December 26, 2011 - Leave a Response

I apologize for how long it has been since my last post. The end of term got the better of me, and then family stuff overtook with Christmas and everything else. I hope to update again soon. I will not be able to update very often in the coming months, as this term’s classes have left me with a full schedule. I will update when I can.


Two If By Sea Cafe, Ochterloney Street, Dartmouth

November 27, 2011 - Leave a Response

After a morning of playing tug-o-war with SPCA doggies I decided I should go to the infamous Two If By Sea, since I was already on the D-side.

Even though it was only 9:30, there was a significant line-up, not that I minded since it gave me more time to decide what I wanted. Which was everything.

A coffee, two cookies the size of Michael Jordan’s hands and a giant croissant later, it was time to go home. I decided to eat in the safety of my home, since no one wants to see me eat all that food.

I ordered a chocolate croissant ($3.50), a small coffee ($1.75), a chocolate chip cookie ($2.25 each) and an oatmeal raisin cookie (because that’s healthy right?)

The cookies were actually the size of my hand, and though I started eating them on Saturday morning, I was still carrying  them around for 3 days afterwards. They were really good cookies, a little dry, but when they’re that size, I’m not too concerned with moisture.

The coffee was pretty good too, and if I wasn’t concerned about missing my afternoon nap because of too much caffeine I would have gone for a large latte.

The croissant was great, both in size and flavour. There was the right amount of chocolate and the pastry was flaky and uber buttery. However after eating half of it in one sitting I was borderline diabetic for the rest of the day. You can decide whether that’s a good thing or bad thing.

Two If By Sea has a great atmosphere and it’s the perfect place for a weekend breakfast, if you can get there early enough to nab a table (since everyone else in the HRM is also trying to eat breakfast there). I super love the stamped coffee cups and paper bags, and that they’ve kind of turned loving Dartmouth into a brand.

Chez Tess, Charles Street, Halifax

November 21, 2011 - Leave a Response

Chez Tess, on Charles Street, off of Agricola, is the only creperie in Halifax, to my knowledge. I know there’s a crepe stall at the Halifax Farmer’s Market, but that’s not a full-fledged restaurant.They serve a range of desserts, which was my assumption when I heard about them, but they also have an impressive meal menu. Our stylishly-dressed server also added that their weekend brunch is something worth coming back for. And I love bacon.

I ordered the chocolate mousse crepe ($9). Although the description says the dessert is a blossom crepe, I didn’t click in and was expecting a traditional crepe dessert.

The chocolate mousse was delicious. It was thick and really chocolate-y and not powdery at all, which I find some chocolate mousses (meeses?) to be. The whipped cream was great, topped with nutmeg, and made on site. The almond brittle pieces were chewy more than brittle, but still good and a nice contrast in texture. The crepe, however, was not that great. Props to the kitchen for making a crepe blossom, because it looks great -and complicated. But the crepe edge, extending past the mousse, was too dry and crispy. The dessert was difficult to eat, since cutting into crepe at that angle was not easy to do with a butter knife. By the time I had gotten to the layers of crepe underneath the mousse, it was cold and I was already full from the mousse. I was hoping that at a creperie, the crepe would be the best part of the dish.

My boyfriend ordered the crepe suzette ($9). Being a Montreal-native, he’s had his fair share of crepe suzette in his time. He said this was one of the best ones he had. The crepes were warm and nicely orange-flavoured. The whipped cream went really well with the crepe and the orange rind was a nice decorative touch. The crepe was light and tasty without being bland, and surprisingly filling. There was a lot of crepe, too, which was ideal since we ended up pretty much sharing the dish.

I also ordered a caramel mini cheesecake ($3). I was already full from my crepe overload, so it was complete gluttony that made me order it. I found it to be painfully sweet, but my boyfriend thought it was great and polished it off in a couple of bites. The whipped cream, again, was great. It wasn’t exactly a cheesecake though, more of a mini cake. It was good and I’m sure it would be the ideal sized dessert after a regular meal. Plus, at $3 it’s a lot more affordable than the standard nearing-$10 dessert at most restaurants.

