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Brunch at the Hotel Fort Garry


As our busy family was growing up, D and I took regular time away which we called our “marriage” time. Sometimes it would be for a week away to somewhere warm, other times a weekend in Toronto or Minneapolis but more often than not, it was for an overnight at a Winnipeg hotel. I think that this is a great way to do two things: strengthen your marriage (at 31 years, ours is stronger than ever) AND get a chance to see your home-town with the eyes of a visitor.


D was recently asked to be the master of ceremonies for his company’s holiday event which took place at the Winnipeg landmark Hotel Fort Garry.

D had to be at the hotel for a dress rehearsal and so we were able to check in early. While he was busy, I ordered a pot of freshly brewed coffee from room-service. The hotel doesn’t provide the typical little coffee pots in the room and so the solution for coffee lovers is to provide a complimentary pot delivered to your door. On the tray were a couple of individually wrapped biscotti. A lovely treat.

I also grabbed my camera and walked through the hotel. It may sound strange, but it is just what a tourist might do and remember I was a tourist, if only for a day.



I love the little mezzanines in the hotel that give you a birds-eye view of the rooms below.



On the seventh floor, is this exquisite salon where I cozied in to have a little read.


That evening, the hotel put on an amazing dinner for all of the corporate guests. They carved turkey, beef and pork loin which were hot, moist and tender but the real highlight were the vegetables and accompaniments: wild rice, roasted potatoes, whole roasted carrots, brussel sprouts, green beans and spaghetti squash in a mornay sauce. One person seated at our table went up for more of the latter while everyone else moved onto to dessert.


When I made arrangements for that early check in, there was a prompt on the hotel’s answering machine for Brunch reservations. We had heard that the famous brunch that the hotel prepared every Sunday was no longer, but for a moment we held onto the hope that it had not been retired. Sure enough, the sweeping and grand buffet was no longer available but we were offered a special price on the abbreviated Brunch that they served each morning in their breakfast room.


We were shown a table by a lovely deep-silled window and made our way to the omelette station.


Mine was chock full of seafood, asparagus, kale and cheese and I could not have been more content. When the server sees you sit down with your plate she orders up hot toast made from their on-premise artisan bakery. Truth is, we didn’t miss a single item that was once served from their enormous grand buffet costing considerably more than their modestly priced brunch.


Now that’s how you offer up fruit preserves with a breakfast!

The hotel does this and so many little things so cleverly: providing high end shampoo etc. in large dispensers affixed to the walls of the bath and shower, the coffee mentioned above and a trio of gourmet jams and marmalade. Not only does this save the hotel money, it reduces packaging and trash and the highest quality products are provided to the guest. And I wouldn’t have known any of this, had I not been a tourist in my own city.

Kath’s quote: “A simple enough pleasure, surely, to have breakfast alone with one’s husband, but how seldom married people in the midst of life achieve it.”-
Anne Spencer Morrow Lindbergh

TSR Watermark - 5606

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.








I batted two for two on my recent trip to Regina; sitting down both evenings with the creators of the food that I had the pleasure of sampling. At his restaurant Flip, Chef Dave Straub (recent silver medal winner in the gold plate competition), pulled up a chair with his beer to discuss the details of his winning creation and share his passion for prairie food.

Chef Dave is the real deal. Farm to table is not just a passing movement, but Dave’s life. A farm boy from Pense, SK just west of Regina, he was baptised in the hospitality business by washing dishes at Danbury’s. Ironically the building just across the street that once housed Danbury’s is now home to Crave and the Chef that squeezed Dave out of his gold plate was none other than Crave’s Jonathan Thauberger.

In between, he attended culinary school and did his own research at a number of iconic restaurants including Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park in NYC, rated the fifth best restaurant in the world! Hearing him recount that visit, his face took on the appearance of a fan that had caught the puck that was shot by his favourite player to win the Stanley Cup.

But, to the food….


Our attentive server did such a delicious job of describing the evening’s special that it was ordered before we could blink: a nibble of silky pasta topped with shrimp and pancetta, luxuriating in a tomato butter sauce and crowned with a gently poached egg and fennel pollen . What a fabulous start.


