12 Meals of TradePal

What’s TradePal? For all intents and purposes, it is the reason for our family foodie adventure. But technically it is a network of local businesses working together through a bartering system called the TradePal network. For example, my husband and I own and run Moz Studios. Moz has helped many TradePal businesses this past year. In return, we have built up a substantial amount of credit with the TradePal network. Click the link to learn more.

The GrinchSticking to a budget

Holiday budgeting can be tricky. I refuse to give in and spend more than necessary. But I don’t want to be a Grinch either. I want the holidays to be memorable for my family. When my husband suggested we do the 12 Meals of TradePal I was instantly on board.

We sat down and found the list of all the local eateries associated with this network and so began the Downs family 12 Meals of TradePal. The kids understand that eating out is a treat that happens once in a while. Which is why when we told them we would be doing this, they were ecstatic.

The kids understand that eating out is a treat that happens once in a while. Which is why when we told them we would be doing this, they were ecstatic.

As a self-proclaimed foodie blogger this also gave me food for thought. So here goes! Let the blogging begin!

Part 1

Finbars Dartmouth

Finbars, Dartmouth was not actually on the list to try first. We ended up there because we really needed a drink and a quick bite after shopping all day on December 23rd. Yikes! I do not normally leave things that late but that is how the gingerbread cookie crumbled this year.

Finbars Dartmouth, NS

Finbars, Dartmouth was not actually on the list to try first. We ended up there because we really needed a drink and a quick bite after shopping all day on December 23rd. Yikes! I do not normally leave things that late but that is how the gingerbread cookie crumbled this year.

Thankfully, Finbars was able to accommodate us with good brews and a quick bite that not only hit the spot, but it satisfied my craving for comfort food.

Both my drink of choice and snack were a first try for me. Nine Locks is one of the many local microbreweries located in and around the municipality I call home. Their dirty blonde was on the menu and it called out to me. It was refreshing, easy to drink and paired well with the smokey bacon and cheese croquettes that my husband and I shared.

The cheesy balls were crunchy on the outside and ooey-gooey on the inside. The best part, however, was the house-made maple Guinness glaze that accompanied them. Oh my, I wanted to drink it straight from the tiny cup. I didn’t but I did pour it all over my plate. Yum.Family Foodie Adventure

My final two cents regarding Finbars, Dartmouth is that it is a great place to unwind and enjoy some traditional Irish fare. I even left with some finbark for my stocking! Finbars Dartmouth

Meal 1 December 23rd!

Now that my long explanation is out of the way, let’s actually get down to business. The other convenient reason why Finbars, Dartmouth happened was because it is also located next to another TradePal business; Piez Bistro! Both eateries can be found at 635 Portland Hills Drive.

After our quick nibble at Finbars, we ordered food to take home for the whole family. Again, this place was a first for us. But it will not be our last that is for sure. Even though the community where I reside has more than its share of pizzerias, none of them measure up to Piez Bistro, in my opinion.Piez Bistro

To start, we ordered the small size of a few things, just to get a taste; garlic fingers, Caesar salad, pepperoni, chicken Caesar pizza and the s’mores dessert pizza made its way home with us. Believe it or not, this wasn’t enough, we all wanted more.

Mr. Big Kid and I fought over the chicken Caesar pizza. My recommendation would be to ask for a side order of their yummy Caesar dressing for dipping. The stone oven crust and the hint of lemon made this pizza my #1 choice.

Our little kid devoured the Caesar salad. That was the first time he had ever eaten every bite. He is not a fan of croutons but Piez adds crushed tortilla chips instead which made him very happy.

Hubs enjoyed the pepperoni pizza and said it was very similar to my own homemade pepperoni. That is a compliment to the chef and to me ’cause I make a rockin’ pizza when necessary.

s'more pizzaThe pièce de résistance was their s’more pizza. Even the non-dessert eater in the family, my husband, had a slice. The lightly baked crust topped with all the s’more toppings held well on the ride home but I put it back in the oven for a few minutes to reheat before we dove in. It made for the perfect ending to a very satisfying first meal with the TradePal network.

Piez Bistro got a 4 out of 4 Downs family thumbs up. I am very glad we chose this as our first family foodie adventure restaurant. We will visit them again soon. Real soon.