Halifax Day 7: Tea and a Christmas Treer

December 10, 2012

Continuing on with our last day!

This is the Market Hall on the way back to our car from Salty’s

We returned home to bum around until our coffee date with Michael H at 4pm. If you don’t remember from a previous post, both Michaels used to work in the same lab and now both are in med school 🙂

We ended up meeting at Just Us!, a certified organic fair trade cafe.

Mike and I opted for jasmine green tea. I really liked the fact that they gave us a timer so we could steep our tea for an optimum period of time.

The cafe had a good atmosphere and service. Very beautiful and spacious Victorian property, there was an upstairs level as well, and catered to many students.

And look! I took a picture this time! Michael^2

The date was over too quick. Until next time! I hope you, your wife and children are doing great 🙂

Totally wish there was a cafe like this back in Brisbane so I could come to study. I would be here multiple times a week if that were the case!

Just Us! Coffeehouse on Urbanspoon

After tea and saying good bye, we again, went back home to chill. A lot of laziness today, haha. In the evening, we were invited over to Dan R and Leigh Anne’s new house for dinner and to help them decorate their first and real Christmas tree.

Leigh Anne, Mike and I put up the lights while Dan picked up some yummy take out Thai food. We shared some laughs, ate good food, had some wine… and then Dan butchered the tree (he perhaps shouldn’t have cut off some of the lowest branches, but he had no evil intentions!). Haha, maybe Dan had to feel Leigh Anne’s wrath after we left but we think the tree turned out nice! These pictures were also taken earlier in the night before the decorations were put up, so it was even prettier by the time we left.

The lovely Dan and Leigh Anne and again with Mike

Can’t wait to hear all about and see all the wedding pictures you guys! 😉

Packing was waiting for us when we got home that night, which we couldn’t put off any longer because we needed to leave at 7am the next morning. Got to the airport around 8:30am, our flight wasn’t delayed for too long and before we knew it, we had landed back in Ottawa.

It was such a pleasure meeting everyone. I had an amazing time in Halifax, loved the city. And a huge thank you to Bill & Nina and to Matt & Laura for their generous hospitality.

Everyone, please let us know if you’re ever in Australia… we’d love to see you there!

Until next time… 🙂

And that marks THE END of my week long vacation in Halifax.

 

Halifax Day 7: A Date with Michael @ Salty’s

December 10, 2012

So… our last day in Halifax! So sad that time has gone by so quickly!

Michael and I spent the morning running errands in terrible weather but also had the chance to relax before our lunch date.

We had reservations for 1pm at Upstairs at Salty’s. Salty’s is a 2 level restaurant, where downstairs is casual and upstairs is more formal.

Michael had specifically asked for window seats, which was a treat! It’s too bad the weather wasn’t nicer but it’s the company that matters right? 😉 You look tired!

We were the only diners (Again! It seems to happen to us quite a bit) so service couldn’t have been any better.

Apparently, Upstairs at Salty’s uses the same lunch menu as their downstairs restaurant, which was fine with us.

We started with a glass of white before making our decisions.

Love good bread at a restaurant. Our food came quite quickly, which is always a treat.

Mike ordered the Maple Ginger Salmon ($17.95)
(roasted fillet of salmon with Nova Scotia maple syrup & ginger glaze, mashed potato, and seasonal vegetable)

Seasonal vegetable was indeed singular! Haha. Mike said his dish was tasty, but personally, I think his dish was lacking. Come on… you couldn’t add in some other veggies? And a little bit of effort on plating would have made such a difference. I also really don’t know what the sprig of parsley is trying to achieve…

I got the Beer Battered Shrimp ($15.95)
(served with fries, lemon mayo, and coleslaw) – I substituted sweet potato fries with curry mayonnaise (+$2)

The shrimp was good but the best part of my dish were those sweet potato fries. I will gladly exchange anything for those fries any day. So nice and crispy on the outside and light on the inside. However, the plating was once again disappointing. This is a nice restaurant… Why are my sauces coming out in plastic containers? You were able to get my coleslaw into a little dish, couldn’t you go all the way with the sauces?

Overall, we had a good time, especially with the restaurant to ourselves. The service was great and I wish the sky cleared so we could enjoy the view even more but perhaps next time.

Next time you say? Well the food was pricey… tasted good but nothing great. However, the good service and location warrants another visit – but we’ll try dinner next time, that menu is much more enticing.