I was ready to go exotic but when I spied perogies and sausage on the “Comfort” section of the menu, I could not resist. Flip’s premise made sausage had a little bit a heat and worked beautifully with potato & aged cheddar packets. Caraway beets and mustard chive creme fraiche, sealed the deal.


The short rib plate was selected by one of our guests, but we all had tastes. You know that you are with good friends, when no one is shy about passing their plate around to share the bounty. The ribs were first braised and then slowly roasted to create a fall-off-the-bone taste sensation. Perfect for a meat and potato lover, it came with cheddar mashed potatoes and an arugula salad.


A brick-roasted chicken looks pretty pedestrian in this shot. Believe me, it was anything but! We had just returned from Tuscany the week prior and Italian families, especially in Tuscany, have been cooking what they call “pollo al mattone” for centuries. From my own research, there are a couple of secrets to this cooking style: 1) you have to ensure that the half chicken is lying as flat as possible in the bottom of your skillet 2) the best fry pan to use is a well-seasoned cast iron one 3) wrap a couple of heavy terra-cotta bricks in aluminum foil and place directly on the chicken. The trick here is weighting the chicken so that the skin makes contact with the hot pan and it cooks evenly. Perfectly executed.

I would drive to Regina just for another taste of this dish!

D LOVES seared scallops and orders them every chance he gets. As soon as I spied them on the menu, I knew immediately that they would be his choice. The crispy pork belly and lapsha noodles in a vanilla saffron sauce was the delicious icing on the “cake”.

I have no recall of the name of this chocolate feature but it was an ode to campfire s’mores and we made short work of it.

I feel very badly that even though we moved our dishes under the best lighting in the café, my photos are so lacking compared to the real experience. My niece once shared that a dish was “groan worthy” and that is the only descriptive that adequately describes Chef Dave’s dishes: groan worthy and we did, groan that is.

Flip Eatery & Drink Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kath’s quote: “Enchant, stay beautiful and graceful, but do this, eat well. Bring the same consideration to the preparation of your food as you devote to your appearance. Let your dinner be a poem, like your dress.” –Charles Pierre Monselet, French author (1825-1888)


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.




Fenix Isla Mujeres



Fenix is a place on Isla Mujeres that I had watched with interest on message boards when it opened and then garnered its fair share of fans. Until this past spring, I had never visited. In fact, I didn’t even know where it was. When we met friends from Puerto Moreles who came over by ferry to spend an afternon with us, we walked along Playa Sol and then rounded the corner to Play Norte. When I thought that we were almost out of beach (and a place to share some lunch), there it was. We immediately ordered a round of cold ones and a couple of small plates to share. Since there were four of us and only three of these tempura shrimp with curry dip, we ordered a second plate and each had 1 1/2 skews. Delish.


The goat cheese stuffed chilies on crostini hit the spot especially with the pesto drizzle that circled the plate.


These were not the best Patata Bravas I had ever tasted (that honour goes to Segovia in Winnipeg) but they were tasty enough.


The ceviche of the day was this lovely green one; the result of tossing the veggies and seafood in pesto.

Service was fairly prompt and the banos clean and well stocked, even though they were quite a distance from where we were seated. We could have done without the afternoon’s entertainment of live music as we were trying to get to know our guests a bit better but the music did add to the atmosphere.

Overall a very pleasant experience.

Kath’s quote: “It is a curious thing, but as one travels the world getting older and older, it appears that happiness is easier to get used to than despair. The second time you have a root beer float, for instance, your happiness at sipping the delicious concoction may not be quite as enormous as when you first had a root beer float, and the twelfth time your happiness may be still less enormous, until root beer floats begin to offer you very little happiness at all, because you have become used to the taste of vanilla ice cream and root beer mixed together. However, the second time you find a thumbtack in your root beer float, your despair is much greater than the first time, when you dismissed the thumbtack as a freak accident rather than part of the scheme of a soda jerk, a phrase which here means “ice cream shop employee who is trying to injure your tongue,” and by the twelfth time you find a thumbtack, your despair is even greater still, until you can hardly utter the phrase “root beer float” without bursting into tears. It is almost as if happiness is an acquired taste, like coconut cordial or ceviche, to which you can eventually become accustomed, but despair is something surprising each time you encounter it.” ― Lemony Snicket


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

White Rock Cafe


I often describe restaurants as “quaint,” but in the case of the White Rock Cafe I would add that the neighbourhood gathering place is “authentically” quaint.

