News

Old is the New Black

It is no secret that we are big fans of up-cycling and recycling. Take just one quick look around the café and you’ll notice a number of vintage and antique pieces, many with a funny or interesting story (just ask us!). Of course, these elements lend to the aesthetics of our space, and help to give Bangbelly it’s eclectic style. Importantly, these pieces also help to reduce the amount of waste going needlessly into landfills and help to disrupt the process of mass production that out-of-the-box-new items require.

The vast majority of our dishware has been collected over time from vintage shops, and second-hand stores. The beauty of this approach is that not only do we get to interact with a variety of unique items every day, but the inevitable breakage that occurs in restaurants will never necessitate a large-scale replacement of our service wares.

Much of the fabrics used to upholster our soft-seating were also acquired second-hand from antique shops. We love the one-of-a-kind effect of these fabrics, and are always happy to find a use for upcycled materials.

One item in particular that is interacted with multiple times a day is our pastry case. Plug ‘commercial pastry case’ into your favourite search engine and you will immediately realize two things: firstly, aesthetics are hardly a feature that they can boast, and secondly… plastic. They utilize so much plastic.

Our workaround came during a trip to one of our favourite antique stores, when we uncovered a hidden gem. Amidst the jumble of of odds-and-ends, we found one part of an old, modular, glass-fronted bookcase. By building our own custom shelving and providing a little TLC, we were able to re-purpose the piece into something functional and beautiful, with a story.

Curious to learn more about up-cycling and how to disrupt the ‘cradle to grave’ manufacturing process? We highly recommend the visionary book Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart.

Our Favourite Bread Recipe

Okay, all bread is our favourite bread (kind of like how all dogs are our favourite dogs). Without too much preamble, we thought you might appreciate some Bangbelly bread at home. We may be on hiatus, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy our popular, fluffy buns when the mood strikes.

The following direction comes directly from our Head Chef: “Invite all the kids to the party.” Which means, simply place all of the ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix with a dough hook on medium speed for 10 minutes. Yeah, we’ve gotten used to these short-hands around here.

Once your dough has mixed, give it a light spray with some cooking oil, and cover loosely with a clean cloth. Let stand for one hour, until doubled in size. Once doubled, shape your dough into buns of equal weight – we like to aim for buns that are approximately 110g.

If you are new to bread-making and bun-shaping, we recommend checking out a YouTube video or two. Or, head on over to The Kitchn for a step-by-step guide to shaping perfectly round buns.

Now, you’re nearly there. It’s important that you let your hard-won buns rest on a parchment-lined baking sheet before baking. You should be able to fit twelve buns on a standard baking sheet without issue. Yet again, your buns will increase in size, nearly doubling. Note that it’s okay if they touch, let them get cozy with one another. After approximately 30 minutes it’s time to bake.

Give your buns a quick egg or milk wash, and bake in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Then, all you have to do is resist the urge to eat the entire sheet. Good luck!

Bangbelly Buns
(yields 12 buns)

750g                all purpose flour
25g                  yeast
25g                  white sugar
20g                  salt
250 ml            whole milk
250 ml            cold water
2                      large eggs
1 TBSP            butter, softened

The Key to Success? Picking the Right Partner

If you have visited Bangbelly before you’re likely to remember that we pride ourselves on our sourcing and procurement practices. When choosing a product or vendor, the most impactful aspect of our decision-making has to do with the quality and ethics of our partners’ products. Naturally, we do what we can to source as closely to home as possible, keeping in mind that distance = carbon.

One small exception to this rule, or rather the exception that proves the rule, is our use of De Mello Palheta coffee, based in Toronto. It’s true; there are many fantastic roasters situated in Newfoundland, and Gros Morne is one that we proudly support (more on that in a minute); however, De Mello stands out for us due to its careful and thoughtful relationships with coffee producers. Moreover, while we actively attempt to limit our carbon footprint, the very nature of coffee production means that our favorite fruit (yes! fruit) will have travelled a long distance to us, regardless of where it is roasted.

De Mello ensures that a basic minimum price is paid to its farmers that is at least 20% above local demand, while maintaining ongoing relationships that help to guarantee an amount of economic security for producers. As a part of their Purchasing Philosophy, De Mello understands the importance of transparency, and is focused on telling the stories of their producers “with accuracy and equality.”

