Food Musings

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

Matt Basile makes us Brunch for Dinner


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I first met Matt in the spring of 2017 at a Canola Summit. We happened to be sitting next to each other but I didn’t get much time to visit with him as he was also the MC of the event. I do feel that I got to know him better when we happened upon his Netflix series “Rebel without a Kitchen”. This is what I can say about Matt. He has boundless energy, believes that food should be fun, recognizes that food is a gift of love and that in this coming year he will cook on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. In all, my kinda guy. He demonstrated all of these traits in the 3 hours we got to spend with him recently as well as explain his Ellen fascination.


When I say “we”, I mean the lovely ladies of canola, fellow canola alumni and a variety of other foodies who knew that Matt would deliver deliciously fun times. He did not disappoint. And by the way, we all got a copy of Matt’s Street Food Diaries. Matt says and I agree, sometimes the food stories in cookbooks are better than the recipes!

I was seated with 4 such foodies, Ellen (from canola, not THE Ellen), a dietician who works for Cancer Care Manitoba with Sister #3 and old friend Zen Becca. The ladies from De Luca Fine Wines were pouring three reds and I chose the Washington State Merlot. The perfect accompaniment to Brunch for Dinner!

As Matt declares: “breakfast is just a meal but brunch is a culture!” He has a brunch cookbook coming out in September 2018. Watch for it.


First up was a Huevo Ranchero Tostada aka Vegetarian Tortillas. Two corn tortillas were topped with a sunny side up egg and a delectable combination of onions, jalapeños, black beans, two kinds of peppers and garden tomatoes. Matt indicated that if you didn’t have fresh tomatoes or desired a “loser” sauce, you could substitute a can of chopped tomatoes. I especially appreciated the cool tastes of sour cream and cilantro which topped the dish.

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Chimichurri skirt steak followed. Matt showed us how to cook and carve the steak so that is was full of flavour and perfectly tender. The steak strips were perched up a crostini and then topped with a poached egg. Matt’s Chimichurri sauce was chock full of cilantro and I loved this dish. I would never be afraid to serve it as a dinner entrée!


Matt’s piece de resistance were his waffles and fried chicken. In fact Ellen (no not THAT Ellen) declared that she wanted to bring Matt back to Winnipeg just so that she could taste his fried chicken again! The chicken was so tender and delicious that I am going to try to duplicate it this evening. I had some thawed chicken breasts so I marinated them in pickle juice this morning (don’t knock it til you try it!) and buttermilk this afternoon. I am going to dredge and squeeze them into a flour mixture just as Matt demonstrated and I will let you know the results.

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In the mean time our dessert course was S’more French toast. A light toast smothered with Nutella and torched marshmallows. I cannot wait to serve them to the Wee Ones this summer at the lake.

PS My fried chicken was a hit (even when I ran out of canola oil)!

Kath’s quote: “You don’t want to make a steady diet of just lettuce. You don’t want to make a steady diet of fried chicken”. –Paula Deen


Love never fails.



The Palm Room, Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg


We were out for dinner one evening and as things quieted in the restaurant, the owner/chef came over to have a glass of wine with us. I asked him where he and his partner go after a full evening in their restaurant. The answer surprised me a little-the Palm Room at the Fort Garry Hotel.


We had often visited the beautifully restored room for a drink before or after an event at the hotel but it hadn’t occurred to us to make the bar our destination for the evening.

Even though it was early on a Saturday evening and we had been reassured when I called ahead, that there would be room, there was not a single seat available.


The wait wasn’t terribly long though and soon we were seated with a glass of wine and our favourite cold local craft beer on their way. While our drinks were en route, we listened to the songs of the piano man, a lovely bonus to the evening.

We had come from a Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre matinee and still had another stop that evening, so we decided to order light. We had recently visited Portugal and got into the habit of ordering seafood every chance we could get. The only shrimp selection on the menu were dumplings which we thought a bit odd, until we tasted them.


Rivaling authentic har gow that we select when we are at a dim sum restaurant, they were delicate and perfectly steamed so that the seafood almost had a crunch.


