Browsing: Restaurant Features

Bronuts

October18

When I was a child my Mom would make donuts on a fairly regular basis so that my older brother could hand them out to fellow newspaper carriers. The big tarp covered box where the newspapers would be dropped off was in our yard. Over the years, my definition of a doughnut became a Tim Horton’s version. Now I am happy to say, donuts like Mom use to make are making a comeback. I might add, with some fun improvements.

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“Bronuts” is the creation of brothers Brett & Dylan (assisted by wife/sister-in-law Meghan) and I have a hunch that a family recipe may have something to do with the success of their Exchange District shop. I understand that the place is jammed each morning with hipsters who work nearby picking up their tea and/or coffees with the sustenance that a donut can provide.

Bronuts don’t use artificial colouring or flavours and they make all the toppings, jam, and custard from scratch. I might add that they go easy on the sugar which is unexpected at first bite. That is what allows the yeasty dough taste to share the stage. I couldn’t make up mind the day that I stood in front of the display case in their sparkling shop, so I ordered one of each to go.

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I had a gang over for coffee that evening so I had an ulterior motive.

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The vanilla glaze tasted most like my Mom’s. Everyone had their own preference from the myriad of toppings. The pumpkin cheesecake donut with cream cheese glaze was a hit

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as was their most popular peanut butter and jam. My sister declared that it tasted like a homemade sandwich.

The peach pecan fritter was my personal favourite

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and chocolate lovers leaned towards the chocolate cake donut called Margot or the cookies and cream one.

One of the brothers told me how they typically sell out of product in the early afternoon which means that they can start fresh in their kitchen for the next day. So when you visit, keep this in mind.

Bronuts Donuts & Coffee Shop Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do”? -Matt Groening

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Love never fails.

 

 

Clementine

October12

I have waited for what seemed like eons for the time to come when I could visit Clementine at 123 Princess St. in the Exchange District. I spotted Owner Chef Adam Donnelly who I have long admired for his tapas restaurant –Segovia, as I sat down. As with Segovia he is teamed up with his wife Caroline Konrad. They have added extended family members Reya Konrad and Chris Gama for this venture.

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Some say “anything worth doing is worth the wait” and in this case I would whole heartedly agree! We were perched at a high table in the cosy lower level as every other table was full with other enthusiastic diners. From this vantage I could spot another Winnipeg Chef (a very good sign) arrive to sample Chef Donnelly’s fare.

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My lunch mate groaned when she found out that they were out of waffles that day (with blueberries, pecans, maple syrup, maple cream and rhubarb compote) and settled upon the porridge. This was not just any porridge-made with almond milk, apple butter, kiwi, blueberries and pecans; she was so satisfied that she took half home for her next breakfast.

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I on the other hand, went past my satiation point and ate the entire order of Fried Chicken Toast. The chicken was so crunchy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside and beautifully balanced with pickled carrots and a maple drizzle that I would moan as I cut into another bite. If you are like me and love sweet and salty tastes as well a variety of textures, you will love this dish.

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I was prompted ahead of time that the Braised Bacon Benedict was fabulous, as well as their Home Fried Potatoes. Thinking about Segovia’s Patata Bravas that I have long loved, I ordered the home fries for “dessert”. Actually, I sampled a fabulous bite and then took the rest home to my husband as compensation for not being able to join me on the visit. The Salsa Negra and Lime Mayo take the humble fried potato and elevate them to a starring role!

Clementine Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote:

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully. “It’s the same thing,” he said.”
A.A. Milne

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Love never fails.

 

Sydney’s & Sous Sol

September27

Winnipeg is such a food-centric community that its Chefs are given celebrity status. Case in point: I have been following the career of Chef Michael Schafer since he medalled in the Gold Plates competition and re-opened a beautiful restaurant at The Forks, that being Sydney’s. Since then he has birthed Rudy’s, a downtown urban bistro and Sous Sol a funky basement restaurant that is as comfortable as being invited to a friend’s family room.

