Food Musings

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

Tre Visi Cafe, Grosvenor & Stafford


Do you pine away over a particular food memory?  I’ll admit it-I do.  Years ago D and I were invited to dinner and the theatre by life long friends.  Since the original Tre Visi on McDermot Ave. is so close to The Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, we could dine and walk to the theatre without having to repark our car.  Even though parking rates aren’t anywhere near as exorbitant as other major Canadian Urban centres, you do not want park twice.  The issue is not the money, it is the winter temperature in the middle of the Canadian prairie.  On that night, D and I shared a bowl of gnocchi and truth be told, I have lusted over that taste, ever since.

The newest Tre Visi location opened in my neighbourhood this past winter but even with my determination to get there, here it is almost summer and I have only now gotten the opportunity.  When asked where I wanted to go for an early birthday lunch by two good friends, my response was right on the tip of my tongue!


In anticipation of our autumn sojourn to Tuscany, I was delighted to chose a Tuscan wine to share over lunch.  Chiccio (sea salt crusted flat bread) accompanied the wine.  Mmm, bread and wine, as old as time itself.  We three old friends, settled in.


The pasta courses on the Tre Visi lunch menu are available in full or half portions with a side salad and opted for the latter.  I can’t put my finger on it precisely but I was blown away by the Misticanza salad.  It might have been the combination of the sparkling celery with the earthy black olives (pitted and halved)- I was smitten.


One of my lunch dates chose the Penne Forestiera, I intended to inquire if she enjoyed it but we were so busy getting caught up on the details of the months spent since Christmas, that I did not get a chance.


I know with certainty that my other dates loved the Carpaccio di Manzo that she selected as her main course.  She is a carpaccio aficionado and Tre Visi’s version suited her high standards.


The Gnocchi al Pesto was as sublime as I remembered it to be. I placed each speared morsel on my tongue and let it melt away.  That is how delicate and tender it was.  Sometimes, my old memory serves me well because this was a dish worthy of all the years of waiting to taste it again.


I agreed to a forkful of dessert since it was my birthday lunch.  OMG-the Torta de Polenta e Limone was to die for and I gave myself permission to have more than one taste!  The dense cornmeal and almond cake was saturated with lemon and yet the outside edge retained a crunchy texture that I loved.

Too soon, our time was over.  With hugs we agreed to reconvene for the next birthday in August. Turns out that Tre Visi means three faces, and was aptly chosen for this rendezvous.

Tre Visi Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “Age appears to be best in four things; old wood best to burn, old wine to drink, old friends to trust, and old authors to read.” –Francis Bacon

BeFunky_wine heart

Love-that is all.

The Blessings In My Life


I turn 58 today.  I am going to celebrate by writing and gardening and then have a glass of wine with my precious husband and our kids.  I have a very early morning (3:45 am) so it will not be a late one.  But I want to also spend the day counting my blessings. Here goes (from my stream of consciousness, that is to say in no particular order):