Our Gros Morne coffee, which – you guessed it – is roasted in Gros Morne, is yet another example of a company that leads with its ethics. Roasted in small batches, Gros Morne uses only fairly-traded, organic beans, from a variety of regions.

Ok, you caught us: Pluck Tea is another Toronto-based company that we proudly support, and yes, this means their product must be shipped to us; but, we believe the travel is worth it, because of the quality of their thoughtfully sourced, whole leaf teas and infusions. Pluck’s tea blends “feature ingredients grown on local farms and procured from local artisan makers” which helps to create “new, non-traditional rural economies.” Pluck’s use of Canadian-grown ingredients and sustainably-sourced teas translates directly into a ‘cuppa’ we can stand behind.

During the summer months, much of our fresh produce comes from Campbellton Berry Farm, located on the Northeast coast of Newfoundland. Self described as an ‘urban farm,’ Campbellton grows a variety of berries and other produce – does anyone else fantasize about that perfect baby corn from late summer? Impressively, they have also received an Environmental Award for outstanding contributions to environmental sustainability.

If you are on Fogo Island, you may be familiar with Living Water Farm, a hydroponics operation that produces the most beautiful greens. This one is a real no-brainer for us, and a company we hope to see grow and flourish (puns intended). If you’re enjoying a salad at Bangbelly, chances are you are also enjoying the fruits of Living Water Farm’s labour.

Wondering about our meat? We are big fans of Nelson Fagan’s Meats located in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland. Fagan Meats provides traditionally-raised organic products, and their ground beef is the backbone of our ‘Tip of the Iceburger.’

Because an impeccably brewed beer can complete the perfect meal, we choose to offer Port Rexton products. Situated between Clarenville and Bonavista, Port Rexton Brewing is a craft brewery producing some of Newfoundland’s best beer. Offering a variety of styles, their products are so popular we can hardly keep them in stock!

It should go without saying, but Bangbelly is Bangbelly largely due to the efforts and contributions of our partners. We are so fortunate to be working with such fantastic suppliers, and to be able to offer you the best-possible products. We encourage everyone to seek out these products independently, and to support local whenever possible.

If you know of any vendors or partners we should consider supporting, feel free to contact us at hello@bangbelly.com. As always, we greatly value your feedback and input!

Our Year in Review

What a year it has been!

As we enter into the new year, we can’t help but reflect on the past twelve months and everything they brought with them.

We certainly have had some special doin’s at the café, and we are so fortunate to have shared them with you.

In March, our space underwent a small renovation, which saw both changes to the kitchen and front of house. With some serious help from our friends, a bunch of sweat equity, and some imagination, we were able to greatly improve the functioning of the café, setting us up for a productive summer season, and the ability to expand our offerings into supper.

Our first foray into supper service showcased our Head Chef’s passion for Southern Barbecue. Pulled pork, cornbread and shrimp ‘n’ grits were just a few of our tantalizing options, and kept our patrons coming back for more.

One of our favourite events of the year – Enigma – was held in support of Fogo Island Pride, and saw the local artist community band together to raise funds for the newly-established not-for-profit.

In August, we had the great pleasure of hosting Eamon McGrath at the café for a truly exceptional musical performance. If you missed his show, or haven’t yet had a chance to check out his music, we highly recommend heading over to his website immediately.

In fact, many times this year we were graced by the musical offerings of our local talent. Mike and Katie Penton were a crowd favourite, and of course, the band formerly known as ‘The Rubber Boot Band’ got our toes tapping like none other.

We loved having you all in the space for Trivia, and had the best time testing your knowledge and serving up un-ending brain teasers. We equally loved our Movie Matinees, Wing Nights and Take-Home Suppers, and truly felt the magic the night of our Thai Prix Fixe Supper.

Out of everything, we are most proud of our Cheer Drive, an annual initiative to bring holiday cheer to our deserving friends and neighbours.

As with everything we do, we do it for you! You are truly the x-factor that makes Bangbelly what it is, and we couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you to each and every one of you for making this an exceptional year and for your unwavering support and kindness.

