Just Roman Around…

I'm a Maritime monkey on a mission to find adventures in my own backyard. I promote Maritime businesses and local vendors in an effort to show why we live in the greatest place in the world. It's a blog that's truly aPEELing for the whole family!

The Great Halifax Milkshake Search – Cows

COWSAfter being bombarded with numerous milkshake suggestions (thanks, everyone!), I decided to try a shake from a location that seemed a bit unusual: Cows.

Wait…Cows does milkshakes?

See what they did there?

Anyway, I say “unusual location” for a milkshake because Cows is known for three things: their ice cream, their waffle cones, & their merchandise. I’m pretty sure that anybody who has walked along the Halifax Waterfront and happened to be close by can tell you just how incredible the smell is that emanates from their store.

So I said, “What the heck?” and swung on down to give their milkshakes a shot. Once I arrived and ordered my shake, I was told that they may not have enough milk for one. Then they said they did, but where it was only 7pm I was a little surprised that they had run out of milk. Maybe their milkshakes were super-duper popular and I had no idea!

Here is how the milkshake ranking is broken down for Cows:

THICKNESS

Take a good look at this picture.

THICK SHAKE

That, my friends, is a straw standing up near the top of the milkshake. This is a THICK milkshake. I was really surprised, too, because they seemed to be mixing it longer than the needed to. Now, it wasn’t “McDonalds thick”…but that’s not really a homemade milkshake, now is it?

Final score: 9/10

FLAVOUR

Unfortunately, this category is where I was left feeling a bit flat. As much as I love Cows ice cream (and I do!!), I thought the flavour in their vanilla shake was a bit…meh. To me, the vanilla milkshake is the standard by which all other flavours are compared. This vanilla shake hardly had any vanilla taste to it. It was just a cold, thick milkshake. It wasn’t bad by any stretch…it was just “there”. Perhaps more obscure flavours of ice cream would provide more unique taste sensations, but I’m not looking for an ice cream to mask the milkshake itself (if that makes any sense).

Final score: 5/10

PRICE

I realize that paying $5 for a milkshake is probably the normal price I’ll be paying while doing this search. Still…this hurts…

Prices$5.95??

OUCH.

Final score: 4/10

*****

My second attempt at finding Halifax’s best milkshake ended up with a score of 18/30. I’m starting to feel like I’m doing something wrong with this search. Maybe I’m being too harsh? Maybe my expectations are too high? Or maybe I simply haven’t found the best milkshake in the city yet?

I guess I’m going to have to hit-up the current “Best Milkshake” in Halifax as voted by the readers of The Coast in order to find out!

*****

If you’d like to find out more on Cows, you can find them at the following:

Cows Website

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

 

Great Halifax Milkshake Search

The Great Halifax Milkshake Search – Westcliff

WestcliffSimply on the lookout for a good milkshake in my neighbourhood, I tweeted out a request asking for suggestions on where I could find a great, homemade milkshake. One of the first responses I received was the Westcliff, which is on the corner of Bayers Road and Oxford Street.

I pass by the Westcliff on a daily basis so I am familiar with the location. But I’ll be honest…I had never really considered going inside and wasn’t even sure what to expect from the location. The exterior doesn’t exactly scream out “inviting” to me. Since I, of all people, know that looks can be deceiving, I picked up my tail and proceeded to swing on in.

WestcliffThe first thing I noticed was that this was a very small diner. I thought, however, that this is exactly the type of hidden gem that I was looking for. I let the lovely lady working the grill know that I was there for a vanilla and a chocolate milkshake because I heard that they were the best in the city. She seemed quite tickled at knowing they were recommended and proceeded to begin the milkshake process.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite turn out the way I was hoping it would. Here is how the milkshake ranking is broken down for the Westcliff:

THICKNESS

Both milkshakes were blended WAY too much, resulting in a barely-thick vanilla shake and a chocolate shake that resembled chocolate milk. I was a little taken aback, especially in that I had read some very positive praise for their shakes. Could this have simply been a one-off mistake? Or do they simply go for a thinner milkshake? Either way, I can only give a score based on what I was given on this particular day.

