Food Musings

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

Halong Bay


Halong Bay in Vietnam is said to be one of the most beautiful bays on earth and a “New 7 Wonders of the World”.  Perhaps the area was once home to the owners of the Halong Bay Restaurant here in Winnipeg-Tuyen and Hoa Nguyen. Having been a long time fan of Vietnamese cuisine, I must admit that I am pretty hard to impress but impress they did!


We started with Spicy Beef Noodle Soup which sounds pretty ordinary but was anything but. The beef was succulent and tender and the noodles abundant and “slurp-worthy”. The broth was nothing short of sensational! When the other dishes arrived I ignored them in favour of the soup. Wondering with each spoonful how they made the broth, for it was bursting with savoury flavours. The stock was so satisfying that one could easily imagine that it had medicinal qualities. Perhaps that is why the restaurant was full of medical personnel from the Health Science Centre across the street.


Noted as a House Specialty, their rice vermicelli combo came along next. I passed over the spring rolls and enjoyed the rest of the lettuce, sprouts, meat and peanuts.


I was very, very impressed. I hadn’t had such a fine noodle bowl since I visited Jackson Heights in NYC’s borough of Queens, renowned for their ethnic restaurants. The harmony and balance of noodles and lettuce ribbons made perfect sense, a taste I crave on an ongoing basis.


We also sampled one of the restaurant’s Daily Specials: a Singapore noodle dish chock full of egg, bean sprouts, carrot, green pepper, onion and curried shrimp. The curry seasoning was an exotic combination of spices and had a little heat (from the addition of chilies), without searing taste buds and removing appreciation for the other tastes.

We arrived after the noon rush and had a chance to appreciate the décor and sun streaming in from the wall of windows. Service was more than efficient with dishes arriving almost instantly.

The Halong Bay Restaurant is located at 772 Notre Dame Ave. Make note of the address as we found the signage deceptive. They are open Monday-Saturday from 11:00 am -9:30 pm. Dine In and Take Out menus are available. The dining room is wheelchair accessible but we did not check on the washroom.

Watch for Food Musings every second Wednesday in your copy of The Headliner, The Herald, The Lance, The Metro, The Sou’wester and The Times.

Ha Long Bay Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “I lived across the street from Noodle Bar. I could barely stand it, because you’re there all the time; you can’t get away”.- David Chang


Love never fails.


Cyber Wedding Shower



Dani and her fella are depicted here enjoying the Canadian Rockies.

One of my Goddaughters lives in Australia. I was disappointed that she was going to miss out on an “Aunties” bridal shower but her Mom (who has to resort to technology to stay in touch with her only daughter) thought that she could figure out a way to make it happen. Once we got the time zone thing solved and was able to recruit her Dad to set up his computer and projector in Winnipeg, we were almost set.


Here are their bevies of gifts via Skype.

In Winnipeg we also needed to work ahead of ourselves and get financial commitments from those attending, so that her Mom could shop for her on line and then have everything delivered to the almost Mom-in-law (who also lives in Melbourne) so that she could wrap everything.





Of course we also needed to figure out food and libations for the Winnipeg guests. Not surprisingly, the food was amazing and there was way too much of it.


It was a Saturday evening (making it Sunday morning in Australia) when we assembled to celebrate a love across the pond.


Here are the happy couple and said Mom-in-law too.

If you think that the thousands of miles would be a barrier to shower the bridal couple with love, laughs and best wishes, you would be wrong. We played a guessing game of Aussie sayings. Who knew that’s what a “budgie smuggler” was!  We ooh and aww as she opened her gifts. We could visibly see that Dani was moved when Sister #3 (another Auntie) and Boo (her first cousin) made their toasts with loving sentiments to the bride. We too had tears in our eyes as Dani tried to express what the shower and outpouring of love meant to her.

Kath’s quote:

A part of you has grown in me.
And so you see, it’s you and me
Together forever and never apart,
Maybe in distance, but never in heart“.-Anonymous


Love never fails.


Mercadito Latino



When Mercadito Latino was on Henderson Hwy I would drive by and wonder about its offerings inside. Unfortunately I never had an excuse to go in. Three years ago the Mercadito relocated to 570 C Sargent Ave. and was able to add more dining space. I am guessing that is when it became a full blown restaurant.


The structure of the business is very much like the places that we love to visit in Mexico with the wife in the kitchen lovingly recreating her family recipes and her husband up front serving the tables and manning the cash register. We were introduced to Sonia Lemus when she finally had an opportunity to sit down at the end of her evening. She was as good-natured and pleasant as her husband Julian. Together they own and operate the market and restaurant.

In keeping with our other Latin restaurant experiences, the food came out quickly and steaming hot. You could taste that all the concoctions had been freshly made.


We were delighted by the tortilla soup that we shared. Dotted with pieces of silky avocado, goey cheese, pulled chicken, crispy tortilla strips and sour cream, it warmed us up nicely. I would have loved a lime wedge to squeeze into the broth like we do when travelling.


When the pupusas arrived at our table, Julian asked us if we were familiar with them. We responded yes based only on the one other opportunity to eat Salvadorian food in Winnipeg at La Fiesta Cafecito. We requested “Revueltas” which means we enjoyed cheese, beans and pork in all three corn flour pockets. I pressed for more detail about the cheese used. Julian replied that it was a blend of a Salvadorian cheese, feta and mozzarella.