  1. For the simple luxuries of my home-a hot shower this morning in a brightly illuminated room.  With Daughter #2 just having returned from Central America I know that this is truly is a luxury.
  2. For social media, especially Facebook.  I woke up to so many birthday greetings that there are 35 waiting for me, that I can’t even see.  Sometimes I get frustrated by not being able to figure these little blips out, so I suppose FB is a bit of a curse too.  But suffice it to say, the birthday greetings make me feel remembered and loved.
  3. For the internet so that I could file a story and photos due this morning, before I even had my second  cup of coffee or walked the dog.
  4. For my good health-for normal blood pressure and cholesterol and blood sugar.  For clear mammograms and colon screens.
  5. For still being able to work in my garden and then run over to J1 and J2’s and do some weeding for them too.  My hips do sometime get sore but perhaps that is from sitting rather than exerting.
  6. For our first grandbaby who will be welcomed into our family this July.
  7. For having a modest income that allows us to contribute to the post-secondary education of all three of our adult children.
  8. For my husband.  He is such a good man for so many reasons.  He has spent this week running around trying to find the hard top gazebo that he knows that I would love for our deck at the lake.  He is also trying to replace our lawn-mower because he knows that all the time that I spend in our gardens is not showcased until the lawn is cut and neatly trimmed.
  9. For my Mom who at 86 sits and waits patiently (ususually) for visits from her family.  She gave me birthday money that I spent on bedding plants and an extra little something because she knows that our big old hairy dogs needs to spend hours at the groomers.
  10. For my sisters.  There are my very best friends.
  11. For our little beach house.  I will be away in the Sates this weekend and not able to be there but I will imagine it the entire time that I am away.  I sleep better there, than anywhere in the world.  I get more sunshine and the most exercise there.  It is the epitome of who I am and what I cherish most.  AND I LOVE THAT WE FINALLY HAVE AN INDOOR BIFFY!
  12. For the fruit tress in our yard and next door that always seem to bloom on my birthday.
  13. For my perennials that appear every spring to remind me that it is not my doing but God who brings life.
  14. Specifically for my “forget-me-nots” that were gifted to me when my dear friend Melinda moved away from Winnipeg, some 20 years ago now.  We are still close friends and she remembers the colours that give me joy and we share an obsession with hearts.  Her birthday package arrived yesterday-a glorious scarf in turquoise and pink and a hand made card with a wire heart on the front.
  15. For my work.  Tasks that excite me and some times stress me out but always something new to think about and learn and exercise that muscle called my brain.
  16. For the creative aspect of my work too.  I did not even know that I loved to write until this blog created a forum for me to do so.
  17. For the gift of travel-sometimes mind-boggling; to be able to awake in my own bed and be on our precious Isla Mujeres for a late lunch.  I leave for Philadelphia in the early morning and have the adventure of Tuscany this fall.   I could never have dreamed of a life this full.
  18. For my Dad, gone now, but the lasting memory of his love for the soil and the ground.  He was the gardener in our family and I think of him whenever I plant annuals along the edge of a sidewalk or path.
  19.  For thrift shop stores.  I love a good deal like the never been worn Clark’s sandals that I got today for $4!
  20. For the spring rain.  I know that it means that mosquitoes are coming but I transferred a whole bunch of perennials this morning and now I know that they will flourish without my extra attention.
  21. For the free things that I am sent as gifts because of the work that I do.  I received a $500 Delta handsfree kitchen faucet this morning!
  22. For friends that share their recipes and food with me.  Yesterday Lori brought be a forcocia starter.  We had it for last night’s dinner with soup and I just toasted a couple of slices now.  Oh my.
  23. For Daughter #1-an amazing person from the instant that she was born.  An inspiration to me and so many people, every single day.  I am humbled to be here Mom.
  24. For Daughter #2.  She is my baby girl no matter how grown up and worldly and savvy she becomes.  She has such an enormous heart for the suffering in this world and she is going to make a difference, some way, some how.
  25. For our son-  He is the most fascinating person that I have ever met.  How many people can say that about their own child?
  26. For Daughter #3-she isn’t really my daughter as most of you know, but I love as if she were.  Thank you for loving our guy as you do.
  27. For the Frenchman.  You are a significant member of our family and I don’t know what life was like before you joined us.
  28. For the access to healthcare that we have in this province and this country.  Spending a couple of hours each week at the children’s hospital, I see miracles occur.  The system is far from perfect but I would not live in any other country in the world.
  29. For the babies that I cuddle each week.  This week I spent two whole hours gazing into the navy blue eyes of a 23 day old baby girl.  They give me, more than I could ever give them.
  30. For PBS-I am serious.  We love Call the Midwife and Downton Abbey.  The writing, acting and art direction is absolutely stupendous and we are hooked.
  31. For books.  I have two currently on the go and another downloaded to my tablet for this weekend’s trip.  My Mom quotes her Dad when she says: “You are never alone, if you have a good book”.
  32. For my big brother who is awaiting knee surgery.  I can’t wait until he can cross country ski again.  His courage in pain and patience in anticipation of the surgery, is an example of endurance for us all.
  33. For my “little” brother who works so hard with such cheerfulness.  I get to holiday with him every year and I do wish that I could spend more time with him.
  34. For my sister-in-laws.  Thank you for putting up with my brothers, I know that it is not always easy to live with one of us, but you would never know it by your grace and patience.
  35. For my Sister #2’s husband.  He mentors and supports me in so many ways.  I love him like a “real” brother.

