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 Brooklynn’s Bistro


We had been invited to the opening of Brooklynn’s Bistro last spring and met the inspiration for the restaurant’s moniker.  Brooklyn is a delightful child who obviously lives a life surrounded by the nurture of food.  On that evening we also sampled some of Chef Darryl Crumb’s evening offerings.  They were as exquisite as one might expect from an award winning chef.  But I understand that Brooklyn’s own Grandma and her great Auntie are responsible for the day to day lunch offerings. 

On this day I was willing to try whatever Nona had cooked up and it was an amazing concoction of swordfish and tomatoes over a long macaroni noodle.  The slivers of parmesan that were added provided just the right amount of saltiness and the dish was perfection.

My lunch mate decided upon the pizza- a perfectly thin crust baked over a wood fire and lightly topped with capicollo, roasted red peppers, basil leaves and mozarella.  The closest pizza I have tasted to the many we sampled during our time on the west coast of Italy. 

I understand that Nona delights their guests with little tastes from her kitchen-sometimes a savoury appetizer or other anti pasta  On this day though, she was busy getting her larder stocked up so that she could make a trip home to Italy, so we were treated to a amazing dessert instead.  The scoop of heaven did not have a name but I would describe it as tiramisu meets chocolate trifle.  There was no mascarpone cheese but chocolate mousse, lady fingers, a liquer and bites of semi sweet chocolate shards.  Oh my!

Good thing I do not have my office on the third floor of the building where Brooklynn’s is located like my friend who I was joining for lunch, or I would be in big trouble.  I can’t imagine the temptation of just zipping downstairs for a bite of Nona’s fare.

Brooklynn's Bistro on Urbanspoon 

Kath’s quote:  “…smell and taste are in fact but a single composite sense, whose laboratory is the mouth and its chimney the nose….”-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin


Billabong for Brunch


Brunch may be my favourite time to dine.  Sister #3 and an honourary sister go out every single Sunday for brunch.  I often have a brood to feed back home or a Sunday supper to get started on, so I don’t always get to slow down and savour a day of rest, as I believe we were meant to.  But on a day when D was out of town and Daughter #2 had her brunch date cancel, it seemed the perfect opportunity.  My lovely friend Denise who lives in the area, recommended Billabong for brunch when she read my evening accounting of Billabong fare, and it had long been on my must try list.

Everything worth having is worth the wait-especially Billabong Bistro for brunch.

Daughter #2 ordered the Eggs Bennie which she declared-the best in the city (next to her Auntie K’s).  The Chef took a classic Bennie and made it Billabong’s own by adding tomato and spinach under the perfectly poached eggs and enhanced the back bacon with a slice of proscuitto.  Her only disappointment was the fruit side which she said, had it been more abundant, would have been an appreciatied complement to the richness of the dish.

I was very tempted by the Aussie Foo Young but opted instead for this roasted vegetable frittata.  Zucchini, spinach, mushrooms, peppers and red onions were enough to delight me so the addition of eggplant sent me over the top!  The smoky and carmelized flavours of the vegetables were contrasted by marscapone and podano cheeses.  My mouth is watering even now as I reflect of the lovely tastes from a number of weeks ago.

We sat near a front window with the afternoon light streaming through and watched the passers by on Osborne Street.  The coffee was robust and plentiful and the service polite and attentive.  The perfect way to while away a Sunday afternoon.

Billabong Bar & Bistro on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Bistro cooking is good, traditional food, earnestly made and honestly displayed. It is earthy, provincial, or bourgeois; as befits that kind of food, it is served in ample portions.”-David Liederman


Thanksgiving 2011


The “big” cottage in our family “compound” at Lester Beach is co-owned by my Mom and my oldest brother and his wife.  They graciously organized the space for us all to assemble for dinner.  This is no little feat, as this year there were 37 of us and that did not include three nieces and a nephew who could not attend (the latter travelling Europe).  We also welcomed back international student Priscilla from Beijing and a new attendee-Gabby from Quebec.

This year was so mild that one family entourage hiked the forest before dinner and another bunch headed to the beach for sunset.  The balmy weather also meant that the beverage table could be set up outside and there were a number of tables available on the huge back deck for people who opted to dine el fresco.

Everyone pitches in with a food responsibility.  Some are automatic and don’t have to be assigned like Sister #2’s peppercorn meatballs, Sister #3’s roasted root vegetables and my candied yams.  Someone always gets assigned a green bean casserole with crispy onions and  potatoes mashed with cream cheese. There were also two huge salads (I had mine after my entree),  turkey with two kinds of stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce and roasted ham with mustard sauce.

A fresh fruit platter was served with pumpkin pie and the hit once again this year was the Pumpkin Crunch dessert that I posted after last Thanksgiving dinner.  You can use the search function on the top right of the blog or go to the dessert recipe category.