Final score: 2/10

FLAVOUR

WestcliffThe flavour, though, was fantastic…at least in the vanilla one. If it had been thicker, it could have possibly been a perfect shake. The chocolate one, though, had a bit of an aftertaste that I admit I didn’t love. They definitely added a bit more to the shake than just ice cream and milk…so the score needs to reflect that.

Final score: 7/10

PRICE

Honestly…the shakes are under $3.00 each. I don’t know if you can find a better price in the entire city.

Final score: 10/10

*****

So my first attempt at finding Halifax’s best milkshake ended up with a score of 19/30. I was left slightly disappointed but also inspired to find something better. Can one find perfection in a milkshake? I don’t know, but I’m certainly going to have fun trying to find out!

*****

If you’d like to find out more on the Westcliff Diner, you can find them on Facebook and read some of the reviews of their food on Yelp.

Great Halifax Milkshake Search

The Great Halifax Milkshake Search

Great Halifax Milkshake SearchAs I was swingin’ around from tree to tree on a hot, summer Saturday afternoon I had a craving for a milkshake. Not just a milkshake, though. I mean, no offense to the “big boys” out there, but I didn’t feel like the pre-mix versions that spit out of a machine at McDonald’s or Dairy Queen.

No…I wanted a REAL milkshake. REAL ice cream. REAL milk. REAL flavours. REAL GOOD.

So I’ve now made it my summer mission to go around the greater Halifax area and find the best milkshake in the city. In order to do this, there will be three categories that each location will be scored on: thickness, flavour, and value.

I’m not just doing this on my own, though…I’ll need YOUR HELP in order to complete this mission! Do you have a recommendation? Is there a small, independent location that you know of that makes incredible milkshakes but nobody knows about it yet? Is there a popular Halifax hotspot that is popular for a reason?

I will try to hit all of the recommendations before the end of the summer and let you know the results as we go along. I might gain a few pounds along the way that I’ll have to “swing off” over the next couple of months, but I think that this is important research that simply NEEDS to be done!!

This is going to be fun…

Having Hope At Home – A Neptune Theatre Review

Having Hope At HomeI was extremely happy to be offered the opportunity to witness a live play on opening night. One of the things I’ve had on my “Halifax Bucket List” over the past couple of years was to see a play at Neptune Theatre, but I just never found the time. Thankfully, when the offer landed in my inbox, I was relieved to find that I was available that night.

19-01-2014 3-49-36 PMMy first impressions on Neptune Theatre as a facility were that I was immediately impressed. Having never been inside of the building, I didn’t know where to go or what to expect. After I picked up my tickets from the box office, I made my way to the stairs…one set going up, the other going down. Not knowing what to do (was it a lounge downstairs?), I kinda stood there for a moment before a nice lady asked me for my ticket. She then directed me downstairs to the “orchestra” section…so I felt like I was off to a good start.

I picked up a beverage and was told that I could order something now for intermission, as the bar becomes quite busy. How awesome is that? I pre-ordered a bottle of water and waited around for the doors to open up to the seating area of Fountain Hall.

The play, Having Hope At Home, is a comedy about a very dysfunctional family who happens to be coming together in a very unique situation. That situation involves a winter storm, an old farmhouse, and a baby that just doesn’t want to wait any longer to make their appearance to the world.

 

The first half of the play was quite funny. The story was set up quickly and it didn’t take long for you to understand just what was going on. The characters weren’t complicated, so you knew who they were right out of the gate.  The two main characters were the impending parents, Carolyn (played by Katie Lawson) and Michel (played by Aidan Desalaiz. Carolyn wanted to put on a dinner for her parents, who she had been estranged from for a few years. The farmhouse was on the old family farm, and Michel was now the one in charge of the cows in the barn.

Living with Carolyn and Michel was, to me anyway, the real star of the play: Carolyn’s grandfather Russell, played by Trailer Park Boys alumni John Dunsworth. Not only was the role of Russell written to have all of the best jokes, but Dunsworth’s portrayal of the character made him seem the most realistic out of all the cast. He was likable, relatable, and delivered punchlines with the perfect blend of timing and emphasis.