I could go on, in fact I thought that I might get to 58 to mark the number of years that I have been on this earth, but life is calling me to make a couple more phone calls and tidy up some loose ends.  Suffice it to say-I am blessed.

Have you counted (literally) your blessings lately?

“Out of the Kitchen-Adventures of a Food Writer” by Jeannette Ferrary


I am having a hard time paring down my favourite excerpts from this recent read, but I think that I may finally have them. In my life, I have always retained an empathetic quality. Some may even say it is a curse, as I get so engaged with the characters in the non-fiction and indeed, the fiction that I consume or the movies or TV shows that I watch, that I sometimes have a difficult time turning off “their” lives and returning to my own. Ask D about the incident after we watched the movie “Sophie’s Choice” together….  Stories that really engage me, cause me to reflect about similar incidents in my own life and the more similar the circumstances, the more enthralled I become. Some writers have an exception power to enrapture me and so it was when I read this work by Jeannette Ferrary “Out of the Kitchen”.   The first excerpt one is from her Prologue-yes, I was smitten by her words that quickly.

There must have been something way back somewhere, there must have been seeds that eventually flowed into a passion for food, its history and meanings and unending pleasures; the joy of growing and preparing and sharing food with friends, of seeing it as a heritage and comfort and love.
There must have been something.
That’s what this book is all about.

For Jeannette it was this book and for me it is Food Musings. I created this blog for reasons very different from the place that I am at now, three years later. I use this space to explore myself and my complicated association with food.*

It’s miserable when you are three and your’re trying to save face and you don’t know how to manipulate the situation. “Are you hungry?” To be honest, I can’t say with absolute certainty this was the exact moment that I understood the significance of this question. But it was definitely around this time that I learned the power f food, especially with respect to mothers. If you’re hungry, they (mothers) have t say “O.K. Come on upstairs and have your lunch now.” They might even say it will be the red soup with the square carrots and alphabet noodles in it, but don’t expect miracles. If you hobble into the kitchen, they will also notice your scraped knees and put Mercurochrome on them and cover them with new white Band-aids. In other words, if you say you’re hungry they have to pay attention. New little baby brothers notwithstanding.

When I was three, my Mom and Dad had twins and I love my brother and sister with all my heart. Thank heavens my independence was fostered back then, because it has held me in good stead ever since. But, there were some traumatic times, that I remember still. Since I was a rambunctious toddler who had a hard time respecting quiet nap time for the “babies”, my Mom would lock the backdoor behind me when I was playing in the yard. The system actually worked well, because when I was ready to come back into the house, I would ring the door bell which had a single chime, instead of bursting in on the quiet scene. The only trouble was, I was not quite tall enough to reach the bell and so I had to hold the door knob and stretch way over to the opposite side to cover the length. One day, a gust of wind made the door swing open and me with it and threw me down the back cement stairs. The fall, broke the skin under my chin and the bleeding was profuse (at least in my young mind). I still have the scar to this day and I live in a home that notoriously never locks their doors. I am sure that my mother soothed me with food as I have done with my own children. J1 says that is how he developed his love for sour cream and chive chips, because he could choose a package from the vending machine as his reward for paying attention in Saturday swimming lessons.

Maybe because she never felt too comfortable speaking English, we never talked much, a bit about school or how my brothers were doing. Her message was in the brown canvas bag and on the mahogany dining room table, in the Wedgwood bowl and all over the kitchen. It said I love you, you’re too skinny, come back soon. It said I can never do enough for you, it said this is my heritage, this is your heritage; remembering this food will some day change your life. It will be your music, And your song.

