For Christmas, my friend Andrea surprised me with one of my favourite gifts. There are five of us, all smiling and probably suppressing giggles (except Young, mid-laugh attack), hair windblown, sitting almost too-close-for-my-comfort to the edge on the rocks at Peggy’s Cove. This was our attempt at a seaside self-portrait; it being a weekday toward the end of tourist season and having ventured away from any crowds at the lighthouse there was no one else around to press the shutter button. So we piled our jackets and purses on a rock above us into some kind of makeshift tripod and gingerly placed Andrea’s camera atop it. After several failed shots – closed eyes, mouths mid-joke, blurs – we had our “selfie”. Back in September, five girls met in Halifax. Friends since high school, we’d been meaning to visit Kylie since she had moved out to the East coast almost two years ago, and we finally made it happen. Halifax was wonderful, but we could have been anywhere. Those girls make the destination.Kylie and her boyfriend Theo welcomed us for an extended weekend, and we crashed in their living room, cozily squeezed in between Theo’s refurbished antique radio and Kylie’s artwork. They were the loveliest of hosts – Theo even snuck in to the washroom with their blender to make his smoothies in the morning so as not to wake us four girls snoring on the floor. Talk about considerate. Our first night together involved chowing down on Halifax’s famous donair (I must admit to preferring Ottawa’s shawarma, though) and enjoying Theo’s homemade wine. In the morning, we wandered the streets of Halifax: along the sea, through the gorgeous public gardens, and down to the Farmers’ Market. We joined a crowded dancefloor for those toe tapping maritime tunes (and/or guilty pleasure Top 40 hits…), and sang along at the top of our lungs at The Lower Deck on a Sunday night. We drove out to Peggy’s Cove and spent a morning wave watching on the rocks, enjoying sea breezes and thoughts of the seafood chowder we were driving to next in colourful Lunenburg.Although I wasn’t there long, we managed to squeeze in quite a bit. Aside from a pretty wonderful lobster dinner that we cooked ourselves (it might have involved Theo frantically calling a chef friend after we realized our lobster had maybe expired when some fresh sink water got in to their bag…), we mostly ate while we were out and about. Here were some of our favourites:The Halifax Farmers’ Market: for fresh produce and locally made goods, annnnd to get a delicious breakfast – between our little group some of us got crêpes, others fresh smoothies, and samosas (along with some morning beer sampling!)
Garrison Brewing Co.: for tasty beers to go, and a great spot by the market for sample flights in the sunshine.
The Brooklyn Warehouse: for a changing seasonal/local menu. We had a great dinner here (and dessert – I refused to split my chocolate peanut butter tart, no regrets).
Stillwell Bar: for an impressive selection of local brews and an exciting menu of snacks.
The Lower Deck: for decent pub fare, but the highlight is the massive bar-wide sing along that will ensue when Signal Hill, cover band-extraordinaire, takes the stage. They’re usually there Sunday night, so if you want to be near the stage, get there early for dinner and claim your spot.
Salt Shaker Deli: for their award winning seafood chowder and their back deck overlooking lovely Lunenburg.
Beet & Hemp Heart Smoothie
I was a bit of an early riser and attempted to get up after nights out for runs down by the ocean, so I ended up being hungry before the rest of that gals were awake. Kylie sweetly accommodated me with smoothies, and reminded me of the great little tidbits that are hemp hearts! It seems silly to include a “recipe” for a smoothie, since I generally just throw whatever I have on hand in to a blender. But in case you’re not sure about putting beets into your smoothie rotation, here’s a suggestion. The “recipe” is totally tweak-able to your liking, of course.
¾ cup fresh orange juice
½ cup coconut milk, or plain yogurt
1 medium sized beet, peeled (raw or cooked—cooked is usually the better bet if you’re not sure if your blender can handle a raw beet)
1 cup strawberries (frozen, or fresh & hulled)
1 heaping tbsp. hemp hearts
1 tsp honey
3-4 ice cubes
Blend everything together, and enjoy!
(A very belated thank you, Kylie and Theo, for your wonderful hospitality – wine, smoothies, tour guiding & all. Welcome back to Ontario!)