Food Musings

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

Share Our Strength-Taste of the Nation


I start my day around 7 am with two mugs of coffee.  I know when it is about 10 am because I start to think about having a piece of fruit or my new favourite-PC Thin 4 Grain Bagels.  Around 1, I start snooping around the fridge for left overs.  At 3:30 or 4 I crave a cup of tea.  I find it fascinating that our bodies have built in timers as far as food input is concerned.  Do you sometimes get wonky or light-headed when you get too busy to eat or keep your liquids up?  Imagine what it would be like to have to send your kids off to school every morning, when you know that they are feeling this way?

One of our many “First Day of School” pics

I remember what a chore I thought that making lunches was when my children were school-aged.  I feel guilty even thinking this because my biggest decision was shall I make peanut butter, ham or tuna sandwiches today?  I never ever had to wonder whether I had sandwich fixings in the house. 

There are families right here in our own city that don’t have the food security that we enjoy.  Taste of the Nation is a wonderful opportunity to work towards ensuring that all children get the same opportunity for breakfast and lunch in our city.  Winnipeg’s Inner City is one of the poorest areas in Canada and this is precisely where the funds raised through this event will go: The Immigrant Centre, Flora House and St. Aidan’s Christian School. 

The evening is $80. and the tasting event takes place at The Fairmount Hotel on Monday, April 11th.  Tickets are available from Ticketmaster.   Your paid entry provides the opportunity to taste and sip until you are completely satisfied.  The very best of Winnipeg’s culinary talent will be sharing their creations for our pleasure.  I have my ticket.

Can we end hunger and poverty by attending this event?  No but we can make a difference one starfish at a time.  (If you would like me to post my “starfish” story, send me a comment.) 

Kath’s quote:  “There is a communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk. And that is my answer, when people ask me: Why do you write about hunger, and not wars or love?”-M.F.K. Fisher

Copyright (c) <a href=’’>123RF Stock Photos</a>

Barlito’s-Isla Mujeres


After months of craving the cuisine of Isla Mujeres, I surprize even myself when I get a hankering for a hotdog or crispy bacon or hot buttered toast like home.  Three days into my last trip, when we were settled in to watch the Oscars on a big screen TV at Brisa’s Mexicana on Hidalgo-I went and ordered a burger for supper!  Somehow James Franco and Ann Hathaway inspired me to do so.  Of course, it was not the restaurant’s forte and I looked longingly at V’s Chiles Relleno and Sister #3’s Shrimp Tacos.

Barlito Bakery & Market Cafe is right on a sunny corner of Hidalgo & Abasolo and is the perfect place to run into friends, people watch or when you get a craving for back home baking.  I found myself joining tables of people that I knew on a couple of occasions and heard the oohs and ahs while freshly squeezed oj and steamy mugs of coffee were consumed.

One morning after one of D’s solo morning walks he arrived back at our place with piping hot biscuits filled with cheese and egg.  We split two, three ways and they were a satisfying breakfast.

I understand that the biscuit recipe is one that has been acquired from an aunt or uncle of the owners Tiffany and Brad Wareing.  I breifly got to make their acquaintance but they were very busy at “command central” behind the counter.  I look forward to doing so again and trying their White Lasagna or Carolina pulled pork next time.

Kath’s quote:  “In the Virginia of the olden time no breakfast or tea-table was thought to be properly furnished without a plate of these indispensable biscuits…..Let one spend the night at some gentleman-farmer’s home, and the first sound heard in the morning, after the crowing of the cock, was the heavy, regular fall of the cook’s axe, as she beat and beat her biscuit dough…..Nowadays beaten biscuits are a rarity, found here and there, but soda and modern institutions have caused them to be sadly out of vogue.”-‘Virginia Cookery Book’ (1885)

Dacquisto Italian Kitchen


As is often the case, I knew what I was going to order for lunch at Dacquisto’s  even before my lunch date was scheduled.  The combination of a goat cheese and black olive pizza was too much to resist. 

What I wasn’t anticipating was how beautiful and cozy the restaurant would be.  The “big box” exterior  did not prepare me for the lush drapery and streaming sunlight within.  We were met immediately with the pleasant smell of woodsmoke from the oven. 

I also didn’t predict how affordable the lunch special menu would be.  One can hardly steer through a drive thru for an $8. lunch nowadays.  I opted to add a mixed Italian salad to combat the carbs and that only added another $3.   The lunch savings were reinvested into a fine bottle of Argentine Malbec which was shared three ways (lest you think we over-indulged). 

The said pizza was titled “Black & White” and was part of the Bianco section of the pizza menu. The taste of the cheese and olive blend reminded me of my favourite Black Truffle Bothwell cheese.   The crust was as delicious as I remember back in Chef Micheal’s “Pasta la Vista” days. 

My fellow diners enjoyed a large mixed Italian salad with chicken and the Gnocchi.  A special order was accommodated so that the Gorgonzola variety from the evening menu was served (at a slightly higher price).  I didn’t request a taste but I knew the extent that it was being savoured when the server asked to clear the plates and the gnocchi lover could not give up her last three morsels. 