Salty's on Urbanspoon

Halifax Day 6: Yacht Club, Crystal Crescent Beach and Homemade Alfredo Sauce

December 09, 2012

We had a late start today. It was raining, I blame it on the weather. 😛

We did follow through with brunch plans though!

Laura was at a meeting but Matt took us to eat the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron (yacht club on the Northwest Arm of Halifax Harbour).

Tidbit I didn’t know: RNSYS lays claim to being the oldest yacht club in North America, with its beginnings dating back to the establishment of the Halifax Yacht Club in July 1837

It’s too bad it was raining, the views would’ve been lovely!

I had the best (albeit first) seafood chowder ever! My grilled lobster sandwich was such a loser… trying to contend beside the bowl of chowder. 😛  It warmed me up inside, especially on such a gloomy day. Thank you Matt!

On the way back, we stopped at York Redoubt:

“Established in 1793 on a bluff overlooking the harbour entrance, and expanded in the 19th and 20th centuries, York Redoubt was a key element in the defence of Halifax Harbour.”

Unfortunately, it was SO foggy, you could not see a thing. I’d never been so close to fog before, it was pretty exciting. Don’t judge, I’m serious!

Love!

We headed back to Matt and Laura’s. They were soon leaving for Florida so we hung out until Laura got home from her meeting to say our goodbyes. I hope you guys had a great trip!

It was already afternoon… but the sky was clearing up… so we had to get to the beach!

Michael decided we were going to visit Crystal Crescent Beach:

“Crystal Crescent beach is one of the best known beaches in the Halifax region.  What is less known is the coastal trail that originates from the beach called the Pennant Point trail. The trail is an amazing coastal trek.  It is a 13 kilometer loop that hugs the coastline for most of it.  The trail is a lot of fun for rock climbing and scampering. The landscape is amazing…”

LOVED IT.

We were too cold to go very far along the trail, but this is one place I would definitely want to come back and see during all 4 seasons. What a beautiful place!

Unfortunately, my panorama photos failed horribly, but here are some other shots

Shadow hug!

We headed back into the city after this. Stopped for a snack of delicious onion rings at A&W before going home. Ended up just chilling at home reading and watching TV before heading over to Mike C & Christine’s for dinner!

They have a lovely home! My favourite thing about their house is this little closet/room that Mike C had renovated into a ‘personal room’ for Christine. A place just for her to go and escape from everything and get lost in her music… how sweet!

For dinner, Christine made pasta with an amazing alfredo sauce… she makes me want to try to make my own sometime as well 😀 There was also salad and bread and lots of sugary deliciousness for dessert, including some chocolate cake we brought, and Mike C’s baked goods.

We had a really nice time at their place (I haven’t played Foosball in so long!) and I’m glad to have had the chance to get to know some of Michael’s great friends 🙂

And that marks the end of Day 6! I know, I failed at taking people pictures… again. However, FULL ALBUM HERE

Halifax Day 5: Markets, Settlers of Catan and Brussels

December 08, 2012

Saturday! Time to hit the markets!

The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market:

“Founded in 1750, The Halifax Farmers’ Market Cooperative is the oldest continuously running farmers’ market in North America. The first market vendors were Acadian – the original European immigrants to the land. Currently, the market has over 200 vendors selling some of Nova Scotia’s best local products including fresh produce, maple products, crafts, flowers, cheeses, meats, baked goods, coffee and so much more!

The Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market moved to its new location on Halifax’s Waterfront during the summer of 2010 at Pier 20, the busiest tourist entry point in the province. It is the heart of the cultural, social and community centre that is emerging in the Halifax Seaport Development.

We left Matt and Laura’s a little earlier than everyone else, just to take our time looking around. Soon, we had met up with Dan B & Natalie, Bill & Nina (New Germany), Matt & Laura and Mike & Tina (Bridgewater). Mike and I spent most of our time wandering and eating one dish after another, but don’t worry, it wasn’t all about us. We picked up a few gifts as well. 😛

Unfortunately, Bill & Nina’s daughter Lily was sick and staying at home with her grandma, Uta, so they couldn’t stay long. Everyone else was busy too, so it was really nice to see them one more time before going back to Ottawa, even if just for a few hours.

Matt and Laura headed home first while Michael took me to check out the Brewery Market. Unfortunately, most shops had closed up so we only did a quick walk around.