I was said to have resembled my little Polish Grandma. In fact, she would call me her little “Payak” (which was her maiden name) because I reminded her of her own sisters. She too struggled with her English, having immigrated to the “new country” with her two young sons, a year after her husband, leaving behind the grave of another baby son in the “old country”. When she couldn’t retrieve an English word, she would say “How, call dis ting”? I can hear it now, even though she has been gone almost 25 years. Our common language was her prune dumplings with melted butter, sugar and cinnamon, and her potato soup, and her poppy seed roll. I can taste her fried chicken, in my memory-so fresh, that we had fed those chickens that very morning with “scraps” from our breakfast. She would slice a big piece of her homemade bread and then spear it with a long fork. Next, she would open the side of her wood stove, that was lit every morning, except for the hottest summer days when she would begrudgingly cook on her electric stove in the porch. We would take turns toasting our own bread slice over the coals. Perhaps this is the reason why crostini holds magical power for me to this day.

This is my very long and convoluted way of saying-I loved this book!  I can recommend “Out of the Kitchen” for many personal reasons. The book may also be your cuppa tea, that is, if you are a believer in the equation food=love.

Kath’s quote: “When shall we live if not now?” ― M.F.K. Fisher (one Jeannette Ferrary’s dear friends).


Love-that is all.

*PS. And yes, I use the space too, to make a small income. I do not have a pension and only a small cache of RSPs so I am trying to create a place that will sustain me as I creep ever closer to “retirement” (another birthday is tomorrow).

Lovey’s BBQ & Smokehouse


Does the date of your birthday conflict with other celebrations? I love my May birthday, as the blossoms on our flowering fruit trees typically bloom this weekend and the weather is balmy, without any pesky bugs, that will be along soon enough.  Often times when my birthday arrives though, I feel as if I was just showered with affection and gifts for Mother’s Day and that doing so again so soon, must feel redundant for D and our family.  They don’t display this in the least, it is me, projecting how I might feel in their shoes.

I am more than content to celebrate in the back yard with something fun put onto the barbeque but this just occurred for Mother’s Day and I think that everyone needed a break from cooking and hosting.  So I asked if we could go to Lovey’s BBQ and Smokehouse.  Reputed to be the best barbeque in the city, I had yet to see for myself.

Even with our late afternoon arrival on a Sunday, the place was hopping and our large party was asked if we would like to sit in their party room.  We were having a party, so why not?  We did feel a little bit cut off from the rest of the restaurant, which was not such a good thing when we wondered where on earth people had disappeared to, when they went to place our order.  There was a new cashier on, doing her level best to pick up the procedure, but the poor girl was a bit overwhelmed.  We had no concern about the wait, but because we all have hospitality backgrounds, it was hard not to vault over the counter and help her out.


We got the entire family in 1 shot including the waitress!

Our privacy did mean that we could carry out our birthday tradition started by Daughter #2 for The Frenchman’s birthday this past winter.  We go around the table and share what we especially love about the person who’s birthday is being celebrated.  This is my favourite part about getting another year older, secure in the fact that my short term memory loss and brown age spots aren’t negating the way my family feels about me.  Or perhaps, they do feel differently, but they are all so sweet, they would never tell me so.


But to our dinner…. D ordered a round of Hog Spit beer, Burnt Ends and Fried Pickles.  I especially enjoyed the burnt ends, but some in our family were concerned about the fat content.  I know that fat is what delivers the flavour, but tried to restrain myself.


Dinner choices were varied from Pulled Pork Poutine (Daughter #2’s favourite dish from last summer spent in Montreal),


to a full rack of back ribs


and my half chicken (I ate the wing and the fabulous hand cut fries and packed up the rest for home).


Pulled pork was chosen by the rest of the gang and was also a big hit.  All meat choices were lovely and moist, but still firm, which is our criteria for good pulled pork and ribs.  The barbeque sauce was tasty and so appreciated, that additional cupfuls were requested.

