Food Musings

A Winnipeg blog about the joy of preparing food for loved ones and the shared joy that travel & dining brings to life.

The Decadent Birthday Dinner Party


By guest blogger Michael R.

To anyone who has  followed Kath’s blog, it is most apparent that good food plays a central part in our family celebrations, and most especially birthdays. After their eighteenth birthdays though, the large family affairs for the kids come to a stop. My lovely wife, aka sister number two, was casting about for a creative way to keep the good times rolling for our son and daughter after eighteen and hit upon the idea of an annual birthday dinner party for each of them with their friends. This year we celebrated our beautiful daughter’s 22nd year  by creating an amazing four-course meal for her and eight of her BFFs.

Now when I said “we” created, I actually meant Sister #2. My duties consisted of menu design, photography, serving and bussing, as well as some minor food prep. The rest of the evening was in the hands of our resident  food magician, as Sister #2 dazzled the girls with an inventive and mouth-watering menu.

After a glass (or two) of fresh sangria was enjoyed, out came course number one: Roasted pumpkin soup, featuring roasted local pumpkin puree with a hint of curry, garnished with cream and chopped red pepper.

Accompanied by home made bread toastettes topped with herb unripened cheese and cherry tomato, with a drizzle of balsamic reduction, this first at bat was hit right out of the park!

Next up was Raspberry and Goat Cheese Salad, featuring raspberries and goat cheese (of course!) on a bed of baby greens, tossed in a homemade raspberry vinaigrette, and garnished with a sprinkling of chopped pistachio nuts.

Light and delicate, yet very flavorful, this was a perfect introduction to the evening’s Entrée: Grilled Tenderloin Of Pork. Brine marinated grilled medallions of pork tenderloin, finished with blackberry wine sauce. Accompanied by Heritage Carrots, teased with butter and fresh dill, sauteed spinach and pesto filled zucchini, baked in a bread crumb parmesan crust, and lastly potatoes with cream and cheese, whipped and piped into a baked potato shell.

Last on the evening’s menu was Grand Marnier and Amaretto Ice Cream, home made Grand Marnier and Amaretto liqueur flavored ice cream with chocolate almond crackle, topped with a hand made sugar crisp. This was truly not only a culinary delight, but surely a visual one as well.

Well, the girls left shortly thereafter for parts (and parties) unknown, leaving me with the dirty dishes and many fond memories of a wonderful evening of fun and incredible gourmet delights courtesy of Sister #2. One lucky daughter and one lucky guy!

Kath’s quote:  “The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ain’t it good to know, you’ve got a friend.

Joey’s Polo Park


It may sometimes seem to my readers that I never eat at home and some weeks that is quite true.  Because I work out of my house, lunch meetings are perfect for me.  I have been in my field for a very long time and have made many personal connections with my colleagues over the years.  Often the business projects fade away, but the friendships do not.  So when one of them declares “Oh, we must do lunch!”  I get out my daytimer.

The other cool thing about my business is that I have connected with a new generation of designers and communicators.  Many of them are the same ages as my kids but that doesn’t seem to make a difference to me or to them.  In yesterday’s case, I am also friends with my colleague’s Mom so the three of us got together!

Joey’s was the perfect central location and parking is ample.  We arrived at 11:30 which was wise because by the time we left at 12:45 there was a line up to get in.  The decor is open and gets quite boisterous.  But it is a very comforting feeling that you are in a room with so much energy and that you live in a vibrant community.

To say that I get stuck in eating ruts is an understatement.  Of the half dozen times that I have dined at Joey’s, I have always ordered the very same thing!  I try to psyche myself up before I get there with thoughts of fish tacos and pot-stickers but then I cave and order the Rotisserie Chicken.  I suppose that is a testament to just how good it is.  You can taste that the chicken has never been frozen as the flesh is firm and moist .  The dry rub that goes on before and the sauce after roasting is a wonderful blend of peppery and savoury tastes.  The servers are always willing to substitute sides and I got my veggie fix with a crunchy cole slaw and a zingy ceasar salad. 

Joey's Polo Park on Urbanspoon

I got filled in on all the news from friends and filled up with delicious and nutritious fare.  Here’s some irony-we stopped at the food court for a bite before an event at the MTS Centre later that night and we ate at -Joey’s Only!  What a crazy life.

Kath’s quote: “The smell of roasting meat together with that of burning fruit wood and dried herbs, as voluptuous as incense in a church, is enough to turn anyone into a budding gastronome.”-Claudia Roden

Love you A&A.

Bernstein’s Deli


Winnipeg has a number of  excellent delis that I predict could hold their own when stacked up against Montreal’s or New York City’s.  Many of the cities’ best are in River Heights where I am content to reside, with its glorious elm-lined streets, character homes and lots of quaint shops and restaurants.  Bernstein’s  Deli has been around even before I moved to the neighbourhood and that was close to 20 years ago.  I suppose this is why a friend of mine was shocked to learn that I had never had a meal at this convenient location.  I have shopped at the deli counter and especially enjoyed their homemade frozen soups over the years but had never sat down to enjoy a good old fashioned deli plate.

On this day, I had an equal hankering to try their reuben sandwich as I did to taste their freshly cut, never- frozen french fries.  Luckily for me, I didn’t have to be embarrassed by my indulgent order as my lunch mate ordered the exact same thing.