We were full by this time and still had chicken tacos coming to the table. If you think that tacos are always the Old El Paso style, you would be mistaken. Soft corn tortillas are eaten at almost every meal as a way of scooping up the fare. We had to at least have a bite and appreciated the subtle spiciness of the chicken and peppers inside the soft corn taco. My bite resulted in juices bursting out of the wrap and onto my plate (the sign of a very delicious taco).

The restaurant has an all day menu available. They are open Tuesday-Saturdays from 12 noon until 8:30 pm and are wheelchair accessible.

Watch for Food Musings every second Wednesday in your copy of The Headliner, The Herald, The Lance, The Metro, The Sou’wester and The Times.

Mercadito Latino Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “Humour keeps us alive. Humour and food. Don’t forget food. You can go a week without laughing.” ― Joss Whedon


Love never fails.


Slow Cooker Texan Pulled Pork


Once a month D, Sister #3 and I host an evening at our house where the Moms and Dads of babies, toddlers and young kids get to have a break and spend the evening with adults. They often look a bit harried as they arrive at our place with kids in tow. The number of kids range from two to four per family and when we have a full house there are ten adults and fourteen kids. We hustle the small fry into the dining room and we put down a quick supper. I say quick because the kids are always raring to get downstairs for a play with their buddies. In the mean time the adults fix a plate and head to the living room and tuck in at a more leisurely pace.

I try my best to fix a meal which will be pleasing to both children and adults and sometimes one group takes precedent over the other. But tonight I think that I may have a winner: Texan Pulled Pork with broccoli & kale slaw, ciabatta buns and one bite brownies for dessert.


I posted this picture on Instagram and have had a couple of requests for the recipe so here goes:

Slow Cooker Texan Pulled Pork
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Texan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
My husband marinates and slow roasts pulled pork in a convection oven but I wanted the ease of a slow cooker. Great for "lesser" cuts like a shoulder.
  • cut of pork to your size and liking
  • 1 c your favourite BBQ sauce (I used Danny's Own Apple Butter BBQ sauce)
  • ½ c apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ c brown sugar (I used a brown sugar substitute, honey or maple syrup would also work)
  • 1 T prepared mustard (I used a new Winnipeg company's called Smack Dab)
  • 1 T Worcestershire
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1½ t thyme
  1. Place everything together in a large slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high for 5-6 hours.
  3. Test doneness by pulling apart the meat with a fork.
  4. Pull off as much meat as desired and toss in remaining sauce.

Kath’s quote:“Pulled pork jokes never get old”. -Joel Edgerton


Love never fails.



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2017 Food Trends for Optimum Health


A couple of times per year I have the pleasure of working for and with Michelle Book of the Canadian Health Food Association. Recently she was in town to make live appearances on the morning shows of both Global and CTV to present the 2017 food trends for healthy living. As her food-stylist, I was invited to purchase items for her in advance, deliver them to the stations and set them up in a pleasing fashion. Since she jetted off to her home base right after her last appearance, I also had the opportunity to try some of the new products that she left with me.


Sprouts are low in calories and fats but high in digestible protein and essential vitamins and minerals. They are actually able to hold onto loads of vitamins and minerals that many foods often lose through processing. We used the leftover alfalfa and mixed sprouts in our sandwiches but I understand that they are also good in smoothies. Leftover beans sprouts will go into a pad Thai. Almost any seed or grain can be sprouted in a moist environment making sprouting super easy and affordable.

Plant Based Dairy Alternatives

Most of us are familiar with almond, hemp, soy and coconut milk but this year you’ll be seeing some delicious new additions at your local CHFA Member health food store such as Vita Health. I used the cashew milk in a Moroccan Stew with excellent results. New products are being made with everything from flax seeds, hazelnuts and cashews. The dark chocolate was tasty and you couldn’t tell the difference between the no butterfat cream cheese and regular cream cheese. The many products were super creamy and a great source of calcium and vitamins A, D, and E without added calories, saturated fat or cholesterol, making them a good choice to help with our New Year’s resolutions.


My favourite was the coconut yogurt which I loved for breakfast with pineapple and papaya. It was superior in taste to regular yogurts and has antibacterial properties which help to balance gut bacteria and rid the gut of toxins to help improve both digestive and immune health. D really liked the shredded Monterey Jack dairy free cheese. We have enjoyed it on omelets and flat breads.


Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes give our body a head start on digestion to break down all the goodness in the food we eat, such as carbohydrates, protein and fats. Little did I know that consuming the pineapple and papaya with my yogurt was aiding my digestion and improving nutrient absorption.



Mushrooms have been used for their health benefits for centuries. I made a Four Mushroom soup with red onions and wheat berries that was out of this world! Two of the mushrooms in my recipe-white and cremini are a rich source of B-vitamins and minerals including selenium and copper.


Smart Carbs

Carbohydrates are often a source of confusion for many people. Foods made with refined carbohydrates like pastries, white breads and most starchy pasta noodles can put stress on your body’s systems and spike insulin levels. Since I have recently been cautioned about a high sugar reading by my nurse practitioner, I am very interested in this particular category. I have found out that by making simple changes like choosing complex carbs more often, including legumes, buckwheat, quinoa, fruits & vegetables and whole grains I can stimulate fullness and increase my “feel-good” hormones, including serotonin.

We have yet to try our black bean rotini or edamame & mung bean fettuccine but I understand that they will provide a gluten-free, protein and fibre packed alternative to traditional pasta. This evening we are supping on zucchini spiral noodles and I can attest to the black bean tortilla chips being oh so tasty especially when dipped into a fresh salsa.

Check out CHFA’s website to learn more.

Kath’s quote: “Beans are neither a fruit nor musical“.- Angela Cartwright


Love never fails.


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