Food Musings

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

Dinner Rush-Movie Find


The winters can be long in Winnipeg and so we hearty souls have become experts in finding projects and entertainment to while away the long nights.  D and I often pick a TV series, or in this case, a movie theme for the “non-cottage weekend” months.  This winter our theme is food movies and we kicked things off with 2 choices.

 The first was a Penelope Cruz movie and although we have seen her in some wonferful roles, the film “Woman on Top” is not her finest work.  But the second one was a really intriguing find.

Dinner Rush stars Danny Aiello and John Corbett.  And here is a tease about the plot: “Is it just another evening at the hugely popular Italian restaurant of proprietor and bookmaker Louis Cropa in New York?

Anything but -as tonight’s guests include; a local police detective and his wife specially invited by the owner;  rival bookmaker gangsters from Queens who want to become partners in the restaurant; renowned food critic ‘the food nymph’ is her usual demanding self; and at the bar, seemingly unnoticed, is Ken. As the evening continues enter Duncan, inveterate gambler and sous-chef on-the-line in the frenetic kitchen downstairs” and Louis’ son the head chef who is torn between making the Italian classics or to follow his dream of being one of NYC’s Top Noveau Chefs.

Almost the entire movie is situated in a three level restaurant and you can feel the stress and heat of the kitchen and the achy calves from the servers running up and down the stairs.  I can speak for its authenticity as we dined at an old Italian eatery last summer in NYC where candles were lit the day that prohibition ended and are relit every day since.


Kath’s quote:  “I feel the end approaching. Quick, bring me my dessert, coffee and liqueur.”-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Deseo Bistro on Osborne


I was recently at an event, where Scott Bagshaw was a prized member of the chef team.  I also read the “review” of the event days later in the WFP where a certain “reporter” singled Scott out for his unorthodox personal style.  Now I can’t imagine that her reflections were based on the evening itself but on urban gossip about a past circumstance surrounding this talented chef.  I ask this question-where would any of us be without a chance to redeem ourselves?

I was duly impressed by Scott and Alejandro’s first Deseo on Albert St.  The location had some issues but the food was impeccable.  Their new Deseo Bistro location on south Osborne is just my style-the second floor where we had lunch was light filled with an open window to bring in the sounds of the street and the fall breeze.  There is a little grove of birch trees on one wall and gorgeous Argentinian drift wood in the front windows.  Leather toss cushions create an inviting look and for me the feel is very cottagey (a place many know-is my favourite place to be).  I’m guessing that this beautiful room is the bar in the evening.  The main floor dining room is just as cozy with the discovery of a real tin celing during renovations.

Our helpful server suggested the squid.  My lunch date added figs and chorizo sausage and I topped the requests off with Potatas Bravas-potatoes cooked in duck fat! 

The squid was so succulent and tender, that next time I might be tempted to order it on a bed of pasta to soak up every delicious dollop.  There was a green sauce that we were mystified by, because we thought that it might be a pesto.  But no, it was arugula gazpacho which added a peppery finish to the sparkling tastes.

The figs and chorizo were sublime.  The fusion of flavours were (almost) indescribable-the sweet and silky juice, the explosion of texture from the fruit itself and the hearty and spicy but perfectly tender sausage.  Lucky for me, my lunch date is not a bread eater and so I got more than my share of the grilled toast to dip into the broth.

My little indulgence of the potatoes were tasty but in all honesty, I was hoping for a repeat of the amazing side dish that was served at the original Deseo’s.  I am guessing that Scott’s repertoire is so huge that he was excited to start fresh at this new location.  And why not?  The courage to make a fresh start is truly admirable.  Where would I be without my own?

Deseo Bistro on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:   “Oh, better no doubt is a dinner of herbs,
When season’d with love, which no rancour disturbs
And sweeten’d by all that is sweetest in life
Than turbot, bisque, ortolans, eaten in strife!
But if, out of humour, and hungry, alone
A man should sit down to dinner, each one
Of the dishes which the cook chooses to spoil
With a horrible mixture of garlic and oil,
The chances are ten against one, I must own,
He gets up as ill-tempered as when he sat down.”-Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Winnipeg Free Press Cafe-Special Event


In my profession as a Media Planner, I often get invited out to special events that are being put on by the media suppliers that I do business with on a regular basis.  We were invited to one such event recently at The Winnipeg Free Press Cafe.  There had a been an enter to win opportunity in the paper and at Manitoba Liquor Marts and the evening was a pairing of BC wines and complimenting tastes.  Now I am no wine connoisseur and leave those observations to ones more educated than I for example,  Ben McPhee Sigurdson  who is the wine guru for The Winnipeg Free Press and presided as one of the hosts that evening.


The food offerings started with a BC Salmon Riette.  Riette being a coarser style of pate-think “country” style. 

Next came my second favourite offering of the evening-Latkas topped with smoked goldeye.  Potatoes-that is what I am afficiando of and these lacy latkes were fried to a perfect crispness and were a crunchy contrast to the smoky fish that I absolutely love. 