Here’s to a happy, productive and eventful New Year!

Leftovers? More like Bestovers

Turkey, turkey, turkey. It’s that time of turkey, uh, we mean year. For those of you faced with the inevitable leftovers, we thought we’d help you by compiling a few ideas that go beyond the ol’ soup and sandwich. So, we’ve sourced some ideas from the best of the best, to give you ‘Turkey Ten Ways.’

Check out our list below, and give yourself the gift of Bestovers this Boxing Day.

  1. Turkey Cobb Salad
  2. Turkey Waldorf Salad
  3. Turkey, Cranberry + Brie Wraps
  4. Turkey + Stuffing Waffles
  5. Turkey Stroganoff
  6. Turkey Casserole
  7. Turkey Enchiladas
  8. Leftover Turkey Pizza
  9. Turkey Skillet Pot Pie
  10. Turkey + Broccoli Quiche

Bangbelly at Home

We know. We know. We’re leaving you.

Well, at least we’re stepping away for a winter break, and you’re going to be without your Bangbelly fix for a spell. So, we thought we’d try to help you through with a tip or two.

Love our lattes, but lack the necessary equipment to make your own? You may be surprised to find out that there are a couple of clever workarounds you can use to approximate the textured milk that our fancy espresso machine can produce.

We’ll leave the espresso to you (and we’ll turn a blind eye if you need to use the instant kind in a pinch) and give you some ideas for creating the effect of steamed milk.

Our favourite alternative to a steam wand is a French Press. You heard that right. Simply warm your milk on the stovetop or in the microwave and pour it into a coffee press. Then, plunge the filter up and down multiple times until foam is produced (be careful not to be too vigorous, or else you may create a molten milk volcano).

If you find yourself without a coffee press, have no fear, because there is a method that MacGyver himself would approve of: The Mason Jar. Yes, the humble, multifunctional Mason Jar may be your gateway to textured milk. Just warm your milk however you see fit, pour it into a Mason Jar, secure the lid tightly and shake! Don’t forget that your jar will be hot – may we recommend oven mitts?

Just remember: Bangbelly cannot be held accountable for steamed milk-related accidents, or inferior coffee products; so, make sure to practice good safety, and stock up on good, high-quality beans during our hiatus.

It isn’t a Celebration without You

Oh by gosh, by golly, the holidays are just around the corner! To celebrate, we’re throwing a festive shindig right here at the café, and it simply won’t be a party without you.

Our annual Community Holiday Party is an opportunity for us to show you our appreciation for your ongoing support and friendship. We are so grateful for your patronage and know that we simply wouldn’t exist without your enthusiasm and encouragement.

So, you are cordially invited to join us on Saturday December 14, between 2 PM and 4 PM for an afternoon of celebratory fun. We’ll be putting on a spread, because no party is complete without one, and we’ll have a whole host of complimentary nibbles and libations (while quantities last).

December 14 will also be our final day of café operation in 2019, so be sure to come get your fill of our regular offerings before 2 PM the day of the party.

We look forward to sharing in the merriment with you, and wish you a happy and safe holiday season.  

Good Cheer for All

Fortunately for many this time of year is filled with joy and abundance. For others, however, the impending holiday season can create stress and strain.

We believe in the power of community and, as a new business, we have seen firsthand the kindness and generosity of our friends and neighbours.

This year, we are ‘paying it forward’ by organizing what we are fondly calling a ‘Cheer Drive.’ Open to all residents of Fogo Island, the purpose of our drive is simply to spread some holiday cheer.

Eligibility criteria are simple: Could you, or someone you know stand a little pick-me-up? Let us know! We won’t pry, or scrutinize applications in any way.

Perhaps you have a family member living alone, or a friend with family in far flung locales; maybe the past few months have been a real kicker, and the thought of a little random act of kindness puts a smile on your face.

Whatever the reason, all nominees will be given a free care package including grocery items and gifts, no questions asked.

Should you wish to contribute to our Cheer Drive, we will be accepting shelf-stable foods and new, unused gifts up to December 10, 2019. Whether it be a new ‘re-gift’, or favourite pantry item, we will gratefully accept it all.

