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Voyages: CRAVE – A Food and Drink Experience

Voyages: CRAVE – A Food and Drink Experience

If you have never attended an event held by the Canadian Progress Club, I can tell you one thing – they sure know how to throw a party. As I walk into the beautiful new space at the Pier 21 Museum for the CRAVE Food + Drink Experience, I know I am in for one heck of a night! Surrounded by hundreds of Halifax’s self-proclaimed foodies chatting excitedly while sipping on hand-crafted cocktails, I begin to make my way through the room in search of something to eat.


As I look around, I spot a friendly face waving at me, donuts in hand, from behind her signature red booth – Sonia Mota of Riot Snackbar. While my mother taught me never to eat dessert before dinner, I just cannot resist! I’ve never had a dish from Riot that I didn’t absolutely love, so as I take a bite of their Chocolate Almond Donut, I am instantly in heaven. Not only are they vegan AND gluten free, but the donuts are coated in a decadent layer of dark chocolate and come topped with crushed almonds – the perfect way to begin my night. I start to weave my way through the crowd into the main room in search of another dish and am greeted by the sight of dozens of vendors cookin’ up a storm while people everywhere wait eagerly to get their hands on some grub.


One table in particular catches my eye and, as I move closer I see that I have stumbled upon one incredible duo! The Press Gang has teamed up with local fishmongers from Afishionado to create an amazing Sesame Tuna Tartare. Served atop a crunchy crostini, the Tuna Tartare is mixed with a beautiful watermelon puree and delicately topped with flying fish roe and shaved scallions. This bite-sized dish packs a serious punch.


Of course it wouldn’t be a party without a few cocktails, so I head over to see what drinks the Coldstream Distillery is serving up. I decide to go with a classic mojito and am amazed as I watch the bartender dance around the table, carefully preparing my drink – it’s clear he really knows his stuff! My taste buds begin to salivate as he mixes local spirits with fresh herbs before topping my drink with a splash of lime. When he hands me my mojito, I take a sip and instantly feel as though I’ve been transported somewhere far far away to a tropical beach. The bursts of citrus, coupled with the bold flavours from the herbs create what tastes like a vacation in a glass and I cannot get enough!



Cocktail in hand, I head over to see what our friends at the Anchor are cooking up today. As I get closer, I see that their chefs are throwing together some variation on tacos. A closer look reveals that they are working with some juicy local pork belly and a medley of other interesting ingredients. Sitting atop a bed of housemade guacamole, spicy kimchi, and their signature smoked sour cream, the tender pork belly almost melts in your mouth. This dish is a perfect blend of Asian and Mexican flavours, and a clear fan favourite with a line winding halfway across the room!


Next up is a new twist on an American soul food favourite – Envie’s Vegan “Chicken and Waffles.” I find my jaw dropping in amazement as Chef Diandra Phipps fries up breaded king oyster mushrooms and tosses them in a housemade buffalo sauce. Next, she coats the mini waffle in a vegan blue cheese and tops it off with the crispy buffalo “chicken.” As I take a bite, there is no indication that there is anything suspicious about this at all. Heck, if I didn’t know that this dish was vegan, I would think I am eating chicken because it is just that good! The rich flavours from the sauces coupled with the crispy mushrooms bring this dish to a whole other level.



Finally, I finish my night off much like it started – with a delicious deep fried treat! I head over to Binky’s Donuts and find a variety of beautiful creations on display. I reach for the Wild Blueberry Donut and with each bite comes a burst of flavour. I immediately taste the sweetness from the fresh valley blueberries and the brightness from the citrus glaze. I’m not going to lie to you, I can’t stop myself from going back for more and more and more (this is getting out of hand, oops).


What makes this night even better is the fact that 100% of the profits are going towards local organizations that advocate for people living with special needs. For almost a decade, the Halifax Chapter of the Canadian Progress Club has hosted their “A Night for Progress” events to raise funds for local charities. This year, they decided to raise the stakes by bringing together the best and brightest from Halifax’s culinary scene for a night of wining, dining, and more!


Incredible food and an amazing cause?! That makes for a perfect night in my books! Consider this event Starving Sailor approved.



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