Browsing: Food Celebrations

AAW Signature Awards at The Metropolitan Centre

May8

The AAW is the Advertising Association of Winnipeg and every year they recognize the best in advertising that is created in and for our city and province.  I have long been associated with this group and facilitate their Media Planning Couse each fall.  This provides a wonderful opportunity to meet the newest members of the industry and do my part to teach, mentor and pass the torch.  The Signatures are like our “Cannes” or as I have been known to say Winnipeg’s version of the Academy Awards; or the closest thing that we Winnipeggers will feel to experience such an event.  I suppose the more appropriate comparable would be the Golden Globes because guests sit at round tables and get to imbibe during the evening.  This sometimes creates some silliness at the podium both in Hollywood and in Winnipeg.

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Last night was my very first visit to the refurbished Metropolitan Entertainment Centre but certainly not my first visit to the building.  I clearly recall (and I recounted these stories last evening), being taken to see “101 Dalmatians” as a little girl with my twin brother and sister accompanied by our two eldest brothers.  I can also recollect viewing “The Poseidon Adventure” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark”.

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The building has been carefully restored and now looks like a beautiful Great Grandma, lovingly coiffed and dressed to attend a celebration for one of her great-grandchildren.

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The evening was one of those rare treats for me when my worlds collide, coupling the business that I have cherished over the years with my newish profession of blogger and food appreciator. I must confess at this juncture, that I did not have terribly high expectations for the food and I was pleasantly surprized.  The entire meal service was efficient and cordial.  We started with a subtle cream soup that was velvety smooth and slightly sweet and then immediately to a mixed green salad with oranges, cranberries, almonds and red onions.

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Both soup and salad courses are not often offered at formal dinners any more.  They happen to be the highlights for me.

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A bold move on behalf of the kitchen and organizers was the serving of pork for the entrée- a lovely surprize alternative to chicken.  The appropriate sized cut was accompanied by an array of mixed vegetables and a triangular potato pie.  Loved it.

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Dessert was a light chocolate mousse and was served as the lights dimmed and the award festivities began.

The Metropolitan Entertainment Centre on Urbanspoon

In all, an absolutely lovely evening.  I extend my thanks to the Signature organizing committee and my table host-Global TV.

Kath’s quote: “And do as adversaries do in law, strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends.”-William Shakespeare

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Love-that is all.

 

Wine Dinner at The Garry St. Keg Cohosted by Penfolds

April30

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From the moment I met Natasha from Treasury Wine Estate, I knew that she was the real deal.  Not only is she drop dead gorgeous with the most beautiful complexion I have seen in a very long time, but she looked fit and healthy in her “Penfold’s red” dress.

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She was also upbeat and happy about her work and representing the iconic Australian winery Penfolds.  When you think about it, who wouldn’t want to travel the world, sip exquisite wines, taste fantastic food and then talk about it?  The key for me and my “liking” her is that wine aficionados can be pretentious and stand-offish and Natasha is anything but that.  She uses real language to describe her Penfolds wine passion-words like “pencil shavings”, marshmallow” and “lacy”.  As I pondered what made this woman so appealing, I just came out and asked her where she was from.  The answer? Regina-where the humblest and modest people in the world come from (second to Winnipeg, of course).

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As mini tuna tacos and shrimp cocktail were presented by efficient Keg servers, we sipped on a Bin 51 2012 Riesling.  I do love a lusciously sweet Riesling and this was dryer than my taste but I will admit that the hints of lemon and apple were a perfect complement to the seafood appetizers.  The first course was a delectable Lobster & Shrimp salad.  The Keg’s recipe including avocado, cremini mushrooms, black beans and corn is just my cuppa tea.  These distinct flavours were enhanced by the Thomas Hyland Chardonnay.  I especially liked the biscuity notes (another of Natasha’s down to earth descriptors).

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I was surprised, but more than appreciative when a Bin 2 Shiraz Mouvedre 2009 was served with the second course of the Keg’s Creole Chicken.  I skipped the chicken (trying to pace myself) but loved the shrimp and scallops with the spicy and earthy shiraz.  Natasha thought of it as an alluring “lady” wine with tastes of rosemary, thyme, lavender and cinnamon.