The restaurant was filled with families, seniors and a couple of other business meeting tables.  I will definitely go back-perhaps to sample the Italian Buffet next time. 

Dacquisto on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:“A cook, when I dine, seems to me a divine being, who from the depths of his kitchen rules the human race. One considers him as a minister of heaven, because his kitchen is a temple, in which his ovens are the altar.”-Marc Antoine Désaugiers

In keeping with the B&W theme…..

Soup Bee


Sister #2 is a very special woman (and not just because she’s my sister).  No she’s not a brain surgeon but her occupation effects the health and well-being of many people, everyday.  She and my precious bro-in-law keep a beautiful home and they are famous for their love and treatment of their beloved pets.  There is often an extra dog being baby-sat, as there was when I arrived at their home last evening.

Sister #2 with our Mom and 1 of Mom’s 5 great grandchildren

My task was to pick up Daughter #1’s favourite soup and here’s what makes Sister#2 so special:  when she batch cooks for her family (because her job causes her to travel), she spreads the love to our extended family or friends and neighbours who could use the gift of time.

I thought that perhaps my daughter’s favourite soup was my brilliant “refridgerator” soup but alas, it was a fragrant concoction of chicken stock, herbs, a hint of curry?, crunchy vegetables and cellophane noodles.  Let me know if you want her recipe.

In the mean time, I can satisfy you with this: her Lentil Stew is absolutely incredible (and this comes from a non-bean lover):

“The important ratio are the lentils and water/stock.  All other ingredients can be improvised.

1 c dried lentils to 2.5 c water (and 1 chicken stock cube)

1 small can tomato paste

1 chopped onion

chopped celebry and shredded carrot to taste

cook for one hour or until lentils are tender

I add a protein, usually ground chicken, beef, sausage, or in the most recent batch-veggie ground round

For the batch I gave you:

I added a can of tomatoes, a box of brown rice and black bean mix, and a rub that I had made for grilled vegetables:

1 T cloves

1 T black peppercorns

1 T ground coriander

1 T cumin

1 t nutmeg

1/2 t cayene pepper

Other batches I have added curry, coconut milk, jarred Indian sauces, cilantro, beans, spinach, imagination.

I serve on rice or pasta (if the later, I add a can of diced tomatoes).  Real cheap to make, taste and freezes well!  Love you.”

If you do not have the time, talent, or inclination to batch cook for loved ones, do not fret.  I got a “door hanger” recently about the “Soup Bee”.  They are a non-profit social enterprise supported by the WBDC (also non-profit).  Their goals is to provide supportive employment opportunities in the downtown core, promote food security and local producers, all while leaving a small carbon foortprint.  They create soup each week for delivery to River Heights, the south end, St. Mary’s Rd, Wolseley and West Broadway.  Visit  for more information or call 218-SOUP (7687).  I think that you should order a batch for your self and another for someone who could use the lovin. 

Kath’s quote:  “Only the pure of heart can make good soup” Beethoven


We are family, I’ve got all my sistas with me!

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M&J Cazuela’s-Isla Mujeres


Until recently, I understood that a cazuela was a baked omelet that I have sampled over the years at M&J’s various locations.  I now know that the restaurant is so named for the little terra cotta baking dish that the egg blend is poured into for the cooking stage.  I have also learned that because of the special high heat that the clay dishes endure, they take on special properties and your food continues to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes after the cazuela is removed from the oven.  So when I have been disappointed that my eggs weren’t cooked to my desired doneness (with no “jigglies” as one of my 3 bros likes to say), it was actually because I was being an impatient tourista and consuming my brunch dish too soon! 

There was a vendor set up for the locals for carnival a couple of weeks ago and I wish that I had purchased a stack of these affordable casseroles for home.  They would have been great for the serving of our staggered breakfasts at the lake.

M&J’s original location at the unrenovated Roca Mar hotel had a magical charm. (When I peaked in on this trip there was a bride receiving a spa treatment).  Tables were set out on the sidewalk at a busy curve of the route into Centro and you could look down the slope to the west shore and the Bay of Cancun while experiencing the roar of the crashing waves of the Caribbean just feet away.

M&J’s new home at the corner of Guerrero and Abasolo has a lovely, cozy feel.  We sat under a trellis that allowed the dappled morning light to fall across our table.

And the Holbox Cazuela of tortillas, eggs, beans and salsa topped with fried bananas was cooked to perfection (or perhaps after all this time, I am learning the patience of the Mayan people who I so love, and didn’t dig in too soon).

V and I also shared a Crepa Amanecer- a delicate crepe surrounding ham, asparagus, herbs and that wonderfully rich Mexican cheese.  The crepas are served with M&J’s potato casserole (a recipe I have tried to unpack for years).  The coffee was wonderful and the freshly squeezed orange juice even better. 

Marco and Julie-your new spot is a gem and I predict much continued success.  My only regret is that I didn’t finally get to meet the infamous Julie who so many of my Isla friends speak of so fondly. 

Kath’s quote:  “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion, and avoid the people, you might better stay home.”-James Michener

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