We spent the rest of the afternoon back and Matt & Laura’s playing Settlers of Catan. If you’ve never played:

“Players assume the roles of settlers, each attempting to build and develop holdings while trading and acquiring resources. Players are rewarded points as their settlements grow; the first to reach a set number of points is the winner. At no point in the game is any player eliminated.”

I had never played before and it initially sounded quite daunting. However, you quickly catch on to the rules of the game and it’s pretty fun. And I won the game, not bad for a noobie!

For dinner we went out to Brussels (another restaurant of the Hamachi restaurant group) where we met up with Dan R and I got to meet more of Mike’s friends for the first time: Christine and her husband Mike, as well as Will. Unfortunately, Laura was busy with work and couldn’t make it out.

Tastefully decorated with really nice ambiance. We ended up only ordering appetizers, but the ones I tasted were good! Everyone was also extremely pleased with the extensive beer selection and reasonable prices – multiple rounds were ordered 😀

I became slightly annoyed at our server by the end of the night. She was extremely happy and friendly, but got a little too close for comfort. She was constantly at our table taking part (very loudly) in whatever discussion was going on at the moment. Props to her though, she obviously has a lot of interests and is very easy to talk to… but there should be a level of professionalism maintained. When you’ve been standing at one end of the table talking for 20 minutes and someone at the other end can’t even get get your attention to order another drink, you are not doing your job well. Also, a water refill without asking would be nice! 😛

Good night though! And really nice to finally get to meet Christine and her husband, I had heard so many stories before today! Everyone except Dan R ended back at Matt & Laura’s for a drink before calling it a night.

And that marks the end of Day 5. I’ve realized I did not take any pictures of people today 😦

 

Halifax Day 4: Citadel, Boardwalk and Sushi

December 07, 2012

After breakfast at The Coastal Cafe, we had to take advantage of the temporary beautiful weather and do some outdoor activities.

First stop was the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site:

“The present Citadel was completed in 1856 and is the fourth in a series of British forts on this site. Today, the restored Citadel is a national landmark, commemorating Halifax’s role as a key naval station in the British Empire and bringing history to life in Atlantic Canada’s largest urban centre.”

Unfortunately, no services are offered between Nov 01 – May 06. None of the shops, exhibits or rooms were opened and there was nobody working that day. It didn’t matter, because we had the chance to peacefully walk around and take in all the sights – and didn’t have to pay a fee.

Just walking around along the bottom

Heading up to the top of the fort

One of the many canons

The view from up top, you can also see the famous Town Clock in this shot

The moat

Graffiti on the roof of the signal post

Before heading off, we stopped on the street to take a few photos of the Town Clock:

“The Town Clock, also sometimes called the Old Town Clock or Citadel Clock Tower, is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the historic urban core of Nova Scotia’s Halifax Regional Municipality.”

“Prince Edward, Duke of Kent commissioned a clock tower in 1800 prior to his return to England. The Town Clock opened on October 20, 1803 at a location on the east slope of Citadel Hill on Barrack (now Brunswick) Street and has kept time for the community ever since.

As a Halifax icon, the Town Clock has featured in many artwork, fictional and non-fictional accounts of Halifax. One among many is a depiction of the town clock as a character named Chimey in the children’s television show Theodore Tugboat.”

Sorry, these pictures are definitely not taken at the best angle!

We then went down and walked along the Halifax Waterfront Boardwalk:

“The Halifax boardwalk is open to the public 24 hours a day. The boardwalk also includes shops at Bishop’s Landing and the Historic Properties buildings as well as the “Cable Wharf” a former cable ship terminal now used as a tour boat base for several vessels including Theodore Too.

The boardwalk’s southern terminus is at Pier 21. It stretches northwards along the coast for approximately 3 km before it terminates in front of Casino Nova Scotia at its northern terminus. Three notable museums are located on the waterfront. The Pier 21 immigration museum is located at the southern terminus. The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic at the boardwalk’s centre and includes the museum ship CSS Acadia.”

The CSS Acadia

Low season = empty board walk + closed stores

The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic

The popular Wave sculpture. Apparently, it was restored just earlier this year! I was tempted to climb it as well, but didn’t want to break my front teeth… again.

In memory of 2200 known Canadian merchant seamen and 91 Canadian vessels lost by enemy action and those who served in the cause of freedom.

