Halifax Eats

Taking advantage of an Air Canada seat sale, my wife and I headed to Halifax for the May long weekend. It was my first trip to Canada’s East Coast, and we lucked out with perfect (and decidedly un-Haligonian) weather. Here are some of the culinary highlights.

1. Our days began at Two If By Sea, widely regarded as the best coffee shop in town. The original location is in Dartmouth, but owners Zane Kelsall and Tara MacDonald recently opened a second spot in Halifax in the Historic Properties by the Ferry Terminal.

Using superlative beans from Ritual and 49th Parallel, Kelsall’s rigorously trained baristas pull a mean espresso, while MacDonald, who runs the pastry side of the business, bakes outrageously flakey croissant that left my beard a mess of buttery crumbs.

2. On a steep side street near our hotel, The Press Gang is a salty dog of a restaurant in an old building that oozes history. I was instinctively drawn to the place, as it felt like the kind of joint where a wordsmith seeks sustenance before picking up his quill.

We met friends for pre-dinner drinks at the bar and shared stunning plate of Nova Scotia oysters from (starting at the smallest and going clockwise) Sober Island, Pristine Bay and Black Point. The beatific bivalves were washed down with an icy bottle of Gaspereau Vineyards L’Acadie Blanc 2010, a crisp, lean local white that reminded me of Chablis.

3. The meal of the trip was at The Bicycle Thief, a new restaurant right on the waterfront boardwalk. Deafeningly loud and riotously fun, it has obviously struck a chord with the city’s young and restless.

The highlight was a pair of massive ravioloni bursting with chunks of sweet, briny lobster and napped in a silky Parmigiano fonduta. These crustaceous pasta pockets are reason enough to visit Halifax.

Photo credits:
1. Two If By Sea
2-3. Eric Vellend

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