China cups were hung on display along with side plates and saucers. The decor is a bit tired but the full house of contented diners did not seem to mind in the least.

My server was quaint as well, with an unpretentious manner. I asked whether I should select the reuben or clubhouse, and he said “That depends on whether or not you were planning on eating supper!”

As I waited for owner/operator Jacquie Fuller, to prepare my meal, I read this sign on the wall: “We are a small family-owned restaurant with a small grill area and a usually ‘frazzled cook’ so your patience is appreciated. Open most days about 8:30 a.m. Occasionally as early as 8. But somedays as late as 9 or 9:30. We close about 7:30 or 8 p.m. Occasionally about 4 or 5 but sometimes as late as 11 or 12. Some days or afternoons, we aren’t here at all and lately we’ve been here just ’bout all the time. Except when we’re somewhere else. But we’re sure to be here then, too.”

Jacquie took some time away from the kitchen to come and chat with me about her 20-year old venture. She mentioned all the students from nearby Kildonan East Collegiate who used to come in for lunch of fries and gravy and returned as adults to visit her again. Her from-scratch cooking is the reason for her loyal customers. She mentioned that there was a pork roast in the oven for evening guests and I know for certain that the turkey in the White Rock clubhouse was freshly cut from the carcass. The sandwich was also served with ham and cheese. I happen to be a clubhouse purist and prefer “old school” ingredients of crispy bacon, turkey (or chicken), lettuce and tomato, period.

The fries were absolute perfection.

White Rock Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sorry folks, my photo disc was damaged and I cannot retrieve my photos of the White Rock.

Kath’s quote: “Home is a place you grow up wanting to leave, and grow old wanting to get back to.”-John Ed


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Mango Cafe Isla Mujeres


We have gotten to know a couple of Isla Mujeres’ restaurant owner/operators particularly well over the years. Fredy, Sergio, Ziggy and Polo all contribute to the Isla Mujeres culinary scene in their own distinctive ways.



Recently when scooting through the Colonias in a golf cart, Polo of Mango Cafe was driving by and waved us down. This is his wife and beautiful baby.

The menu at Mango Café is inventive and Polo’s dishes are exquisitely crafted. Each plate comes out of his kitchen looking like it was professionally styled. His take on traditional fare elevates each offering to the extent that none of us can stay away. We always pay Mango Café a visit during our time on Isla Mujeres, sometimes more than once.

Dinners are definitely memorable but it is Polo’s breakfasts that we particularly love.


On our most recent visit, Don had the stuffed poblano chili. When I first tasted this dish on Isla, I couldn’t believe that I had ever thought of stuffing eggs into a chili before, especially in the land of chilies relleno.


D loved the breakfast quesadillas. Look how pretty this plate was?


Victoria could not resist ordering Polo’s French Toast; a dish that our entire family loves.


In fact, last year just before they left the island, they packed in for one last feed.


I adored the Eggs Benedict with curried hollandaise, crispy bacon, mushrooms, chia (like spinach) & cheesy potatoes. “Heaven, I’m in heaven…..”

Kath’s quote: “We did not immediately come up with béarnaise, Bercy, and poivrade sauces. It took more than a single attempt to discover reduced cream, marinade, and forcemeat. We did not straightaway invent barding fat, the touch of garlic, and the thin slice of truffle under the skin…. While genius is spontaneous, its manifestations nevertheless require the passage of time before glorious perfection is achieved. This is particularly true in the area of food and drink…. Magical dishes, magical words: a great cook is, when all is said and done, a great poet. . . . For was it not a visit from the Muses that inspired the person who first had the idea of marrying rice and chicken, grape and thrush, potatoes and entrecôte, Parmesan and pasta, aubergine and tomato, Chambertin and cockerel, liqueur brandy and woodcock, onion and tripe?”-‘Cinquante Ans a Table’

TSR Watermark - 2756

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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