There was a cute old Asian man fishing just ahead with his wife. He was actually able to catch quite a few fish and even lured in curious passersby

Pier 21: Canada’s National Immigration Museum (I forgot to take pictures of the building itself)

“The Pier was the primary point of entry for over one million immigrants and refugees from Europe and elsewhere, as well as the departure point for 496,000 military personal Canadian troops during World War Two. The facility became known informally as the ‘Gateway to Canada.’ It closed in March 1971, due to a significant drop in immigration traffic as transportation modes switched from ocean-going-ships to jet airliners.”

At around this point, we headed back the way we came. Some views along the way back to the car…

With a few hours left before meeting some friends for dinner, we headed across the water to Dartmouth for some shopping at Dartmouth Crossing. Enormous success! Together we spent around $230 and saved around $300 for… many items!

Spying on Michael filling up the tank on the way back into the city

By evening, Matt was back from Moncton and we decided to have sushi dinner at Hamachi Mura. Dan and his fiancee Leigh Anne joined for dinner, giving us the pleasure of meeting her in person for the first time!

It was a good dinner with great company. We ended up checking out Dan and Leigh Anne’s new house afterwards. They were just starting the process of moving in but what a lovely home. Very happy for them! 🙂

Headed back to Matt & Laura’s (where we were staying while in Halifax) with Dan for a drink and a few laughs before calling it a night 🙂

And that marks the end of Day 4 – FULL ALBUM HERE!

Halifax Day 4: Breakfast @ The Coastal Cafe

December 07, 2012

We started the Friday morning with a delicious brunch at one of Michael’s favourite places – The Coastal Cafe

Got there just before the rush and were greeted with excellent service.

We started off with drinks. I got a blueberry pomegranate juice ($1.75) while Mike got a coffee 🙂

Mike had his heart set on his favourite, the McCoastal for $11.25 that included: 2 Fried Eggs, Maple Sausage or Montreal Bacon, Havarti, Roasted Onion Compote in an English Muffin w/ Hash or Salad. It sounded too good to pass up, I got it too!

The condiment stand was behind me – I’ve never seen such a great selection! And love the use of old Perrier bottles as well.

The food came out very quickly. We were also given the option of having a little bit of both the salad and home fries rather than just one or the other.

Breakfast was delicious. Loved the onion compote and Havarti never disappoints me. As we polished off our plates, the restaurant started to fill up and become extremely busy. There were people stopping in for take out as well.

As winner of The Coast – Best of Food Awards! Best Lunch 2008, Best Breakfast 4 years in a row (2009-2012), it comes as no surprise why Michael loves this place so much. I’m a new fan!

The Coastal Cafe on Urbanspoon

Halifax Day 3: Lunch @ Talay Thai

December 06, 2012

It was late afternoon by the time we got into Halifax and we still hadn’t lunch. Needless to say, we were starving! We decided to eat at one of Michael’s favourite restaurants, Talay Thai. Because some restaurants close in the afternoon between lunch and dinner, our only thought while walking towards the restaurant was, “Please don’t be closed, please don’t be closed!”

And it wasn’t!

There were 3 other groups dining when we arrived and were immediately shown to our seats. Beautifully decorated restaurant. The servers were also dressed in traditional Thai clothing, which was really nice to see.

We were immediately offered water and after a chance to ask a few questions regarding the menu items, it didn’t take us long to make up our mind. You can check out their full menu with prices HERE

I believe these are portraits of the younger King Adulyadej (Rama IX) and Queen Sirikit. I apologize if I’m wrong!

Our food came out quite quickly – steaming hot deliciousness! Presentation was beautiful, we couldn’t wait to dig in!

Duck Curry (Red curry paste w/ duck meat, coconut milk, pineapple, grape, lime leaves, basil & tomato) $13.95

This dish was rich, spicy and super yummy. I was also pleasantly surprised that they used only duck breast cuts!

Garlic Squid – Pla Muek Tod Katem (Deep fried squid w/ garlic & pepper)
$13.50

Also delicious, although the squid was slightly chewy. The pieces were large and it was difficult to take bites. I noticed the squid was lightly scored before being battered and fried, perhaps scoring it a little deeper might help? Still tasted great!

Our tummies were very happy by the time we were done. So filling as well, we didn’t even have room to try their desserts.

Talay Thai has earned numerous awards and recognitions, some of which are posted HERE

Beautiful restaurant, very reasonable prices, delicious food, prompt and wonderful service. I will definitely make Talay Thai a must-stop whenever I’m in Halifax!

Talay Thai Restaurant on Urbanspoon