Big Day Downtown

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I was excited to be asked to be a part of Downtown Halifax's Big Day Downtown promotion this year. Local bloggers were given prepaid Visa cards and asked to spend them downtown doing whatever our little hearts desired - shopping, eating, playing, whatever. The theme this year is "Try Something New" so we were asked to spend our $100 Visas on things we'd never done before.

Given my current reproductive status, I couldn't do anything too crazy for my Big Day Downtown. At first, I was super gung-ho to rent bikes for Pete and I from We Heart Bikes, but I talked myself out of it - I haven't biked in years and am clumsy at the best of times without an almost eight-month fetus attached to my body throwing off my centre of gravity. I figured a wipeout on the waterfront was not the best way to sum up my big day downtown. Clothes shopping is hard because what fits my regulation-sized basketball now is (hopefully!) not going to fit me in a couple months. And I can't go to one of the many pubs and bars in the area and tie one on, nor do I think getting tattooed is the best idea when one is with child.

I brought my hubby with me and we strolled around downtown on a sunny Sunday afternoon to get started. The first store we popped into was Oddjects on Barrington Street. I've been curious about this shop for a while but have never been in. As the name alludes, this place is a gold mine of random treasures for the home, a great place to find a unique gift for anybody on your list.

Of course we gravitated right to the children's and baby's section at the back of the store since we're trying to get our little one's nursery in order and any excuse to buy something cute sucks us right in. We found a selection of old-fashioned stick horses (and unicorns) with soft, fuzzy heads. When you squeeze the horse's ear, it makes clip-clop noises and whinnies! Both Pete and I grew up with horses, but because I don't think the city would take too kindly to us pasturing ponies in our backyard, this will have to do for our baby. The stick horse set us back $25.00 plus tax.

We spent some more time browsing around, including stops at Biscuit, Attica, the Summit Shop and DeSerres, but before I had a chance to spend any more moolah we had to get a move on. I agreed to plan a date night for later in the week for us to try something new downtown.

Fast forward to Wednesday when we headed back downtown after work for a nice dinner date - gotta take advantage of these before we need a babysitter. I chose Cafe Chianti on Barrington Street, where neither of us has been. The restaurant was recommended by a few friends and did not disappoint! We got a basket of warm, fresh bread with butter to start, split the calamari appetizer, and both ordered pasta for our main courses. I had the butternut squash gnocchi and Peter got the chicken ravioli. Both our meals were generously portioned and delicious and we were too stuffed for dessert.

We stuck with water (not being able to drink makes our restaurant bills so much cheaper!) With the appetizer, two meals, tax and tip our meal came to around $70 - very reasonable for a great meal in a lovely setting. They had a lot of vegetarian options on the menu, and I assume vegan options are doable as well, since the staff were very accommodating and attentive. I'd also like to go back for lunch as there's a pretty extensive lunch menu including lunch-size pastas and pizzas.

Thanks again, Downtown Halifax, for the Big Day Downtown promotion! We got to check out some new spots around town, do some shopping and enjoy a terrific meal. Next year will be a different story: beer, bikes and tattoos.

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  1. What a fun day! Browsing shops is always my favorite thing to do :) xx

  2. Sounds like a cool promotion and a fun day :) I love to browse but I'm not very good at it - spending is much more fun!