Browsing: Restaurant Features

“Winter Bites’ in Kenora by guest bloggers J1 and J2

February23

Kenora has a special place in my heart. Since the year I was born, Lake of the Woods has been our family’s mandatory vacation destination with the use of a generous friend’s cabin 20 minutes from the heart of Kenora. I have to admit the only culinary experience that I have ever enjoyed in town is ‘Ye Old Chip Truck’. Those perfectly cooked fries drenched in malt vinegar and salt were always a highlight of the summer.

Last week we were honored to take part in Kenora’s culinary event – ‘Winter Bites’. Nine local restaurants participated offering lunch and/or dinner menu items for a set price of $10 (lunch) or $25 (dinner) for the month of February.

Our first stop was Nourish Cafe, Shop and Yoga Studio. The atmosphere was quaint and the food – fresh. We chose the cranberry pecan chicken salad sandwich on dark russian rye bread. It reminded us of summer treat that we could eat down by the beach and the flavors complimented each other perfectly. The yoga studio upstairs seemed to be well used as we witnessed patrons entering and exiting their classes while we enjoyed our meal in the sunshine.

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Nourish on Urbanspoon

Our second morning in town we decided to have our breakfast at our hotel – Lakeside Inn & Conference Centre. Our stay at the Inn was an absolute pleasure. The staff was friendly and helpful, but the lake view from our room was spectacular, especially during sunset. We both ordered the breakfast sandwich as we knew we had a lot of eating left to do in the day and didn’t want to stuff ourselves prematurely. The use of a biscuit instead of a bun or english muffin took the sandwich a cut above the rest. It was simple and delicious – the perfect choice.

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Waterside Restaurant - Best Western on Urbanspoon

Next up was Uptown Restaurant. This place is an old favorite that has recently reopened. These were probably the most picturesque meals we enjoyed on our trip, but the flavors did not disappoint either. The perogies were creamy and perfectly balanced with a crunchy bacon garnish. The pancake platter was topped with scratch-made strawberry sauce, bananas, chocolate chips, whip cream and maple syrup. It was a guilty pleasure in which we were happy to indulge. A must-stop for breakfast in Kenora.

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Kath’s quote: “Grandpa used to like gravy on everything, including his pancakes. If love could be eaten, I’ll bet he’d prefer it with gravy on top. And I’d have to agree. Love would taste better with gravy.” ― Jarod Kintz

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

Steak, Steak, Steak at The Keg Steakhouse & Bar

February20

Sister #3 and I had a date to go out for a sisters Valentine’s weekend dinner. In the mean time, Boo and the Frenchman were staying at our place and she had to work an overnight shift and would be away at supper time. The Frenchman needed cheering up, so we invited him to join us for dinner. We arrived early because I wanted to get home in time for a 7 pm Jets game. Since it was the Louis Riel holiday the St. James location was very busy with families celebrating the gift of an extra long weekend.

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New to the Keg’s menu was a crispy shrimp appetizer that we ordered to share. Typically “crispy” means battered and deep fried but these were lightly seasoned and perfectly cooked.  They provided a nice nibble while we perused the menu.  Winter Grill is an annual Keg feature that highlights some unique beef cuts and recipes that deliver hearty and satisfying dinners.

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The Frenchman chose from this menu and was delighted when his Kansas City Strip was set in front of him. He obliged me with a taste and it was the most flavourful steak I have tasted in a very long time.  Not only was the meat itself beautifully marbled and thereby packed with meaty juices but the seasonings were bang on. He enjoyed the 18 oz. cut with a big ole baked potato with the “works”, that is Keg jargon for butter, sour cream, bacon bits and chives. A Keg potato is one of the many Keg cravings that I often have. I can’t count how many I’ve eaten over the years and they have never changed. But why fix what ain’t broken?

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The spud was also calling the name of Sister #3 who ordered hers with a side of prime rib. Although the Keg roasts their prime rib to medium rare, it was early in the evening so she asked our server to deliver the rarest cut that the broiler chefs could manage. She too promised me a bite but was so enraptured with her hearty meal that she must of forgotten her pledge.

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I am just kidding as I could have easily reminded her, had I the urge, but I was too content with the grilled sirloin salad that I ordered. Beautiful slices of medium rare steak were perched upon a salad of my favourites of mixed greens, bocconcini cheese, pine nuts and an herb vinaigrette.

We all enjoyed our ice-cold Moosehead drafts amidst the bustle of the evening. A cozy fire made the room glow and we were hard-pressed to set back out into the cold and snow.

The Keg Steakhouse + Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The only time to eat diet food is while you are waiting for the steak to cook.”-Julia Child

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Kudara Korean & Japanese Restaurant

February13

Korean cuisine is not familiar to me, so I had to ask an expert to join me when I dined at Kudara Korean & Japanese Restaurant. Sister #3 hosts international students in her home including those from South Korea and is a food expert in her own right.

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She introduced me to Kyung Jae Lee, the gregarious owner of the four table spot.

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The beautiful red walls and brightly coloured photos adorning the walls are as a warm and spritely as the proprietor.

“KJ” arrived in Canada in 1997 and purchased this location two and a half years ago. She and her husband prepare authentic Korean and sushi together.

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We appreciated the miso soup to start, as it was a frigid winter day when we dined.

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Soon after, a hot stone bowl arrived at the table heaped with steamed rice, stir fried veggies, marinated beef and a glistening egg yolk. The dish is dubbed Bibim Bap. Had my expert not been with me, I would not have known that the contents of the bowl are meant to be stirred up immediately so that the egg adheres to the other ingredients and gets cooked from the heat radiating from the bowl. The rice that was at the bottom of the basin stayed there the longest and became crunchy to the tooth. As a result, the complex flavours included sweet, savoury, tangy and salty and the textures ranged from silky to crispy. With the taste of one dish, I was hooked on Korean food!

