Last moments with friends in Halifax

September 12, 2014

Our last night in Halifax, Matt and Laura were kind enough to let us have a BBQ at their house for one last chance to see everyone! Thank you Dan, Will, Ian & Sarah, Mike & Tina, and Christine & Stella for dropping by and spending time with us! We will miss you all!

Here are a few photos I took with Laura and Christine and their daughters playing outside while we waited for the boys to return from Go-Karting.

Beep beep!

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Stella was so shy initially!

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Isabelle is such a miniature version of Matt, it is uncanny. So adorable!

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Haha, this is her ‘smelling the flowers’ face, so cute!

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Hopping/skipping/running down the neighbourhood!

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Smiles with Christine and Isabelle!

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Some mommy daughter moments

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Sorry I didn’t take more photos with everyone who came by, but thank you to EVERYONE for your time and hospitality during our stay in Halifax, we miss you all tons!

Blackberries at Point Pleasant Park

September 07, 2014

This should’ve been talked about a few posts back, oops!

The evening of our Food Truck Adventure Day, we decided to go for a nice stroll in Point Pleasant Park

Our biggest surprise, blackberries. Blackberries everywhere! Bushes with huge, ripe, sweet blackberries at every turn. Even though we were completely stuffed from our food truck adventure, we ate so many blackberries, it was ridiculous.

We walked around with a never ending palm-ful of blackberries because… looks how many are around! 😛

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Even the park animals were enjoying them!

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After eating our weight in blackberries, we spent 5 minutes picking some to take home for Laura and Isabelle. Look how many we picked in such a short period of time!

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Although distracted, we eventually made it to the tip of Point Pleasant Park while the sun was still up! This is looking out at the mouth of Halifax Harbour – you can see McNabs Island in the distance…. and the moon, and a cargo ship.

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Lots of smooth rocks on the shore for stone skipping!

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(We are such losers, I couldn’t remember the word ‘shore’ and asked Mike what is the area between land and water for this photo called. He answered, quite seriously, “the rock carpet.” I had to look up synonyms for the word ‘beach’ to enlighten myself. Early morning brain fart for the both of us!)

I love him 🙂

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Post exam dinner at Agricola Street Brasserie

September 11, 2014

Ecstatic to have completed our Medical Specialties exam, we were looking forward to a nice dinner with friends. A highly anticipated visit to Agricola Street Brasserie – finally! We were joined for dinner by Laura, Matt and their daughter Isabelle, as well as Ian & Sarah. 🙂

I have to apologize that we didn’t take many photos, too busy enjoying the food and everyone’s company!

You are immediately invited into the restaurant by the great atmosphere and friendly waitstaff. High ceilings, very rustic (yet classy) looking with mood lighting.

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We all enjoyed a cocktail to start, great choices available, although I can’t remember what we ordered now! Once our dinner orders in, some nice house bread and whipped butter were brought to the table. The butter was presented in cute mini jam jars, a cute touch!

We ordered a few appetizers to share, including a cheese plate with local and imported cheeses ($14). The cheese variety (can’t remember, sorry!) was interesting and tasty, served with bread, crisps and mango chutney. I think most of us enjoyed the blue cheese most, which was unexpected! With the amount of cheese on the plate, it could’ve definitely used more crisps or bread, although I’m sure it wouldn’t have been a problem if we had asked for more.

Mike and I picked out 2 dishes to try and share with everyone. The first was Classic Beef Tartare ($15). I quite liked the presentation of this dish, mainly because of the egg yolk in a half shell you pour over the beef yourself. Simple, but nice touch! The tartare was nicely seasoned accompanied perfectly with the dijon mustard and served with grilled bread – yum!

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The other appetizer we chose was Snails & Mushrooms, Garlic & Parsley Butter, Almond & Thyme Tartine ($13). This dish was fantastic! Heaping amounts of really tasty large snails and mushrooms atop 3 slices of bread. The bread soaked up all the juices, making sure we didn’t lose any of the delicious flavours! Unfortunately, only one other person at the table, aside from Mike and I, tried this dish with us. The others missed out!

The appetizer portions were a great value for the price. Unlike numerous other restaurants we’ve visited, these appetizers could easily be enjoyed between a group of 6 people!