Bangbelly’s elves will then distribute their bounty on December 11, 2019.

To sign up for a free holiday care package, or to nominate a deserving individual or family to receive one, call 709.266.2020, email manager@bangbelly.com, or pop by during our operating hours to fill out a confidential form.

When applying, please make sure to identify the recipient’s name(s), age(s), and a detailed delivery address so we can easily find the drop-off location. The more information you can provide, from interests to clothing size to favourite colour, the better equipped we will be to select appropriate gifts and goodies.

All applicants will be handled with the strictest confidentiality, and all information collected during the drive will be destroyed upon use.

‘Tis the season of giving, so let’s work together to bring cheer to everyone on Fogo Island this holiday.

Architecture 101: Start with Gingerbread

The first known recipe for gingerbread can be traced back to Greece in 2400 BC. Amazing to think that one of our favourite treats has been enjoyed for millennia, isn’t it?

Ginger has long been used for its medicinal properties as well as its distinct fiery flavour. Gingerbread itself has deeply-rooted connections to festivity and merriment. Today, one is hard pressed to think of gingerbread without also thinking of the winter holidays.

Now synonymous with the season, the construction of gingerbread houses came into popularity during the 16th century in Germany. It is suggested that our appreciation for gingerbread houses may be due, in part, to the story of Hansel and Gretel, the hapless characters of Brothers Grimm who stumble upon a house constructed entirely out of confectionery.

Whether we can credit a fairy tale with this winsome pastime or not, we are solidly in the camp of those who wholeheartedly appreciate a well-constructed cookie house.

Our love of this tradition will be on full display this December as we host an afternoon of Gingerbread House Decorating, complete with cups of hot cocoa, and all the tools required to complete Bangbelly’s “Architecture 101” course.

House-builders will each be equipped with pre-baked gingerbread, icing, and decoration enough to let their imagination run wild. Pre-booking for this event is required, so that our resident gingerbread contractor may produce the right materials.

We will be breaking ground on Saturday, December 7 at 3 PM and look forward to seeing your creativity come to life!

To book our afternoon of Gingerbread House Building for just $15 per person, call or email 709.266.2020, manager@bangbelly.com.

Perfectly Balanced: Why We Love Cooking Thai

Aside from the undeniable fact that it can be outrageously delicious, Thai cuisine holds a special place in the hearts (and minds) of Bangbelly’s owners Caitlyn + Ian. Whether from fond memories of Caitlyn’s extensive travels through Thailand, or Ian’s learnings from time spent in one of Canada’s best Thai kitchens, it is easy to get the pair talking about their love of Thai food.

With attention to detail, colour, texture, and – of course – taste, Thai cuisine expertly balances robust aromatic elements, with four distinct flavor profiles: Sweet, Spicy, Salty and Sour (the four S’s if you will). In any given dish at least two, if not more, of these flavors will be featured to create a harmonious finish.

Of course, as with any regional cuisine, there are endless dishes and preparations to try, and simply labelling something ‘Thai’ doesn’t properly reflect the vast and varied cooking styles present throughout Thailand. For many, the association between Thai food and the famous noodle dish Pad Thai is inseparable. While unquestionably appealing, Pad Thai is just one in a seemingly unending list of mouthwatering recipes.

A favourite of Ian’s, and one that he perfected during his time cooking in Vancouver at Maenam, is the classic coconut soup, Tom Kha. Often served with chicken, or other protein, the fundamentals of this rich, vivifying soup balance coconut milk, galangal, kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass, chili, coriander, mushroom and lime to strike a perfect balance between The Four S’s .

As the lead-in to Bangbelly’s upcoming Four-Course Prix Fixe, you too can delight in the intricately composed flavours of Ian’s Tom Kha, and seven other thoughtfully presented dishes, by reserving a spot at our Thai Supper at 6:30 PM on November 30, 2019.

To secure your booking for just $35 per person, call or email us at: 709.266.2020, manager@bangbelly.com

We’re also offering special beer and wine pairings for an additional $20 per person to make it a truly special trip across Thailand, so make sure to get in touch today as spaces are limited.

For more information, and to preview our menu, click here.