I also ordered a mini fruit tart, $1.50. I love the idea of mini desserts, both because of the cheaper price and the smaller portion (here’s a NY Times article I read a few weeks ago about mini desserts). The tart base was kind of dry, but with such a small item, I’m sure controlling things like that gets difficult. The fruit tasted a bit overripe, but with such a small bite (literally one bite), it’s hard to tell. If I were going to order a mini dessert after a meal at Chez Tess, I would go with the mini cheesecake, which also comes in a smaller, cheaper micro size.

Chez Tess is a great place, with a great concept. It has a great atmosphere, really great decor and the service was really great. It was reasonably priced as well: I plan on going back for a full meal when I can.

Brussels, Granville Square, Halifax

November 8, 2011 - Leave a Response

I’ve been to Brussels before, it was actually one of the first places I reviewed. But in the past couple of weeks I ended up going there twice. The first time I was really in the mood for a cafe, but at around 7:30 on a Friday, most cafes are closed, including Paperchase, Just Us! and Certainly Cinnamon.

Brussels isn’t a cafe, but they do serve lattes, and I knew they had dessert.

My latte was really good and was exactly what I was looking for. There was a ton of foam, which was grand fun to play with.

I ordered the chocolate fondant ($7.95), a lava cake, with a scoop or locally made blueberry ice cream (which they’re only serving for a limited time) ($2.50). The fondant cake was good, and had a thick, almost brownie-like texture. I would have preferred a bit more melted chocolate in the centre, but that’s being a bit picky. The raspberry coulis was great, although I didn’t appreciate it being only on the plate, and having to try to scrape it up with a forkful of crumbly cake.

The scoop of blueberry ice cream I added was really good, it tasted handmade and it wasn’t too sweet and I barely tasted any sugar. If only the scoop had been bigger

When I went there a second time, for my boyfriend‘s birthday, he got a free waffle! He chose the Gaufre Liege, waffles with caramelized sugar. The waffle was alright but it wasn’t great. It was kind of tough and didn’t have a lot of taste. No sauce was served with it, which I was surprised about, so it needed more whipped cream unfortunately. But I can’t really complain about a free dessert.

Especially not when I discovered my new favourite drink at the same restaurant. This is the Baltic Sling ($6-single), chambord, honey, lemon and vodka with -I think- carbonated water or a kind of sprite. It was really, really good and not strong at all, which was my favourite part. I was planning on ordering this every time I went out but I don’t think most places would have chambord regularly, but I’d love to be proved wrong.

The Middle Spoon, Barrington Street, Halifax

October 28, 2011 - One Response

The Middle Spoon is a new desserterie and bar that opened on Barrington about 3 months ago (it was 3 months ago exactly on the day that a group of us went there).

Sadly they don’t have a website yet, just a Facebook page. I might be alone in this but a Facebook page does not mean you don’t need a website. Every business, especially restaurants, should have a proper website.

The decor in the Middle Spoon was nice. My boyfriend thought it had a retro 70s vibe, which I didn’t really get. It was dark, too dark to take a picture without startling all the locals. 7 of us were seated in the lower level, which is a combination of lounge chairs and couches around tiny, wobbly tables and normal dining chairs around normal square tables. The latter is more conducive to eating dessert (or anything really) but given there were 7 of us I suppose seating us on the couches was the best option.

Riley chose the blonde bombshell, a walnut blondie with ice cream. I think it should be called the blondie bombshell, which is an actual play on words and not just a phrase and more accurately represents the dessert. But now I’m being pedantic. Riley said it was really good and although it was $8.99, it was a large blondie. The ice cream, I imagine the same from my dessert, tasted like a cheap store-bought kind. Which, if ice cream is going to be half of a $9 or $10 dessert, should probably cost more than $3 for 2 litres.

