Our roundup of food, culture and travel news for Fall 2020

Our roundup of food, culture and travel news for Fall 2020

Side Hustle Snack Bar
Can a family-friendly brewery be home to one of Dartmouth’s best new restaurants?
Words and photos by Gabby Peyton

These days the moniker ‘family-friendly’ doesn’t exactly scream ‘trendy’ when it comes to restaurants. Images of bustling chain restaurants with mediocre food and tired mom-and-pop eateries inevitably come to mind. It’s not often the term “family” is incorporated with a restaurant at all, let alone a brewery. But Side Hustle Snack Bar has done the unthinkable—they opened up inside a brewery and they’ve got a kids menu to boot. 

I travel to Halifax regularly and visiting with friends is a different ball game than when I lived there during university years—our group has doubled in size because of all the kids. Naturally, we need to go to a place that offers up great food and beer but also a place where families are comfortable. And it was a growing family that inspired food stylist and writer Kathy Jollimore, together with husband Brent Darbyson, to open Side Hustle Snack Bar inside North Brewing Co’s new Dartmouth location in September 2019. After the birth of their second child, the two moved to Cow Bay for more space and ended up running a kitchen at a brewery that seats 120 people.

North Brewing Co’s impeccably designed space (courtesy of local designer Maia LaPierre) is probably the most beautiful brewery I’ve ever visited. It’s bright and airy with punches of pale orange and turquoise accents paired with French-looking bar stools. A large gallery wall of colourful paintings welcomes guests upon entry, which gives way to a cluster of camel-hued leather couches where we set up camp, kids in tow, for an early lunch. There were legos, colouring books, and other assorted toys to keep kiddos occupied while we responsibly sipped on North Brewing’s Champagne IPA and perused Side Hustle’s offerings.  

   The trendy, simple menu mirrors the locale, so expect lots of salty, fried foods that not only pair well with beer but make you want to drink more. The Fritters ($12) lean into their Indian influence; plentiful and crispy, those vegetable pakoras were dunked into their accompanying tamarind chutney and finished in no time flat. The shared Kimchi Fries ($10) was also a hit with the group. Even though they were piled high with Asian-inspired sauces, green onions and plenty of kimchi, they didn’t get soggy. 

Several in our party (including me) opted for the Smash Burger with a very generous portion of fries ($15). I blissfully bit into the perfectly smashed patties, ooey-gooey cheese and pickles. If this isn’t the perfect diner-style burger, I don’t know what is. The kiddos also opted for cheeseburgers, brought out on miniature trays and no table negotiations were needed to clear their plates. 

A few plates of The Nashville ($12 for just the sandwich, $16 with choice of salad or fries) also made their way to the table. Side Hustle’s version of the iconic Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich is succinct and easy to eat with crispy fried chicken thighs dusted in cayenne and topped with pickles and slaw on top of soft texas toast. 

With the brewery scene overflowing here in Atlantic Canada, opting for a bright and familiar family-friendly in-house restaurant is a bold move but at North Brewing it works. Side Hustle shines in this family affair, pumping out delicious pub favourites with global influence. 

Side Hustle Snack Bar
899 Portland Street, Dartmouth, N.S.
Tuesdays 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Wednesdays 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Thursdays and Fridays 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturdays 10:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Sundays 10:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Closed Mondays

LEFT: Kenneth McRobbie (left) and Colin Blanchard (right). RIGHT: Dutch Colonial design from their online portfolio, 31westgate.myshopify.com

Success by design
Even during the pandemic, Nova Scotia’s celebrity design duo are global trendsetters

World renowned interior designers Colin Blanchard and Kenneth McRobbie, have had their work featured in LA Weekly, Traditional Home Magazine and Million Dollar Decorating, among others. Recent successes include condo renos, new builds, residential waterfront properties and a boutique hotel. Currently, they’re working on the redesign of their own new home: Andrew Cobb’s 1937 residence in Bedford, N.S. (Cobb, FYI, was one of the most renowned architects in Atlantic Canada of his time.)

