Food Musings

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

Lanky’s Grand Beach


It rained this morning at the cottage and ever since the kids were little, we would spend a rainy day at Grand Beach.   Loving traditions, my sis in law and niece joined me for the short drive 5 kms south.    The miniature golf place looks to still be open but our beloved Playland was boarded up with a sign that read “Re-opening Soon”.

To work up an appetitie,  I introduced the girls to my favourite spot-The Spirit Rock Café and Gift Shop and then I continued my search for the area’s best French fry.  Today’s lunch was at Lanky’s which has been around for as long as I can remember.  Other places also hold fond memories of growing up at Grand Beach but they are all long gone-except Lanky’s.  I’m not exactly certain how many years Lanky’s has stood in this spot on the main drag of Grand Marais but an old menu board lists fish and chips for 75 cents.

Even though it appears as if the foot long hot-dogs have not changed (they’re still 12 inches in length), the hand cut fries that we used to love have been replaced with a frozen variety.  But to illustrate that you can teach an old dog new tricks-we sampled a menu item that I have never had anywhere-Garlic French fries.  The fries were covered in a garlic gravy-like sauce and they were garnished with marinated carrot sticks and parsley.  The taste was very unique.  The verdict?  I love trying new recipes but give me a real hand-cut potato fry any time.

Kath’s quote: “Garlic is the catsup of intellectuals.” –unknown

Summer Rice Rolls


I make authentic Vietnamese rice rolls on a regular basis but this variation is a nice summer spin.  I arranged a platter of the ingredients and let everyone roll their own.   I didn’t photograph any of our plates because they were a mess but so delicious that I was content to eat mine with a fork.

The day was warm and I didn’t want to heat the cottage up by using the stove.  I made everything ahead and served when the rest of the gang arrived from the city.  The meal was cool, refreshing, quick to eat and allowed us to make the kick off of the football game across the street at the “big” cottage (we only get 1 station via antennae on our cottage TV).

This is how they were supposed to look.

Thin dried rice noodles, soaked until el dente

Rice paper wrappers, soaked on round plastic screens

1 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced

1 head leaf lettuce, washed

2 carrots, peeled and julienned

1 cup loosely packed mixed fresh herb springs, such as mint cilantro and basil

Hoisin sauce, to taste

I added some protein by sautéing 2 sliced chicken breasts in satay sauce.  We were out of avocados so put out guacamole instead.  Strips of purple onion and slices of mango upped the taste mix and the vitamin and antioxidant levels.

Kath’s quote: “Rice is a beautiful food.   It is beautiful when it grows, precision rows of sparkling green stalks shooting up to reach the hot summer sun.   It is beautiful when harvested, autumn gold sheaves piled on diked, patchwork paddies.   It is beautiful when, once threshed, it enters granary bins like a (flood) of tiny seed-pearls.   It is beautiful when cooked by a practiced hand, pure white and sweetly fragrant.”-Shizuo Tsuji

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That Sunday Night Feeling


There are only a few precious times in a year when I can experience this pleasure.  The feeling surrounds the satisfaction of staying on for another week or even a single day at the cottage, when the rest of the world seems to have had a hasty supper, packed up the dirty laundry and empties and headed back into the city on a crowded highway.  And here I sit-in the gazebo, with a lovely cool breeze, a Moosehead Lime and no plans or responsibilities except to make sure that I don’t miss out on the sunset.

I don’t take this feeling lightly or for granted.  For one I am aware that we are extraordinarily fortunate to have a summer property.  For two I also know that there is a pecking order for summer holidays, but I am blessed to be self-employed.  For three, I am certain that there are many spouses that would insist that since they must be in the city, their partner are as well.  And here I sit-knowing that half my family has had a lovely weekend of the Folk Festival & Bomber and Goldeyes games and that the other half can join me out here in the next couple of days.

I have had a wonderful time, surrounded by siblings, nephews, nieces,  my  husband and puppy dogs.  So why am I rambling on about feelings instead of musing about food?  Because sometimes that sense of satiation and contentment does not come from a meal well prepared and savoured-it comes from left overs and other sources of fulfillment. Kath’s quote: “Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”Epicurus

On My Own


I love when our little cottage is overflowing with family but I also savour the time alone here.  One of the reasons is that when I am on my own I throw out all my customary food rules.  Yesterday for example, I had sunflower seeds and a mango for lunch on the beach.  

I dislike wasting food and so I am very careful to eat left overs and invent recipes with fresh items in the fridge.  Shopping is limited here as is garbage collection, so we want to make every food decision to be a resourceful one.

I have a mixture of wild and white rice left over from the weekend and I came upon a soup recipe to put it to good use.  But as we are in the midst of a supposed heat wave, I’ve decided to mix all the ingredients together as a stir fry instead of a soup. 

1 T veggie oil

1 onion, chopped,

1 T freshly grated ginger

2 cloves minced garlic

1 carrot, peeled and chapped

1/4 c chopped cilantro leaves

left over wild rice mixture

boneless chicken breast

salt and pepper

I started by softening the veggies, then added the chicken and finally the leftover rice.

Wild rice is nutty in flavour and has a slightly chewy texture.  It is high in protein and fibre.  The ginger, garlic and cilantro also means that this dish is full of antioxidants.  The unusual combination was delicious. 

Kath’s quote:  Some people see hearts (read: love) in very unconventional places. –Me

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Viva Cuba Libra Restaurant


I fell in love with the Caribbean almost 35 years ago with my first trip to Varedero Cuba.  Now those were the days before all the European hotel chains started building along the most amazing beach I have yet encountered.


Hotels in the late 70’s were assemblies of old cottages desserted in the 50’s and refurbished, but ever so simply.  There would be a single bed and a night table and a chest of drawers and a rod with hangers.  But I didn’t care, it was an inexpensive escape and I literally spent every moment at the beach-taking my coffee down after breakfast, reading, walking and even swimming in those days.  I  would return to my cottage only in time for a quick shower before supper.  Cuban fare consisted mainly of chicken, rice and beans.  I do recall the lagostina that we paid extra for one night.  It had been split and grilled on an open fire and then just before it was served, a sizzling chile sauce was poured over it so that it came popping and sizzling to the table.  

Gang at Viva Cuba Libra

Isla Mujeres has replaced those rustic stays on the Caribbean.  There are a couple of good Cuban restaurants on Isla -this one on Hidalgo and another sometimes called Vivian’s but more aptly Qubano.  I have yet to sample the latter as it closes but once a week and sure enought that was my day to give it a try.  But Sister #3 loves it and that’s good enough for me.

The plates at Viva Cuba Libra include the staple of plaintain as pictured here and a variety of other traditional acommpaniments.

Cuban Meal
Cuban Meal

Kath’s quote: “Plain fare gives as much pleasure as a costly diet, while bread and water confer the highest possible pleasure when they are brought to hungry lips.”-Epicurus (341?-270 BC)

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