For mains, Michael chose the Thai Sausage, Stir Fried Brussel Sprouts, Thai Chilies, Cilantro ($19). Really tasty dish with a lovely fragrant and texture to the sausage. However, we both felt that it could’ve used a small portion of seasoned rice or other form of carb to balance out the taste and look of this dish.

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Ian and myself chose the Basmati Rice & Chick Pea Salad, Vegetables & Herbs, Ginger, Lime, Olive Oil ($14). Flavours, delicious. I loved the crispness of the fried chick peas, they added really good texture to the dish. I’m generally not a fan of basmati rice compared to other types but this salad was done well with fresh vegetables and a nice, crisp dressing. The only thing about this dish that I didn’t enjoy? Too many hot chilies for my palate, I had to pick out quite a few!

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Other mains ordered at our table include the Roasted Halibut, Sweet Pea Puréeé, Mussel Butter, Pea & Brocoli ($27) which was thoroughly enjoyed with no complaints.

Another was the Seared Scallops, Cauliflower three ways, Bacon, Apple & Thyme ($25), which was unfortunately a disappointment. The scallops did not have a beautiful golden sear on them and the vegetables, especially cauliflower three ways, was too lacking. Compared to the serving size of other dishes, including appetizers, this one was tiny. Visually and conceptually, I think this dish needs to be rethought.

At one point during our dinner, the restaurant manager, Peter Goneau, stopped by our table to say hello and see how the evening was going. Mike and I always appreciate when staff go the extra mile to check in on their customers!

Everybody enjoyed desserts, some of which are not listed on the current menu. Matt had ordered a creme brulee while Laura enjoyed a sundae. Ian and Sarah enjoyed a chocolate pot de creme.

Mike and I shared what we thought would be a strawberry cheesecake. But it turned out to be almost a mix between cheesecake and strawberry shortcake. Mike was so disappointed but I quite liked it!

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At one point during dinner, I took a bathroom break, where I discovered 2 things:

  1. Really cool toilets! Individual private bathrooms with great personality. Love some of the unique touches like the faucets, and the door handles which were crafted from pipes.
  2. The open kitchen, that you can sit and dine at. As this area is tucked away from the main dining room, I had no idea but this would definitely be where I’d want to sit at for my next meal. Enjoying good food while seeing the magic happen in the kitchen, yes please!

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Great ambiance, attentive service, reasonable prices and overall very tasty food – one of my most enjoyable restaurant experiences during my time in Halifax. I’m keen to see what seasonal dishes will be on their menu the next time I visit!

Agricola Street Brasserie on Urbanspoon

One last meal with Bill at Dharma Sushi

Sept 10, 2014

Bill drove Michael up into the city from New Germany as we had our final exam the following day.

Of course, we couldn’t say farewell without a final meal together. We ended up at Dharma Sushi, one of Bill’s favourite Japanese restaurants. Walked into a narrow restaurant with 2 rows of small tables lining the walls, a few occupied by obvious regular patrons – always a good sign!

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Started with some warm sake around the table! Couldn’t celebrate too much, had an exam to study for! 😉

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We shared a couple of appetizers, including a dish of Gyoza (6pcs for $7.95). Thin, crispy, delicate skins enveloping a nicely seasoned meat filling.

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I also chose a 10pc Dharma Diamond specialty roll with crispy avocado, Eel, Salmon, & spicy sauce with golden roe and chives on top ($12.95). Lovely blend of textures and flavours, highly recommend this roll if you’re dining at Dharma Sushi!

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For mains, we all couldn’t pass up the new menu item: Dharma Ramen with shio-kouji (salted rice malt) based broth ($10.95). The ramen was good, but not the best we’ve ever tasted. Bill loved the ramen, however, both Mike and I found the broth needed more flavour. The noodles were excellent, but some fattier slices of pork and a medium boiled egg would’ve certainly added more richness to the dish.

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It was nice to see you Bill, thanks again for everything!

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A great little restaurant offering delicious Japanese cuisine with exceptional quality service, highly recommend! Would love to visit again when I’m back in Halifax to try some of their other dishes!

