Food Musings

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

J&H Greek Restaurant Update


Most of my local readers know that I write a regular restaurant column in the community newspapers here in Winnipeg. I love visiting the bevy of locally owned and operated delis, cafes and ethnic restaurants. Not only is the food exceptional but the owners are so welcoming and hospitable. One such owner tracked me down through the newspaper and called me this afternoon.

Aspiro, the second generation operator of J & H’s wanted to let me know that in spite of the fact that they had been closed for six months, they were once again open for business with slightly reduced hours of operation. He explained how his Dad and Mom (where the J and H originates) had journeyed home to Greece for their first time in 20 years. Their stay was unexpectedly extended and while there they actually considered retiring. Upon their arrival back in Winnipeg they realized that even though they were getting on in years, their little restaurant on Portage Ave. was an important part of their identity and they could not permanently close their labour of love. So Aspiro’s Mom and Dad decided that an appropriate compromise would be to reduce their 100 hours each week in the restaurant.

As a result, if you are considering the consumption of amazing Greek cooking any time soon (and I strongly suggest you do), their new hours are Monday to Thursday 8 am to 3 pm and Friday & Saturday 8 am to 8 pm. They will be open on special Sundays like Mother’s and Father’s Days.


We concluded our chat with my sharing that Boo and the Frenchman will be leaving shortly for Greece. He expressed his disappointment that his Mom and Dad weren’t still there as they could have hosted our family for a meal in Athens. Do you see what makes me love my job and meeting these local restauranteurs?

J & H Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Cooking is at once one of the simplest and most gratifying of the arts, but to cook well one must love and respect food.”-Craig Claiborne


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

A Photo of My Life



As  I was setting the table for a dinner party, I noticed that my turquoise hutch could use a wipe. Perhaps you might not have noticed what I saw. I am a “noticer”. I often pour my wine from this place and in the midst of the dried up round droplets, there was a perfectly shaped heart one.  It struck me how in so many ways, the image depicts my life.

For one, I am always spilling things: my credit cards all over the counter, coffee onto my housecoat and red wine in many locales.

For two I am messy. I am not a good housekeeper and I am a very messy cook. When D is out of town on business, I don’t even make the bed.

I love turquoise. I have a dozen pair of turquoise earrings and a primarily turquoise wardrobe. I have decorated our home and beach house with turquoise accents. D recently gifted me with a turquoise stand mixer. I painted and distressed this hutch when Beep moved out and we converted her main floor bedroom into our dining room. She teases us that we did so the weekend after she made her move.

I love having turquoise around me because it reminds me of the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas and both Italy and Mexico.

The hutch is “distressed” because for one I am very frugal. For two I would rather repurpose something than purchase new. I feel that items like old wood furniture have more integrity than new. In addition, there is freedom and exhilaration in slapping on paint in a rustic fashion. Kind of like finger painting when I was a kid.

And yes, I love red wine. My absolute favourite is a fine Chilean Merlot. But because I am thrifty, I have found a reasonable substitute that comes in economical packaging (dare I say…boxed). This convenience allows me to pour a glass when we are watching “Suits” on Netflix, a Jets game or “Amazing Race”. It means that I have plenty to share with Jen and the Frenchman (my kids in law), when we assemble for mandatory Sunday suppers.

Hearts too are all around me. I collect heart shaped coral, stones and seafood when I vacation. My family give me pottery, baskets and jewellery in heart shaped. I photograph hearts every chance I get.

I see hearts everywhere: in the clouds at sunrise, in puddles after a rain shower and in the pucker of a newborn baby’s mouth.

Of course a heart is not just another shape like a triangle. Hearts mean love and in my life, love is what it is all about. Not the receiving of love, but the giving of it. When I am blessed by a heart, I am reminded anew that I was put on earth to be a love distributor.

Kath’s quote: And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” 
 Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Family Celebration at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar


When D and I dine at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar, we often look about to see multi-aged families dining together and we marvel at their ability to do so.

