Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!



I’ve said it before and I will say it again. Chef Jesse Friesen of 295 York is one of the rising stars on the Winnipeg culinary scene. He is oozing with talent but most importantly is humble, down-to-earth and the nicest guy you would ever want to meet. I have seen him in some very stressful food service situations and he is as cool as a cucumber.

I am personally up to my eye-balls in alligators right now but my friend Susie Parker owner of Sparker Strategy Group invited me to a Manitoba Chicken event and having had the pleasure of attending these in the past, I was absolutely going to find a way to attend. Upon entering The Food Studio I was warmly greeted by Manitoba Chicken Ambassadors Karen Armstrong and Wayne Hiltz. After Wayne and I chatted about the effect of the TPP on the Manitoba poultry industry whilst sipping on a lovely Popular Grove (the Penticton winery who provided all the wine pairings) unoaked Chardonnay, it was time for the parade of exquisite creations from Chef Jesse.

First up was this delectable boneless fried chicken thigh. Without exception the persons seated around our table automatically started remembering their Mom’s or Grandma’s fried chicken. It was that good. I was more than content with the buttermilk soak and southern crust but when I heard Chef Jesse mention that he had concocted the gravy from bacon and liver, well how could I possibly resist?


By way of switching gears, a smoked chicken and crab Chipotle Soup with an aged Syrah came along next.


Chef Jesse has picked up many food nuances from time spent in the Caribbean and his jerk wing salad was perfection in my mind. Feta, coconut and a honey-lime vinaigrette offset the jerk rub and made the dish sing with sparkling flavours. We sipped upon the tropical essences found in an unoaked Pinot Gris with this course.


For the fourth course, piquillo stuffing had been rolled up with a tender chicken breast and was nested in roasted squash rice with creamy dabs of pungent goat cheese.


The most ingenious dish was a dessert featuring…..chicken. Being a lover of the sweet and salty combination, the saffron cheesecake and candied chicken skin had me giggling with the notion that Chef Jesse had indeed pulled it off!

Just this weekend I had assisted Sister #3 as she catered a multi-course dinner and she spoke of the adrenaline rush that she gets when the final dish is presented for tasting. I can only imagine how a risk-taking chef like Jesse feels when he views the empty dessert dishes coming back to the kitchen.

I was so glad that I had cleared my evening to spend it in the delicious company of these good folks. I smiled and mumbled to myself as I strolled to the car “Winner, winner chicken dinner!”

295 York Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “And believe me, a good piece of chicken can make anybody believe in the existence of God.” ― Sherman Alexie


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


Best of Bridge Home Cooking


I have never received any formal culinary training and yet I have been told that I am a very accomplished home cook. I credit this to a number of factors: my Momma and Daddy who taught me well and early, my Home Economics teachers and The Best of Bridge Ladies. Their first cookbooks were published at the same time that I was establishing my own home, juggling a wonderfully hectic time of career, babies and married life, while all the while still wanting to host dinner parties with friends, new and old.

The Ladies as they began being known as, had the knack of taking simple ingredients found in our freezers and pantries and with their easy to follow recipes, magic was created. When I look back through my extensive Best of Bridge Collection, I can remember first tastes as well as who was gathered around our table,while the babies weresleppy snugly in their upstairs beds.

Many of our family recipes are B of B creations, passed along when a sister-in-law would say as she put on her coat at the front door “Can I get that recipe to impress my girlfriends when we get together next week?” We could not possibly celebrate our early Thanksgivings or Christmases without  Wild Rice Broccoli Casserole or Elsie’s Potatoes.

There is rarely a wedding or baby shower put on by the “Aunties” without Artichoke Nibblers making an appearance. With this, new generations would fall in love with the recipes of our ever-growing family. In fact, I believe that I am such a fervent artichoke fan because of the B of B Ladies.

On Christmas mornings, my most anticipated gift would be the newest B of B recipe collection. While the little ones played with their new toys and D was cleaning up the wrapping paper, I would hurry to get the turkey in the oven, so that I could sit down and page through the book and dream up events to wow my friends.

That “Christmas Morning feeling” was upon me recently, when I found my review copy of the newest B of B cookbook in my mailbox. The babies are not toddlers, tweens or even teens, but all grown up and firmly established in their own homes. In fact, I had the house completely to myself as D was away on business. I made a cup of tea, curled up in my favourite reading chair and paged through The Best of Bridge Home Cooking.

I often felt sorry for the new generation of home cooks, my own kids included, searching for recipes on Pinterest or on line. They couldn’t thumb through a much loved copy of the B of B books and read their own notes in the margins or see the evidence that a cookbook copy might have gotten too close to a stove element, like mine had. That is, until now. There is a new generation of B of B Ladies, including fellow member of Food Bloggers Canada-Julie Van Rosendaal. She has connected with two other accomplished recipe creators and the Best of Bridge lives on.