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As an intermission between our two Korean dishes, came a sushi duo of Yammy Yammy which is my sister’s all time favourite sushi roll

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and a selection appropriately called the Academy Roll named by one the restaurant’s regular customers. Originally concocted by KJ’s son it contains avocado, crab, salmon and pink roe. The roll is then crispy fried and adorned with a drizzling of sweet chili and mustard sauces.

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Last but not least, was the arrival of Dak Galbi-spicy marinated dark chicken meat, cabbage, onions, and carrot threads sizzling on a wrought iron platter. One taste and you too may become a fan of Korean food. My sister predicts it is the new ethnic cuisine trend.

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Kudara Sushi on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “I love food, all types of food. I love Korean food, Japanese, Italian, French. In Australia, we don’t have a distinctive Australian food, so we have food from everywhere all around the world.”- Hugh Jackman

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

 

Opportunities and RAW:almond

February12

by guest blogger Lori Dyck

When was the last time you were given an opportunity?

Ok.

When was the last time you took an opportunity.

See, if you wait for them.. they may never come. Today I took one and I’m so glad I did.

I wanted so badly to go to RAW:almond restaurant this winter.  When a friend tried to book us in for dinner this year and told me that it was sold out I was incredibly disappointed. RAW:almond, a unique winter dining experience on the river at the Forks in Winnipeg is only open for a short time… and it’s tough to get in. A few weeks ago I received an email invitation from Sara Comrie who organizes an informal group I belong to called the Media Mavens. I hadn’t attended a Media Mavens get together in some time due to family commitments, but when I saw the subject line from Sara that said “Register now for an exclusive RAW:almond lunch on the river!”, I said, “I’m in!”.

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I didn’t know the guest speaker Susan Krepart before walking into the luncheon. I’m now so glad I’ve heard her story. She talked about exactly what brought me to the luncheon in the first place. Seizing opportunity. Susan was the woman who single-handedly organized the Magnus Hay Formula Drive when she heard that Winnipeg Harvest didn’t have enough for their Hunger for Hope program last Christmas. And by organized I mean, she drove all over the city picking up donations and stored them in her dining room. Oh THAT Susan! Of course I had heard of her! She’s a Manitoba Hero, after all!

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Susan’s message resonated with me.

“We often think and feel a lot and don’t do anything about it.”

We don’t have the time, we don’t have extra money to give, right? But when it comes down to it, like Susan said:

“Babies going hungry in Winnipeg is unacceptable.”

For the occasional formula I gave my own babies, I know how expensive it is! Many Winnipeg families depend on Winnipeg Harvest’s Hunger for Hope program to feed their babies and for many, formula is the only option. Susan undoubtedly inspired every single person that attended the luncheon today, which was organized by the Women in Communications and Technology (WCT).

RAW:almond was actually the perfect setting for today’s event. Not only because the food is amazing but because of what the restaurant is about. Chef Mandel Hitzer, co-creator of the pop-up restaurant explained to our group why he started this concept in the first place: to bring people together, to share food and stories. Mission accomplished, I’d say.

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Media Maven co-ordinator Sara Comrie with RAW: almond creator and chef Mandel Hitzer

Oh, and the food! You can’t go to RAW:almond and not brag about the food you just ate! Our lunch was served family-style along the wood-topped table runner. Plates of roasted beets, parsnips, radishes topped with a yogurt dressing and fresh dill, arugula salad with asparagus and bulgur, and deliciously seasoned skin-on chicken topped with baked fries. So good. Glad I took this opportunity to have lunch with these women today, to check out this fabulous Winnipeg restaurant and to hear Susan’s story. I left full and inspired.

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Roadhouse Eatery Headingley

February9

My lunch date on this day, lives is the west Winnipeg neighbourhood of Assiniboia and even though there would have been lots of great restaurants to choose from in her community, I suggested that we turn west on Portage Ave and head to Headingley (no pun intended). Within moments, we were settled in at the Roardhouse Eatery. A roadhouse is typically built on a major highway or trunk road to serve travelers to or through the area. With the Roadhouse Eatery being right smack on the Trans-Canada Highway, it is appropriately named.

Our pick of table included beautiful antique looking farm chairs. Right off the bat I had a hunch that we would be enjoying stick- to- your- ribs fare.  The extensive menu includes soups, salads, sandwiches, chicken, burgers and fish & chips, but also pasta, pickerel and the biggest surprise of all-Indian dishes.

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When faced with the decision of what to sample, we opted to share the Wild Berry Salad, Butter Chicken and homemade fries. My friend who hails from England indicated that Brits often order some fries along with the rice that would accompany a curried dish. If she were back home, it would be dubbed “half and half”.

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Always my first taste, the fries were great and piping hot, but had perhaps not been double-fried the way I enjoy them best.   The Wild Berry Salad was not able to live up to its name since it is not wild berry season in the middle of winter. The salad lacked the declared strawberries, raspberry and pecans but the grapes, oranges, apples and frozen blueberries were still tasty enough.

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The star of the show was the Butter Chicken served with buttery Naan bread and Pilau rice made from basmati, peas, carrots and orange zest.  Hearty pieces of both light and dark meat had been prepared in a spicy tomato sauce. This version was shy on the yoghurt that I include in my own recipe but was deeply satisfying when ladled over the delicate rice. Was it the best Butter Chicken I had ever tasted? Perhaps not, but it was the best Butter Chicken I had ever eaten at a Roadhouse!

Roadhouse Eatery on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “There is nothing yet which has been contrived by man by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern.” –Samuel Johnson

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Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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