When we vacationed in Sicily at exactly this time of year, D picked fresh figs for our breakfast.  Ironically, I only rarely get to enjoy figs and had lapped them at a lunch earlier that day when they were stewed with a chirizo sausage.   These figs were classically wrapped in prosciutto and totally satisfied my sweet and salty taste buds.

Speaking of Chorizo, the peppery sausage was balanced with carmelized sweet onions on baguette.  In my mind, chorizo was native to Mexico or even Italy but no-it originates from the Iberian peninsula which includes the country of Portugal and Spain.    

Next up was the highlight of the evening (from a culinary persepctive at least).  The most enormous sea scallops were wrapped in bacon and baked.  Perhaps they had been seared first because the face of the scallop was slightly crusted but the meat was plump and firm and sparkled on the tongue.  Now we grill scallops in bacon quite often at home and it sounds simple enough, but there is a real knack in cooking the bacon so that the fat has rendered away while not overcooking the scallop-these were perfection.


Carpaccio with parmesan shards and a empanada made with ground beef and ancho chili were served to contrast some of the more robust wines.  Ancho chili spice is made when both the seeds and pods of the plant are ground together, producing the brick-red powder that is most commonly associated with Mexican cooking.

I have been crazy for Portobello mushrooms this season and these meaty ones were coupled with Gorgonzola  cheese in a balsamic reduction.

BC peaches tartlets in phyllo pastry were the sweet crown of the evening.

I do know that the Cafe is available for special evening events such as this one.  The room is cozy even with its glass walls that make you feel right in the heart of the life in the Exchange.  Domenic Amatuzio is the skilled chef of the Cafe and put on a brilliant display of his talents.

News Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.”-Ernest Hemingway

100 Mile Dinner


 I enjoyed sitting with other food appreciators who had attended this fund-raiser not even so much to support the charity but because of their love of local food and the brilliant chefs that make up the culinary landscape in Winnipeg.  To know that proceeds were going to the good work of the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg was a wonderful bonus. 

The company made the arduous time spent waiting to line up to fill your entree plate a bit more pleasant.  The wait times being one aspect that this new event may have to tweak before next year.  I left before dessert to sneak in a visit with my hard-working husband who had just gotten home from work.  Ironically he was watching “Chopped” when I walked in the door.

I was content too because of the appetizers that I got an opportunity to sample, which kept the hunger pangs at bay.  The beet root, apple creme fraiche & golden caviar was high on my list but was surpassed by the Pickerel ceviche. 

 The barley risotto and Trappist cheese croquettes were also delicious.

Other items were served from the main course section, namely the Broccoli salad, green and yellow bean salad, chicken-stuffed crepes, chickpea, shortrib fritters and Moroccan spice lentil patties with squash chutney. 

Had they set these up as another food station, the items could have been appreciated in their uniqueness and it would have broken up the congestion at the Main Course table.

Please don’t misread this as disappointment, the food was nothing short of exquisite but the feeling of standing in line with your empty plate in your hand was a bit like the anxiety that you feel at a church basement pot luck.  But perhaps that is what they were going for.

The roast pickerel and bison tortiere were well contrasted and the latter oh, so savoury but the star of the evening was the Applewood smoked pork tenderloin with maple-glazed onions. 

Luc Jean of Red River College put together an amazing team and it was lovely to say hey to Scott Bagshaw, Ben Kramer, Alex Svenne and Rob Thomas. 

The team was enhanced by Adam Donnelly, Makoto Ono, Norman Pastorin and Ariel Schor.  Thank you Chefs for your tireless work and devotion to this community.  

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



Donwood Community Kitchen-Guest Blogger: Anna Marie


Donwood Community Kitchen is a joint partnership with Donwood School and Jubilee Mennonite Church.  The purpose of the kitchen is to build strong community through cooking together.

The kitchen is staffed with the Donwood Community Connector and the Jubilee Community Director, as well as many volunteers that come to help out. Friday afternoons 3 to 8 women gather to cook nutritious meals for their families. Child minding is also provided by volunteers with a nutritious snack. Through cooking together, the women begin to feel at home and comfortable enough to share concerns, challenges and joys. Conflicts between women emerge at times but are respectfully listened to so the women feel heard. Most of the food we receive is donated by F.O.O.D. (Fresh Option Organic Delivery). In order to continue to run the kitchen, Donwood and Jubilee provide in kind donations.

The Winnipeg Foundation and Thomas Sill grants have been awarded to the kitchen. Jubilee feels that this is a way we can put our faith in action. We have an opportunity to show hospitality through the use of space, staff and volunteers. The community kitchen helps to build relationships in an open and loving way, just as Jesus did. Those who come to the kitchen to volunteer are blessed by their experience.

Donwood school works hard at building relationships with the parents of the children who attend their school.

Kath’s quote: “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”-James Beard  

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