Hope lobby 3The rest of the cast was also quite entertaining and played their roles well. Carolyn’s parents William (played extremely well by Michael Spencer-Davis) and Jane (played by Sherry Smith) are complete opposites from their daughter, yet as the conversations progress end up feeling the same way about her as she does about them. The final character, midwife Dawn (played by Mary Colin Chisholm), is the only character with a sense of real purpose and level-headedness…trying to protect Carolyn in both a physical way and an emotional way.

While the second half of the play wasn’t nearly as funny as the first, the drama allowed everyone involved to truly show off their acting chops. The drama felt real and the pain, anger, and sadness all felt genuine. I, for one, could totally relate to the father/son conversation had out by the wood pile by William and Russell.

Hope lobby 2

At the end of the day, this was a fun play to go see and it was great to see a packed house on opening night. Having never been there before, I can only hope that the remainder of the play’s run is just as successful.

One of the great things about living in Halifax is the wonderful sense of community that we all seem to share. We love to buy local and promote our own. Neptune Theatre not only allows us to promote out own, but gives us something that most areas in the Maritimes don’t have: a professional acting theatre that puts on professional shows on a professional level.

You can’t go wrong with 2+ hours of live entertainment. And I not only applaud Neptune for putting on such a great show, but thank them for inviting me so I could tell as many people as I could just how entertaining this was and how everyone should support local arts.

Hope lobby 1

…Downtown Halifax!

Big Day DowntownI was recently invited to take part in an event that has only been going on for a few years but recently has gained a lot in momentum. In fact, I had only heard about it from a fellow blogger last year (my cool author friend, Alison DeLory), so when when the opportunity to take part this year came up I jumped at the chance! The event is called Big Day Downtown and is a really great way to involve local bloggers with Downtown Halifax and help get people interested in supporting the area.

Basically, the idea is that Downtown Halifax provides credit cards to local Halifax bloggers, who are then asked to spend their money in the downtown core and blog about it afterwards. It really is a great way to promote the downtown business district and I was absolutely honoured to take part this year.

This is me with my three "theme cards".

This is me with my three “theme cards”.

There was an added twist thrown into the mix this year, too. This year’s Big Day Downtown theme was “Experience It All” and to make things unique, each blogger got together in a secret location to receive three experience cards…each containing a word that would be used as a “theme” when making downtown purchases.

Have you got all that? Good…because I picked out cards that said “Authentic“, “Happy“, and “Relaxing“.

The only real question for me was: Where would I go?  

I decided that I wanted to go support a local business that I hadn’t visited before. In this case, I wanted to buy something that was authentically local and screamed out Halifax.  Fortunately, I knew exactly where I wanted to go and what I wanted to get.

Lost Cod Clothing CompanyI made my way to the Lost Cod Clothing Company, which is a clothing and garment company that specializes in producing unique Nova Scotian based designs, celebrating old Nova Scotia industry as well as highlighting some of our current treasures. I asked my new friend, Ben, for a new #DangerWave t-shirt (it has been something that hasn’t only in the local news lately, but is fun and totally fits into my personality). Ben wasn’t only friendly and helpful, he was also pretty knowledgeable about the products and company background. He was happy to pose for a picture with me and my new t-shirt!

Lost Cod #DangerWave

I ended up speaking with Gordon, the owner of Lost Cod, and I asked him why he came up with such a unique and fun idea for a business.

“Essentially we wanted to create a line that was authentic NS, to celebrate old industry, preserve history and perhaps shape our future. It’s amazing to see how many things we used to do/make that have fallen by the wayside. If we can spur conversation about that, then maybe we’ll inspire someone to think about doing it again.”

I can’t wait to talk more about the Lost Cod Clothing Company in a future blog post dedicated to them, but I had other local businesses that I wanted to go visit!

