This weekend was the Right Some Good pop-up food festival. The festival’s 4 years old, but this is the first time it’s been in Halifax.
Friday night they transformed a military warehouse into a 5 star restaurant, and served a 5 course meal prepared by Michelin-Star Chef Cristina Bowerman (of Rome). Saturday night’s meal was aboard a Royal Canadian Navy Ship, and was a 4 course meal prepared by Chef Ed Cotton (of New York).
I wasn’t able to attend either, but I love the idea (and the menus looked good as well).
What I was able to attend was the Pop-Up on Sunday at Spring Garden Road. The street was shut down for 4 blocks, and was lined with tents showcasing bands, live cooking competitions, merchants, etc. This was all open to the public.
What you should know is that to get the food there’s a bit of a system…
Step one: find the Ticket Vendor Tent. Line up, tell them what you want, pay, and get tickets. There was a small Gourmet Street Food Menu that I looked at while I waited (about 15 minutes), using the wait time to make up my mind. The items were all $6, $8 or $10. Cash was preferred, but I think they also took debit. I bought 2 items and received 8 tickets (1 ticket = $2 value).
Step two: find the Food Tent. The tent was big, but so was the crowd. There wasn’t a sign, but intuition that told me “this is the place”. As I waited (about 30 minutes) I re-read the menu, figuring that I might as well have back-ups in case they were out of something (there were an awful lot of people around).
Still Step two: order. When I got to the front I told the person that I wanted the Lobster & Avocado Taco – to which I was told that it wasn’t available until later. I asked about the Mediterranean Steak Taco (my back-up), which was available – hooray! Then I asked about the Bajan Spiced Pulled Chicken Sandwich, which wasn’t available, then the Spiced Caramel Pork Belly Sandwich (my back-up) – but, surprise, not available. I ended up getting the Snow Crab Mac (which had pickled cucumbers but no dill – hooray!).
The food was right some good. The Snow Crab Mac was a bit spicy (unexpected), but good and hearty. The steak in the Mediterranean Steak Taco was a bit tough, but the taste was fantastic – it was my favourite of the two, mainly because I love cilantro and lime.
In all, it took about 45 minutes for me to get food. This might seem long, but I was prepared to wait. In New York I’d once waited 45 minutes for pizza and almost an hour for a burger – this was no different.
Also, the plates were all organic. That’s a great touch.
The festival does have to work on it’s menu availability. The event ran from 9:30am to 9:30pm, so they probably had food switching in and out to keep it fresh. The problem was that there was no signage telling you what was available. The Gourmet Street Food Menu (a small two-sided sheet about 1/4 of a piece of paper) listed 12 items, but at least 3 of those items were not available at the time I went. It sucks to wait in line only to be told that what you want is not available.
The wait times were to be expected, considering that it’s downtown Halifax on a beautiful day, but if the information was presented better it would mean that people wouldn’t have to change their orders at the front, and the lines could have moved faster.
And even though Le Gateau de Reve (wild blueberry apple maple cake w/ lemon mousseline) looked delicious, there was no way I was waiting another 45 minutes just for dessert. Instead, I walked down to Humani-T and had some gelato instead.