I was delighted when I recently received an invitation to a “concierge” evening at Sydney’s. When I rsvp to manager Carlos, he said “Food Musings, ah yes, Michael Schafer has been a fan of your blog for years”. Michael confirmed this when I finally got to meet him in real life, walking from the executive bus he had hired to escort us from Sydney’s to Sous Sol.

Michael has appointed another Chef Michael, namely Michael Robins to head up the kitchen at Sydney’s. I had met Chef Robins when I was writing a story about Sous Sol. He is another talented grad of the Red River College’s Culinary program. Winnipeg is blessed with so much gastronomic talent from the college. But, I am getting a head of myself.

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As bloggers, Instagrammers, Free Press writers and concierges from a number of key Winnipeg Hotels assembled, we sipped on a fine sparkling white wine and the food started arriving.

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Poached shrimp in a sweet chili and mango sauce and vegetable wonton with sesame dressing were both tasty but we (accompanied by Sister #3), were most impressed by the smoked gold eye crepe with caper aioli and pickled mustard seed. The seeds popped in our mouths like caviar. We agreed that it was the little things like those mustard seeds that elevates cuisine from “delicious” to “sensational”.

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I snuck away to peruse the recent décor updates to the dining room. The goal was to relax the ambience a bit to make Sydney’s more appropriate for a variety of dining experiences. I think that the revamp is right on the money and have been encouraging friends to give the dining room a try for their Friday night dinner dates.

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Once we had been escorted to our tables in the dining room more appetizers were set in front of an enthusiastic bunch. We loved the Manitoba trapist cheese selections and the Chef’s ode to McNuggets with clever duck sausage morsels to dip into honey mustard.

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My personal favourite was the Beef Tartare with mini grilled cheese triangles for scooping up the silky meat. This was all served before we made personal selections from our customized menus.

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Sister #3 chose the Charred Beets as her starter and she swapped tastes with me and my Mango Peanut Salad. Both wonderful.

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The Tomato Bisque was also deemed delicious (must have been the bacon)!

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A cleansing sorbet arrived and then we were ready for our entrees. Artic Char with lentils, greens, almonds and salmoriglio (a southern Italian condiment) was chosen by our table neighbours and they were happy to let us feast with our eyes.

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Sister #3 loved her choice of Duck Breast with pickled butternut squash, golden curry and baby potatoes.

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I am crazy about truffles and ordered the New York steak for just that reason. I was delighted with the squash and garlic mashed potatoes. The New York was perfection-pan fried in what I suspected was a nub of butter, just like my Dad always prepared steaks when I was growing up. He managed what became Maple Leaf Foods in Brandon and he knew his beef, so this is the ultimate compliment in my mind.

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Thinking that I would love to go home and get into my stretchy pants, we were escorted by Schafer to his pet project-Sous Sol. He described how he distressed the space and furniture himself prior to opening. I love the cozy lower level space and would have been satisfied with a night cap, but Chef Michael Robins had been busy putting out some more satisfying nibbles.

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Including the most divine lemon tarts I have ever tasted AND the piece de resistance of

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mini crème brulees!

The evening from start to conclusion was a culinary treat and I am enthusiastic to return to both spots very soon (especially because D had plans that evening and was disappointed that he couldn’t join me).

Sydney's at the Forks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sous Sol Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “If you are a chef, no matter how good a chef you are, it’s not good cooking for yourself; the joy is in cooking for others – it’s the same with music”. -will.i.am

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Sydney’s heart shaped crostini!

Love never fails.

Mercat a la planxa-Chicago

September19

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Our final evening in Chicago, I suggested we check out a tapas restaurant not far from our hotel. We were sat by a window so that we could watch the world wiz by on Michigan Ave.

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Mercat a la Planxa, is a Chicago Tapas restaurant where we took a culinary tour of Barcelona with Catalan-inspired cuisine. Chef Jose Garces’ mod-Mediterranean kitchen delivered a pot-purri of savoury tastes.

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We started with refreshments of course. One girlfriend was delighted by this flight of sangrias.

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I loved my pear cider and another girlfriend enjoyed her cucumber mojito.