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Dharma Sushi on Urbanspoon

Fantastic dinner at Seoul

Sept 06, 2014

Had the opportunity to visit Dan and Natalie and see their lovely apartment, meet their cute dogs, and catch up!

We then headed over to Seoul for dinner, one of their favourite Korean restaurants. Tucked inside the first floor of a building on Duke St, you could easily walk by without noticing!

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The restaurant was quite empty for dinner time, with only 2 other tables of Korean patrons. Unfortunate, because from the quality of food we had, it should be bustling! Clean with modest decor consisting of mainly wall decals and accent walls.

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We were immediately greeted, shown to a table and given menus.

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Between the 4 of us, we enjoyed 3 different appetizers.

Kimchijeon (Korean kimchi pancake, $6.99) which was crispy on the edges and interspersed with yummy pieces of the fermented cabbage.

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Tteokbokki ($7.99). Chewy rice cakes with slices of fish cake and onions smothered in a thick gochujang (Korean chili paste) based sauce. Served piping hot, adding to the spiciness satisfaction!

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Gunmandu ($9.99 for 10 pcs) – fried dumplings with crispy shells and filled generously with delicious meat!

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Dan and Natalie!

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For mains, Michael and I shared an order of Bibimbap ($14.50) which is a sizzling dish of rice with an assortment of seasoned vegetables, meat, topped with an egg and served in a hot stone pot. One of our favourite Korean dishes and the quality of this one did not disappoint!

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Natalie and Dan ordered Jaeyuk Bokum ($14.50) which was very tasty! Extremely tender, well marinated pork stir fried with kim chi and gochujang, I think this was the best dish of the night 🙂

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The main dishes also came with a bowl of miso soup and side salad – which were simple yet still good.

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The quality of each dish was excellent, coupled with very reasonable prices! The only hiccup during our dinner – we weren’t checked on during our meal and staff weren’t really circulating as the restaurant wasn’t busy. As a result, empty water glasses around the table while eating spicy food! Would be great to have call buttons at each table like we’ve seen in many Korean and Japanese restaurants, or water jugs/bottles left at the table. That way, staff only need to come around when needed and everyone is happy 🙂 Would definitely recommend Seoul for great Korean food!

So lovely to see you guys again! Hopefully next time we’ll be catching up in Ottawa 😉

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Seoul on Urbanspoon

Camping at Kejimkujik National Park

August 30 – 31, 2014

We spent Friday night at Mike & Christine’s party with good food and surrounded by great company with the chance for me to meet a lot of their friends for the first time.

After a sleep over at their place, we headed off to Kejimkujik National Park Saturday morning for a weekend of camping! We would be camping with Mike, Christine, their daughter Stella, as well as Nathan (Mike’s cousin), his wife Lisa and their daughter Amy.

We hit the road first, as we needed to pick up a few things on the way, including some groceries and a canoe rental. It took about 1.5 hours to reach Keji Park, where we picked up our canoe and drove to Big Dam Lake.

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From the parking lot, we had to carry all our gear and portage (carry over land) our canoe about 600m to the Big Dam Lake. Don’t know how he does it!

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It took a couple of trips and some muscle use, but we made it to the dock, loaded up our canoe and paddled to our campsite.

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The lake was nice and calm 🙂

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Roar!

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My handsome fiance!

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We were the first to reach the campsite around 1:30pm. We had expected Nathan and his family to arrive before us, so assumed they were held up due to responsibilities of having a young child. We set up our tent, organised some belongings and went for a canoe paddle around the lake.

The campsite was completely private with no one else around.There was also an outhouse with toilet paper and chopped wood provided.

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Nearly 5pm, we decided to paddle back to the dock to await the arrival of the two families. We knew with 2 young children, they would have a lot of gear and a 3rd canoe for transport might come in handy. It was perfect timing. As we approached the dock, we could see that they had just arrived and were in the process of transporting their stuff from the car to the dock. We loaded up our canoe with as much stuff as possible and headed back to the campsite first.

Everyone eventually made it! Camp was set up and we had a yummy campfire dinner of pork/sausage and veggies, thanks to Christine!

