Food Musings

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

Lunch at the Southside Keg


Many of my readers know that I have many long-lasting relationships with The Keg Steakhouse and Bar: D and I met there, at one time, pretty much his entire family worked there, etc. etc.  As a result I try to be very “fair” by not shining a spotlight on them too often in spite of the fact that it is our favourite place for date night and the place where I choose for the majority of my business lunch meetings.  And so it occurred to me that in my efforts to be fair, I have actually been unfair to The Keg.

Yesterday, as the snow was blowing outside, the fireplaces and cozy booths were  a welcome treat.  I ordered as soon as the special was recited by our server.  A lunch-sized Mediterranean steak on a toasted panini was cooked to a perfect medium rare.  I often select the baked goat cheese as an appetizer because I am ga ga for Keg salsa. It is not a Mexican blend but one that is reminiscent of our time in Italy when tomatoes are coaxed into full flavour by basil and a bit of balsamic vinegar.   I do often enjoy bare-naked steaks (the meat, not me) but “topped” steaks are a special treat.  This particular combination brings out deep, rich tones and when coupled with a house salad is a more than a satisfying lunch.  Actually it is more like a supper at lunch time, so last evening I did the inverse, and had a peanut-butter sandwich for supper.

My lunch mate chose the salmon burger, which he heartily enjoyed but I noticed that he left a 1/3 of his lunch un-eaten so that he would have room for dessert.

The Keg’s mini dessert options are so tasty and such good value-$7.95 for all three of these offerings: a mini creme brulee, chocolate cake and a butter tart.  I can imagine my entire gang ordering these to satisfy all of their sweet tooths (or should I say?- sweet teeth).

The Keg Steakhouse & Bar - Southside on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The dessert crowns the dinner. To create a fine dessert, one has to combine the skills of a confectioner, a decorator, a painter, an architect, an ice-cream manufacturer, a sculptor, and a florist. The splendour of such creations appeals above all to the eye – the real gourmand admires them without touching them! The magnificence of the dessert should not allow one to forget the cheese. “-Eugene Briffault

Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger: Sister #3-Joyeux Noël


Resto Gare, the reinvention of long loved La Vieille Gare in Winnipeg’s French Quarter, has been on my hit list since its refreshed unveiling in 2008.  I am pleased to say that I finally got a chance to try their fare at a recent Christmas party.

I am always thrilled to be included in the staff celebrations of a diagnostic centre that I work with in my role with CancerCare Manitoba.  I really appreciate that this group is always up to try something different and they have introduced me to a couple of venues I may not have otherwise discovered.

Resto Gare Bistro is located at 630 Des Meurons Rue in a Canadian Northern Station Building that will celebrate its 100th birthday next year.  The attached train car is only one year younger, being built in 1914.

The lovely interior is the perfect setting for a Christmas celebration with its colour pallet of gold and poppy red. Warm wood, rustic open beam ceiling and plush furnishings keep you cozy as you gaze out the window at the falling snow.

Being a large party. we had a limited menu, but the choices where all exemplary.  I started with the creamy potato and leek soup.  I think perfecting this simple dish shows a chef’s finesse. This one was the right consistency; you could taste both the leek and potato and it was seasoned perfectly.  This got me excited for my entrée and I was not disappointed.  For my main, I enjoyed Manitoba pickerel, pan seared in herb butter and topped with crispy pancetta, corn and a micro shoot salad and served with rice pilaf and perfectly cooked beets and Brussel sprouts.

My colleges raved about the rosemary and mustard rubbed Prime Rib; the half roast chicken served on preserved lemon smashed potatoes; and the wild mushroom and leek risotto with pecorino cheese.

The dessert cart selection was extensive.  I abstained, but heard the moans of my coworkers who indulged in the lemon tart, traditional maple sugar pie and the candy cane crème brûlée.

I look forward to revisiting Resto Gare, perhaps for a more intimate dinner in the train car.

