Browsing: Restaurant Features

Saperavi Georgian Restaurant

August30

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Having been connected to the hospitality business in Winnipeg most of my life, it is difficult to surprise me with a restaurant that serves food that I have never tasted. But such was the case with Saperavi (709 Corydon Ave.), the first Georgian restaurant on the prairies. This is a statement made on their website and I for one would not dispute it.

My good friend who once lived in Georgia was my dining partner on the evening we visited. After once eating Georgian food in her home, I had to look up its location on a map. Bordered by the Black Sea, Russia, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan, Georgia is a mountainous country with a rich history.

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Since I could not even pronounce most of the items on the menu i.e. Chkmeruli, I let my friend make the decisions for our meal. She explained to me that there are as many Khachapuri recipes from Georgia as there were provinces and regions of the country. Saperavi’s version dubbed-Adjaruli, was a cradle of freshly baked shiny-surfaced bread stuffed with a cheese that resembled a mild feta and a partially cooked egg. As the egg was stirred in with the cheese, it continued cooking and provided a gooey mass of deliciousness. She demonstrated how to break the bread around the edges into pieces to scoop up the egg and cheese. I had a hard time sharing, as I kept snapping off hunks of bread until the dish was quite literally gone.

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We had a difficult task choosing between the traditional Khinkali (dumpling) filled with pork, beef, onion and herbs and the Mushroom Khinkali containing mushrooms and mint, so we ordered both! My friend educated me that the more folds there were in the top of the dumpling, the more skilled and practiced the cook was who prepared them. I loved them both but especially the latter as it reminded me of a mushroom turnover that my Mom would make at Christmas time.

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Lastly we chose Shashlik which resembled a Greek souvlaki and was equally fine. I look forward to visiting again when I may have room to try their eggplant stuffed with walnuts and cheese.

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Both the owner and his son came over to check on us and ensure that we were enjoying our evening. “Enjoy” was an understatement. I was so impressed with the inventiveness of Georgian cuisine but also the skill that went into the preparation of Sapervai’s dishes.

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

Kath’s quote: “Exotic, mysterious, unique.” Describing Georging food on a Georgian website.

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Love never fails.

Hillside Beach Eatery

August19

Once per summer, I take the opportunity in my Canstar Community Newspaper Column to write about a restaurant located in the beaches area north of Winnipeg. This visit was to the Hillside Eatery 38167 Hillside Beach Road at Hillside Beach, MBat Hill. The eatery’s reputation proceeded itself with accolades on the burgers, fries and pizza. Every word of praise was true; we were very impressed with the quality coming out of the little kitchen. Owner Rene Cyr turns all the praise over to his chef/wife Lori and her selection of fresh ingredients, sending him hither and yon to ensure that everything including the correct bread is purchased for their variety of menu items.

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I selected the Ruben sandwich and the authentic rye bread was indeed the perfect choice as was the shaved corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing. I often judge a Ruben by how many napkins I had to use to eat it and theirs ranks right up there with the messiest and most delicious.

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Others in our group decided upon chicken fingers and burgers and were equally pleased. The burgers were made with hand-pressed beef patties, swarms of sweet sautéed onions and condiments of your choice.

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We saw a pizza being delivered to the table next to us that was literally falling off the pizza pan, it was so huge. That is what we will try on our next visit.

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The highlight for most of us was the hand cut French fries. Long and crispy with just enough softness in the centre, they were perfectly cooked and abundant. A simple sprinkling of vinegar and a glistening of salt finished them. Speaking of ”finishing them”, I surprised myself and ate up every single one!

The family has just completed the building of a lovely adjoining patio. We understand from Rene that Lori often makes fresh seasonal pies for sale in the adjoining store but you have to get there right away to snatch one up before they are completely sold out, as is often the case.

Kath’s quote: “If baking at Zomick’s bakery is any labor at all, it’s a labor of love. A love that gets passed from one Zomick’s generation to the next one.”  ― Zomick’s Bakery

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

Segovia

August4

Whenever I am asked which Winnipeg restaurant is my favourite-the answer is always Segovia Tapas Bar (484 Stradbrook Avenue just west of Osborne St. in the River & Osborne neighbourhood of Fort Rouge). We first visited the year that Adam Donnelly and Carolina Konrad opened the tapas restaurant and return as often as we can. The trouble is, there are so many great restaurants in this city, we don’t get to visit as often as we would like. Our kids, on the other hand, visit often, especially our eldest daughter. She loves their patio and that it is completely wheelchair accessible. Before you go, you need to decide whether or not you are comfortable sharing a number of small plates with your dinner mates. We love tapas as you get to sample a variety of dishes without filling up on only a couple of tastes.