Boo and The Frenchman are soon off to Greece on their honeymoon as Boo was in school when they were married in October of last year. As a result, they will be away on the day of her birthday. We were hard-pressed to find a mutual date for us to gather together but finally agreed upon this past Monday evening.


We are all infatuated with The Wee One so she just had to be in attendance. Even though she is a seasoned diner, she is only a year and a half, so my expectations for our experience were what I would deem “realistic”.  The Keg certainly knows what they are doing when accommodating children. I suppose they understand that a happy child, means ecstatic parents and the chances of lingering and/or returning (often) increase accordingly.

We had made a reservation even though it was early on a weeknight. Upon arriving at the table, there was a high chair strategically placed set with a children’s menu, crayons and an activity sheet. A complementary child’s plate of crackers, oranges, strawberries and celery sticks arrived thereafter and between scribbling (“I colouring!” the Wee One declared) and snacking from her plate we were able to settle in and enjoy our birthday traditions.

On birthdays, we take turns as a family sharing what we love and appreciate about the birthday honouree. In my personal opinion, this is a gift greater than any material one that could be exchanged. We ordered our drinks and a plastic Keg cup with a straw so we could toast the occasion. The Wee One enthusiastically joins us for this custom, having practiced “cheers” with drinks and even food, ever since she could talk.


Appetizers were chosen for us to share around the table: new items of Tuna Tartar, Crispy Shrimp and Mediterranean Chicken Wraps were savoured along with an old favourite- Mushrooms Neptune.


The Wee One enjoyed her Chicken Fingers and Fries from the Kid’s Menu in two courses and supped on the fries while we passed around the tapas plates.


At meal time New York Steaks, Blue Cheese Filets, Pistachio Salmon and Seafood Chicken were selected by those among us who still had an appetite. The girls and I went a bit lighter with Boo selecting a Prime Sandwich (she took half home) and Beep and I sharing a Mushroom Chicken entrée (she had to take her Stuffed Baked Potato home too).

A celebratory wedge of The Keg’s famous Billy Miner Pie arrived with a plate full of spoons and we concluded the evening with a minimum of disruption to fellow diners. This did mean, Umma (me) walking the Wee One to see the fireplaces on repeated occasions and Poppa playing peek-a-boo over a half wall in the dining room. These distractions were a small price to pay for a contented family. In addition, I didn’t have to shop, cook, do the dishes OR clean up the litter under the dining room table, so it was a win, win, win kind of evening.

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The dinner table is the center for the teaching and practicing not just of table manners but of conversation, consideration, tolerance, family feeling, and just about all the other accomplishments of polite society except the minuet.”-Judith Martin (Miss Manners)


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


Bernstein’s Delicatessen


Sometimes the best things in life are right under your nose. Case in point: Bernstein’s Delicatessen has been at the end of my street for over twenty years and although I often walk through the little strip mall where it is located and see how full it is with happy diners, I rarely find the excuse to visit. But this day was different.

I truly had a difficult time making up my mind. I was interested in the Fried Chicken and Waffles but also did not want to miss out on their amazing hand-cut fries OR their potato latkes. Luckily, my lunch date was very accommodating, so I didn’t miss out on sampling anything.


“Chicken & Waffles” is clarified on Bernstein’s menu in parenthesis as being “Fingers & Pancakes”. Since I love sweet and salty combinations, it was the perfect choice. The chicken was tasty and the pancakes acted as a sponge to soak up the blueberry compote AND the chipotle maple syrup! Every forkful was a complex combination of tastes.


The big surprise came in the form of the Warm Corned Beef Sandwich. If you have never tasted house-made, hand sliced corned beef, you do not know what you are missing. Biting into the sandwich was an entirely different taste experience than the countless corned beef sandwiches I have eaten over the years. The texture of the meat was soft and tender and there was no unpleasant salty taste.  I struggle to find an accurate word; perhaps the one that I am searching for is: sublime.