We all know that good barbeque must have a bevy of “sides” and Lovey’s are amazing: a dense cornbread with a pleasant sweetness, homemade pit beans and creamy cole slaw.  D sampled the potato salad but everyone else went for the hand cut fries, which were plentiful and perfectly prepared.


An extra side of real chips was placed in the centre of the harvest sized table and even though we were all stuffed, they were fun to pick at (like peanuts).  I would go back for these even if the meat had not been exceptional.

Our dessert was also a family tradition: Jeanne’s banana cake with a shortbread cookie bottom and lots of chocolate shavings.  Even though I am not a big dessert eater, I could tuck into this cake morning, noon and night and often do so, when there are leftovers after my birthday celebration.

When birthdays are recognized as another year well lived and well loved, how could they be a dreaded thing?

Lovey's BBQ & Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Grilling, broiling, barbecuing – whatever you want to call it – is
an art, not just a matter of building a pyre and throwing on a piece of
meat as a sacrifice to the gods of the
James Beard

FBC Cookie.jpg

Love-that is all.


10 Tips for Smart Shopping


Hello, readers.  Have you spent any extensive time in Europe or the Caribbean?  Have you noticed that in many places in the world, shopping is a daily, not a weekly or bi-weekly event?  I once thought that if I were in a grocery store all of the time, I would be tempted to spend more than my grocery budget, but do you know what? The opposite is true.  Since I have started shopping more frequently, I am saving money and here are a couple of my secrets:

  1. I try to never shop when I am hungry (or thirsty or tired).
  2. I keep an eye out for discounted product usually marked with those fluorescent stickers. Since I am shopping frequently, I can plan to use the product immediately, sometimes that very evening for dinner. This way expiry dates are not an issue because I am not depositing the groceries into my fridge for a week.
  3. Not only am I saving money on groceries for my family, but purchasing items that I may not select on a regular basis, also stretches my creativity in the kitchen. 
  4. Sometimes I come across a tougher cut of meat that I have to braise or place in the slow-cooker. 
  5. If I decide that I cannot use the product immediately, I throw it into the freezer and I am careful when defrosting products to use them immediately. 
  6. I have started reading the labels where the price is stated on the shelf. There are times when you think something might look like a great price but when you look more closely, at the cost per unit, (comparing apples to apples) you can be absolutely certain. 
  7. A bigger bottle of a cleaning solution for example, is usually cheaper than a smaller one and even though you have to shell out more money initially, you save money in the long run.
  8. I have also started buying refills rather than spending the money on packaging every time I need a product.
  9. The best deals often come with a limited number that can be purchased. That is because the grocery store wants to spread the savings around. That is how you know for certain the item is an especially good deal. Today I bought one of my hair products at 1/3 off but I was limited to purchasing only four packages. No worries, I had the room to store them and I know that I will eventually use the entire product up.
  10. I use the calculator on my cell phone for other products, where long-term savings may not be so obvious. For example each Air Wick Scented Oil refill has 50 times more fragrance concentration than a gel cone and is well worth the extra investment.


I use the money that I save on my grocery staples to buy myself a luxurious little treat that makes life more pleasant: perhaps some fresh flowers or a bar of good dark chocolate or the scented oil that I mentioned above.

Life is good, but you can make it that much more so with keeping your living space clean and clutter-free. Throw open the windows and let the fresh air in or when the weather is not co-operating, surround yourself with bright sights and fresh smelling fragrances.  

Kath’s quote: True contentment is a real, even an active, virtue-It is the power of getting out of every situation all there is in it.” –G. K. Chesterton


Love-that is all.

Air Wick® Scented Oils have 50 times more fragrance concentration than a gel cone and last for up to 45 days. Click here to try a FREE Scented Oil Kit today!

BeFunky_Airwick Logo.jpg

“Disclosure: This post was brought to you by Air Wick® via Glam Media Canada.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Air Wick®.”

« Older Entries