I was reunited with Ms. Cailin Oâ€™Neil in Halifax a few weeks ago. Sheâ€™s always been my gateway to debauchery in the city, and in the past few years Iâ€™ve often crashed at her place after a night out. Once, I sleepwalked and stole her motherâ€™s makeup bag. (My travel sleepwalking habits probably deserve a post of their own.)
But Cailin has since moved to the outskirts of town, and so on my latest trip to the city, we kinda splurged and made a night out of it.
1. Dress up and go to Tempo Food + Drink
Tempo Food + Drink is one of Halifaxâ€™s newest restaurants. Itâ€™s a â€œcontemporary, urban open-kitchen eateryâ€ located downtown. Probably a too-classy establishment, really, for rift-raft like me.
I was stoked about the tapas menu, being nostalgic for my latest NYC tapas experience, and told the waiter straight up I wanted everything. Everything on the menu. EVERYTHING.
He blinked at me, explained they were pretty much just appetizer sized, and so Cailin made fun of me and then we decided to start rolling them out as the night moved on.
Good thing, too. Because I probably consumed about 20 lbs of food.
My favourites were the kataifi (shredded phyllo, scallops, charred corn, mustard puree), the fried artichokes, the four-dip combo, and the mini TEMPOra box. Also maybe just because I like the play on words.
BUT the very best was the Thai style chicken on a stick, with pickled mango and coconut. It might have been the softest thing Iâ€™ve ever put in my mouth (TWSS).
They do a really great cocktail and wine menu as well, but it was here that Cailin and I discovered Barking Squirrel Lager from Hop City, and our lives were forever transformed. For the evening.
AND the chef is a Newfoundlander. Winning combination.
2. Stay at a fancy-pants downtown/central hotel, like Atlantica
We were already late for drinks with some friends by the time we checked into Atlantica, but then wine and dessert magically appeared at our front door and so we texted everyone and said we were occupied. With wine.
No word of a lie, this Leon Millot stuff by Jost is the only red wine Iâ€™ve ever actually enjoyed. LOVED, evenâ€¦and I suspect itâ€™s because itâ€™s been aged for five years. Maybe I do have a refined palate. Or maybe I was just already tipsy. Who knows? It was delicious, and so was dessert.
3. Find a corner table at The Economy Shoe Shop and order more nachos
Alright, around here our girlsâ€™ evening unraveled into meeting some long lost friends that I hadnâ€™t seen in forever. Halifax is like a second home to me, and some of my most favourite people in the world live there. So naturally we had more beersâ€¦and then some more beersâ€¦and then even some nachos. And then more beers.
4. Be hotel fabulous
I apologize, Atlantica, but your beds are just too perfect for jumping on. And then reading the fashion section of The Globe and Mail the following morning while wearing sweatpants and high heels.
I was fortunate enough to stay here again the following week, when my flight to St. Johnâ€™s was cancelled. So I ordered room service, asked for a late checkout, and worked my butt off for HOURS. I love Atlantica. And you, Halifax.