Bonus upon bonus, I also got to pick at the perfect hand cut fries and the potato latkes with applesauce. Entering the attached store to pay my bill, I decided to pick up some homemade chicken noodle soup from the deli freezer, meaning that I was able to bask in Bernstein’s deliciousness on another day.

Bernstein's Deli on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The corned beef is exquisitely done, and as tender as a young lady’s heart, all owing to my skilful cookery; for I consulted Mrs. Hale (Sarah Hale’s cookbook) at every step, and precisely followed her directions. To say the truth, I look upon it as such a masterpiece in its way, that it seems irreverential to eat it. Things on which so much thought and labor are bestowed should surely be immortal…..”- Nathaniel Hawthorne (1844), fending for himself while his wife was away.

berry heart

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Spring has Sprung at Earl’s Kitchen + Bar


Invitations to Earl’s Kitchen + Bar for their regular Menu Tastings are coveted in foodie and blogger circles. Earl’s Chef Collective has assembled a team of award-winning artists so we knew that we were in for an amazing food evening. Cate, Matt, Woody and their local Earl’s team are the perfect hosts; providing tasting notes, photo files and ensuring that your glass is never empty. As a foodie on assignment, this allows you to bask in the ambience and really savour the offerings.

tuna tostadas (1)

First up were Tuna Tostadas-smooth and crunchy, fiery and cool, all delivered in a few bites. A platter of these along with Earl’s well-crafted cocktails will jam their already popular patios this summer.


My favourite of “Cocktail Craftsman” Cameron Bogue was the grapefruit based Paloma.

Bees Knees

Bee’s Knees and Amaretto Sours were also delivered to an enthusiastic assembly.


Our own Chopped Salad which we stuff into Sabih (a common street-food in Israel).

Having travelled to Jerusalem and eaten many Chopped (also dubbed Israeli or Arab Salad), I was thrilled that Fattoush Salad had found its way to a local menu.

fattoush with chicken image 2

When Arabs add left over pita to a grilled vegetable salad, (and Earl’s Chef Brian Skinner adds pita chip croutons), it is transformed into Fattoush. In the holy city, each cook, each family, each community has their own variation. Earl’s version definitely ranks as high as the ones that we have made at home and I recall from the amazing journey that I once took.

moroccan salmon 2

Chermoula is a marinade for fish and is the foundation of many Moraccan fish dishes. In this case, Earl’s Chef Hamid Salimian started with Ocean Wise Salmon and fused it with smoked paprika oil, pearl onions and spring peas.

Although not pictured here, the Spring Creek Ranch beef sampling was the highlight of an already delicious evening. We discussed around our end of the table, that we could taste how much the cattle were loved by the Spring Creek Ranchers. Perfectly cut, perfectly aged and perfectly prepared, the medium rare cuts were rich and tender and almost nutty in taste. A number of us treated ourselves to a nibble of the fat cap and oh my, it tasted as if we had come upon a sweet and exotic oil.


Having only recently tried Bibimbap (pictured above) for the first time, at an authentic Korean restaurant in our neighbourhood, I waited all through the menu sampling to do so again.

korean bibimbap image 1

Earl’s Chef Dave Wong poached the egg in his version, as we North American’s are needlessly squeamish about raw food. The essence of the dish, is the contrast between the crunchy rice that has been made so by the special heated bowl that it is served in, the crunchy vegetables and the silky egg that cooks further when stirred around with the hot rice.

Berry Shortcake

A new Earl’s burger was also sampled but by this time, we were crying “Uncle” and the parade of expert food items from Earl’s kitchen was drawing to a close, but not before, the essence of spring came along- A Berry Shortcake.

Korean, Middle Eastern fare and exceptional burgers and steaks can be found at many excellent local restaurants in Winnipeg.  A visit to Earl’s Kitchen + Bar ensures that a group with eclectic tastes can find them all under one roof or under an expansive umbrella, if you will. Herald the spring with a trip to Earl’s and enjoy exceptional crafted tastes from around the world at substantially less cost than a ticket overseas.

Earls Kitchen + Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”-Francois Minot

rustic heart

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.





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