Browsing: Restaurant Features

Bernstein’s Delicatessen

April8

Sometimes the best things in life are right under your nose. Case in point: Bernstein’s Delicatessen has been at the end of my street for over twenty years and although I often walk through the little strip mall where it is located and see how full it is with happy diners, I rarely find the excuse to visit. But this day was different.

I truly had a difficult time making up my mind. I was interested in the Fried Chicken and Waffles but also did not want to miss out on their amazing hand-cut fries OR their potato latkes. Luckily, my lunch date was very accommodating, so I didn’t miss out on sampling anything.

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“Chicken & Waffles” is clarified on Bernstein’s menu in parenthesis as being “Fingers & Pancakes”. Since I love sweet and salty combinations, it was the perfect choice. The chicken was tasty and the pancakes acted as a sponge to soak up the blueberry compote AND the chipotle maple syrup! Every forkful was a complex combination of tastes.

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The big surprise came in the form of the Warm Corned Beef Sandwich. If you have never tasted house-made, hand sliced corned beef, you do not know what you are missing. Biting into the sandwich was an entirely different taste experience than the countless corned beef sandwiches I have eaten over the years. The texture of the meat was soft and tender and there was no unpleasant salty taste.  I struggle to find an accurate word; perhaps the one that I am searching for is: sublime.

Bonus upon bonus, I also got to pick at the perfect hand cut fries and the potato latkes with applesauce. Entering the attached store to pay my bill, I decided to pick up some homemade chicken noodle soup from the deli freezer, meaning that I was able to bask in Bernstein’s deliciousness on another day.

Bernstein's Deli on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The corned beef is exquisitely done, and as tender as a young lady’s heart, all owing to my skilful cookery; for I consulted Mrs. Hale (Sarah Hale’s cookbook) at every step, and precisely followed her directions. To say the truth, I look upon it as such a masterpiece in its way, that it seems irreverential to eat it. Things on which so much thought and labor are bestowed should surely be immortal…..”- Nathaniel Hawthorne (1844), fending for himself while his wife was away.

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Spring has Sprung at Earl’s Kitchen + Bar

April7

Invitations to Earl’s Kitchen + Bar for their regular Menu Tastings are coveted in foodie and blogger circles. Earl’s Chef Collective has assembled a team of award-winning artists so we knew that we were in for an amazing food evening. Cate, Matt, Woody and their local Earl’s team are the perfect hosts; providing tasting notes, photo files and ensuring that your glass is never empty. As a foodie on assignment, this allows you to bask in the ambience and really savour the offerings.

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First up were Tuna Tostadas-smooth and crunchy, fiery and cool, all delivered in a few bites. A platter of these along with Earl’s well-crafted cocktails will jam their already popular patios this summer.

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My favourite of “Cocktail Craftsman” Cameron Bogue was the grapefruit based Paloma.

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Bee’s Knees and Amaretto Sours were also delivered to an enthusiastic assembly.

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Our own Chopped Salad which we stuff into Sabih (a common street-food in Israel).

Having travelled to Jerusalem and eaten many Chopped (also dubbed Israeli or Arab Salad), I was thrilled that Fattoush Salad had found its way to a local menu.

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When Arabs add left over pita to a grilled vegetable salad, (and Earl’s Chef Brian Skinner adds pita chip croutons), it is transformed into Fattoush. In the holy city, each cook, each family, each community has their own variation. Earl’s version definitely ranks as high as the ones that we have made at home and I recall from the amazing journey that I once took.

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Chermoula is a marinade for fish and is the foundation of many Moraccan fish dishes. In this case, Earl’s Chef Hamid Salimian started with Ocean Wise Salmon and fused it with smoked paprika oil, pearl onions and spring peas.

Although not pictured here, the Spring Creek Ranch beef sampling was the highlight of an already delicious evening. We discussed around our end of the table, that we could taste how much the cattle were loved by the Spring Creek Ranchers. Perfectly cut, perfectly aged and perfectly prepared, the medium rare cuts were rich and tender and almost nutty in taste. A number of us treated ourselves to a nibble of the fat cap and oh my, it tasted as if we had come upon a sweet and exotic oil.

