Caribbean Bliss brings the heat

On my last day at TD Halifax Jazz Fest, I was treated to a generous feed from Caribbean Bliss. Although the best-selling stewed oxtail was already sold out, they were super excited for me to try a variety of items from the menu they were serving out of their food stall, including: veggie Jamaican patty, chicken curry, jerk chicken, mango punch and coconut cream pie.

The Jamaican veggie patty, which they make from scratch, was filled with peas, corn, curried potato and spinach, all enclosed in a flaky pastry shell. I really enjoyed the chicken curry, mild yet very flavourful with just a touch of background heat after a few bites; the meat just fell from the bone. The sauce was vibrant in colour, with lots of it, and was accompanied by rice and peas.

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It was the jerk chicken that really impressed me; when I opened the container it was covered in a deep brown sauce with a reddish hue. It just looked spicy. When I dug in with my fork there was the most tender chicken underneath, no knife needed. I’m not privy to their recipe, but I can only guess that they use a stewing or braising method for this, it’s that fall-off-the-bone. I started to sweat while I ate it, the satisfying kind of heat, from the jerk spice, that slowly raises your body temperature. All of these dishes were perfectly complemented by the refreshing mango punch. I had to take the coconut cream pie home with me, because of my ambitious attempt at eating everything else I was given, but when I did try it, it tasted every bit as home made as I’d expected.

Everything from Caribbean Bliss was so obviously made with care, from scratch, with distinct, vibrant flavours. I’m definitely going back their location on Novalea Drive to get the oxtail.

Big Brass and Dumplings

My third TD Halifax Jazz Fest “feed,” as I like to call them, was a big ol’ plate of Chinese food from Cheelin’s booth. Cheelin Restaurant is well-known in Halifax for their lunch specials and Friday buffet, which is frequented by many people who work downtown. They’ve been open in the historic brewery building on Lower Water Street for over 20 years, where owner Fanny Chen serves up Szechuan and Beijing style Chinese food. They also have a stall, Cheelin Express, at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market.

I was served a heaping plate of a few of the offerings: pork dumplings, mixed vegetable stir-fry with beef, vegetable spring roll with crunchy cabbage and glass noodles, and chow mien noodles. I just love handmade Chinese dumplings like these…

SORRY! This is just a teaser. The full post and photos can be found at TD Halifax Jazz Fest Blog!

Pizza, Wine and Jazz

There’s something so nice about strolling into the main stage area at TD Halifax Jazz Festival during the day. Especially when it’s sunny. There’s a mix of locals and tourists, everyone is eating or drinking, enjoying some chill, free jazz music, and it’s all right on the waterfront. There’s lots of places to sit. So yesterday I grabbed a slice of pizza from Bramoso, a glass of wine from the bar and took it all in for a little while.

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If you’re not familiar with Bramoso Pizza, their eat-in restaurant and takeout counter is located on Quinpool Road, in the same strip mall as the NSLC. When you walk in, though, it’s quite charming and there’s a real brick pizza oven, churning out creative pizzas that feature local ingredients

SORRY. This post is just a teaser. For the full post and photos, head on over to the TD Halifax Jazz Fest blog.

Tasty food truck action at Jazz Fest

Today I kicked off my official food blogging gig for the TD Halifax Jazz Festival. Not a bad assignment, given they’ve got food trucks and stalls onsite serving up everything from Caribbean oxtail curry to pizza to made-from-scratch egg rolls. Not to mention a beer tent serving Bulwark Cider (my favourite), wines and Garrison Brewing beer on tap. I’m a food blogger, not a music blogger, but anyone that lives in Halifax knows this festival brings in some major talent and incredible shows on not just the main stage, but venues throughout the city. So yeah, I’m pretty happy with the situation.

Good news for locals and tourists – the food trucks are not just for ticket holders. The festival is open to the public with free admission throughout the daytime hours on the waterfront at the Main Stage (Lower Water and Salter). This means anyone can come in and enjoy food from the vendors.

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Day One  – I met the lovely Chelsea Lund, owner and operator of Roll With It, a shiny black food truck with a charming hand-written chalk menu. Although the name of the truck makes sense, the menu was not what I was expecting. Roll With It does, in fact, make a weekly rotating feature: a from-scratch, original egg roll. Judging from their Instagram account (rollwithitHFX) they’ve done some pretty unique egg rolls. On top of the rolls, they’ve got burgers, panko-crusted fish and chips (or have it as a taco), poutine, and fresh cut fries.

SORRY. This post is just a teaser! For the full post and more photos, you’re going to the TD Halifax Jazz Fest blog.

Check back tomorrow for Day Two!

My #BigDayDowntown 2014

Last month  I was lucky enough to be asked to participate in this year’s #BigDayDowntown, planned by the Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC). I, along with 30 other local bloggers, was given $150 in Visa gift cards and a deadline of one month to spend and write about it. Today is the last day of the deadline (I’ve been out of town) and luckily, I needed to buy a little wedding gift for this weekend. So today, I truly did spend most of the day eating and shopping, and going to the spa in downtown Halifax. Normally I blog about the food, but I wanted to show off the goods I picked up at Inkwell Boutique & Letterpress Studio, an incredible shop that was first recommended to me by friend Anna, who sells her origami roses there.

The ‘Always & For Ever’ is a print I bought for a wedding gift (hopefully she doesn’t read this blog before tomorrow night). Aside from that, I found a great card for the newly weds, an awesome 7-year pen that Geir will love (he’s very into pens) with bacon and egg on it, plus some coasters (a gift for me).

I did also meet a friend for a lunch at 2 Doors Down, which I’ve previously blogged about. Always a fantastic spot (they just finished shooting an episode for You Gotta Eat Here! yesterday). The lobster bruschetta with sweet pea, ricotta and lemon blitz was delicious, and I especially enjoyed the glass of Avondale Sky Cheverie with it. After that, I hit up Spirit Spa, my favourite spa in downtown Halifax for a hair appointment with Vernon (he’s the best — try to go see him).

Today was a gorgeous, sunny September day, the best kind to spend downtown. Thanks DHBC!