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Fusion Grill, River Heights, Winnipeg


Fusion Grill is not exactly in my own backyard but pretty close-a block and a half walk away.  The cafe’s close proximity actually makes me guilty about not dining there more often as owner Scot McTaggart is an old friend of ours from a time when we all worked together at a popular restaurant.

Scot’s culinary philosophy has always been a passion for “local”, years before the trend was in vogue.  Scot once shared with me that his wish has always been a simple one: “to sell carrots from my own backyard.” He recalled raiding a garden for carrots and scraping off the dirt with his hands.  He remembered the sweetness and the crunch and added “even the dirt tasted good.”

Gutsy Scot was the first of Winnipeg’s restaurateurs to deliver Manitoba regional cuisine like bison, pickerel cheeks, Arctic Char, Northern Pike caviar, grass-fed beef and Bothwell cheese.  The all-Canadian wine list was also a bold move when he first opened, but feels vindicated now with the focus on both food and wine from closer to home.  He believes that Canadian wines are the perfect pairing to Chef Lorna Murdoch’s cuisine.

Like many cities, Winnipeg is disproportionately lacking in female chefs. Chef Lorna is one of our shining stars. When you meet her in real life you might be surprised by her diminutive stature. She is petite, but her imaginative food combinations and taste profiles are not. They are enormous!

We started our evening with white truffle perogies, loving both in equal portions. The duck sausage was a savoury layer; the walnut cream sauce hit this starter out of the park! Also sampled were the Caesar salad and the soup of tomorrow-both terrific.

The guys decided upon the elk tenderloin that was available that evening. My husband shared the myriad of roasted local vegetables with me. Chicken stuffed with mushrooms and mascarpone cheese was perfect on its own, sensational with squash gnocchi.


I often choose vegetable-centric entrees, not because I do not enjoy meat but because I am a veggie nut. I could have enjoyed the handmade tagliatelle noodles (a cousin to fettuccine) with a simple bit of garlic and a good olive oil. I was in heaven when the pasta was intertwined with ribbons of artichoke, pickled squash and wilted greens. Wow, just wow!

Fusion Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “Classical cooking and molecular gastronomy should remain separate. You can mix two styles and get fusion; any more, and you just get confusion.”-Alain Ducasse


Love, that is all.

A Christmas Gift from McDonald’s


When our eldest child was five years old we had an extended stay at the Children’s Hospital here in Winnipeg. It was there that we met a little girl that I am going to call Britney. She was in the room next to ours and the two girls loved to play Barbie’s together and Britney’s Mom and I would try to support each other the best we could. I remember the day that we were able to finally go home after our ordeal. December 8 will long be fixed in my memory. Our daughter “Beep” as she is called in this space went to a new school in January where she received all of her necessary therapies as a part of her school day. Before that occurred though, she was an outpatient at the hospital and whenever we were in the building we would go to visit Britney. Beep even got to attend a Christmas party with Britney that was put on by Cancer Care. You see Britney had leukemia. On the day of Christmas Eve, Beep wanted us to delivery Britney’s Christmas present but when we arrived on the ward, we were told that Britney wasn’t feeling up to visitors. We left her gift for her to open whenever she felt up to it. On Boxing Day, without ever having opened her gifts Britney passed away. We had gone to visit the ward that day too and all the nurses were so upset that they were visibly weeping and trying to take care of all of the other sick little ones.

Britney’s Mother was a single Mom from somewhere in the province. She spent every single waking hour at the hospital by Britney’s side. Once Britney had fallen asleep at night, she was encouraged to go take some time for herself, have a good rest and return the next day. This went on for months on end. Luckily for Britney, her Mom was able to stay in the city the entire time and be within walking distance of the hospital. Britney’s Mom spent her nights at Ronald McDonald House. She shared with me that she did not know what she would have done if it were not for the House. She wasn’t willing to spend any time away from Britney as she must have known that their days together were few.

These days Beep has grown up to be a beautiful, intelligent woman and is in the midst of obtaining her Masters Degree at the University of Manitoba. My time had freed up and I was a volunteer at the Children’s Hospital, sometimes on the very ward where Beep and Britney played with their Barbies. In addition to the House which is close by, there is a Ronald McDonald suite right in the hospital. Here families can do their laundry, get caught up on the world through provided computers, make phone calls, relax in front of the fire, bake cookies, watch movies and play with their other children (as often times, a whole family will attend a sick child to the hospital). I have often encouraged parents to take a break and head to the facility while I spent some time hugging their baby or playing on the floor with their toddler.

Recently though, with our own grandbaby and another on the way, I spend the hours that I might have been volunteering, babysitting the Wee One. She is an absolute joy and both D and I are excited every time we get to spend time with her. This weekend she had a sleep over with us and on Saturday evening, I let her open a Christmas gift that had been delivered from McDonalds. A box was filled with a number of treats but the best one was that they had made a donation to Ronald McDonald House in my name, so that a Mom like Britney’s can be close to their child at Christmas.


The Wee One hasn’t been to McDonalds very often and loved her happy meal with its little “Build a Bear” toy. In turn I was pleased with the sautéed onions, double cheese and pretzel bun of the Jolly Burger from their Holiday Warmer menu.

Here is the Wee One in the act of opening “Glamma’s” gift.




Poppa read us the card from a Ronald McDonald House Family and then the Wee One gave us her rendition. A healthy child is a blessing that we never, ever take for granted.