Resto Gare on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Light, refined, learned and noble, harmonious and orderly, clear and logical, the cooking of France is, in some strange manner, intimately linked to the genius of her greatest men.”-Rouff

Love-that is all.

Turkey and Barley Salad


I recently had the opportunity to work with CJ Katz who was on a media tour promoting her award winning cookbook Taste -Seasonal Dishes from a Prairie Table.  CJ is a food writer, photographer and culinary judge but best of all she is a prairie-girl, residing in Regina.  If you still need items to put on your Christmas list or to purchase for other foodie loved-ones, this cookbook is exquisite.  As the back cover states: “a feast for the eyes and food for the soul”.  Throughout the recipes themselves, CJ weaves the story of the seasons of the priaires, the land itself and the local growers and producers.  All the mouth-watering photography is her own!

D loves Christmas and turkey is one of the primary reasons why.  He enjoys Christmas dinner (duh) but LOVES turkey left overs. 

While he was still roasting turkeys for a recent dinner, I came home to this gorgeous pot of turkey soup and basil dumplings, bubbly on the stove.

I, on the other hand, would just as soon get the left overs all used up and move towards some lighter fare.  Here is a recipe that will satisfy us both.  It would be perfect for a Boxing Day Brunch but is so festive, it could be featured on any holiday table.

Turkey and Barley Salad
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Total time: 
This salad is a healthy option for using up leftover turkey or roast chicken. It is delicious with a slice of Granola Batard.
  • 1 c pearl barley, rinsed
  • 2 c water
  • ½ t kosher salt
  • 2 to 3 c leftover roast turkey ofr chicken, torn into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 c canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c corn niblets, frozen or fresh
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 c dried cranberries
  • 2 green onions, trimmed and thinly sliced on the diagonal
  • 3 T finely chopped fresh basil
  • 3 T finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ toasted slivered almonds or pine nuts
  • Dressing:
  • 3 T red wine vinegar
  • 1 t maple syrup
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 t Dijon mustard
  • 5 T extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil.
  2. Add the barley and salt and cook until el dente.
  3. Set aside to cool.
  4. In a large bowl combine the turkey or chicken with the cooled barley, rinsed black beans, corn, red pepper, dried cranberries, green onions, basil, cinlantro and toasted nuts.
  5. To make the dressing, in a small bowl whisk together the red wine vinegar, maple syrup, minced garlic and Dijon mustard.
  6. Slowly whisk in the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Pour over the salad and toss to coat.
  7. Serve with crusty whole grain bread.

I apologise that I do not have any photos of this one.  Food styling is a hectic business and I was so focused on making the food look good, that I plum forgot!  Trust me, with the contrast and vibrant colours in this dish-it is gorgeous.

Kath’s quote: “Rational habits permit of discarding nothing left over, and the use to which leftovers (and their economic allies, the wild things of nature) are put is often at the heart of a cooking’s character.”-Richard Olney

Love-that is all.


First Christmas Dinner


For our family the Christmas season is launched with a turkey dinner that for 15 years D has planned and catered for 70-80 staff and volunteers of a charity that we support.  There have been various configurations of people who have worked on our team to spoil the guests and thank them for their faithful work.  When D worked at Winnipeg Harvest there were volunteers from Germany and our good friends from Sicily are often in Canada and available to help us out.  But last night was particulary special (for me at least), because it was our family: Sister #3, an Honourary Sister, my Beloved Bro-in-law and my handsome (and hard-working) nephew,  our Son, Daughter (in law) #3, Daughter #2 and The Frenchman.  We are a well-oiled machine thanks in part to our years of participating and D’s organizational skills but also because I think that our family just works well together.  We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we are there to enhance each other: Sister #3 is always D’s right hand in the kitchen, Daughter #2 typically starts the evening off by getting the dish pit organized, etc. etc.