I am completely hooked on any dish that has truffle oil as an ingredient. This inauspicious wild mushroom burger was fabulous with white truffle aioli and creamy Havarti. Even the bun was delectable as my husband and I pledged an oath to never settle for a Kaiser hamburger bun again. So too, the fries were exceptional-starting with a high quality potato and I suspect the use of a double-frying method.

The room itself provides one of the most pleasant ambiences in the city. The service was top-notch and everything from start to finish was perfection. Who knew?

Kath’s quote: “All food is the gift of the gods and has something of the miraculous, the egg no less than the truffle.”-Sybille Bedford


Love never fails.



Our Four Generation Air BnB Experience-Mesa Arizona, Part 1


When we heard about the family wedding that was to be held in Phoenix just after Christmas, we were all very excited about making the trip. After all, the groom (D’s nephew) had come all the way to Winnipeg for two of our family weddings. The dilemma was, how would we all afford plane fares and hotel accommodations? There were 11 of us: D’s Mom and brother, our three and their spouses and two grandbabies. D did the research and an Air BnB was the perfect solution.


We took an early morning flight so that when we arrived at the condo complex, our house wasn’t quite ready for us. They allowed us to leave our luggage locked on the front patio and make use of their beautiful recreational space.


There were two swimming pools, one which was heated and the other which was not. Even though it was winter for the locals, we Winnipeggers found the weather and the heated pool quite lovely.


In addition to the two swimming pools, there was a splash pad and two hot tubs. The Wee Ones preferred the hot tub to the splash pad and later in the week, the eldest of the Wee Ones actually learned how to swim under the tutelage of her Daddy.


There was also an outdoor shower and full sets of washrooms right by the pool so we were covered off in that department too. Although we never had an opportunity to use them, there were barbeques in the common space as well as an outdoor fire pit.


The pool area was well used by our group but there was never anyone else there. This was a lovely opportunity for us to host other family members and even the bride and groom one afternoon.





The high end complex offered up indoor space as well. The guys were pleased with the gym machines and nearing the end of our stay I checked out the entertaining space that could reserved if you were a resident. There was also a movie theatre that we chatted about using but ran out of time.


But I digress. I am certain that you can understand that spending time around the pool while finishing touches went into our house for the week was no hardship in the least.

Kath’s quote: “Arizona is young and daring. She is not tied to precedent, to convention, to other states’ ways of doing things…. She is bent on making her own ways, and in her own way. Her mistakes will be her own, and her triumphs likewise”. ~George Wharton James


Love never fails.






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Isla Mujeres 2017 Trip Report-Departure Day







On our final day we were up at 630 am for the sunrise. It did not fail to delight us.







We took one last golf cart scoot into town and back again.

We had arranged to drop off the golf cart at 830 am where we were met by Eduardo who took us to a boat. We were being treated to AGI Tours VIP service. See the link here. It was a lovely ride over with 2 other couples (a Dentist married to a Dermitologist). We had our own van to the airport. Easy Peasy. And just like that we were home.

Kath’s quote: “Wow. I’ve never been a VIP before. I’ve never even been a IP“.Sophie Kinsella


Love never fails.


Isla Mujeres 2017 Trip Report-Day 14







Our last day full day, what will it hold? We made plans as we basked in another gorgeous sunrise.



We would soon miss “our” Isla home.




D talked me into breakfast out even though I was concerned about eating all the left overs in our fridge. We went to Mango for stuffed poblano and coconut French toast (me). We absolutely love Mango’s.





We took the golf cart there and back. We took some beautiful pics at the church across the street.





We emptied our kitchen and dropped off a bunch of leftover goodies with Hortenzia. Then we spent a couple of hours at the beach, wading in the water, taking some last pictures and reading. D finished his 2nd book in 2 days.



When we came “home” D confirmed arrangements at Sunset Grill as well as our VIP service in the morning. We sipped Kahlua while our bathing suits and my hair dried.


I wrote all about our dinner at Sunset Grill in this link.



We started watching the exquisite sunset from Sunset Grill




and then carried on from our trusty golf cart.

We walked Hidalgo one last time and treated ourselves to Ferrero Roche gelato for dessert.

Kath’s quote: “It isn’t how much time you spend somewhere that makes it memorable: it’s how you spend the time”. -David Brenner

TSR Watermark - 5570
Love never fails.


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