View of sunset over Big Dam Lake from our campsite

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This is Stella, Mike and Christine’s cute daughter! She is an adventurer, completely fearless and as a result, more accident prone 😉

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Boinking heads with her dad

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Nathan with Mike and Stella in the background

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Cooking bacon over the fire the following morning for breakfast!

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Nathan and Lisa’s daughter, she’s a cutie as well!

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That look of concentration!

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Doing the Itsy Bitsy Spider with dad in the canoe

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Bed hair!

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A mommy daughter moment

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What is camping without a fire?

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Just capturing some moments around the campsite!

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Breakfast!

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More family moments

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Mike and I went for another canoe ride Sunday morning

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Gorgeous!

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Ran into an adult and juvenile loon

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So many mushrooms around the campsite. “Every mushroom you see is a place someone has peed” 😉

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We headed back to camp to for lunch!

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So cute!

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The 2 families would be staying at camp for another night, Mike and I said farewell Sunday afternoon and headed back first! It was lovely to have spent time with them and meeting Nathan and his family! Thanks for taking care of us guys!

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A great camping experience, my first time portaging and canoeing, fun! Hopefully will have the chance for a longer trip in the future!

CLICK HERE to view the complete Keji photo album!

Experiencing my first donair from KoD

For years, I have been told that donairs are amazing and that I must try them. Hailing from Ottawa, I wonder how anything could compare to the glorious shawarma 😛 Well finally, I had the chance to judge for myself!

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Mike and I stopped by King of Donair for my first taste. It was completely empty, despite being the best in Halifax! 😛

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We ordered a regular donair with donair meat, onions, tomatoes, and donair sauce. First impression – certainly does not look appealing, and could use some more veggies! However, it was pretty tasty.

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The donair sauce is sweet (garlic, condensed milk, sugar, vinegar – from what I tasted) and addictive, I can see why it’s unique! However, donair meat is such a mystery… to the point that it looks quite unappealing from a health point of view. I wish I knew exactly what meats/cuts I was eating. Otherwise, although Michael said the quality of these donairs were acceptable, from his years of living in Halifax, I found them tasty and I would definitely have it again!

We also ordered a side of donair egg rolls, which were simply egg rolls stuffed with donair meat, and accompanied by a side of donair sauce. What could possibly go wrong with deep fried goodness? 😛

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Completely different than a shawarma, but I will definitely be missing donairs when I’m back in Brisbane!

King of Donair on Urbanspoon

Dinner at Brooklyn Warehouse

August 22, 2014

We didn’t think we would be able to get a place at Brooklyn Warehouse on a Friday evening without reservations but luckily, a table for 2 was available outside!

Sheltered, which I always appreciate, especially in the evening! Sorry, didn’t take photos of what the restaurant looked like on the inside.

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Service was great, friendly and attentive without being too pushy. We were quickly offered a drinks menu, which we ordered to start.

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I got the Wasabi Caesars with vodka, shochu, clamato and pickled snow peas. I’d never had anything like that before, it was delicious! However, because it was very spicy and explosive in flavours, don’t do what I did and have it with your meal, it doesn’t pair as nicely as a wine! 😉 Mike got a Boxing Rock Red which he enjoyed.

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The food menu was in the form of chalkboards strategically located around the restaurant, offering a view from wherever you were sitting.

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I chose the NS rabbit carbonara house fettuccine with bacon and herb crumb ($26). The pasta was nicely cooked and rabbit was tender and moist. However, although it might be difficult to gauge from this photo, but the portion was tiny. We found it hard to believe that this was supposed to a main dish, it looked more like an appetizer.

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Mike had the Maple glazed halibut with polenta, thyme, and pickled blueberries ($26). The flavours were great, unfortunately, the halibut was overcooked and as a result quite dry. Similar to mine, this dish was also quite small.

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Brooklyn Warehouse offers a pleasant dining atmosphere with great service and well thought out dishes and drinks. However, although the food is delicious, the servings are too small while being on the pricier side! We hope to leave with bellies more satisfied on our next visit!

