Food Musings

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

Roadhouse Eatery Headingley


My lunch date on this day, lives is the west Winnipeg neighbourhood of Assiniboia and even though there would have been lots of great restaurants to choose from in her community, I suggested that we turn west on Portage Ave and head to Headingley (no pun intended). Within moments, we were settled in at the Roardhouse Eatery. A roadhouse is typically built on a major highway or trunk road to serve travelers to or through the area. With the Roadhouse Eatery being right smack on the Trans-Canada Highway, it is appropriately named.

Our pick of table included beautiful antique looking farm chairs. Right off the bat I had a hunch that we would be enjoying stick- to- your- ribs fare.  The extensive menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches, chicken, burgers and fish & chips, but also pasta, pickerel and the biggest surprise of all-Indian dishes.


When faced with the decision of what to sample, we opted to share the Wild Berry Salad, Butter Chicken and homemade fries. My friend who hails from England indicated that Brits often order some fries along with the rice that would accompany a curried dish. If she were back home, it would be dubbed “half and half”.


Always my first taste, the fries were great and piping hot, but had perhaps not been double-fried the way I enjoy them best.   The Wild Berry Salad was not able to live up to its name since it is not wild berry season in the middle of winter. The salad lacked the declared strawberries, raspberry and pecans but the grapes, oranges, apples and frozen blueberries were still tasty enough.


The star of the show was the Butter Chicken served with buttery Naan bread and Pilau rice made from basmati, peas, carrots and orange zest.  Hearty pieces of both light and dark meat had been prepared in a spicy tomato sauce. This version was shy on the yoghurt that I include in my own recipe but was deeply satisfying when ladled over the delicate rice. Was it the best Butter Chicken I had ever tasted? Perhaps not, but it was the best Butter Chicken I had ever eaten at a Roadhouse!

Roadhouse Eatery on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “There is nothing yet which has been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern.” –Samuel Johnson

hearts pink

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Mardi Gras 2015


If you have been wondering how you are going to get through the next long stretch of winter in Winnipeg, the folks at the RBC Convention Centre can help you out. The ever expanding convention centre is once again presenting Mardi Gras on February 13th & 14th, 2015.



At the Mardi Gras preview held recently, we sampled Peel and Eat Shrimp, fabulously Freshly Shucked Oysters, Pulled Pork Poh Boys, Deep-Fried Pickles and French Quarter Gumbo-all terrific.


There are two new and fantastic menu items this year. The Louisiana Style Shrimp with Pasta is an assembly of gulf shrimp prepared “Etouffee” (meaning smothered) style in a spicy Creole blend with lots of garlic, a rich stock and a gumbo style roux. Also new was the Chicken and Andouille Creole on Blacked Eye Pea Rice Pilaf. Both were satisfyingly hearty with complex tastes.


Bourbon Street Jambalaya has made a return visit. The chefs at the Convention Centre make their version chocked full of shrimp, chorizo sausage, blackened chicken, tomatoes, bell peppers, rice and okra.


My favourite of the evening was yet to come. The Basin St. Bread Pudding with raisins and bananas was appropriately laced with a Bourbon Caramel Sauce.

Tickets for Mardi Gras 2015 are available at .  Besides the authentic cuisine, entertainment is provided all night long by Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers. New for 2015 is the Living Statue- “The Plasterman” from Vancouver and The Lindsays, direct from Alberta, who are predicted to thrill audiences with their circus-like abilities which include sword swallowing. Winnipeg’s Undeadnewlyweds will risk life and limb when they perform machete juggling…blindfolded!

Mardi Gras 2015 promises many authentic dishes and terrific entertainment to get you off of that couch and out of the house.

Kath’s quote: “When the stomach is full, it is easy to talk of fasting.”-Saint Jerome (347-420)


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Raw Almond 2015



Winnipeg is getting quite a name for itself and I am NOT referring to a recent McLean’s article. The Toronto Star and the New York Times cite our fair city as the coolest place to dine.  They are referring to Raw Almond, the pop-up restaurant which appears each year on the frozen river at the Forks.