Here was the menu:

Hot Spiced Cider and Cranberry Punch

Salad Noir with Balsamic Dressing and Dark Chocolate Shavings

Harvest Bakery Dinner Rolls

Roasted Turkey and Gravy

Quinoa, Wild & Basmatic Rice Stuffing

D’s Homemade Cranberry Sauce

Sun-dried Tomato and Basil Mashed Potatoes

Cumin & Coriander Fingerling Carrots

Sweet Potatoes with Honey & Cinamon

Spiced Ginger Cake with Salty Caramel Sauce

Coffee and Assorted Tea

The hit every single year are the sweet potatoes.  One attendee shared with us that they start talking about the taste of them in their office in August.  D found a gluten-free stuffing made with Quinoa which was appreciated.  We were concerned that the Salad Noir might be too unusual, but everyone loved it!

The rewards of the evening are many: for me, the admiration and appreciation lavished upon my husband is wonderful to see and I’ll admit it-I love the kitchen parade, when everyone pulls themselves away from the task at hand to recieve an ovation.  But the best part is when, to close the evening, tapers are distributed and lit and we are included in the singing of Silent Night.

So as of this morning our kitchen is back to normal and preparations for our own festivities can begin in earnest. 

Kath’s quote: “Bad hair day?  You’re a virgin, you’ve just given birth, and now three kings have shown up — find out the happy ending at a church near you.” -Unknown 

Love-that is all.

The Buy Manitoba List


When I was in Constance Popp‘s store this weekend, she had assembled special gift baskets of Manitoba goodies for purchase as Christmas Gifts.  Making a commitment to buy local is not an offhand decision. If you are price conscious, you will have to change your mindset in order to get on board.  People often ask me in my profession as a Media Planner-is XYZ the “best deal”? Is it the “cheapest”?  My consistent response is that I recommend mediums that are the most cost “effective” and that the investment in representing your brand with a vehicle of quality is the best long term decision you can make.  So too, with Buying Manitoba.

I read with interest the supplement published for the Manitoba Food Producers and ripped out the participant list to load enter into my Blackberry so that I can refer to it when shopping.  Then I concluded that my local readers may have missed this weekend’s reference and may want it as well:

Bakery and Sweets

  • Chocolatier Constance Popp
  • Double D’s Cheesecake
  • Gunn’s Bakery
  • Jeanne’s Bakery
  • Mordens’ of Winnipeg
  • Piccola Cucina



  • Bothwell Cheese
  • Notre Dame Creamery
  • Oak Islands Acres Goat Dairy
  • Organic Meadow

Meat & Fish:

  • Danny’s Whole Hog BBQ
  • Del’s Specialty Meats
  • Freshwater Fish
  • Granny’s Poultry
  • Mariner Neptune Fish & Seafood
  • Pioneer Meat
  • The Carvers Knife
  • Winkler Meats
  • Winnipeg Old Country Sausage


  • Northern Asparagus Farms
  • Peak of the Market
  • Precision Produce



  • Bee Maid Honey
  • Beeproject Apiaries
  • Black Pearl Coffee
  • Buckshots
  • Canadian Gold Beverages
  • Countrysides
  • Delicious Kicks Salsa
  • De Luca’s Specialty Foods
  • DiSanto Foods
  • Ferme Larielle Farm-Golden Flax
  • GORP Clean Energy Bar
  • Green Bean Coffee Imports
  • John Boy Farms Apple Cider
  • John Russell Honey
  • La Cocina Foods
  • Local Meats & Frozen Treats
  • Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods
  • Mountain Top Honey Farm
  • Naosap Harvest-Organic Wild Rice
  • Nature’s Farm
  • Northern Meat Services
  • Perfect Perogies
  • Progressive Foods-Quick Cooking Barley
  • Shoal Lake Wild Rice
  • Solbery
  • Superior Harvest Foods
  • Wild Man Ricing
  • Wendell Estate Honey
  • YOMM Beverages

I have regularly purchased 27 brands from this list.  How did you fare?

Kath’s quote:  “Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.”-Thomas Jefferson

Love-that is all.


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