The Brooklyn Warehouse on Urbanspoon

Good times in Halifax

Mike gave me a lovely surprise when he picked me up at the airport in Halifax on the evening of August 16th. I was expecting to go back to Matt & Laura’s – where he had been staying and where I would be staying for the month. Instead, he took me to Holiday Inn Habourview for an evening together with just the 2 of us. After weeks of being apart, it was so nice to spend time with just him.  We even went fancy and had McDonald’s for late dinner 😛 Here’s the view from our balcony, from Dartmouth looking over at Halifax.

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The following morning, Matt was kind enough to come and bring us back to his place. Shortly after, while they were out visiting family, Mike and I went for a drink at Lion & Bright on Agricola St.

Loved the atmosphere! High ceilings with communal and private tables, even work stations. On one side, it is a cafe but come evening, it blends perfectly to a wine bar/restaurant.

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We snacked on maple chili popcorn, which was an interesting combination, and enjoyed a glass of red. Unfortunately, they don’t have a drinks menu online and we can’t remember what we had off the top of our head – it was good wine though!

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Unfortunately, the weekend was short lived and Michael soon had to head off for his elective in Bridgewater, leaving me in Halifax. Luckily, I was never truly alone as I stayed with Matt & Laura! 🙂 I definitely worked hard and long hours in hospital during the weekdays, but weekends were always full of fun!

Here are some weekend highlights. Many of them will have their own separate post, so stay tuned!

August 22 – 24

  • Dinner at the Brooklyn Warehouse with my love
  • Spending time with Bill and Nina’s family on their farm in New Germany and even sneaking in some photography! Matt & Laura come down as well, enjoyed a yummy dinner of Banh Mi.

August 29 – Sept 1 (Labour Day long weekend)

  • Had my first donair at King of Donair! According to Mike, the quality was merely acceptable but I could definitely see the appeal! That sweet sauce is pretty addictive!
  • Party at Mike & Christine’s on Friday! Lots to celebrate, but especially Christine soon starting on a new journey in becoming a Registered Nurse! Got to meet so many of their lovely friends and shared so many laughs.
  • Camping on Saturday with Mike, Christine & Stella, as well as Mike’s cousin Nathan, his wife Lisa and their daughter Amy at Kejimkujik Park. My first time experiencing camping with canoes and portaging!
  • Yummy pizza at 2 Papa’s Pizza & Donairs in New Germany on the way back from camping
  • More time with Bill, Nina and the kids! Even got a taste of Bill’s cooking – Okonomiyaki!
  • Visited Dan & Leigh Anne at their home and had a wonderful dinner! My first time having chili (vegetarian), mmm! So happy for the chance to catch up with them, but especially Leigh Anne who was around 38 weeks pregnant and ready to be holding her son in her arms!

Sept 5 – 7

  • BBQ at Matt and Laura’s on Friday, which I almost missed because we were so busy, I didn’t get out of the hospital until 8:30pm 😛
  • Breakfast on Saturday at The Armview with Matt, Isabelle, Ian and his pregnant wife Sarah! Also had the chance to see Al (as he works at the restaurant), which was great!
  • Breakfast was followed by shopping with Mike in Dartmouth! Stocked up on some clinical clothing for good prices!
  • We spent the evening at Dan and Natalie’s, catching up and then went for a delicious Korean dinner at Seoul.
  • Sunday was pretty exciting. We went on a Food truck adventure! That’s code for we just ate, all day. It was spectacular.

Sept 10

  • Bill drove Mike into the city on Wednesday as we had our exam the following day. Couldn’t leave without one last meal together. I have never been a fan of raw oysters (and I’ve tried numerous times). I finally had the first ‘delicious’ oyster at The Five Fishermen! This was followed by Japanese dinner at Dharma Sushi.

Sept 11

  • Finished our Medical Specialties exam Thursday afternoon! It was not as bad as we anticipated, although still awaiting results. We celebrated that evening, dinner at Agricola Street Brasserie with Matt, Laura, Isabelle, Ian and Sarah!

Sept 12

  • Our last night in Halifax. We had a wonderful time with Matt & Laura, Will, Dan (Leigh Anne was resting at home), Mike & Tina, and Ian & Sarah – BBQ, catch ups and a good game of Cards Against Humanity

I had an amazing time in Halifax, thank you for everyone’s time and hospitality! ❤

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

Halifax Day 3: Mahone Bay, Peggy’s Cove, the city and more

December 06, 2012

Today, we leave New Germany for Halifax. But before we did that, I finally got to see a little bit of Bill & Nina’s property. It was too muddy to go far, but my camera still loved it.