We arrived at The Forks just as the sun was setting on the city.




Our first peak inside.

The diners for the evening accumulated outside and provided us all with an opportunity to view the “pop up”.  If you intend to go next year, as this year’s dinner sittings are completely sold out- check the forecast. The evening we dined, was a balmy one and we were absolutely toasty inside the fascinating architectural “tent”. In fact, one person at our table who was seated right in front of a warm air vent was sleeveless!





Three communal tables are hosted by three local chefs each evening.  Chef Mitchell of Deseo’s Bistro was the artiste for Table #3 where we sat.


We began with a Foie Gras torchon which melted in our mouths like the creamiest butter.


Next up was a mini steamed bun that contained an escalope of fried chicken enhanced by an oyster mayonnaise and caviar.


Beef tartare was served with cardamom yoghurt and warm Ethiopian injera. Each course provided a whole spectrum of flavours concocted by our brilliant young chef. Fellow diners must have been thinking, how is he going to top this course? And then he would.


Crispy veal sweetbreads and Albacore tuna in a butter chicken sauce arrived next. We thought it impossible that we were eating fish because no piece required chewing; it simply melted on our tongues.



The beef short rib was absolutely sensational. Chef Mitchell professed to have Ukrainian roots and the entrée was his homage to both Beef & Barley Soup and Borscht. The exquisite beef came away perfectly with the tongs of a fork so that it could be speared with the barley risotto that it was perched upon and the toasted barley that it had been crowned with. The best part was swirling a forkful around in the divine borscht influenced elements of carrot puree, crème fraiche, fresh dill and jewels of pickled beet.


We were not done yet. Mitchell also confessed to a sweet tooth and treated us to his slow-cooked chocolate espresso pudding made crunchy with a sprinkling of crispy rice and toasted hazelnuts, made salty by a swirl of salted caramel sauce and made silky by a drizzling of olive oil.


The food was astonishing in itself and made more so, when you got a glimpse of the three chefs and their teams, together in the make-shift kitchen.


The other two tables were still finishing off their dessert course as we made our way back through the Forks and home.


A small group had accumulated for the middle sitting at 7:30.


Inside one of the warming huts.



Even if the food had not been top notch, the entire experience is such an adventure, prompting suburbanites like us to enjoy the heart of our city at the Forks. The pop up structure is an architectural delight as were the other warming huts that we had a chance to poke our heads into. Skaters were enjoying the balmy weather and more than once, we wondered what city we were in.

Kath’s quote: The word “enough” does not exist for water, fire and women. –Ukrainian proverb.

snow heartLive simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Chew Revisited



I constantly read both fiction and non-fiction about life in Italy. I am always fascinated by their love of wild boar. Living on the Canadian prairies I never really thought that I would get an opportunity to taste wild boar. But on this day, while dining at Chew I asked our server which sandwich he recommended. In truth, I was mostly interested in the Parmesan truffle fries option that the sandwiches are offered with. He described their albacore sandwich as light and clean tasting and the wild boar as warm and satisfying. In the midst of winter, “warm and satisfying” is always a good idea, so I made my decision. In spite of really, really wanting to love it, I took one bite and knew that wild boar was not my thing.


The grainy mustard was so grainy that it made me recall the times I watched my Mom make up a mustard plaster for a sick sibling. All of this is not a criticism of the expertise of the kitchen, just a miscue with my selection.


In the mean time, the perfectly prepared shoe-string fries were absolutely heavenly, peppered with shards of Parmesan and drizzled with a glistening of truffle oil. I ate them with my fingers as you would enjoy potato chips and I really could have cared less about not having the sandwich. My lunch date on the other hand, a self-professed “picky”eater, was obviously enjoying his grilled cheese sandwich. If you know the amazing offerings at Chew, you will know that it was not just any grilled cheese.  Three different cheese varieties were grilled with slices of sweet figs, peppery arugula and a basting of balsamic dressing. He had finished half and was going to start to nosh through his stack of fries. I was hinting for a taste,when he generously offered me half, saying that he was saving himself for the treat of those fries. Oh my gosh, likely the best grilled cheese that I had ever tasted!