On this occasion I was dining with girlfriends and celebrating my birthday.

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We started with one of my old favourites-Patatas Bravas ($7)*. This typical Spanish dish of fried potatoes is usually topped with a spicy tomato sauce or aioli, Segovia offers both in a circular design on the delectable fries.

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Next up were Fried Beets adorned with Cashew Dukkha (Egyptian sauce) and Berbere (Ethiopian spice) Aioli ($10).

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I love Beef Tartare ($15) but one of our group was hesitant to try the dish of minced raw beef. Our delightful server, knowing that it was my birthday, brought the dish as a gift to the table. We made a believer out of our hesitant friend and were delighted with the cold, sleek taste.

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Another friend is a fried chicken lover so we chose Segovia’s version. Not your typical fried chicken; these were chicken morsels with some lovely heat that were offset by a Spicy Lime Dressing and Parsley Salad ($15).

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I love salty/sweet combinations, so the next dish was my favourite of the evening- Whipped Feta drizzled with pistachios and honey was absolutely divine.

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The piece de resistance were the mascarpone stuffed Medjool dates ($2 each) indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa. They were drizzled with Canadian maple syrup and topped with California pistachios to produce an international taste sensation.

Segovia is open daily (except Tuesdays) at 5 pm and close at 12 midnight on Friday and Saturday and 11 pm other days. They offer evening dinner menu only but a second restaurant by the same owners is Clementine (not yet visited) at 123 Princess St. It is open during the day for breakfast and lunch. Segovia is accessible to persons with mobility issues. There is a metered surface lot across the street, evening street parking available and a small lot to the rear of the building.

* A couple of Canstar readers asked me to include prices in my bi-weekly column but the editors declined. This was the version I submitted before that decision was made.

Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.” –MFK Fisher

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Love never fails.

Tuscany Trip Report – Daily Breakfast at the Hotel Puccini

July27

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We wandered down to Hotel Puccini’s dining room with a number of other travelers that we suspected were on the same Gate One package as us. Not a particularly chummy group, we all nodded hellos but pretty much stuck to ourselves. We picked a particular table and then had breakfast at the same one all week long.

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Having travelled to Italy previously, we knew that “breakfast” was more like a Canadian “brunch” with a wide selection of pastries, cheeses, meats, egg dishes and dessert! Omelets were sliced into pinwheels as illustrated above. There were always hard boiled eggs to enjoy as well.

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We were partial to the Italian cheeses and fresh tomatoes.

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Although untested, the coffee cakes and fruit galettes looked tasty and plentiful.

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On most days I repeated my favourites-a café au lait, cheeses, meats and the crustiest brown bread ever. Fresh fruit was not plentiful but juices and preserved fruit was. On our final day, the delightful server who took care of us all week, made a “real” café au lait from the machine in the bar rather than the automatic dispenser in the dining room. It was a little gesture but an indication of how willing the Italians were to share their hospitality and make us feel very special.

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This was how the hotel management persuaded you from lugging your key with you when you were sight-seeing. We left ours at the front desk and provided a daily opportunity to chat with the warm front desk staff.

Kath’s quote: “Amor non conosce travaglio – Love never tires”. -Unknown

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Love never fails.

 

La Cantina del Toscano DOC

July26

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Before we headed to Tuscany, I did some research and had seen that a local recommended a couple of his favourite restaurants in the town of Montecatini where we were staying. La Cantina del Toscano DOC was one of the two. We then found out from Patrizia the owner of Hotel Puccini that La Cantina was within walking distance of our hotel. Little did we know at that time that we would fall instantly in love with the food and our server Francesco and that we would return almost every evening of our stay.

Dinner that evening started with a bread basket and plenty of good quality olive oil for dipping.

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I was over the moon with my selection of pasta with seafood, tomatoes and fresh basil.

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D was delighted with his choice of noodles with clams and mint.

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I am not sure why it struck us to also order pizzas to go, but we did. Mine was this gorgeous creation with thinly sliced eggplant and cheese.

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D’s was even tastier topped with sausage, ham, oregano and stracchino cheese. There was a fridge in our room so we repackaged them and placed them in there.

Kath’s quotes: “Five tender apricots in a blue bowl, a brief and exact promise of things to come.” ― Frances Mayes, In Tuscany    

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Love never fails.

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