Their chickens!

Bill is in the process of building a new addition to the house

Not sure if this shed is functional, but it made for a cool picture

The barn where the boys jam, with the chicken coop on the other side. I especially like the initial “G” of their last name.

They’ve got water running through their property and even had salmon in their pond at one point. If you look closely, you will see an abandoned car, that was there since before they moved in.

Uta (Nina’s mom) lives on the adjacent property so Mike drove us out to quickly take a look

They’ve got horses!

Uta lives on probably the highest peak in the area, what a great view! And that’s Bill & Nina’s car, which they kindly lent us for the duration of our stay 🙂

The drive into Halifax begins! First off… Tim Horton’s for breakfast, we were hungry.

I discovered they have a Maple Cinnamon French Toast Bagel – best thing ever!

And of course, for the road 😛

Stopping in Mahone Bay!

Hopefully you can see their iconic 3 churches on the waterfront. From left to right: St James’ Anglican Church (newest, 1887), St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church (1869) and United Church (1885).

We also stopped at the Swissair Flight 111 Memorial at Whalesback, just north of Peggy’s Cove.

Swissair Flight 111 (SR-111, SWR-111) was a Swissair McDonnell Douglas MD-11 on a scheduled airline flight from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, United States to Cointrin International Airport in Geneva, Switzerland. This flight was also a codeshare flight with Delta Air Lines.

On Wednesday, 2 September 1998 the aircraft used for the flight, registered HB-IWF, crashed into the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Halifax International Airport at the entrance to St. Margarets Bay, Nova Scotia. The crash site was 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) from shore, roughly equidistant from the tiny fishing and tourist communities of Peggys Cove and Bayswater. All 229 people on board died.[2] It was the highest-ever death toll of any single-aeroplane aviation accident both for Swissair and for the McDonnell Douglas MD-11.

Looking out towards the crash site

The inukshuk I saw off in the distance from the memorial site, thought it was really neat.

Peggy’s Cove! Very picturesque but super windy and freezing!

It was SO windy, our eyeballs and eardrums froze!

And we were soon back on the road continuing into Halifax. Some of the pretty views we saw along the way into the city:

The sun came out for just a few minutes!

My first windmill up close! I was pleasantly surprised to not hear any hum at all until I was about 10m away from the shaft.

Another windmill had been dismantled and lying on the ground next to the scrap metal yard. Thought this picture provided an interesting point of view.

After some fun in the yard, we continued on and finally reached Halifax.

Once in the city, we stopped at Talay Thai, one of Michael’s favourite spots, for a late lunch. I will write a separate blog post about this place because it was delicious!

Stopped along a few other places on the way back to Matt & Laura’s:

Saw Theodore Tugboat!

Tufts Cove Generating Station across the water, in Dartmouth

We finally got to Matt and Laura’s in the early evening. Matt was out in Moncton until the next afternoon but it was so nice to see Laura again – and pregnant too! 🙂 We had a bit of time to catch up with her before heading out to meet up with Mike’s old lab mates at Your Father’s Moustache for dinner. The Stache was unbelievably busy because it was Wing Night. And perhaps we should’ve gotten wings, because their nachos were NOT good!

It was really nice to meet everyone: Dan (in 2nd year Dentistry) and his girlfriend Natalie (a teacher), Ryan, Gavin, Michael H and Ayhem (both in 2nd year Med at Dal). Dinner was followed by more drinks downstairs until we called it a night 🙂

And that marks the end of Day 3! There are many more pictures, FULL ALBUM HERE

Halifax Day 2: Lunenburg and Skyfall

December 05, 2012

Woke up to a completely silent house as Bill & Nina were already at work. We started the day with breakfast and Michael gave me a tour of their place. I’d been told many stories last night of the work they had done to the place, which now looks great! Bill still has numerous projects on the go and I guess there’s always more work to be done!

They live on many acres of land (with horses and chickens!) and I really wanted to take a walk around to see their property but unfortunately, it was raining – bleh!