Kath’s quote: None of Us is as Good as All of Us.”-Ray Kroc of McDonalds

TSR Watermark - 5666

Love, that is all.



Charisma of India



I consider myself knowledgeable of Mexican and Italian cuisine as I have traveled to both countries a number of times and studied intently. With frequent exposure I am fairly well versed in French, Middle Eastern, Greek, Vietnamese and Thai cuisine as well. I have taken a cooking class to learn how to make samosas but other than that, I cannot claim to be an expert in East Indian cuisine and yet I love its complex tastes and flavours.


I have sampled the excellent dishes at Charisma of India on a number of occasions but have never had an opportunity to enjoy their lunch buffet overflowing with authentic items from the north of India. On this day the selections were: butter chicken, goat curry, tandori chicken, spicy chicken, vegetable korma, palak paneer (pureed spinach), bhindi masala (spicy okra), channa masala (spicy chickpeas), aloo gobi (potato and cauliflower), vegetable samosa, vegetable pakora (vegetable fritter), vegetable biryani (vegetable rice) and another five items that I did not make note of.


Mitesh Trivedi the sole owner/operator of Charisma of India knows that naan (flat bread) doesn’t hold well on a buffet so he has his kitchen make it fresh and his staff delivers it right to your table.  We appreciated it so that we good lap up the soft vegetables and sauces on our plates. All the sampled dishes were so tasty, that is, based on my limited appreciation of complex Indian spices.

Mr. Trivedi was trained as a civil engineer in his native land and after he garnered other restaurant experience here in Winnipeg, he opened this lushly decorated one in 2007. He had studied the neighbourhood and knew that many vegetarians resided within walking distance. Although Butter Chicken is my personal favourite, Indian cuisine was ahead of the curve with its veggie-centric fare.

Charisma of India Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “This curry was like a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony that I’d once heard…..especially the last movement, with everything screaming and banging ‘Joy.’ It stunned, it made one fear great art. My father could say nothing after the meal.”-Anthony Burgess


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Crystal Bay Chinese Restaurant


At 1100 Waverley St., Chrystal Bay Chinese Restaurant is right smack in the middle of a bustling business/industrial zone. There are very few options in this particular area of Waverley and McGillivray. With winter driving conditions upon us, it is handy to know where you can purchase an affordable lunch without having to traverse too far.

Once dubbed the Crystal Bay Steakhouse, I understand that they served half steakhouse fare and half Chinese cuisine. As their Chinese menu became increasingly popular they did away with the steakhouse options.

On the day that we visited for lunch, the place was full of hungry lunchers with some solo guests sitting all at one long communal table. Whenever a restaurant is offering the choice to order off of the menu or a buffet, it is a good idea to look around and check out what other diners are doing. In this case, everyone was going up to the buffet so we followed suit.

The busier a buffet restaurant is, the better, as it means that food has to be continuously prepared and put into the holding table, ensuring the freshness of the product. An unusual feature of this buffet is that you could choose to have it “to go”, with a proviso that you limited the inclusion of their tasty chicken wings to 10, which is very generous because the entire buffet only costs $8.95.

Also included at the buffet table was a law horn vegetarian dish, Cantonese lo mein, dry fried mushrooms, black pepper with pork, salt and pepper pork chop, dry breaded veal, fried rice, stir fried broccoli, spring rolls AND a choice of soup.


No wonder everyone goes for the buffet! I personally favour a greater variety of stir-fried items than deep-fried ones, but the tables sitting around us had their plates heaped with the sizzled items. I stuck to the tasty law horn vegetables and the Cantonese lo mein and certainly got my monies’ worth.

Crystal Bay Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “To the ruler, the people are heaven; to the people, food is heaven.”-(ancient Chinese proverb)


Love-that is all.

Brisas Grill Isla Mujeres


In spite of the fact that I have been to Brisas Grill many, many times over the years and absolutely love the food, I can never get its corrrect name into my head. Case in point: we were assembling there for sunset and a fresh seafood feed before friends returned to Canada the next morning. Brother #3 and my sis-in-law hailed a cab and headed to what once was Brisas Caribe in Colonias because of my confusion. It makes sense to me that since “Brisas” is right in the sand at the water’s edge, it would make reference to the Caribean Sea. In addition to the fact that I have never seen a “grill” at the restaurant. But I was just plain old wrong and had to apologize profusely to my sibling for my error.

Unfortunately they missed the beautiful sunset because of me. I had hoped that their dinner would make up for it.


And it did-commencing with Brisas’ lovely grilled flat bread, a basket of which is delivered to every dining table.


Brother #3 ordered the shrimp pasta


and my sis-in-law fettucine carbonara. Both were well pleased.


Don chose the fresh grouper


and Victoria something that I cannot recall the name of. They too were very happy with their selections.



D and I have tasted frutti di mare pizza and linquine on a couple of sojourns to Italy and we often declare that Brisas Grill’s version is up there with the best of them. When we order the frutti di mare linquine, we choose their white version which is concocted of white wine, butter and a white stock. Often the stock is chicken and sometimes it is too salty but this is a comment catagorized as a wee complaint. We often order both the pizza and linquine and split them between us and as is often the case, we have plenty to take home for a left over lunch the next day.

Kath’s quote: “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” – W.C. Fields


Live simly, laugh often, love deeply.



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