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Having only recently tried Bibimbap (pictured above) for the first time, at an authentic Korean restaurant in our neighbourhood, I waited all through the menu sampling to do so again.

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Earl’s Chef Dave Wong poached the egg in his version, as we North American’s are needlessly squeamish about raw food. The essence of the dish, is the contrast between the crunchy rice that has been made so by the special heated bowl that it is served in, the crunchy vegetables and the silky egg that cooks further when stirred around with the hot rice.

Berry Shortcake

A new Earl’s burger was also sampled but by this time, we were crying “Uncle” and the parade of expert food items from Earl’s kitchen was drawing to a close, but not before, the essence of spring came along- A Berry Shortcake.

Korean, Middle Eastern fare and exceptional burgers and steaks can be found at many excellent local restaurants in Winnipeg.  A visit to Earl’s Kitchen + Bar ensures that a group with eclectic tastes can find them all under one roof or under an expansive umbrella, if you will. Herald the spring with a trip to Earl’s and enjoy exceptional crafted tastes from around the world at substantially less cost than a ticket overseas.

Earls Kitchen + Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”-Francois Minot

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

 

 

 

Decadent Lunch at The Keg Steakhouse +Bar

March30

In the same manner that some of you (including my D) may have a sweet tooth, I have a rich savoury tooth. I crave foods like creamy cheese, seafood and grilled meats. This makes my regular sojourns to The Keg for lunch,  bit of a challenge. Not that they do not have items that foot the bill on their lunch menu. Au contrare, they have too many for me to a timely decision!

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On this particular day my lunch mates made savoury choices too: one selecting an appetizer for his lunch of bacon-wrapped scallops and the other, a half of a prime rib sandwich with a cup of the soup of the day. They were settled in to enjoy their satisfying lunches, while I tucked into mine.

 

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What could be more decadent than Lobster Mac and cheese? The casserole arrived still bubbling from the oven. I moved the succulent lobster pieces aside to save them for my last bites while I took mini tastes (to make the treat last that much longer) of the perfectly prepared pasta, bechamel sauce and sharp cheddar cheese. The lobster held its own against the other rich ingredients and I was perfectly satisfied. Well, almost. I had been thinking that a little drizzle of truffle oil that reminded of a chef’s special I had tasted at The Keg some months before, would have been the perfect savoury taste. See? I am obsessed!

Lunch this day, reflected my day to day philosophy. Life’s short, eat a rich casserole first.

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we diet.” -author unknown

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Eddy’s Place

March27

A friend, who is a long time and proud North End resident, once told me about a pool hall with food so delectable that Winnipeg businessmen would hold their breakfast meetings in the booths set along one wall of the hall. If they managed to snag the perfect table, they could keep a watchful eye on their Mercedes or BMW parked in the lot across Selkirk Ave. Perhaps this custom has changed because today’s regular clientele, appear to have long retired from the life of commerce.

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It was my very first visit to Eddy’s Place, 669 Selkirk Ave., so I needed some time to take in my surroundings of orange acrylic tables, patterned carpets, wood walls, moose antlers and a beer-can fishing rod, before I could peruse the extensive menu.  I very much wanted to sample the Kubby and Perogies but my lunch date was hesitant, indicating that few restaurants can prepare them as carefully as they are served in Winnipeg homes. She shared her secret, that they should first be boiled and set aside (my Mom would drizzle melted butter in between the layers ) and then be pan-fried just before eating, with a smidgeon of water in the pan to keep the dough tender and moist.

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Eddy’s perogies came very close, but perhaps could have benefitted from the “secret” ingredient. Our server indicated that they are made especially for the restaurant by a local lady. The accompanying sautéed onions were lovely. The specifics of the cheese when mixed with the potato stuffing were difficult to determine, I am not sure what “North End perogy making experts” use, but my Mom swore by the inclusion of Velveeta cheese.

