Browsing: Food Celebrations

An American in…..Paradise



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.


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.


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


I bet this brings back childhood memories.


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


Check out the crudite!


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.


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.


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.


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


and cocktail meatbals that D and I cooked up.


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


Happy hour at its finest!


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.


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….)


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


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!


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.


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


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.



Bonfire Bistro-“Our Place”


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.



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.


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


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.



Birthday Celebrations-Part 3: Let’s Party!


The morning of my long planned birthday party, the weather forecast was picture perfect. I wanted all of our guests to be comfortable but especially my 88 year old Mom. She has troubles with heat and intense sun but I was equally concerned that she might be chilly in our shady yard. In the end everyone was perfectly comfortable with the exception of some stragglers who required a pashmina for their shoulders once the sun had sunk lower than the house.


My sistas and Boo arrived bright and early and went to work getting the back yard into a festive mode. Boo had sprayed beer bottles and mason jars my favourite colour. The bottles contained paper heart cut outs which overflowed into the front yard and directed the party goers into the back yard.


The mason jars were strategically placed and hung from hooks around the garden, filled with spring blooms and particularly white lilies which I absolutely adore. Both their alluring shape and their intoxicating fragrance appeal to me.


Lanterns in my favourite colour hung from our fruit trees.


D ensured that a copious amount of wine was available, in fact, we are still enjoying the quantity that he ordered. But, how many people have a beer lovingly brewed and named after them for a monumentous birthday? Our son J1 the artisan craft beer brewer, concocted this himself and it was such an enormous hit, that the entire keg was gone before the celebration was over.


This was the “card” that all the guests signed. The Frenchman is going to varnish it for me so that it can adorn my garden fence.

Beep had been assigned with curating multi-decades of music and the lovely sounds of many of my favourites wafted over us that beautiful afternoon. I am thinking now that I should have requested “Sugar in the Morning”, a song that my Dad used to sing to me while I watched him shaving in the morning.

D, Sisters Two and Three and anyone who offered to help, contributed the food. Oohh, aahh the food!



The food table as you can see was laden with a variety of delectable items. The favourites were Sister #3’s Bacon Wrapped Figs, Sister #2’s Hoisin Meatballs and D’s Greek Chicken Skewers.


There was my favourite cake-Jeanne’s Banana Cake, two of them in fact (you’ll see the other one at the PS of the post)!


I got too busy to manage the picture taking soon after this one was captured at the beginning of the festivities.

Was it a perfect day? Yes, for a variety of reasons! Many of the people that I love were assembled in one place to do exactly what I love to do: eating, sipping wine and chatting with each other. All this while out in the brilliant sunshine and the promise of a glorious summer. I didn’t even think about gifts until every guest had departed and saw the designated table that was full of tokens of love and friendship. Thank you so much for all the beautiful gifts. But thank you most for the gift of your presence in my life and the cards that you wrote that I reread often to remind myself of our connections.

Thank you D for finding the perfect way to celebrate the life that we have made together. You make all my dreams come true. Forever and Always (All Ways). K

Kath’s quote: “The older the fiddle, the sweeter the tune.”-English Proverb


Live simple, laugh often, love deeply. Love, that is all.




Lobster Summer at The Keg Steakhouse + Bar



Recently, I had the opportunity to assemble a number of my social media friends on the patio of the Southside Keg here in Winnipeg. The occasion was the opportunity to get a detailed look at the Lobster Summer menu features.


We sipped upon a lovely and refreshing cocktail that had been specially concocted for our evening as we awaited the last of the group.


First up was the Szechwan Lobster which also contained crispy shrimp and asparagus spears. The latter tasted even better than asparagus tempura which I happen to love. The sweetness of the accompanying sauce offset the spiciness. The crisp white wine that had made its way around the table, didn’t hurt either.


These crispy lobster tacos were a hit too.


Already a fan of The Keg’s Shrimp Gratinee, this special version with these huge chunks of lobster was utterly decadent. The sweet lobster was baked in butter, garlic and herbs and would have been scrumptious enough without the inclusion of a goey cheese blend. This dish in particular was so good that we all broke off pieces of bread to dunk into the escargot dish divets to soak up every last drop.


The colourful Surf + Turf arrived next. The mini filets were perfectly cooked to medium rare.


