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2012 Halifax Lasagna Festival (or close to it)

Have you ever had a favorite bar or pub, where the food was good, the folks were friendly, and you'd go there when you just wanted something from a menu that you knew would be good no matter what you ordered? For me, the Fickle Frog is a perfect example of just such a place.

Many of you likely saw a photo I posted to Twitter regarding the Frog's daily specials - one of them sounded too good to be true and further investigation had to be undertaken.

Think about it for a second - $7 all you can eat lasagna? Really? Who does crazy stuff like that in this day and age? Apparently the Frog does, and they do it right. Post Canada day fireworks, two friends and I went up and ordered some classics from the menu - french onion soup, pizza and caesar, and I took on the lasagna. Service was a little slower than my expectations, but that's likely due to the lasagna taking longer to cook when it's made fresh to order. Yes, you heard me right, they make a fresh dish of lasagna when you order. Wow.

When our food arrived, the soup smelled delicious, the pizza and caesar had our mouths watering, and in all honesty the lasagna didn't look all that impressive. My expectations were fairly low for the Italian staple, since most places doing all you can eat generally try and cheap out on the relevant menu items. My first bite of the Frog's lasagna threw my expectations down, slapped them a little, and proceeded to completely blow them away.

The first thing that struck me about the commencement of this multi-serving symphony was the coriander. The Frog uses coriander (also known as cilantro) in their lasagna, and it becomes a more dominant taste than the oregano or basil you sometimes taste in traditional lasagna. It's quite refreshing, if you like coriander. Many people don't know that there's a certain percentage of the population who can't taste coriander, but instead taste soap. Yes, soap. I'm surprised that the staff at the Frog don't ask their patrons if they can properly taste coriander before serving them a dish that relies on it so heavily for flavour.

Thankfully, however, I can taste - and quite enjoy tasting - coriander. And from that you can likely assume that I enjoyed tasting that lasagna very, very much. If you do assume that, you'd be completely correct. It was hearty, meaty, and had an awesome, meaty corianderesque flavor, with undertones of cheese hidden behind it. You might be able to argue that the noodle to filling ratio was skewed more towards the noodies, but maybe by a couple of percent at most. For all-you-can-eat lasagna, that's not even swirl marks in the paint.

I happily finished off my first plate, ordered a second, and stole a sample of the french onion soup. awesome! If you're a fan, go here and order yourself a bowl. You won't regret it.

The second helping of lasagna arrived in a smaller format, as is standard for most places that let you do multiple servings. I tucked into it quickly and discovered that the two servings tasted completely identical, a very good sign for how things worked at the Frog. The strong flavor of coriander was present, and the cheese... oh the cheese. I think Frog's kitchen staff, bless their hearts, may have loaded more cheese on this helping than the first. it was a complete cheese jamboree from start to finish.

Now, in order to be safe, you can't order just 2 helpings of a dish - how do you know which one is the "right" one if they differ at all? A third serving of lasagna was requested, and it rang every bell the first two did. Consistency is an important factor in a restaurant's reputation, and the Frog has it, hands down.

When it came time to get the bill, I was all smiles. Diet pepsi and lasagna, under $11. When does that happen?

Sunday nights at the Fickle Frog, apparently.

The Fickle Frog Pub

5675 Spring Garden, Halifax, NS
902-429-9999
http://www.theficklefrogpub.com/
Open Monday to Sunday: 10:00am - 2:00am

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