Food Musings

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

Flatlanders Inn


Our family were recently the happy recipients of a dinner for six that was awarded as a silent auction prize at a fund-raising event called The Bean Gallery.  The dinner was served at the beautifully appointed Flatlanders Inn.  If you are thinking that this is a quaint little Winnipeg hotel that you’ve missed hearing about, you would be incorrect.  The Flatlanders Inn is located on Main St. near  Higgins Ave. right in the heart of Winnipeg’s troubled core area.  A better explanation of what the Inn is all about is quoted in the handbook on their website:

“Flatlanders Inn is a diverse community of people that is especially welcoming to people who are at risk of homelessness.  We invite neighbourhood folk, wanderers, seekers, foreigners and those needing a positive and supportive living environment to join Flatlanders Inn so that they can get their feet back under them.  All together, we’re creating an atmosphere that is a positive living space for shelter, healing and growth.  It is a safe place to work through life’s difficulties together (lots of tears) and celebrate life’s successes (lots of laughter) and everything in between.

The boyfriend of Daughter #2 (aka as the Frenchman) is a resident of this intentional community as an intern who lives and works side by side with the Flatlander guests.  He was one of our two waiters the night of our dinner.  This was our menu:

Appetizer: Dill hummus served with fresh naan bread & vegetables

Main Course: Oven roasted turkey with homemade stuffing, accompanied by creamy mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole & corn.

Dessert: Pumpkin cheesecake, served with a choice of London Fogs, Vanilla Lattes, Caffe Americano or Espresso.

The menu was a lovely reminder of the harvest on the first day of spring.  The special tastes for me was the London Fog, the Pumpkin cheesecake and the Sweet Potato casserole.  I requested the recipe for the latter but have yet to receive it.  I’ll post it when I do.

When the hosts came around to see how we enjoyed our evening, D commented that his only complaint was that one of the waiters kept flirting with his daughter!

Kath’s quote:  “Hospitality consists in a little fire, a little food, and an immense quiet.”-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Practice radical hospitality.

Brooklynn’s Bistro-A Preview


We were delighted to receive an invitation for a sneak peak to this new edition to the Exchange scene at 177 Lombard Ave.

Almost immediately, we were greeted by Franca who introduced herself as Broklynn’s Mom.  My brain processed: “Oh so not “Brooklyn” as in NYC but  “Brook Lynn”.”  Being a lover of babies and family, I was impressed even before I even had a sip of a specialty cocktail or a taste of a canape by a business named after a 3 year old child.  Enormous black and white close ups of the photogenic little girl are the few accouterments of the understated decor. 

Franca also indicated that Chef Darryl was incorporating many of the family’s authentic Italian pasta and sauce recipes onto the menu. While we chatted and waited for the the sampling trays to circulate, I sipped on a glass of Zero Negro who’s taste I remember from our time in Sicily and D a Basil Sky-a martini made with a swill of Sky Vodka surrounding a pinched sprig of basil.  The lip of the glass had been edged with lemon and salt-so clever.  By the end of the evening we changed things up with a Peach Bellini.  I was totally uncouth as I dug the peach slice out of the bottom of the glass to enjoy.

A shard of grana padano topped the carpaccio 

We spotted the pasta dough being tossed in front of the Italian wood-burning pizza oven.  Somehow authentic pizza dough has the ability to be light as air and yet substantial enough to hold a bevy of toppings.  The Margerita proved to be our favourite. 

Brocoli, pork belly on saffron polenta

Chef Darryl Crumb’s reputation proceeds itself, having competed for Canada’s Top Chef.  His spins on the family’s classic Italian recipes were our favourites of the evening.

Beef Ravioli with a Red Wine Reduction

Pièce de résistance-Pesto Gnocchi

We often order gnocchi when we dine as we haven’t mastered the knack for these pillowy clouds of potato at home.  When tossed in a light cream sauce and then a drizzle of pesto-the dish was in our minds, the star of the evening.

That was of course until we saw Brooklynn herself arrive to meet the guests. 

When we attend the theatre or an event at the Concert Hall, we often look for a spot in the area for a light bite to start the evening.  We like to park once and walk from a bistro to the venue (as parking is at a premium in the area).  We also enjoy a performance much better, if we haven’t been weighted down by our dinner.  This will make Brooklynn’s an obvious choice in the future and we predict much success. 

Thank you for your hospitality.

Brooklynn's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Often, admiring a chef and getting to know him is like loving goose liver and then meeting the goose.”-George Lang

Deseo Bistro


Right off the bat, I need some help.  This little restaurant is so new (in my circles) that I have not heard anyone pronounce its name and so I do not know which syllable requires the emphasis. For now it is DCO in my head until someone corrects me.

Our office was in the Exchange in the late nineties even before the Red River Campus arrived.  At that time our lunch selections revolved around dim sum and Vietnamese but even then I was content.  Now-so many choices….

I’ve long admired the glass atrium the restaurant is encased in.  I thought it was a brave move on the Royal Albert Arm’s part many years ago.  My lunch-date remarked that it felt as if we were no longer in Winnipeg (which I took as a good thing on that gray, gritty day).  The space itself feels “gritty” too, which is not a negative remark.  The space has a lot of history and it is apparent in an authentic way.  (I was warned to skip a visit to the ladies though). 

Our server was a ray of sunshine-enjoying the bustle, her guests and the food.  She had a couple of great suggestions including the skirt steak which I will try on another occasion.  I opted for the wild mushrooms on grilled toast topped with goat cheese and truffle oil.  The earthy, musky tastes were contrasted with the sharpness of the cheese.  D doesn’t care for truffle oil and so I do not use it as often as I would like at home.  So I especially savoured the treat.

Our server also suggested a side dish as my open faced sandwich was just that.  Carb Queen that I am -I ordered what I call “smashed” potatoes.  I often make these at home using Giada De Laurentiis recipe but I like Deseo’s version even better.  I imagine that the potatoes are boiled and then smashed before being dropped momentarily into a deep fryer and then lightly salted.  Not having the use of a deep fryer at home-I’ll not bother any more and just fixate on Deseo’s version.

My friend cautiously ordered a chorizo hash  not professing to be a spicy guy.  He indicated that he really enjoyed his choice but his eyes were continually drawn to the huge pulled pork sandwiches being delivered to surrounding tables.  He simultaneously figured out that he could wind his way through downtown’s walk way system to come back again if spring didn’t hurry up.

I was craving some Latin tastes so next time I may opt for the bean fritters or the lime & manchego polenta.  Going back to Deseo Bistro and soon is a fore gone conclusion.

Deseo Bistro on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The most learned men have been questioned as to the nature of this tuber, and after two thousand years of argument and discussion their answer is the same as it was on the first day: we do not know. The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply: eat us and praise the Lord.”-Alexandre Dumas

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