Haven eaten lobster rolls on Cape Cod, I was not prepared to be so impressed by The Keg’s version. The sparkling taste of the chilled seafood could shine as the mayo was added with a light touch and the grilled brioche added that crispy buttery taste that I crave.


As if all these amazing tastes had not been enough, it was time for dinner. As we donned our lobster bibs we posed for this group shot. I thought that we all looked like patients ready to see our dentists!


This was what a one pound lobster tail looked like. Can you imagine how huge the whole crustacean must have been? The meat was dense with sweetness and flavour and I thought I might have died and gone to shellfish heaven.


For another perspective, this is how big the shell of that baby was.


The star of the show was still to come- a two pound whole live lobster. These were flown in the morning of our meet up from Nova Scotia. One of the guests who hails from Newfoundland demonstrated how to take apart the gorgeous creature with her bare hands.


Look at all that beautiful lobster meat and that was from a single claw.


The remains of our eating adventure may have best demonstrated what a lovely time was had by all.

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Of course no meal is perfect unless it is shared with good friends. It is hard for me to imagine that I had never met anything of these good folks (with one exception) before I ventured into the blogisphere. Missing was our friend Shel Zolkewicz.


Katie Nicholson of CBC fame, also writes for Pepper + Vine. In the foreground is Robin Summerfield who has a fabulous cookbook on Winnipeg Chefs that will be coming out this fall. You may also know her from her years with Peg City Grub.


Natalie Bell also uses the Peg City Moniker. She is Peg City Lovely.


Photographer Ian McAusland is the only person in this group that I had crossed paths with in my previous career.


This is sparkplug Susie Parker of Sparker Strategy Group.


Rebecca Hadfield writes Relish when she isn’t making gourmet granola bars or teaching a spin class.


Ron Cantiveros co-publishes the Filipino Journal. He has written 74,000 tweets from his account.

Kath’s quote: Perfectly prepared lobster are “not unlike hot curds, juicy and tender, and sweet as scorched honey from ocean depths.”-Kenneth Robert


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.



Birthday Celebrations-Part 2



The evening of my birthday commenced with a thoughtful gift from my Bestie who had to bring a full-sized suitcase with her from TO to accommodate the gift. “60 Shades of Turquoise” was a basket full of little tokens of our friendship and our mutual love of hearts and the colour of the Caribbean sea.


A careful decision was made as to where I wanted to dine with my husband and my best friend on the evening of my 60th. I had a list of restaurants that I had intended to write about for various publications but decided upon 295 York. I have always found their dining room cozy and sophisticated at the same time, with unusual floor to ceiling drapery creating intimate conversation areas for the dining patrons.

I have met Jesse Friesen the young chef of the urban steakhouse on numerous occasions. I know his grandfather in fact and can speak of the fine family he comes from. He is a shining star in the newish batch of chefs coming out of Winnipeg’s many culinary programs.

Jesse couples the varied selections of beef, pork, veal and lamb with down-home favourites of Mashed Potato, Mac ‘n Cheese (with truffle & herbs) and creamed corn made luxurious with bacon and gouda cheese.


We started with cocktails and by sharing Coconut Shrimp which is a favourite of mine when we travel to Isla Mujeres. In fact Melinda and her husband have joined us on a couple of occasions. Chef Jesse’s version is elevated by the inclusion of crushed macadamia nuts. I had also been tempted by the Pulled Duck Quesadilla which I had tasted on other visits.


For our mains Melinda selected the Seafood Trio of prawns, scallops and a half lobster tail


while D and I shared a Berkshire Pork Chop ( perfectly cooked to medium rare)


and Seared BC Scallops. All were perfectly prepared and succulent.


Our server surprised me with a Crème Brulee, but in truth we were too full for dessert and wanted to catch the sunset on my special day, so our next stop was the Whiskey Lounge at Prairie 360.


Nature’s sunset show was spectacular.

There were two things that we found a bit disconcerting about our time there.  One were the enormous game trophies which hung on the walls and seemed more suited to a hunting lodge.


Two were the flying saucers that hovered in the sky as we gazed outside…

My soiree was planned for the next day so we made it an early night.

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Kath’s quote: “Condiments are like old friends — highly thought of, but often taken for granted.”-Marilyn Kaytor


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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