Zipora and her boyfriend Adam, who we went to Cora’s with before, split the single serving banana split ($9.99). It seemed like a standard banana split, with whipped cream from a can sadly, but it did look good. ANd the bowl they served it in was great.

Riley ordered a regular coffee and he was pleased to see it was a proper mug of coffee. I ordered the rasp’d chocolate which is hot chocolate with raspberry and chocolate liqueur. It was really, really good and I’m not normally a fan of alcohol in coffees and things. However, for $9.50, I won’t be able to afford if I go back.

Danielle ordered Buck’d Cherry ($8), a mix of vanilla syrup, orange aperitif, cherry bourbon and cherry liqueur. It was sweet and she really liked the first few sips but said the taste got old quickly.

My boyfriend ordered the Elder ($9.75), a combination of elderflower liqueur, blackberries, vodka and some other stuff. I thought it was okay, but he really enjoyed it.

Gordon ordered the Chocolate Brownie Pie ($8.99), a pie with a brownie shell, filled with chocolate pudding and topped with whipped cream and brownie crumbles. He said it was alright and that the brownie shell was really good but the pudding tasted like it came from a packet and the whipped cream from a can.

I ordered a single serving of the cake bite sundae ($9.99), balls of chocolate cake mixed with buttercream frosting dipped in chocolate with ice cream and whipped cream on top. It was alright. The cake balls were a cute idea, but I would have preferred them to be about a third of the size – bite size, instead of having to gnaw at it while it’s on the fork. The ice cream and whipped cream, like I said, tasted cheap and store-bought and added nothing to the dessert. The chocolate also tasted cheap. It’s a great idea and it would be an amazing dessert if more effort was put into it. I didn’t finish it.

I enjoyed the Middle Spoon. They had a great range of desserts and drinks, as you can see below (click to enlarge). However, the decor was dark, eating desserts from a plate in your lap is awkward, everything was about $3-$4 too much and the ingredients tasted cheap. Unless they get a new menu or change things up quite a bit (or have a 2-for-1 day or something), I likely won’t be going back.










And I will leave you this image of my boyfriend eating the carrot cake ($7.99). It was a regular piece of overpriced carrot cake. That’s all I can say about it.

The Bicycle Thief, Waterfront, Halifax

October 24, 2011 - Leave a Response

The Bicycle Thief is on the waterfront in the South End of Halifax and has been open for less than a year. It’s run by the Bertossi group, the same people who own both Il Mercatos as well as A Mano.

I have heard nothing but good things about it and pined every time I strolled by it on the waterfront. For my dad’s birthday recently, he offered to take my sister and I out to The Bicycle Thief. I emphatically nodded my head while daydreaming about the desserts I was going to have to choose between.

I had the layered caramel cake with butterscotch cream cheese frosting and toasted pecans. It was amazing. It was a good size slice and every bite was delicious. The caramel flavour was strong but not overwhelming, the same goes for the butterscotch (I love butterscotch). The crushed pecans that were pressed into the back of the cake were good too, providing a nice crunchy texture. The cake was pricy at $10 (though normal for the this kind of restaurant) but totally worth it.

My sister ordered a scoop of mango sorbet and a scoop of cherry sorbet ($3 a scoop). They were really good. She was raving about them, amazed at the texture, which was smooth like butter (especially impressive for the mango because it usually maintains some of the fibers from the fruit). They tasted like the actual fruit, not at all artificial, which was nice.

My dad had the peanut butter gelato sundae. The gelato was peanut butter flavour with ice cream, whipped cream, peanut brittle and hot fudge. This was my second choice of dessert because I love peanut butter and peanut brittle. It was really good and the gelato had a surprisingly smooth, pleasant texture.

I really enjoyed The Bicycle Thief and I hope to go back one day. I might even be able to buy my own meal next time because with the average price of a dish being between $15 and $20, it’s not too expensive.