Food Musings

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

Ty’s Cafe and Bakery, The Sand Bar Motor Hotel-Grand Beach

September6

Perhaps the best part of a vacation at the cottage is going out for dinner.  This treat actually makes the entire day seem longer.  You can stay on the beach later in the afternoon and there is no worry if you forgot to plan on getting something out of the freezer.  Mind you, it may mean that you have to get out of your bathing suit but this is only a preference.  I think that the casual atmosphere of the Sand Bar would accommodate you in any attire.  I love a summer when you change from pjs to bathing suit and back to pjs.  The summer of 2012 was a summer like this.

When D and I visited The Sand Bar last summer, we were disappointed by the quality of the pickerel special and not surprized when we saw racks of it already fried and ready to plunge back into the fryer to warm it up.  But this summer, batch cooking had been rejected and as soon as we ordered (all of us choosing the same thing) our server rushed to the kitchen window to ensure that there were five fresh orders left.  The bar around us was almost empty, but supposedly the dining room was jammed with pickerel lovers.

We started off with an order of fire-dusted calamari.  There was plenty to share and one member of our party declared that it was perhaps the best calamari that he had tasted in a very on time.  This was high praise, as The Australian resides near the ocean in Melbourne.  Perhaps it was the Long-Island Ice Teas and Bloody Caesars that elevated our appreciation.

The “old school” crunchy batter is not a necessary enhancement because pickerel retains a delicate flavour (when freshly caught and never frozen it actually sparkles in your mouth), but this recipe is fun every once in a while.  Unless of course you are trying to get back into shape to play professional rugby after an injury and surgery, which happens to be the case for the Australian.  He left a mound of the batter on his plate but still seemed to enjoy the treat.

The sun was just setting as we departed.  Another perfect ending to a perfect day.

Kath’s quote: “Grilling is like sunbathing. Everyone knows it is bad for you but no one ever stops doing it.”-Laurie Colwin

Love-that is all.

Ricky’s All Day Grill -Lockport

September5

When I was a little girl (this was before central AC was common place), my Dad had a solution to our hot, sleepless, summer nights.  We would pile into the family station wagon (still wearing our pajamas) and we would drive with all the windows open up Henderson Hwy. or the River Road on the west shore of the Red River to Lockport.  Upon arrival at the Half Moon or Skinners, Mom and Dad might have a crunchy skinned hot dog and we would get a cool treat.  Then we would have a walk on the grassy river bank before heading home.  Typically, my siblings and I would fall asleep en route and we would be carried in by my Dad’s big strong arms.  Problem solved.

My Mom still loves that drive and so we find an excuse to take her whenever we can.  We will have a fresh reason now because Lockport has a new eating establishment.  Ricky’s All Day Grill is on the corner of Hwys. 9 & 44 (5753 Main St.) and can’t be missed.  It is owned and operated by the Singh family.  We had a chuckle when we were introduced to Dan Singh (pronounced dancing) last evening at their official ribbon cutting ceremony.

I am not sure what their dance moves are like but their diner-style cooking is very good.

Throughout the evening we were treated to a bruschetta made with fresh, ripe tomatoes that are at their peak right now.  Perogies, chicken fingers, bacon cheese toast and zucchini sticks were sampled too.

My favourites were the Garlic Tequila Shrimp

and Kolbi Meatballs in a ginger sauce.

But I surprized even myself by the item that I enjoyed the most.  Dill Pickle Wings were piping hot and meaty.  The savoury dill was offset by the tangy cucumber and they were absolutely delicious.

I understand that Ricky’s is already a family hit in Western Canada and Manitoba’s first location officially opens today.  We will definitely be back for breakfast or brunch to try their Shrimp, Tomato & Goat Cheese or Portobello & Three Cheese Omelets.

Ricky's All Day Diner on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Dine, v: to eat a good dinner in good company, and eat it slow. In dining, as distinguished from mere feeding, the palate and stomach never ask the hand, ‘What are you giving us?'”-Ambrose Bierce

Love that is all.

 

Le Gouter-Albert Beach

September4

I will deliver the bad news first: Le Gouter is now closed until the May Long Weekend in 2013. The good news is that every season that they start anew, they expand their offerings to include more and more delectable light meals and snacks.

As you may deduce by the restaurant name-Le Gouter (pronounced goo-tay) is a French establishment at Albert Beach.  In fact, most beaches that line the east and west shores of Lake Winnipeg have similar associations.  The community where we have our little place is German, as is easily deduced by the family names that identify the cottages.

We have been vacationing for a couple of weeks and enjoy cooking and assembling many family members for a post-tennis brunch or barbeque supper on the deck.  Then again, there is a relaxed pleasure when the two of us can make a date on our own for lunch as well as some shopping (freshly picked corn and some end of season flip flops).

I often select Reuben sandwiches for lunch, not just because I enjoy the taste but because I rarely make them in my home (I never remember to keep stocked up on sauerkraut) and because I believe that a well made Reuben is a very telling manner to assess the abilities of the kitchen. This one had the authentic Russian dressing, whereas many kitchens utilize thousand island and plenty of both corned beef and sauerkraut.  My preference is when the sandwich has been watched on the grill for enough time for the cheese to melt through the other ingredients and fuse them all together.  On this day, the Swiss cheese was not quite melted enough for my tastes.

