Food Musings

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

An American in…..Paradise

August21

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The theme of our annual weekend together with long time friends was decided at last year’s event-America! We made the trek from our beach house and that is my excuse for not being as prepared for the theme as our hosts or other guests.

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I did manage to get a peach pie made to take along for our casual Friday evening dinner. D’s family is from the US so all we had to do was think about all the great food that his Mom prepares for us. She is famous for her pies and “hot dishes” (they don’t call them casseroles across the border). D commented that if you mix a can of cream of mushroom soup and/or velveeta cheese to just about anything, it would have been a staple in his home growing up.

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We started with red, white and blue sangrias on the dock.

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I bet this brings back childhood memories.

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The ever-prepared couple also garnished these cheese triangles wrapped in alumin foil. They were surprizingly tasty.

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Check out the crudite!

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Our male host also spent time living in the US and is an expert at the grill. He fires up both his Broil King and a little charcoal one. On the menu that evening were cole slaw, hamburgers and the best tasting hot dog, I have enjoyed in a very long time.

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Next morning we lingered over our many mugs of coffee on the dock. That is until our hosts began toasting up blueberry bannock (Canadian I know) while our host (also an egg afficiando) slowly stirred our scrambled eggs.

After walks and canoe and kayak adventures, we settled again on the dock where D and I were in charge of late lunch/pre-dinner appetizers.

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I was gifted by another mutual friend of all of ours with a special bottle of champagne for my recent momentous birthday. I promised to open it on this particular weekend, knowing that my GFs were more champagne lovers than I. But I have seen the light! That orange-boxed champagne “tasted like butta” and did not retain any of the overly dry/effervesant quality that I dislike.

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The bubbly turned out to be the perfect complement for the macaroni and cheese cups, devilled eggs

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and cocktail meatbals that D and I cooked up.

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Our host extolling the virtues of a meatball candied with grape jelly and chili sauce.

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Happy hour at its finest!

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The other couple snuck into the cabin at this point with two intentions:

  • To make this gorgeous and spicy pecan pie which we enjoyed later in the evening and
  • to put up Gangster Wanted Posters on the doors which could not be missed.

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They are so imaginative with their get-ups and later emerged as Bonnie and Clyde! (I wore a Hawaiian muumuu that nobody made note of….)

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The king of the grill was back at it, glazing back ribs while two rotisserie chickens slowly turned on the gas grill.

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Everything was sensational but I could not get enough of the chicken (inconspicuous on this plate). In fact, I am salivating as I write about it. The cavities were stuffed with lemon wedges and a handful of salt and the skin was liberally dused with chili powder and paprika. OMGosh-perfection!

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After pie-it was dance party time. (Clyde) thought of everything and set up this party light.

Throughout the evening he kept asking that Willie Nelson be our next music selection. When his request was accommodated, he donned a bandana and braids! We listened to Willie’s duets, laid on the floor near the windows and watched for shooting stars and Northern Lights. The time could not have been sweeter.

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The next morning it was time for omelets and grilled sausages before we went our seperate ways.

So where does “paradise” come in, you may be asking? Paradise for me is an exquisite setting-check, fine wine-check, excellent food-check and connecting with old friends to pick up where we left off-enormous check.

Kath’s quote: “Old friends Lord when all my work is done. Bless my life and grant me one, old friend, at least one old friend.”-Willie Nelson

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

Bonfire Bistro-“Our Place”

August20

Yesterday the “birthday girls” assembled to celebrate another year of the wonderful gift of life. At that time we decided that instead of trying to decide where to go for each birthday lunch, we would always meet at Bonfire Bistro. It is close to home for two of us and centrally located for the other two. The food is so affordable and always terrific. We typically make a later reservation when the lunch rush is done because we have a habit of laughing too loudly, talking all at once and lingering too long. The lovely staff does not seem to mind and I would imagine that they get a lot of behind the scenes work done while we wallow in each others company.

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My friends always order half pizzas with either Caesar salad or house greens. The former comes with a lovely nest of just shaved parmesan on top and the latter with plenty of crunchy pecans and sweet currants. I especially enjoy that the contrast of flavours from the slivers of red onion and tang of the house-made dressing.

The last time we lunched, I had a difficult time supressing my satisfied noises as I gnoshed on the salad. Yesterday, it was so good that I didn’t even eat the pasta special that it came with. Instead, they parcelled it up for me and I slurped it down as my supper as I unpacked at the lake.

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This pasta special was an Asian stir fry of pork, peppers and noodles in a salty broth. I love when bistros add “greens” to salads; in this case “purples”. I am sure it is to provide a colourful garnish to the dish. I enjoy the texture and taste of greens in a pasta though and have been adding them for eons. This was a trick that I learned while on the Weight Watchers eating plan. I would combine my salad and pasta and then spoon the sauce over top. That way I wouldn’t require dressing on my salad and I would have enough fixings to cradle the sauce whilst only consuming a half cup of cooked pasta. Speaking of which, it is time to pull the plan out again. I injured my hip/back while on holiday (by bike riding with a lawn chair on my back) and didn’t get the exercise that I should have.

But I digress. We spent a lovely afternoon together: laughing a lot, weeping a little and savouring each other’s presence.

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Kath’s quote: “Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.”-Kent M. Keith

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

Fools and Horses Coffee Company

August15

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The Fools and Horses Coffee Co at 101-379 Broadway Ave. is one of those gathering places that make a collection of streets a “neighbourhood”. The persons that had accumulated the morning of my first visit were downtown residents like my eldest daughter who I was meeting.

