook-and-line caught albacore tuna

Did I mention during this entire lunch, the Blomidon Tidal Bay was free-flowing? Also, we were greeted at the door with Benjamin Bridge Nova 7 upon our arrival. Ford really knows how to spoil the media (a nod to the amazing PR and marketing professionals they work with at the local branch of agency NATIONAL on these events).

coconut cream tart

coconut cream tart

At this point I was reaching my limit, as I normally eat one course for lunch, not four. ¬†Still, I somehow found room for coffee and a couple bites of my dessert, a coconut cream tart. Although the sweet course is not usually my thing, this tart blew my mind, as it arrived on a perfectly executed melt-in-your-mouth, buttery shortbread crust. A really nice finish to a fantastic lunch, and all in great company, may I add (thanks Kate Watson and Jody Euloth for making our end of the table fun). Thank you to Ford and NATIONAL! I’m definitely heading back to EDNA soon for a long and leisurely dinner.


Pop-up chef series finale at Front & Central

Dessert course - White, milk and dark.

Dessert course – White, milk and dark.

What better way to avoid a Nova Scotia winter rut (food and morale) than design a series of delicious tasting menus with your friends?

“Tasting menus are the way I like to eat. I enjoy running the restaurant that way,” says Dave Smart, chef and owner of Front & Central in Wolfville.¬†“This was the second year for the series. I start them in January when the dust settles from New Year’s.”

The “pop-up chef series” for 2014 ended on April 25, and I was lucky enough to be invited, as Dave’s guest (his treat), to cover the last of the event via social media. The guest chef on this particular date was Peter Dewar – and man, do these guys’ styles work together well (not to mention Peter is a member of Culinary Team Canada). They presented a five-course tasting menu at an unbelievable price of $50 per person, along with an optional wine pairing at only an additional $25. Tickets were sold in advance.

Of course I brought Geir along (nothing like chefs cooking for other chefs) and we made a night out of it in Wolfville, taking advantage of the special rate for this event at Victoria’s Historic Inn. To make it even more convenient, the inn is within walking distance from Front & Central.

Second course (my favourite) - "bread and butter", which was chive hollandaise and rye bread pudding.

Second course (my favourite) – “bread and butter”, which was chive hollandaise and rye bread pudding.

From the pop-up series Dave says he’s “had lots of great feedback from guests, and many repeat diners.” It’s no wonder. The service is fantastic — it’s easy to tell the staff genuinely enjoy the tasting menu format — and the restaurant is beautiful. The food absolutely went beyond our expectation in creativity, taste and plating.

A highlight for me was second course, called “bread and butter”. This was chive hollandaise paired with a rye bread pudding, meant to be eaten together… each spoonful was better than the last. Check out our dinner, starting with some fantastic gin cocktails, course-by-course in the gallery below.