But no matter, for the small order of poutine that we shared was loaded with melted cheese curds.  When we ordered, we were asked if we had a preference for mozzarella or authentic curds.  We simultaneously requested the latter.  After all, authentic poutine was invented by French Canadians and squeaky curds are what make them such a treat.  In this case the hand-cut, never frozen fries and the brown gravy were equally top notch.

The star of the show was the Cheese Burger that D ordered.  The hand formed burgers are crowned with tomato, pickle, lettuce, red onion, mustard and ketchup as well of plenty of melted cheddar cheese.  The old school taste is succulent and perfect, in our minds.

This summer has been glorious, as has been the visits, to our favourite beach establishments.

Le Gouter on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Sauerkraut is tolerant, for it seems to be a well of contradictions. Not that it would preach a gastronomic neutrality that would endure all heresies. It rejects dogmatism and approves of individual tastes. It forms a marvelous combination with numerous spices, odors, or spirits: juniper berries, coriander seeds, peppercorns, cranberries, Reinette apples, stock, and wine; it even welcomes flakes of yeast or leftover Gruyère since it accepts being prepared au gratin. Its flavor sustains various potato dishes: boiled in their skins, crisps (potato chips), braised, sautéed, grilled, or simply cooked in water. It adopts many sorts of fat, including lard, butter, goose fat, or roast dripping. The variety of meats to which it consents is infinite: sausages of all kinds, such as knackwurst, white sausage, Lorraine, Montbeliard, chipolata, black pudding, hams, smoked or salted bacon, quenelles, pickled and smoked pork, goose, pheasant, etc. It makes excuses for red wine, although it has a weakness for beer and lets itself be spoilt by white wine. Each stomach may find its own happiness in it.”-Julien Freund

Love-that is all.

Winding Down

August30

As I write this I am surrounded by the sounds of the forest and sleeping dogs.  But don’t be fooled, if I were to rise from my cozy couch, they too would spring up in anticipation of their next forest or beach walk.  This is how my day began today.  With a mug of coffee in my hand, I allowed myself to be pulled to whatever clump of trees or grasses they were eager to sniff out.  Just a simple thing but a real illustration of how my life (and attitude) is different here than 1 1/2 hours away, in the city.  When I am home, getting the dog out is another item on my checklist for the day.  I am relieved when I can get out the poop bag because that means I am also free to head home.  I wish that I could capture my lake state of mind when I head back to the city.

Today is going to be a hot one and even though we have a fairly efficient AC here, I have planned our meals around not having to turn on the stove.  Daughter #1 and I will head to Grand Beach for supper with my beloved bro-in-law, niece and the “Australian”.  The ocaission is their all-you-can-eat pickerel dinner that we have enjoyed in the past.

I do love to cook out here though, last night I slow roasted three 1/2 chickens on the barbie smothered with tomatoes, zuchini and ginger/curry sauce and topped with mixed nuts, raisins and coconut.

The night before it was pickerel cheeks with smashed baby potatoes and Greek salad.

Daughter #1 and I made a peach/blueberry crumble earlier in the week that has sustained us for our dessert fix after the pooches are walked for the evening and we are settled in for our Alias viewing. We retire early so that we can cozy up and read in bed when there is not a sound except for the odd rustling in the bushes.

But soon this lazy routine will be done for another year.  I love the change of seasons but hope that this amazing summer can sustain itself just a while longer.

Kath’s quote: “Summer cooking implies a sense of immediacy, a capacity to capture the essence of the fleeting moment.- Elizabeth David

Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger: Sister #3-GLEE does Hawaii

August29

The dinner club I belong to known as GLEE (Girls Laughing, Eating and Entertaining) is almost always based on dinner and a movie. Usually the dinner theme comes first, i.e. Greek food and the movie options; My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Shirley Valentine, Mama Mia, follow.  This was not the case with the last get together that I hosted. The girls and I were all eager to see “The Descendants” with George Clooney.  The move was picked first so the theme of Hawaii was what we had to work with. Determining a menu for a Hawaiian dinner party is not as easy as one might expect, especially in the Canadian prairies in the dead of winter where its hard to find a nice pineapple, never mind banana leaves. Lots of the food is hard to find and can be complicated to prepare, anyone want to dig a pit in the back yard to slow cook a suckling pig?  The cuisine’s identity is sometimes had to pin down being a mix of American, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Polynesian and Portuguese influences.  But we set forth doing the best we could and the end result was a pretty yummy dinner.

We started the evening with this cocktail

Hawaiin POG Punch
Recipe type: Beverage
 
Ingredients
  • 3 cups passion fruit Juice
  • 3 cups Guava nectar
  • 1 ½ cups Orange juice
  • (I couldn’t find all these ingredients so I used a mixed juice that included these juices)
  • 10 oz Malibu rum
  • 750 m. bottle of dry champagne
  • garnish with pineapple slice
  • makes 10 cocktails

Along with this we enjoyed our Pupu chicken appetizer created by my friend Lucille.

Kathy T#1 brought a mandarin and almond salad and Kathy T #2 made a lovely pineapple rice dish to accompany the vegetable medley and macadamia nut crusted Mahi Mahi that I made. http://www.foodnetwork.ca/recipes/Salad/Herbs/recipe.html?dishid=3505

I made the onion Maui onion salad but forgot to serve it.

It was hard to pick what was yummier, the food or George?

Dessert was pulled together by Barb who kept it simple with angel food cake, fresh pineapple, chocolate sauce and whip cream.

Kath’s quote: “He who receives his friends and gives no personal attention to the meal which is being prepared for them, is not worthy of having friends.” –Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Love-that is all.

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