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An amuse bouche of bruschetta arrived at our table. We agreed unanimously that we had come to the right place.

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My traditional tapas choice of Montadito (small bread with topping) Escalivada (roasted eggplant) arrived first. We shared the crostinis which were also topped with white anchovies, roasted red bell pepper and whipped goatcheese.

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Next up were Cepes (wild mushrooms)/ Butiffarra (Catalan sausage) enhanced by bacon marmalade! These too were delectable.

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Our third plate to share was the Truita (rainbow trout) de Navarra (a province in Spain), with a crisp piece of Serrano ham, green beans and sherry aioli. Delish.

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I added an order of Patatas Bravas just for good measure and remarkably it was the dish that I was most crazy about. When I have enjoyed Patatas Bravas at my favourite tapas restaurant at home in Winnipeg, they were presented like potato wedges. These plumb discs of potatoes must have been carefully formed, cooked and then patiently lined up on the rectangular dish. The smoke paprika aioli put the heavenly dish over the top!

The night was still young so we did some exploring in hopes of finding a gelato spot.

Mercat a la Planxa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quotes:“Short story collections are the literary equivalent of canapés, tapas and mezze in the world of gastronomy: Delightful assortments of tasty morsels to whet the reader’s appetite.” ― Alex Morritt

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Love never fails.

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The Fishing Lab by San Francisco-Montecatini, Tuscany

September2

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Just down the street from the Hotel Puccini was another place recommended by the hotel owner Patrizia. She was very excited about the re-opening of the restaurant that very day. We took her recommendation and checked out The Fishing Lab by San Francisco. While there we saw her and her husband arrive for dinner as well. The facelift of the décor was fabulous!

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We had a tricky time figuring out the menu but eventually decided upon Tuna sliders on pretzel buns to share. They were excellent but I was saving room for the delectable treats ahead.

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I chose the Frutti di Mare salad. There was a little bit of everything on my plate. The seafood had been tenderly poached and then tossed with just a hint of dressing. Simple tastes: pure & clean.

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D’s sea bass in salt was hand carved at the table by our handsome server. D’s dish too was simple and wonderful.

Our server told us the story that the fish served at the Fishing Lab was from the same boat for the past 23 years (as long as they had been opened). I suppose the saying: “Why fix what isn’t broken?” would apply here.

Although D and I had imagined fish with tomatoes, olives, cheese and pasta while in Tuscany, we were really impressed by the expert fish offerings.

Why the Fishing Lab by San Francisco, you may ask? I read this story on their website:

San Francisco is Montecatini Terme’s history: the place to go from the second half of the 1950s onwards when the rich and famous from the entertainment world and the international jet set flocked to it.
And, in accordance with Fishing Lab’s ‘style manual’, the name was kept on when the restaurant was restyled for our new concept.
The restaurant is ‘easy chic’ making even the most exacting client feel at home: the lower ground floor room creates a more intimate atmosphere without losing any of Fishing Lab’s trademark convivial feel.

The restaurant concept is absolutely unique. Here is an explanation of the owner’s intentions:

Fishing Lab isn’t a restaurant in the usual meaning of the word. Fishing Lab is an innovative restaurant concept based on an original unconventional raw and cooked fish formula. We have selected the most distinctive features of traditional cuisines and reworked them into a new, one-of-a-kind configuration. Inside the building, relaxation and a home-from-home feel is the order of the day. The nautical atmosphere is tangible, the hospitality genuine. From a taste of fish to a glass of wine, always ready to hand, clients feel at home. Just like in a boat with the rise and fall of the sea. The chefs at the helm guide the visible kitchens. Our waiters and waitresses captain the dining room. Fish, as if it has just been pulled out of the sea, is the real star of the show. Fishing Lab leaves clients free to make up their menus, choosing inventive combinations, sitting at a table or standing up.

Kath’s quote: “Today she met me at the door, said I would have to choose, if I picked up that fishing rod today, she’d be packing all her things and she’d be gone by noon….well I’m gonna miss her when I get home tonight.”-Brad Paisly

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Love never fails.

 

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