Have I ever told you where I live? It’s a small city called Halifax, which is on the East coast of Canada. I love it here – it’s gorgeous, the people are nice, we have a cool arts scene and I love living in the heart of the city.
I’m thrilled to have been asked to participate in the Downtown Halifax Business Commission’s ‘Big Day Downtown’ campaign for a third year. They pick thirty bloggers, get us all together for a party, and then throw some $100 gift cards at us and tell us to have at downtown Halifax. It’s awesome.
The first year, I tried to experience Halifax as I thought my favorite TV characters would. Last year, I went for a fancy dinner at The Wooden Monkey, a great local restaurant I’d never tried. This year, they randomly paired us up with other bloggers and had us experience downtown together.
I kind of hit the blogger jackpot, being paired with Chris Campbell of www.bitdepth.org. He teaches filmmaking at one of the local colleges here in town. I, obviously, am all about TV (I do like books and movies too, though, guys!) so it was easy to sit around and chat pop culture with him. Since we both love pop culture so much, Chris and I decided to hit up a few of the places that celebrities go when they’re in Halifax.
That’s right, y’all. Celebrities and Halifax in the same sentence. Movies actually get made here pretty frequently, so many Haligonians (that’s what we’re called…I know…) have celebrity sighting stories.
We started off by meeting after work at Freak Lunchbox, a super-cool candy store across the street from my office. The celebrity once spotted here? Rob Lowe! I’m pretty sure he lit-erally loved it. I picked up some candy for my upcoming Halloween party.
From there we strolled down to The Bicycle Thief, a hip restaurant on the Halifax waterfront that serves up “North American food with Italian soul”. Real Italian soul, too, since the owner is Italian himself. He owns a few restaurants in the city and they’re all my favorites.
I started off by ordering a rosemary fizz cocktail, which was just divine. The bartender at The Bicycle Thief recently cleaned up at a local cocktail competition, so I’m pretty sure that means the restaurant officially has the best drinks in the city. It was sweet and tart at the same time, and perfectly fizzy. My favorite kind of cocktail. Chris got an old fashioned – make sure you check out his blog to read about his Big Day Downtown experience!
Then I had a small order of gnocchi, which just melted in my mouth. So yummy. I wrapped up with a peanut butter gelato hot fudge sundae. Peanut butter gelato hot fudge sundae. Those words deserved to be typed twice. It was decadent and delicious, and made me very thankful that I’d gotten a small dinner.
Oh, and which celebrity was spotted at The Bicycle Thief when he was in Halifax last summer? Pierce Brosnan. And he had delightful things to say about us when he appeared on Live With Regis and Kelly.
The Drawing Room
That was enough for Chris and I for one night, but I still had money burning a hole in my pocket. So I followed it up on the weekend by stopping by The Drawing Room with my fiancé. The Drawing Room is a very fancy cocktail bar that opens on weekends above my favorite English-style pub, Henry House. It has high-end, old-fashioned drinks and the coolest, antique, intimate vibe.
I ordered a French 75, which is made with gin, champagne, and lemon juice. (Can you tell that I like fizzy drinks?) Rob got a Stonewall, which is was one of the special autumn-themed drinks made with spiced rum and apple cider. Halifax is gorgeous in the fall.
The Drawing Room does this crazy cool thing where you can order an aromatherapy mist paired to your drink, so we got one matched to the Stonewall. It smelled like cinnamon, clove and leather-bound books. OK, maybe not the books. But the vibe in the bar makes me think of old books. We shared the warm gingerbread with caramel sauce dessert, which reminds me of Christmas and is one of my favorite treats.
And in case you were wondering, the celebrity who enjoyed the Drawing Room was Jason Priestly, of 90210 fame. He shoots an HBO Canada series called Call Me Fitz around here. See? He got the aromatherapy mist, too.
Rob Lowe, Pierce Brosnan and Jason Priestly aren’t the only celebrities to have hung around Halifax. Cory Monteith (Glee) was here recently – he tweeted about really liking the surfing scene. Tom Selleck shoots all his Jesse Stone TV movies in Halifax, and he’s a big fan of The Press Gang, a swank, intimate oyster bar. (Last winter, I had one of the best meals of my life there. So he has good taste.)
Neve Campbell was spotted at The Paragon Theatre checking out our local music scene, and Alicia Silverstone visited jane’s on the common. When the Rolling Stones played a concert here, they dined and drank at a hip martini bar called Onyx. John Corbett and Bo Derek stopped into Ireland32, a coffeeshop on Quinpool Road – not downtown, but an up-and-coming part of town if you ask me. And when The White Stripes found themselves in Halifax, they played a surprise show at my favorite place to play pool, Locas. So when you come to Halifax, you just never know who you might see.
And then, of course, there’s Halifax’s famous bloggers. Don’t worry, I’m happy to sign autographs. I’m super approachable.