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My favourite food taste of the evening was the perfectly prepared Mustard Salmon served with another 2009 wine, this time Bin 407 Cabernet Sauvignon.  This was when Natasha’s description of pencil shavings came in and she was exactly correct.  The suggestions of blackberry and back cherry were another surprise with how well they magnified the mustard sauce and the salmon.

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The best was yet to come when another Shiraz (St. Henri) arrived for us to savour with Beef Tenderloin Medallions accompanied by drizzles of béarnaise and whiskey peppercorn sauces.  Natasha declared that the wine was veiled, perfumed, velvety with aromas reminiscent of Easter Lilies.  I simply took her word for it, not having as sophisticated palate as she, but knowing it was likely the finest Shiraz I have ever tasted.

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Grandfather Port, aged 30 years, was lovely to sip with the Dessert course of Chocolate Cake and fresh raspberries but even better when I followed the lead of one of our table companions, who poured his port right over his cake.  He is Sicilian and since we have travelled there, we know that Sicilians know how to eat, so I wasn’t going to challenge his decision.  He was right, the decadent richness of the cake was  put over the top with the baptism of port.

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The room and our table were beautiful, as were the guests whom we dined with.  The value offered by both Penfolds and The Keg was nothing short of astounding, with a ticket cost of a mere $100.  A friend in the lobby remarked that he would have happily paid double that amount. Best of all, was that all monies raised went to Special Olympics Manitoba.  In all, one of those memorable evenings that will stay with us for a very long time.

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Wine is bottled poetry.”-Robert Louis Stevenson

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Love-that is all.

 

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar & Penfolds host Wine Dinner for Special Olympics Manitoba

April22

The 2014 version of the Winnipeg Wine Festival is scheduled for April 27-May 3, 2014 at the RBC Convention Centre.  In conjunction with the public tastings, there are a number of additional events including nine Wine Down events, with five of these events already sold out.

This festival’s Theme Country is Australia.  The Keg Steakhouse+ Bar at 115 Garry St. is thrilled to be hosting one of the Wine Down events: The Penfolds Luxury Wine Dinner, which will be hosted by Treasury Wine Estates, Fine Wine Ambassador Natasha Susylinski.

Penfolds is said to be one of Australia’s oldest and most iconic wineries, dating back to 1844. Christopher Penfold, a physician and his wife Mary, originally opened the winery in the hopes that the could discover a potion that would help cure his patients’ anemia.  I am a strong proponent of the medicinal benefits of wine, red wine in particular and I think that I would have really liked this adventurous couple.

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Meanwhile, The Keg has put together an inspired six course dinner including appetizers of Tuna Tacos and Mini Shrimp Cocktails, a first course Lobster & Shrimp Salad, a second course Creole Chicken, a third course Mustard Salmon, a fourth course of Tenderloin Medallions and Dessert of Chocolate Cake and fresh raspberries.  These will all be paired with some of Penfolds most famous wines, including a taste of some back vintages from their private cellar.

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The date is Monday, April 28, 2014 with dinner following a reception.  But unfortunately the $100. tickets are completely sold out.  The annual Wine Festival enriches the lives of Manitobans with an intellectual disability through active participation in sport through Special Olympics Manitoba.  The Keg has long been a supporter of the Special Olympians and indeed many not-for-profit and charitable organizations in our province through financial donations and gift certificates that can be used to raise even more money.

Since this event is sold out, please go on line to what other Wine Down events you may be able to support or come out for one of the numerous public wine tasting events taking place. Lucky for me, I’ve got my ticket for the wine dinner already…

Kath’s quote: “Part of what Special Olympics is trying to do is break down stereotypes that still exist for people. There is still a lot of fear.”-Maria Shriver

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Love-that is all.

 

 

 

Sping Means it is Tea Time

April16

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We attend a wonderful church in our neighbourhood.  Not only do we have the opportunity to worship together, we get together for fun and fellowship whenever the opportunity arises.  Recently one friend thought that the idea of having an old fashioned tea would be a lovely way to get us all through the end of a very long winter.  Now I have run a number of teas in the past and they take a lot of co-ordination and very hard work.  But she had a really clever way of distributing the share of work.  She asked a number of us to “host” a table which meant that we were to completely set and decorate it as well as provide a dessert for everyone sitting at our table.

