Browsing: Food & Travel

Baraka Pita Bakery

October21

I have lived in Winnipeg all of my life and am still finding new little places that fascinate.  My husband and my son often chat about donairs from their backpack trip through Europe together.  I have never tasted a donair but understand that it is beef and veggies on a pita.  If it is made with chicken, does it become a shawarma?  I need to do some more research-yum…..

On the day that I visited Baraka Pita Bakery (1783 Main St.) pita pies and pita pockets were going in and out of the oven and there were a number of people sitting at tables waiting for their late lunch.  I was intrigued by a little pita packet displayed on a counter that was folded into a triangle.  When I inquired, I found out that it was a spinach fatire and the handsome gentleman behind the counter offered me one to taste.  I bought a dozen to have at home with soup or as an appetizer and this past Sunday proved to be the right time to test the taste with my family.  They loved the concept but found that the spinach was too lemony.  Perhaps next time we’ll try the beef fatires.  There looks to be falafel, dolmades and a  number of dips.  I am planning on shopping at Baraka again soon to have a bon voyage dinner for my husband who is off to Israel next month. 

Baraka Pita Bakery on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “On the subject of spinach: divide into little piles. Rearrange again into new piles. After five of six maneuvers, sit back and say you are full.”-Delia Ephron, ‘How To Eat Like A Child’

Mango Upside Down Cake

October19

When you are “in touch” with your taste buds as I believe that I am, I can explain why I dislike certain foods/tastes and why I am drawn to others.  My attachment for mangoes has one such explanation: The winter that our youngest was 6 months old, our oldest had suffered a catastrophic illness and our son was a going- concern, we were given an all expense trip to Hawaii.  We could not believe this blessing-a time to be a couple again as opposed to round the clock care-givers.  We loved the people of Kona, the typography of the Big Island, their coffee, macadamia nuts, pineapple AND my first taste of mango.  So even though I crave the taste of bowl-ripened pears and tart Mac apples, mangoes are my favourite fruit not only because of the taste but my entire mango experience.  Now you either get this or you don’t….

I always have a bag of mangoes in my freezer.  I plop mango chunks onto cottage cheese for a healthy breakfast or into a chicken wrap or salad for lunch.  In a pinch they are ready to build a fast dessert around.  Such was the case this past Friday when we were hosting our monthly young families’ group.  Daughter #2 had made pumpkin cookies for the kids but I wanted a dessert that the parents could linger with over coffee.

Ta da-Mango Upside Down Cake was born!  I sauteed 1/2 c of brown sugar with a 1/2 c of butter over medium heat until the mixture started to caramelize then I added  a bag of defrosted mangoes.  I poured this into the bottom of a buttered 9 x 12 baking pan and then made up a yellow cake mix according to package directions and poured it over top.  I shook the pan to evenly distribute the batter and then baked it (also according to package directions).

When I pulled it out of the oven, I immediately ran a knife around the edges and placed a platter of equal size as the baking pan over the cake.  I then turned it upside down and voila.  I intended to serve it with a cappuccino ice cream but was distracted by the gaggle of kids that D had already escorted downstairs for play time.

Kath’s quote: “The appetite is sharpened by the first bites.”-Jose Rizal

Stage Door Deli NYC

October15

Having lived across the street for many years from Oscar’s on Hargrave St. in Winnipeg, I can safely say that I know good deli.  By this I mean, dill pickles with the right balance of crunch/vinegar/garlic, fresh rye bread and just shaved meats.  The truth is, in recent years I’ve tried to avoid processed and cured meats.  But we literally stumbled upon the Stage Door on a shopping expedition to Century 21.  And when in New York, do as the New Yorkers do…..

Sister #2 and I split 2 selections-their Signature Reuben and ginormous Meatloaf served wrapped in aluminum foil, a bag of chips and of course-a pickle.  The sandwiches were socked with meat and were delightfully messy to eat.  On the salty side, but I’m not complaining as I sweated it out that day looking for designer bargains next door.

Something was so familiar about the storefront of the place and then I remembered…there was a photo taken on 9/11 of a clock on a street that recorded the time of the attacks.  St. Paul’s Chapel that became the temporary headquarters of the rescue mission is near by.  Imagine the heartache that the staff of the Stage Door have lived through?  Serving regulars day after day and then in a single moment-they are gone.

The decor is non-existent, the service a little curt, but the “old school” food a must have.  You will be walking into urban history, a proud tradition started in 1937.  Good on you Stage Door-the show must go on.

Stage Door Deli Iii on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quotes: “New York is a gothic Roquefort.”-Salvador Dali

Rooster Cafe-Isla Mujeres

October14

I found these photos in a place that I didn’t expect them and realized that I had never posted about Rooster Cafe.  We had our first of many fabulous meals on Isla Mujeres on February 28, 2010.  If you you are about to give me credit for having a razor sharp memory-I’m going to stop you right there.  I am famous (in my family) for running downstairs to the pantry for something and then shouting upstairs “Does anyone know why I’m down here?”  The secret is-I keep a travel journal.  I do this not just to record details of what I’ve sampled or what the location was but so that I can relive the moment.  I travelled Europe for six weeks some 35 years ago and when I pull out that journal-I can recall my first glance of the Mediterranean and taste the beer drank from a glass boot in Heidelberg.  

I can’t recollect (without consulting them) what my Isla sistas had but it looks good doesn’t it?

I do know that I had Creme Brule French Toast crusted with granola and served with butterscotch syrup.  The toast was crunchy on the outside but smooth and creamy in the centre.  We sat in the sun on Hidalgo and watched the early birds heading for the beach. 

Friends who were on Isla after me remarked about the kindness of the Rooster Cafe owners.  When Richard was there for breakfast after going down with a horrendous flu, the owner said “Don’t order from the menu.  I will make something to make you feel better.”  I’m guessing that it was a poached egg but it didn’t really matter.  His kindness was the key point and my friends went back for breakfast virtually every day of the rest of their stay.

Kath’s quote:   “It is not good for all our wishes to be filled; through sickness we recognize the value of health; through evil, the value of good; through hunger, the value of food; through exertion, the value of rest.”-Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Ess-a Bagel NYC

October6

We were delighted to find this landmark on our second trip to New York.  The original location Ess-a Bagelat 1st and 21st  was a lovely destination for an early morning walk from our “home away from home” near Gramercy Park.

The decor has seen better days but was not even noticed by the line up of people ordering their “to go” items.  The couple of older gentlemen that were seated at the tables looked right at home.

On our first visit to what I call carb heaven,  I would have described the service as “curt” as the counter guy had so many people to take care of but on this occasion he was willing to have his photo taken (or maybe it was because I was with my sister-in-law and not my husband on this visit).  He shouts your order to another staff member who obediently counts and bags the confections.

Now bagels from home are pretty good especially with a smack of Winnipeg cream cheese and I’ve even had the wonderful good fortune to sample bagels in Jerusalem, but Ess-a bagels are another species.  They look like over inflated tires!  The are appropriately chewy on the outside requiring a real good tug to assist your teeth in tearing off a bite.  The inside is tender and yeasty-a perfect platform for the piece de resistance, the schmears: savoury cream cheese with herbs, garlic and spices and smoked fish of course.  And sweet offerings with cinnamon, nuts and  an endless array of fruit and berries.

These were our backyard breakfasts for our extra long New York weekend and the memory of them have me searching out seat sales once again.

Ess-a-Bagel on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “the first printed mention of bagels…is to be found in the Community Regulations of Kracow, Poland, for the year 1610 which stated that bagels would be given as a gift to any woman in childbirth.”
‘The Joys of Yiddish’ by Leo Rosten

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