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The generous cuts of kielbasa were fried on the grill and were fine enough. I prefer the course (chunky) variety that you can source from the many amazing butcher shops that still dot the city. A “ring” of the delicacy ensures a natural casing, whereby we detected that this offering was from a coil.  No wonder, as the best kielbasa rings are a very dear price.

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The hand cut fries that accompanied the Rueben that we were also sharing, were delicious on their own and elevated with the grated marble cheese and homemade chili that was the feature on this day. The Rueben was sensational including a smear of mustard in addition to the traditional ingredients.  I teased the waitress by stating that the best Rueben in the city is still found at Luda, knowing that there has been a long-standing history between the two restaurants.

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If you plan on visiting over the summer, note that they are closed Saturdays from May Long until Labour Day.

Eddy's Place on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Square meals, not adventurous ones, are what you should seek.”-Bryan Miller (NY Times Restaurant Critic)
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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Cafe Turko, Freemount, Seattle

March26

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Not surprisingly, we being foodies typically surround ourselves with like minded friends. Our circles are not posh food snobs but people who appreciate quality food at an affordable price. Our tastes don’t surround foie gras and truffle oil but new and sparkling tastes in a comfortable environment. Many of our adult friends are willing to take food explorations with us but few include their four children in the process. We knew a couple of attributes about the amazing children of our wonderful friends Rebecca and Orion. For example, on the day that their only daughter was baptised, we as her newly instated Godparents were invited to lunch with them. The quirky Falafel Place in Winnipeg was selected where the Ifland brood supped upon baba gnoush, hummus and falafel. On this day, we stayed in the realm of Middle Eastern dining when we arrived at Café Turko in Freemont.

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I was enraptured by the splendid colours of the décor and the crafts imported from Turkey.  The locale was originally a Turkish rug shop and a few remained on display along with pashminas, lanterns, pottery and jewelry. I would have loved to have purchased a number of gorgeous little ceramic bowls but knew that my air journey wouldn’t necessarily accommodate my passion for little bowls.

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Consistent with the lavish colours of the shop was the food itself. I had been struck by the colourful spices even before I had walked in the door and then more so once inside.

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D started with a Turkish coffee.

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Warm pita and rainbow hummus started us all off including the enthusiastic kids. I would have liked to believe that the hummus was made of rainbows but in fact it was a quartet of beet, yam, spinach and traditional hummus. We were struck with our adventurous foodie back home, the Wee One who loves hummus and plain Balkan yoghurt so much that she has concocted her own words to request “hummy” and dodurt”.

Each of the kids had their own favourite, our Goddaughter the beet one because she loves everything pink! I found her a card in her neighbourhood which I purchased for her declaring”Yes I even dream in pink”. The 2nd eldest son focused in on the spinach, which prompted this Mom to recount the story of Popeye and the eldest, the yam.  Or perhaps not, the eldest is simply the most laid back, accommodating child that we have ever come to love.  I might just have imagined that he loved the yam just because it was the one left.

Two Doner Kebap Pockets were ordered. The homemade tomato sauce, grilled eggplant and yoghurt sauce and crumbled feta cheese were appreciated by both D and Rebecca.

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Orion recommended that I try the same dish as him-the Ali Nazik. Spicy chicken was char-grilled and then served upon the same grilled eggplant and yoghurt sauce along with Turkish rice pilaf enhanced with chickpeas and fascinating Turkish spices.

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“Ali Nazik” means “made with gentle hands”.

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Chef Sureyya is at the helm of the exposed kitchen so it must have been her gentle hands that made our dishes so memorable.

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Rebecca purchased a to go treat of Sureyya’s “No Guilt” Baklawa stuffed with walnuts and pistachios and Kataif with Turkish Pistachios. We had these as a late afternoon snack with the family. What a wonderful day.

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Cafe Turko on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote (found while searching for quotations about Turkish food): “How to thaw a frozen turkey: “Blow in it’s ear.”-Johnny Carson

Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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