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But they were also the community of day-time residents who work in the area. People stopped to chat with acquaintances that they saw perched on the patio and others exchanged niceties as they kept pace and strolled by.

I was instantly taken with Lauren Kroeker, one of the owners and the welcoming smile behind the counter that morning.

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She shared with me the vision that they have for their beautiful room, with hopes that the hood will use the space for artistic gatherings and casual entertaining. Now that’s what I call urban planning!

The menu is simple and I always appreciate when a few selections are done exceptionally well, rather than the other way around. I asked what Lauren would recommend and she immediately responded with “toast”. In spite of thinking that toast might be a little mundane, I went with her suggestion. Woa!

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One version of seeded rye toast was donned with Otterburne yoghurt made from the milk of Optimist Holsteins, granola concocted with Manitoba’s Adagio Acres Rolled Naked Oats and local honey from a Hutterite colony in the area.

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The other toast was adorned with house made ricotta cheese and a sparkling strawberry/beet/vanilla jam from local jam aficionado Flora Farmer.

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With the risk of sounding cliché, you could taste goodness with every bite.

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My daughter visits regularly for their Iced Vanilla Bean Latte. I enjoyed the coffee from Pilot Coffee Roaster but it provided a little too much kick to my day and I had to keep busy to try to use up all my excess energy.

Click to add a blog post for Fools & Horses Coffee Company on Zomato

Kath’s quote: “Honey comes out of the air….At early dawn the leaves of trees are found bedewed with honey…. Whether this is the perspiration of the sky or a sort of saliva of the stars, or the moisture of the air purging itself, nevertheless it brings with it the great pleasure of its heavenly nature. It is always of the best quality when it is stored in the best flowers.”-Pliny (A.D. 2)

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

A Weekend in Montreal through Pictures-Part 3

August12

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Commencing the next day with a scrumptious breakfast of an “everything” omelette at our home-base of the Marriott Chateau Champlain, we were off on a walking/tasting tour of Old Montreal.

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Our first stop was the exquisite Notre Dame. Having visited Paris’s Notre Dame, I was equally enthralled.

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Our next stop was at Cantinho de Lisboa where crème brulee-like tarts called pastéis de nata were served to us.

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Colourful macaroons created by pastry aficionado Chef Christian Faure enticed us into his pastry shop. The subtle shades of a lavender one caught my eye and melted my tongue. The highest compliment I can pay to Chef Faure, who was visiting with friends at nearby tables in the Maison, was that the macaroons surpassed my memories of those eaten at the legendary Landeree on the Champs-Elysees in Paris!

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I am well aware that Quebec cheese makers are amongst the greatest in North America and certainly the best in Canada. I understand that it is because their ancestors brought their cheese-making skills with them from Europe. The Bourlingueur Bistro presented them perfectly with a simple torn  baguette so as not to camouflage any of the taste.

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This restaurant is just down the street from the Bourlingueur. Marked only by the white square sign, the food I imagine must speak for itself.

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These lovely ladies made me miss my sisters.

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Marche Bonsecours.

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Haut Bois Normand is the maple syrup brand that friends from Quebec bring me as gifts. The purity and clarity of their product is unsurpassed, in my humble opinion. We were treated to maple syrup beer and visited with one of the handsome family members at his shop in Marche Bonsecours.

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Some members of our party zip-lined at this spot.

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We returned that evening for dinner and to take in the International Fireworks competition with Britain entertaining us in Old Montreal on the 4th of July. The irony of this was not lost on us.

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Montreal….I cannot wait to return.

Kath’s quote: “I think Montreal is the most amazing city … A paparazzo today gave me advice on where to get a coffee. She’s all, ‘I notice that you like this place, but I was thinking that because you like it so much you’d probably like this other place. Go around the corner, go left.’ I was like, ‘Gosh, thank you. They don’t make them like you in L.A.”-Olivia Wilde

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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A Weekend in Montreal through Pictures-Part 2

August7

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My fascinating and delicious trip to Montreal continued on day two. The perfect way to explore Montreal’s tasty and diverse neighbourhoods was by electric scooter as we did the next morning. Being perched behind tour leader and fellow foodie Melissa Simard founder of Tours de la Table was an added bonus.

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We wound our way through the neighbourhood of Plateau Mount-Royal until we reached this perfect vista of the cityscape.

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Along the way, the former home of Leonard Cohen was pointed out to us.

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Centrale Culinaire in Mile End is a communal kitchen set up for catering and small-scale food production. Being a food stylist, I was also fascinated by the collection of wares stored for the photo shoots.

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We stopped at various stores and shops in the neighbourhoods.

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Another stop was at this 65 year old bagel stop where I learned that a Montreal bagel is distinguished by three characteristics: they are hand-rolled, they are put into a bath of honeyed water and then baked in a wood-fired oven.

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We only had time for a quick stop at one of the largest fresh markets in North America: Marche Jean Talon.

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I could have stayed at the market for hours meeting the multigenerational stall keepers and perusing their succulent offerings.

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After safely returning our scooters we walked back through this beautiful park to catch the subway “home”.

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If you recall home for the weekend was the Marriott Chateau Champlain where room service greeted me with refreshments and succulent chocolate covered strawberries. A fascinating day.

Kath’s quote: “Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river”. – Leonard Cohen
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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