Economy Shoe ShopMy stomach was grumbling so I, again, wanted to eat somewhere I had never gone before. I mean, a monkey’s gotta eat, amiright? I knew that I was going to need to keep my strength up for a day of roaming around and shopping downtown, so I decided to swing on up to The Economy Shoe Shop on Argyle Street. The restaurant got it’s name due to there being a real shoe store that operated on Barrington Street in the 1950s and 1960s. Once that store closed, the sign was saved and when owner Victor Syperek needed a name for his new restaurant, the Economy Shoe Shop was born!

I didn’t want to over-do things (I was already looking forward to having dessert), so I ordered a few different appetizers to try. I had a side Dragon’s Breath Caesar salad that featured That Dutchman’s Farm Dragon Breath blue cheese dressing. I had never had a Caesar salad quite so unique…and it was awesome that they featured a local farmer’s product in their food. I also had some Smoked Salmon Seafood Chowder and what was probably one of the best calamari dishes I have ever had. The interior of the restaurant was made to look like an exterior (which was quite unique) and I’m looking forward to writing more about it in a future post.

Economy Shoe Shop

Sugah After lunch I decided to hit the waterfront, l which is one of my favourite places in the entire city (and yes, it’s considered to be part of the downtown core). After that delicious lunch I felt the need to satisfy my sweet tooth, and what better place to do that than Sugah?

As soon as I walk into Sugah!, I’m in my happy place. Where else in the world can you walk along the beautiful waterfront and walk into a candy & confectionery store that sells hand-paddled ice cream and Pac-Man ghost sours under the same roof? I’ve written about Sugah! before, but I love it so much that I can’t help but visit there time after time. This time I felt like not only getting some incredible ice cream, but also a couple of items that screamed out “Roman” to me: a bar that had buttercrunch (similar to Skor bits) in white chocolate and some banana mints (natch!!). I can’t recommend this awesome place enough!

Sugah

Marine Heritage StoreAs I continued along The Waterfront I happened upon a local “tourist-y” shop, The Nova Scotia Marine Heritage Store, where I was able to snag an item that I’ve had my eye on for quite some time: An authentic Nova Scotia Sou’Wester hat! This will definitely keep my fur dry when I’m out roaming around on those rainy Halifax days. There’s no way I’m going to let a little rain stop me!

My So'Wester!

I continued down along the waterfront, enjoying all of the sights and sounds that the areas has to offer. I wandered in and out of plenty of shops, enjoying the experience of being a tourist in my very own city, spending the better part of the afternoon doing just that.

Cool As A Moose HalifaxMy travels next took me to Historic Properties, where I ended up at Cool As a Moose. I immediately spied products from Acadian Maple Products, including one of my very favourite products of all time: Cinnamon-Infused Maple Syrup! Acadian Maple Syrup can be found in many places around the province, but Cool as a Moose is the only store that I’ve found this delicious concoction in Halifax. There’s nothing I love more than whipping up a batch of banana pancakes on a Sunday morning and serving it with some cinnamon maple syrup. I also decided to try some other Acadian Maple products that I’d never had before: Wild Blueberry Syrup and some Maple BBQ Sauce! I can hardly wait to try them out!

Acadian Maple Products

Baton RougeAs the day began winding down I decided it was time to unwind and relax. It was late in the day and you know what that means? Margarita time! I headed over to Baton Rouge for a drink. I’d never been there before and really enjoyed the decor and the atmosphere. I had a quick peek at the menu and decided that some warm spinach and artichoke dip would be the perfect accompaniment to my tasty strawberry margarita (they didn’t carry banana daiquiris). The dip was warm, cheesy and tasty. I’m already looking forward to going back again another time.

Frozen strawberry margarita

It was quite the Big Day Downtown for me indeed! I’d like to really thank Downtown Halifax for inviting me on this amazing journey. It’s a great idea that they have come up with and I think it’s a great way to promote the downtown core, especially with all of the new buildings going up around the area. I’m looking forward to doing this again!

*****

Have any ideas on where in the Halifax area I should show up next? Know of a great local business that you think should get some exposure? Are you a small business owner who would like to promote your product? I would LOVE to hear from you!

Just send me an email at RomanChimpsky@gmail.com and let me know!