Thursday, 2 June 2011

Morris East, Halifax

Experimentation in the kitchen was not in the cards for me this week, despite my best efforts to start cooking with a weekly mystery item ('mystery' defined as simply an ingredient I've never used before). As a result, I've been eating out more than usual, but I'll just tell you about the highlights so far.

There was a pit-stop at Ray's Haus European Café and Bistro earlier this week, a fairly new joint in Halifax that's over on Fenwick Street. I stopped in out of curiosity, mostly, because I'd been hearing a buzz about them on Twitter and TeamBuy, but also to re-fuel on coffee before a dinner date with my friend Carla. While there, I saw, tasted, and heard enough that I'm looking forward to going back for their dinner fare - soon! Ray makes and bottles a homemade currywurst sauce that is to die for. He offered me a post-coffee, pre-dinner sample after hearing that I'd lived in Germany, so the next time I'm feeling protein-deficient (which is never, so any excuse really!), I'll head over for one of his brats and write about it.

As mentioned, I was meeting Carla that night: a friend I had done my Masters with at Dalhousie, and who returned to Halifax last fall to start her PhD. She and I have been reconnecting over food and committee meetings fairly frequently since I've come back to Halifax myself, so this time we thought we'd try a place in her neighbourhood that we'd both heard so much about. I'd actually first heard about Morris East while abroad, mostly through Facebook updates of friends back home. Everything I'd heard sounded great, so I was looking forward to finally trying this place out.

Morris East is a small, minimalist kind of space that, at the same time, feels inviting, surprisingly roomy, airy, and fresh. The same could be said for the menu, more or less: small but rich with possibilities. I'm certainly not the first to say this, but I like it when restaurants keep it simple and focus their energies on a few, wonderful dishes. Quality over quanity and all that.  They had their front windows open to the street, too, so a nice breeze was coming in on an all-too-uncommon warm evening here in Halifax. Everything about this place was perfect for this particular evening.

Carla and I started our meal by sharing an open-faced Ravioli with Duck Confit and greens tossed in a sweet balsamic sauce. I'm not sure the ravioli added anything to the dish, but with the lovely flavours in the duck, I suppose it wasn't really meant to. It offered a base on which I could pile individual mouthfuls of the duck, so it did serve a rather noble purpose. I first became obsessed with duck confit about a year and a half ago, while visiting my friend Eloise in Toronto. We went to a place called Beer Bistro - don't be fooled by the pub-like name! - and I had their duck confit pizza with goat cheese. It's something I really gravitate toward now whenever I see it featured on a menu.

Our starter of open-faced Ravioli with Duck Confit

For mains, Carla had the Pulled Pork Pizza and I had the Pear Pizza with blue cheese and prociutto. Both were extremely pleasing to the eye and I liked the ineteresting combinations of flavours in both pizzas, having been given a slice of Carla's to try. Admittedly - and just a preference - I think I'd rather have pulled pork on a sandwich, and cornbread as a hunk of cornbread on the side, but it was still a nice and tasty way to bring this popular dish into a pizza. My Pear Pizza, on the other hand, knocked me out with its gorgeous flavours: the sweet and the pungent balancing each other out perfectly.

Pear Pizza with red wine poached pear, roasted beet, blue cheese, shallot, prosciutto
and tarragon aioli.

Pulled Pork Pizza with bbq sauce, smoked applewood cheddar, and spicy cornbread.

Having already sent half our pizzas off to get wrapped to go, we claimed we were too full for dessert. But then I made the fatal error of checking the dessert menu out anyway; you know, for future reference. Naturally, after seeing the selection, we both changed our minds. Crippled by decisions, and with help from our extremely helpful and friendly server, I finally opted for the Salted Caramel Tart, while Carla asked for a scoop of their daily ice cream, which was an orange caramel combination. All I can say is: DIVINE. Carla actually exclaimed - loudly - after her first spoonful of the ice cream, while I went into some sort of foodie trance. I'd been having conversations with Freddie about adding salt to things like chocolate, as he'd heard it was good in chocolate milk. Shortly afterward, we had spied a Chocolate with Sea Salt bar by Lindt. It seems to be a flavour combination that's getting a little more spotlight these days, so along with those conversations and the high praise being given to the tart by our server, I was sold on trying it with caramel. There was no missing the saltiness of the tart - it was very pronounced - but it was just the right amount given the sweetness of the caramel. The salt was such a simple, but powerful addition.

Salted Caramel Tart


Orange Caramel ice cream

I'm already looking forward to my next visit to Morris East. I was told that their menu is getting a seasonal shake-up in the next two weeks or so, so I can't wait to see what interesting flavour combinations they'll come up with next!

Tonight I'm meeting my friend Allie for some Korean food at The Rich Forest's new location on Quinpool Road. She and I both lived in the ROK, though at different times, so we both need to indulge the urge for kimchi from time to time. Who doesn't? 

Sidenote: Speaking of kimchi, I desperately want to try and make a kimchi hot dog, otherwise known as a Kogi Dog, featured on Food & Wine's website yesterday. (Friends still in Korea: have you found these over there? If so, how are they?)

Anyhow, mine and Allie's last Korean food excursion was to Seoul Restaurant on Duke Street back in April, so I'm excited to see how Rich Forest compares.

Last but not least, today I'm wishing my parents a wonderful 38th wedding anniversary. 38 years! They're a modern-day marvel in the institution of marriage. They make me proud. They also taught me a lot about food and health, for which I'm so grateful. With all the gluttony of late, it's why I just joined Goodlife. Haha.

Balance!

5 comments:

  1. Haven't tried a kimchi dog yet but you've planted the seed in my brain...

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  2. i LOVE morris east... YUM YUM :)

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  3. Sounds amazing. I'm going to be making kimchi fried rice from orangette's blog this week.....will let you know how it turns out!

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  4. Hmmm...no kimchi dog yet, but two thumbs up for salty sweet treats. My favorite ice cream place in Bordeaux had salted caramel that was to die for. It changed my life.
    And I love your blog.

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  5. @Kitchen Witch - please do! That's my absolute favourite Korean dish!

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