Fall is beautiful on the prairies but we are acutely reminded of the circle of life when the ferns and rushes die away and an entire tree can be bared by a single gust.  So too, we were reminded how precious life is as we gathered this year, because one of our brothers was not with us.  Tom lived his life bursting with gratitude.  He loved family traditions and so Thanksgiving was one of his favourites.  I thought of him feasting at another banquet table as we gave thanks.

Kath’s quote: “The king and high priest of all the festivals was the autumn Thanksgiving. When the apples were all gathered and the cider was all made, and the yellow pumpkins were rolled in from many a hill in billows of gold, and the corn was husked, and the labors of the season were done, and the warm, late days of Indian Summer came in, dreamy, and calm, and still, with just enough frost to crisp the ground of a morning, but with warm traces of benignant, sunny hours at noon, there came over the community a sort of genial repose of spirit – a sense of something accomplished.”-Harriet Beecher Stowe

Give Thanks in Manitoba


I am thankful for the talented Chef’s who run our restaurants.  They could succeed anywhere but make Winnipeg their home: Bistro 7 1/4, Deseo, Segovia, Wasabi Sabi, The Grove, Hermano’s, Billabong and oh so many more. 

I am thankful for the wholesome and local ingredients available to preapre for my family: Morden corn, Altona sunflower seeds, Lake Winnipeg pickerel, Winkler farmer’s sausage and oh so many more.

I am thankful to shop in Winnipeg’s north end for Jeanne’s cake, bagels at Gunn’s Bakery, Tenderloin’s kubasa, and oh so much more.

I am thankful the exceptional and locally owned restaurants within walking distance of my home: Bernstein’s Deli, Mona Lisa, Pizzeria Gusto, Fusion, Saucer’s, The Frenchway Cafe and oh so many more.

I am thankful  for Winnipeg’s affordable cost of living so that D and I can (on modest incomes), support the kids while they attend university but still own a little beach house for the glorious summers and afford to get away in the winter.

I am thankful for the work that I do and the people that I interact with every day: Laura, Walter, Gord, Lori, Karen, Ric, Ben, Diane, Gwen, Cheryl, Kim (x2) and Clare.

I am thankful for my blended heritage and its food: the simple and honest starches of Eastern Europe and the Metis influences of wild rice and blueberries.

I am thankful for the new cooking influences in my life: Fredy and the other talented chefs from Isla Mujeres, the narrow restaurants of New York City and friends Connie and Roger from Sicily.  I am also thankful for the teaching of chefs I have never met like: Laura Calder &  Jamie Oliver.

I am thankful for my almost 85 year old Mom who encouraged me to cook when I was “knee high to a grasshopper” and taught me how to make cinnamon buns and good soups.  I am thankful for Sister’s #2 &#3 who complete what I am not in the kitchen, and are my very best friends.  I am thankful for my son and his wife who by example, show me how to use less prepared ingredients and love everything I cook.  I am thankful for my daughters who look to me to share my knowledge and recipes and to pass along our food heritage.  And I am thankful for D who said just last night “thank you for loving me with your food” when I whipped up a pasta with hot Italian sausage, red peppers, onions, garlic, feta and fresh spinach but whose favourite meal is still my meatloaf and mashed potatoes and niblet corn.

I am thankful for my readers who inspire me when I pound away at my keyboard in the dark of the morning, in my turquoise housecoat.  If you are reading this: I am thankful for you. 

This weekend, celebrate life with food made with love.



Stella’s at Plug In – Portage Ave.


Earlier this summer, I taught a class for the University of Winnipeg in the Buhler Building on Portage Ave.  I only ventured out once to try and pick up some lunch and ended up coming back late for my own class.  So I was excited to see that a restaurant had leased the space and had started building and installing equipment.  Now I will admit that the noise of construction was sometimes difficult to lecture over top of.  So I was eager to reap the benefits of the distraction that my students and I suffered through.

I had dropped in once previously to pick up a coffee and had a glance at the menu.  I knew that I would return because the dinner prices were so reasonable and they had my favourite Chilean Merlot as their house wine.

I chose the pesto shrimp linguine with slivers of red pepper.

My companion selected this gorgeous curried chicken.   

Stella’s service was very caring.  Both of our dinners were exceptional tasting and really well priced for a downtown dinner date.  Many fellow diners were on their way to the Jets Game that night but stopped first for a bowl of chili and toast.  I also saw a number of  “all day” breakfasts leaving the kitchen and heading to the tables of hockey fans.  I’ll have to keep Stella’s in mind for a pre-game supper on a cold winter night. 

Stella's Cafe at Plug In on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “Wish I had time for just one more bowl of chili.”-Last words of Kit Carson

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