Browsing: Food & Travel

JL Beers, Grand Forks, North Dakota


There was a time when D and I would anticipate going away for a weekend and I would have done all my research on the best restaurants that we would try out. Those times have changed, now that D’s mission whenever we are away, is to find the best selection of craft beer in our destinations. D had been dreaming about a burger from JL Beers on the two and a half hour drive from Winnipeg. He and J1 had visited a number of years ago in Fargo and he remembered every single detail of the food menu.



It was impossible for him to remember the beer menu as there were over 40 taps and shelves and shelves of bottled selections.


In order to entice me to join him, D promised that there would also be wine on hand. When we plunked at a couple of the bar stools and asked the bar keep, this was not the case. Instead, he recommended a cider and a Faro from Belgium. He also provided me with tastes of both. Without hesitation I choose the Faro and then read this from their menu as I had my first sips: “A version of Belgium’s “wild fermented” wheat beer, which is the result of blending Lambic of “one summer” with an old Lambic and finished with candy sugar.” Huh? The bevvie by Lindeman’s was refreshing and delicious and was served up in a skinny version of a pilsner glass.


But to the food! I chose the Monumental Burger which was a teriyaki burger with sautéed mushrooms and melted Swiss cheese. It was accompanied by fresh cut fries. The bun had been butter-brushed before it was placed on the grill. How did I know? The entire cooking line takes place behind the bar so that you can see you beer being pulled from the tap at the same time that you can see your burger being formed and fries being cut from a big fresh potato. I was amazed at how quickly the process was completed. This was a speedy supper so I guess that it was technically “fast food” but it tasted like anything but. The burger was soft and tender and packed with flavour. The fries although a little bit too salty for my palette, were greaseless and piping hot.


D selected the Humpty Dumpty Burger, so dubbed because of the fried egg perched on top of the burger. He also decided on the addition of thick cut bacon, so it was like eating a combination of a burger and a breakfast sandwich all at the same time.  He opted for the chips and then agreed to let me have a taste, knowing that they would have been my preference. Lightly salted, folded and browned, they were irresistible.


In the meanwhile D enjoyed his “Hunny Do” and a “Best of the Midwest” beer flight which he very much enjoyed. D loved his burger so much that he ordered a Columbia Burger to go!

JL Beers on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Why beer is better than wine: “….human feet are conspicuously absent from beer making.”-Steve Mirsky

beer heart.jpg

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.


A Cottage by the Sea, Part Three


The previous time I visited Nance at her cottage by the sea, she had two living rooms. Since then she has converted one of them into her dining room and it is my favourite room in her house.




This is THE room! The antique dining room furniture is exquisite in this setting with all the natural light from windows and a skylight.


Looking back to the kitchen and through to the living room.



The details of the house are what speak to me, like the mantle and the piano windows.



the sideboard,


the corner hutch,



and a cozy chair by the fireplace to read on a rainy afternoon.

The stunning room is accented in red during the fall and winter months and turquoise in the spring and summer ones. Nance suggests that I house sit in Crescent Beach next winter where I would get to spend more time with her and get a further glimpse into her lovely life.

Kath’s quote: It is good people who make good places.”  Anna Sewell, Black Beauty


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.



A Cottage by the Sea, Part Two




From the moment you walk into the little vestibule at Nance’s home, you know that you are in a special place.






On this morning, I was awake early and loved spending some cozy time alone in her living room.


Her attention to detail is exacting and exquisite at the same time.




The living room opens right up to the kitchen and by this time, D was up and making coffee.



Even the bathroom was themed and inviting.


From the outside looking in, as well.


Nance gave up her bedroom for D and I and slept here in her guest cottage.

I have skipped over one room entirely, saving the pictorial tour of my favourite room for another day.

Kath’s quote: Her life was a scattering of small moments, bits of meaningful conversations, and bright dashes of beauty where least expected.” 
 Robin Jones Gunn, Cottage by the Sea


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

A Cottage by the Sea, Part One


In early February, D an I went on a mini vacation (it was my Christmas gift from him), flying to Vancouver and driving from there to Seattle. En route, we spent a wonderful afternoon, evening and overnight with an old friend of mine from The Keg days. I had visited her in her home on Crescent Beach (White Rock), many years ago, but the renovations and love that she has put into her place since then, have made it truly “picture perfect”. Here’s part one of a pictorial tour:


We started with a walk down “Nance’s” beach.








When we arrived at her place, there was no one home so it gave me a chance to walk around her garden.

We shared some libations and some nibbles that Nancy had put out for us when another old friend dropped in for a visit. Regretfully, she had other plans and couldn’t join us for our fabulous dinner at the Seahorse Grill.


PS Nance sent me an update of what her garden is looking like right at this moment, now that spring has arrived in full force on the west coast.

Kath’s quote: A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” 
 Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

peach heart.jpg

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.



A Little Taste of Greece, Without Leaving Home


Yesterday, my morning began with a drive to the airport to deposit Boo and The Frenchman, who will soon be making their way to the sunny isles of Greece for their honeymoon. Although back-packing, Boo managed to pack a number of flowy white dresses for the trip. I can already picture my baby and her handsome husband dancing in the sun and smooching across a seaside table. Ah Greece, so exotic and romantic and delicious!

During my own sojourn to Greece, right out of university, I was a timid eater. I picked at the tomatoes and feta, the herb omelettes and spinach pie and managed to never ever taste an olive. I was such a silly girl and long to return to Greece so that I can savour every salty little taste. In the meanwhile, I LOVE Greek food, love all Mediterranean food in fact. I have many favourite little tavernas here in the city but not all are conducive to picking up a healthy supper or dropping in for a quick lunch. That is until Opa! of Greece came along. They’ve been in Polo Park for six years, but since I am not much of a shopper, I have never visited. With their second location (1639 Kenaston) adjacent to my neighbourhood and based on the samplings that I enjoyed last evening, that is going to change.


We started with spanakopita-crunchy phyllo wrapped around spinach, onion and bound together with some cheese.


We were then invited to fill our plates with traditional Greek fare: meat kebabs, roasted potatoes, “peasant” salad, warm pita, hummus and tzatziki and olives! I am so hooked on olives that I ate them all before I took this photo. These kebabs were specially made for us highlighting beef, chicken and lamb on a skewer. I typically shy away from lamb but it was beautifully marinated, tender and sparkling with flavour.


Crispy calamari and spicy falafel came around as we sat down at our tables. Both were excellent.

My foodie friends are a hoot and we enjoyed lingering and eating the calamari morsels like popcorn. Here’s the thing that I learned in Greece those many years ago-all food is made better when cooked with love and shared with friends. Owners of both Opa! Winnipeg locations: Fatima and Klaus Kostas, obviously know this too, as the pride in their offerings and their warm hospitality, shone through like the Mediterranean sun.

Opa! of Greece on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “A lucky person is someone who plants pebbles and harvests potatoes.” Greek proverb


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.




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