Julie will be in Winnipeg promoting the cookbook on October 16th and although I have food-styled for the Best of Bridge Publishers in the past and as much as I would have loved to have been involved in this project, alas, I will be making food memories of another kind…in Tuscany.

Kath’s quote: “Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.” From Best of Bridge Home Cooking


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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Isla Mujeres Trip Report-Day 4








As the sun rose on this morning, we visited our Luna neighbours who had arrived from the Canadian province next to us, the evening before. We have stayed next to them at Luna D’Miel for a number of years and had a lot of catching up to do.

Eventually, we made our way into Centro and to Ruben’s for breakfast. See the blog post here for all of those details.


We strolled to Playa Norte for a swim. We love the beach in the morning when we have it virtually to ourselves.


I love the Islander women, like the fruit lady who we often see by the market in Centro. I asked if I could take her picture and she proudly agreed.


At lunch time I made up our favourite Isla sandwich-cucumber, cilantro, manchego cheese and lime mayo on a freshly baked torta. I spent some lovely time shelling and then the rest of the afternoon at “home”.



We shared happy hour and sunset from our own front terrace. We were walking into Colonias when our old friends (we met on Isla) acknowledged us as the went by on their golf cart. They offered us a ride as they were heading to Bastos. We told them about Bahama Mamas (blog post here) and they decided to join us. They were so ecstatic about their dinner that they were going to return the next morning for an early breakfast before they had too return their golf cart. Jan and Bruce joined us for a night cab under the stars at Luna D’Miel.

We love our stays at Luna D’Miel but in 2016 we are going mix things up a little. We have a week booked at Oceanside Villas San Miguel. This property combines the best of both Isla worlds for us-private views of the Caribbean and the convenience of Centro. On days that are too breezy on Playa Norte, we can hang around the enclosed pool. We’ll also be close to Isla friends and two sets of family members who always stay in Centro. Now that you can access the water’s edge on the Caribbean side I can search for beach glass right in front of the villas. We are so excited!

Kath’s quote: “Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly”. -MFK Fischer


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


Dinner at Bahama Mama’s, Isla Mujeres


We were walking to the Colonia’s to visit Bahama Mama’s when friends of ours drove by on their golf cart en route to Basto’s. When they heard that we were off to try Bahama Mama’s they decided to join us. Bahama Mama’s was another new place which had opened on Isla in our absence and we were excited to give it a try.


Our friend and chauffeur for the evening ordered this hearty soup, chock full of a variety of seafood.


D tried the stuffed fish and couldn’t believe all of the food on his plate-Mexican rice, rice and black beans AND a baked potato! He loved that he had enough forkfuls of carbs to go with the huge portion of the stuffed fish.


When I dine at a new spot on Isla, I often order the Coconut Shrimp, so that I can compare and contrast and then make special note of my favourite place so that I can recommend it to the many, many people that asked me for dining suggestions. Bahama Mama’s was plentiful, lightly battered and greaseless. Was it my favourite? Ten more days of trip reports will tell the tale.


Our other friend chose the Cuban Meatballs which was hearty and savoury. I don’t often order beef on Isla. Do you?

Jan and Bruce really enjoyed the restaurant and they should know. They have been visiting Isla for years and stay an extended length of time each visit which means they have eaten many places on the island, many times. They got a chance to look over the $5.00 breakfast menu and knew that they would still have their golf cart in the morning so they headed back to Bahama Mama’s for their very next meal. We would return (a couple of times) for breakfast, tempting other people to sample it with us. It was a hit for everyone!

Kath’s quote: “Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.” -Mark Kurlansky


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


Ruben’s, Isla Mujeres



Our breakfast visit to Ruben’s had been long anticipated. We had seen many Facebook posts about a great new restaurant that had opened since our last visit. All the accolades were warranted.


I loved the Heuvos Montuleños. The tomato sauce was so delicious with the breakfast rice. I also really enjoyed the plantain.


But it was the dish that D ordered that actually was the star of the show. I made the mistake of taking this photo before he had a chance to cut into it with his fork, because when he did there was a veritible explosion of shrimp inside. He offered me a bite and I wished that I could have switched our plates because the tender eggs, goey cheese and crunchy shrimp were sensational!


It was more than two weeks later when I had the opportunity to visit again. By this time D had returned home and I spent the morning with a friend from Winnipeg who now lives on Isla for a part of the year (at least I think that she is returning this year). My breakfast was SO good that I was hard-pressed to share it with her as I delighted in every single bite. I understood better, D’s hesitation to share his with me.


She had an omelet too and although she said that it was tasty enough, I couldn’t imagine that it compared to mine. We lingered that day so we could chat about the island and home as well. We agreed that we loved Rubens, loved Isla and loved Winnipeg.


The toast we ordered seemed to agree.

Kath’s quote: “Merlin’s beard, what is Xenophilius Lovegood wearing? He looks like an omelet.”-J.K. Rowling

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


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