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So we packed up our best china (it is so nice to have an excuse to do so) and polished up the silverware.  Each table was distinctively different and I would say depicted something of each hosts’ personality.

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Our table is below.  When I say “our” that is because I enlisted the help of Sister #3 to co-host with me.  I don’t have any cups and saucers with my china set so she contributed those as well as our Mom’s silverware which she is an excellent caretaker of.

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Lucky for me, she also volunteered to make the dessert.  We were both ga-ga for coconut that I had found while we were both together on Isla Mujeres.  She managed to purchase the last bag in the grocery store to bring home and keep until the right event came along.  Her coconut cake with coconut cream cheese icing was a delicious and decadent contribution to the afternoon.

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Other attendees contributed fruit , scones and fancy sandwiches.

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There was a lovely turn out.

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There were wide brimmed chapeaus

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and some younger attendees in their fascinators.

The afternoon was an absolutely lovely way to herald in the spring.

Kath’s quote: “A woman is like a tea bag — only in hot water do you realize how strong she really is.”-Nancy Reagan

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Love-that is all.

 

 

 

Post Holiday Confessional-Healthy Eating on Isla Mujeres

March3

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Just got back this weekend from our winter break in paradise.  In spite of walking for miles all around the island and eating the whole and healthy food of the locals, my jeans were a little snug this morning and I went back over my tropical diet to figure out why.

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Most breakfasts were eaten in our fabulous little apartment of yoghurt, fresh fruit and granola.  When we are home I select no fat, plain Greek yoghurt, but alas, the Balkan style has not yet hit Isla grocery stores.  We opted instead for vanilla yoghurt but speculate now that it was far sweeter with a higher fat content than we are use to.  So too, I make my own granola sweetened with moderate amounts of honey and/or maple syrup and the variety that we purchased there was far sweeter.

Lunches were typically left overs or sandwiches that I made up for the beach or to nibble on while swinging in the hammock of egg or chicken salad.  I packed my own no-fat mayo with me but it was hard to resist the lime mayo that they sell on the island.  We love the freshly baked tortas that are sold from carts, market stalls and in the groceries but were also able to purchase seven grain bread like home to avoid the white processed flour whenever possible.

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Ziggy’s Coconut Shrimp & Garlic Shrimp served at Monchi’s

We did dine out almost every evening.  I told myself that I would stick to grilled fish but had to have one feed of coconut shrimp and the frutti de mare pasta that I so love.  Whole wheat pastas have also not yet found their way to the Yucatan.

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Snacks on Isla Mujeres are tempting too.  The Sabita brand potato chip is yummers and so are the local tortilla chips.  Almost every restaurant serves house made chips and salsa and although the pico de gallo is sensational and oh so healthy, the grease laden chips that the restaurants prepare are required to scoop it up.

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I also celebrated my time away with a scoop of coconut gelato and a mango popsicle, which I was pretty happy about because I could have easily treated myself to one every time we strolled down Hidalgo.

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I managed to stick to vino tinto on most evenings but the from scratch mango margaritas and pina cooladas were hard to resist on a couple of occasions.  But do you know what the killer was?  The cervesas!  In many cases the cost is equal to water in the restaurants which is one excuse for my abundant consumption.  In addition, many of our Isla traditions revolve around them i.e. a celebratory beer both to and fro on the Isla ferry, a cold one on the beach with a home-made sandwich or when you have arrived home from the beach and are about to hop in the shower.

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The reality is, cerveas tastes absolutely exquisite on Isla.  When D, Daughter #1 and our niece ordered a round with a fajita lunch, we all declared that they were the best beers we had ever tasted!  We remembered to keep our little apartment fridge stocked with them but I did not always remember to refill and chill my water bottle.  So this in the end was my downfall, because I drank too many cervesas for one simple reason: I was thirsty!

If the waistband is a little snug, was it worth it?  Oh my YES-I will do an extra couple of days of Zumba to make up for my indulgences.

Kath’s quote: “How long does getting thin take?”-Winnie the Pooh

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Love-that is all.

 

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