The sandwich was piled high with top quality corned beef and what we detected was home-made sauerkraut.  I typically prefer Thousand Island Dressing on my reubens which answer the call of my sweet/salty cravings.  Bernstein’s uses a special mustard which is delicious but just not preference.   As I think back, I can’t remember anything about the cheese and then it occurs to me that it was not served with cheese, which I guess means that it was a kosher reuben. Perhaps that also explains the dressing-maybe someone with more knowledge of kosher law could send me a comment.  The mound of fries were perfectly crispy on the outside and potatoey on the inside-yum!   

Bernstein's Deli on Urbanspoon

I knew the people at the booth sitting behind us and thought to myself how nice it is to live in a city large enough to have all the amenities and yet small enough to know and often connect with your neighbours.

Kath’s quote: “I am not a glutton — I am an explorer of food.”-Erma Bombeck



I have six strapping nephews and they all love to eat.  A couple of them are pretty adventurous.  One of them: not so much.  But he does love bacon on EVERYTHING.  A couple of years ago one of these guys mentioned that I should try Bellissimo and I have earnestly tried to make good on his recommendation ever since.  I had set a lunch date for a recent Monday and then  got carried away with some router and Internet issues and completely forgot to keep the appointment.  I found out that Bellissimo isn’t even open Monday and so we re-scheduled.

The big day came this week and I was not disappointed.  The hostess seemed to know many of the diners so they must enjoy alot of repeat business.  I was pleasantly surprized by the decor as I was expecting something less elegant.  We were sat in the lounge with the winter sun streaming in through two walls of windows.  I thought that our server was new but well-trained and very efficient. 

The hot herb buns held us over until our pastas arrived.  The lunch specials looked very tempting but we both ended up ordering off their extensive menu.  I chose the Scampi Bianco and was delighted with the lightly sauteed shrimp tossed with purple and green onions, tomato, and a creamy feta cheese. The sauce was a light tasting blend of fresh herbs and a splash of white wine.  Everything was tossed together with what we thought was a freshly made linguine.

My lunch mate choose the Pasta Giardino which I see is named for one of the owners.  She enjoyed the sauteed red peppers, red onions and marinated artichokes, tossed in a marinara sauce served over a bed of fettuccini.  The lunch portions are perfect-large enough to be more than satisfying but small enough that you don’t need an afternoon nap.

I was amazed by the $20 bill.  Two people can hardly have a fast-food lunch for that.  They have a sidewalk patio which will definitely lure me back.  Thanks for the great suggestion Aaron. 

Bellissimo Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “To give life to beauty, the painter uses a whole range of colours, musicians of sounds, the cook of tastes — and it is indeed remarkable that there are seven colours, seven musical notes and seven tastes.”-Lucien Tendret

Stock Photos from 123RF

And Bellissimo means beauty.

Mardi Gras Jumbalaya Recipe


Whether you celebrate Festival, Carnival or Mardi Gras, a big warm pot of jambalaya is an excellent way to feed a throng of people.  My husband whips up a batch when he has guys’ ski weekends out at the cottage. 

I knew that I was going to be busy at supper time all this week and so I made a couple of “big pots” to keep my family satiated.  Jambalaya was one of them.  I am not the aficionado of batch cooking in my family.  That honour lies with Sister #2 who must travel a lot with her job.  The last time that she was away for a week she not only cooked for her family but had portions allocated for my Daughter #1, our Mom and her father-in-law.  Now that’s an walking angel!

The first time we enjoyed the big pot of jambalaya was at our mandatory Sunday dinner with our gang.  Even though the recipe is served with rice I whipped up a batch of cornbread.  Cornbread is so easy that I often ask myself why I don’t make it more ofter to have with salads, soups and stews.

Without further delay….

1 onion, diced

1/2 green bell pepper

1/2 yellow bell pepper

1/2 red bell pepper (cut small strips then cut in half for all bell peppers)

10 small banana peppers (we actually skip these but it is according to your taste)

1 whole garlic clove (diced)

2 28 oz. cans diced tomatoes

1 small can tomato sauce

6 small Polish sausages (cut into bite sized pieces) we used Capocollo sausage instead because it was what I had in the fridge)

1 lb. bonelss chicken, cubed (breast and or thighs will do)

1 lb. of ham, cubed (a good use of leftovers)

1 lb. of peeled shrimp (any size will do but they do shrink up a lot when they hit the pot)

2 cans red beans (we skip these-my kids are not bean lovers)

1 can niblet corn-we use frozen

1/2 c veggie oil

Worcestershire sauce to taste (we love this flavour and use enormous glugs)

 1 T parsley flakes

Start with oil heated and add onions, garlic, sausage and chicken. Saute with sauces and spices.  Add all peppers and simmer until the onions and peppers have softened.  Add tomatoes and 1 can of water.  Let it come to a boil, then add beans, corn & parsley.  Bring to a boil again and adjust seasonings-this is where we add more Worcestershire sauce.  When sausage rises to the top, add raw shrimp and ham and simmer for 20 minutes.  Serve over rice.

Kath’s quote: New Orleans food is “delicious as the less criminal forms of sin.” –Mark Twain

Let your love flow

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