I recognized the friendly rapport of our server from the moment I arrived. He had taken our reservation the day before and made a definite impression, even over the phone. He is obviously passionate about the dishes he serves and the skills of the chef-owners. He has a way of making every guest feel as if they were the only table dining in the cozy restaurant.


I was admiring their exquisite dining tables that had been added since my first visit. Our server proudly indicated that they had been hand crafted by one of the restaurant managers.


Next door was another adjunct-the opening of their bread and pastry shop.


I was too full from my lunch to consider purchasing anything but I just loved snooping around at the wonderful things for sale including some lovely cookware.

Chew on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Mecaenas: ‘Eight wild-boars roasted whole at a breakfast, and but twelve persons there; is this true?’
Enobarbus: ‘This was but as a fly by an eagle: we had much more monstrous matter of feast, which worthily deserved noting.’”-William Shakespeare


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Winnipeg’s Inaugural PEI Shellfish Festival-Blackbox Challenge



With the esteemed judges.

The life of a professional foodie is simply marvelous (forgive me-I just watched Downtown Abbey) with invitations to special events and restaurant openings. One such event stands taller than the rest. That was when I was invited to be a black box judge at Winnipeg’s first PEI Shellfish Festival sponsored by the good folks at WOW! Hospitality.


I cannot give you a whole lot of detail about the Chefs (this photo was taken by someone else) because being an impartial judge means being kept in the dark about some specific details, but I can tell you this-many of the stars of the Winnipeg culinary scene were rumoured to be in the house. We were asked to grade an appetizer and an entrée from each of six chefs. Marks were allocated for presentation (after all-we first “eat” with our eyes) and then most significantly on taste. With the former, we considered portion size, colour, artistry, originality and that the item from the box had been utilized in the recipe. With the latter: texture, degree of doneness and balanced tastes and seasonings were all considerations.

Here is a pictorial recounting of my morning in the order that they came off of my camera, beginning with the appetizers (Please note-I was unsuccessful in reacquiring my notes from the event so some photos may be entrees when they were intended to be apps and vice versa):








The entrees:








Can you spot the winners?


After each of the appetizers and entrees were tasted and evaluated, the judges met to compare our tally sheets and share our comments.  The exchange was passionate as is the case, in my opinion, when exceptional food is involved. In the end the standings were determined with only a single point determining third place.

Of the many day’s highlights was chatting with PEI’s fisherman about the qualities of Bar Clams, which I had never tasted before. I learned first hand how the depreciation of the cod supplies has actually bolstered the shellfish industry. D and I are crazy about shellfish of all descriptions. Some of you know that our trip to Boston and Cape Cod was cut short last September. We would sure love to visit PEI!


We have traveled the world to eat seafood and Canada has the most amazing product we have ever tasted! We lunched on …mussels (of course) at Ard Bia at Nimmos in Galway City where we had attended the Annual Galway Food Festival.

I also chatted extensively with Liam Dolan (the handsome judge to the far right of the photo) who is the originator of the annual Shellfish Festival in PEI. He also owns an Irish Pub in Charlottetown and hails from Galway-an amazing Irish city that D and I loved visiting.


The remains of the day.

That evening at the fabulous PEI Kitchen Party held at 295 York, the awards went to: 3rd- Red River College instructor Luc Jean, 2nd-Kelly Andreas – Delta Hotel with top honours going to Gordon Bailey-  Red River College Patterson Global Institute.

Gord Bailey wins the opportunity to travel to PEI this September to compete in the 20th Birthday Bash of the PEI Shellfish Festival. I can’t wait to see how he fares against Canada’s top chefs.

Kath’s quote: “Do not overcook this dish. Most seafoods…should be simply threatened with heat and then celebrated with joy.” –Jeff Smith


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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