Instead, we headed out to Lunenburg about 40 minutes away.

Boots, check! Umbrella, check (although I soon learned umbrellas are my enemies here)! Cameras, check! Away we go!

We were hoping to see the Bluenose II, replica of the fishing schooner Bluenose (yes, the one on the dime), but alas, it wasn’t docked!

Instead, we had fish & chips at The Dockside Inn & Restaurant.The wall paintings were nice but the furniture was a little outdated. I also dislike carpet in a restaurant because it gets sooo dirty! Food was good though, but we were overcharged which was a little annoying.

Went for a walk after lunch. It would’ve been a lovely view, if not for the rain. 😛 In addition to the weather, it is also low season at the moment, so we did not see another soul!

Fishermen’s Memorial and Tribute in Lunenburg, on South Shore of Nova Scotia.  The Memorial forms a compass and lists Names of Sailors (Men and Women) and Ships who were lost at Sea.  “Dedicated to the memory of those who have gone down to the sea in ships and who have never returned – and – as a tribute to those who continue to occupy their business in great waters.”

After Lunenburg, we headed into Bridgewater, where we met Bill, Nina, Uta and Lily for dinner at Food Revolution. Unfortunately, the restaurant experience was not as great as we were hoping.

Mike and I were still quite full so only ordered appetizers – those came out quite quickly. I got baked (deepfried) ravioli that were quite bland if not for a creamy dipping sauce they squirted on top. Mike ordered baked brie that came out with plain white toast, a little disappointing. The others had to wait forever for their mains to come out. Bill and Nina got chicken shawarmas and Uta ordered a pizza – I do not know why it took so long for their food. In the meantime, poorly chosen music is blasting through the speakers (eventually had to ask them to change the music and turn it down) and there was a significant cold draft over the table.

After dinner, we stopped by Mike and Tina’s place (they have the prettiest cats and the cutest dog named Molly) to drop Lily off. We hung out for a bit before it was time to head to the movie theatre to watch Skyfall!

The movie was… alright, definitely not as good as Michael and I were expecting. I cannot say this was my favourite Bond movie, but Adele did a great job with the song.

Headed back to Bill and Nina’s for a second night. And that marks the end of Day 2! 🙂 See the FULL ALBUM HERE!

Halifax Day 1: Delays and New Germany

December 04, 2012

My flight for Halifax was at 11:20am. I was happy to be through security and at my boarding gate by 10:45am.

Unfortunately, we boarded late. And then we sat on the plane going nowhere – for an hour. Then they told us to get off the plane where we waited some more. Finally, they put us on a different plane and got us to our destination… nearly 3 hours late. I especially find it annoying when airlines make up excuses to explain the delays (loading luggage, waiting to be cleared for take off, etc). Then the delay becomes too long so they finally tell the truth, which is pretty much, “There’s something seriously wrong with the plane. We thought we could fix it, but we couldn’t and it’s not safe to fly. Sorry!”

But more importantly, I finally made it to Halifax where Michael was waiting to pick me up. So good to see him, even though we had only been apart for 2 weeks. ^_^

He knows me too well, got me Almondillos! Chocolate, my favourite. Instant boost of mood.

We then began the drive back to New Germany to stay with Mike’s friends Bill & Nina (and their amazingly cute daughter Lily). On the way, we stopped at a Sobey’s to pick up some ingredients for dinner since we wanted to pitch in and help out a little.

So dark and lonely on the road.

I think it was around 8pm when we finally arrived at Bill and Nina’s. I felt immediately welcomed and met Nina’s mom, Uta, as well. Nina and Uta made Schnitzel, mashed potatoes, beans, stirfried mushrooms and onions. Mike and I made coconut basil tempura shrimp. Had a lovely dinner getting to know everyone before calling it a night shortly after.

A short post, but that marks the end of Day 1! 🙂

Photo #285: Iron in Water

December 09, 2012

One of my favourite places I visited in Halifax – Crystal Crescent Beach. Such lovely views and scenic trails! You can see a little stream (pond?) in this picture with dark brown water, apparently from high iron content. I thought the contrast of blue and brown water so close to each other was neat.