The only bump in their forward momentum was when the pandemic forced the closure of their retail store 31 Westgate (on Doyle Street, Halifax). Demand for their carefully curated merchandise, however, wasn’t slowed for long. Instead of shopping in-store for Blanchard and McRobbie’s vintage décor and exclusive product lines (think Ralph Lauren Home, Century Furniture, Libeco Linens and Mulberry Home wallcoverings), discerning local consumers joined their peers across Canada, the United States and Germany. In other words, they went online.

That wasn’t the only change. FaceTime and Zoom meetings replaced in-person consultations while online tutorials guided customers through DIY projects. The results were evident at the register: sales of Farrow & Ball paint (another product exclusive to 31 Westgate) were actually up 25 per cent. Since the store reopened, traffic is slower than it used to be but those who do appear in-person are best described as serious buyers.

Blanchard and McRobbie’s unique style, a comfortably complimentary blend of historic and contemporary spaces, has even attracted the attention of custom furniture maker Vanguard in North Carolina. The dynamic duo has been invited to create a designer line for the luxury manufacturer.

Fall into reading list

Five Atlantic Canadian books to enjoy on cool Autumn nights

  • Are you kidding me? Chronicles of an ordinary life
    Lesley Crewe
    In her latest book, award-winning novelist and humorist Lesley Crewe has combined more than a decade’s worth of witty columns in The Cape Bretoner Magazine, Cahoots Magazine, and The Chronicle Herald, talking about everything from Oscar the Grouch to the death of her mother.
    Nimbus Publishing, Paperback, 256 pages, ISBN 9781771087926
  • A Roll of the Bones
    Trudy Morgan-Cole
    This work of fiction takes place in 17th century Cupids, Newfoundland and follows the lives of three women as they grapple with their new home in John Guy’s recently-established colony. It took home a Canada Book Award.
    Breakwater Books, Paperback, 248 pages, ISBN 9781550817980
  • The Bygone Days: Folklore, Traditions & Toenails
    Reginald “Dutch” Thompson
    This book is a culmination of Thompson’s 27-year-career as a radio columnist on CBC telling the stories of bygone Prince Edward Island as told by Maritimers born between 1895 and 1925.
    Acorn Press, Paperback, 200 pages, ISBN 9781773660370
  • The Wake: The Deadly Legacy of the Newfoundland Tsunami
    Linden Macintyre
    This new national bestselling work by legendary journalist and novelist Linden Macintyre documents the tragedy surrounding the 1929 tsunami on Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula which left 28 dead and hundreds homeless.
    Harper Collins, Hardcover, 384 pages, ISBN 9781443452021
  • Shadow of Doubt: The Trial of Dennis Oland
    Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon
    This revised and re-edited issue of the best-selling novel by CBC journalist Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon, who chronicled the case extensively, now includes Oland’s appeal, the retrial and the sensational final verdict.
    Goose Lane Editions, Paperback, 424 pages, ISBN 9781773101668
Here’s sun in your eye
P.E.I. sunglasses company is making gorgeous sustainable eyewear

In the 1980s, Charlottetown-based Tannereye became the first company in the world to make leather-covered sunglasses. They manufactured sunglasses frames for major brands like Ray-Ban and Ralph Lauren but closed up shop in the early 1990s. Decades later, Christopher and Sydney Seggie are making locally-made shades fashionable again with their company Fellow Earthlings. The couple managed to get their hands on a truckload of vintage Tannereye frames in 2014 and now sell the leather-clad aviators under the Canadian Sunglasses brand as well as re-produced versions of Tannereye’s iconic leather-covered frames that first hit the beach in 1988. This up-and-coming luxury eyewear manufacturer is also creating its own line of sustainable sunglasses, forging frames in-house with materials created from reused and discarded materials. Designer Anna Sui has used their shades on the runway at New York Fashion Week, Jessica Mulrooney has been seen wearing them and so have the whole Trudeau family. From classic aviators to funky cat-eyes with pink mirrored shades, Fellow Earthlings is a sustainable fashion must-have.

Photos: www.fellowearthlings.com

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