Browsing: Restaurant Features

Little Maria’s Porcetta & Meatballs

October15

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You may be familiar with the term “a labour of love”. This is how I would describe Joe Pellegrino’s newest restaurant-Little Maria’s Porchetta & Meatballs at 77 Edmonton St.  My eldest daughter and I arrived early for dinner one evening and Joe was taking orders both at the counter and the tables all by himself.  Then he headed back to the kitchen, washed his hands and tied on his apron.  He delivered our steaming hot dishes himself but then was way too busy to emerge from the kitchen for us to tell him how delectable his authentic recipes tasted.

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Signature sauces are simmered a full eight hours and the porchetta (the “ch” is a hard sound like a “k”) is slow roasted in a variety of herbs. His patient culinary efforts pay off as the thinly sliced pork is dripping in its own juices and the slowly-simmered sauces are complex and robust in spite of their few ingredients.  There are less time-consuming methods that Joe could have chosen for his restaurant rendition of an Italian food/sandwich cart but patience is an important ingredient in these recipes.

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The “naked” porchetta (so stated on the menu) was garnished with garlic sautéed spinach alongside a casserolette of roasted vegetables in one of the above mentioned sauces and topped with a gooey mozzarella. My daughter tucked in with delight.

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I was undecided between the gnocchi special and an order of meatballs, so Joe suggested that I go with the gnocchi and he would place a sample meatball on top for me to taste.  Oh my, both were scrumptious.  The aromatic meatball was bursting with the taste of earthy herbs and the potato gnocchi were as light and fluffy as cumulus clouds on a fair summer day.

I asked Joe where he had honed his culinary skills. He sheepishly said “Oh, Naples, Montreal and a number of restaurants here in Winnipeg”.  The only one he named specifically was Mamma Mia’s which was my favourite Italian Restaurant on Corydon back when the area was Winnipeg’s version of Little Italy.

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The dining room is decorated in a funky, fun style with floor to ceiling windows along the west side. There are a few patio tables on the sidewalk for el fresco dining.  I recognized some of the tables and chairs from Pop Soda’s (another venture of this fine cook and restaurateur).

Little Maria's Porchetta & Meatballs on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The trouble with eating Italian food is that 5 or 6 days later you’re hungry again.”-George Miller

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Love-that is all.

 

Summertime at Promenade Cafe and Wine

October8

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The perfect way to start dinner at a St. Boniface restaurant is with a walk through The Forks,

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past the magnificent Canadian Human Rights Museum

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and over the Esplanade Riel Pedestrian Bridge.  Not only do you work up your appetite but you walk by some of the best views that Winnipeg has to offer.

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The view from our table.

This is how we started the evening of our visit to The Promenade Café & Wine.

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A toast with a fabulous Gewürztraminer.

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We were celebrating our eldest daughter’s birthday and she had never dined at the bistro before.

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D selected the French Canadian dish of Bison Tortiere which is so named because of the pan that it is made in. Tortiere is typically served as a festive Christmas dish and many Winnipeggers enjoy their own families’ version.  The healthy ground bison had a firm texture and the seasonings were deeply satisfying.  In contrast, the pie crust was light and flaky and the ladle of gravy that blanketed it, was a glistening enhancement.

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I chose the classic French Beef Bourguignon which I have never attempted the making of at home.  I do know though that the authentic recipe includes pearl onions and button mushrooms and this recipe was true to form.  The beef was tender and the gravy, luscious.  Both dishes were accompanied by simply steamed and buttered carrots and broccoli and the creamiest potatoes I have indulged in for a while.  The birthday girl chose one of the few un-French dishes on the menu: Gnocchi which was equally tantalizing.

The good news about walking out for dinner is that you have no vehicle and are forced to also stroll home.  This aids digestion and offsets the calorie indulgence.

Promenade Cafe and Wine on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:

“Boeuf a la Bourguignonne (Beef in the Burgundy style): This is the stew of stews, an apotheosis of stew, which has nothing whatsoever to do with the watery, stringy mixture served up in British institutions. It’s a rich, carefully cooked recipe which is served up on special occasions in French homes, and which appears without shame on the menus of high-class restaurants.”-Jane Grigson

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Love-that is all.

Prairie 360 for Lunch

October6

Being in the media procurement business means that I receive invitations to wonderful places for previews and grand openings.  CBWT was launching their upcoming schedule, so they assemble a group of clients and my fellow media buyers for lunch at Prairie 360.  I have had the pleasure of dining at the unique revolving restaurant on a previous occiassion but it was for dinner in the winter and because so much of what the restaurant is, is actually outside the windows of the restaurant, it was like a whole new location.

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Check out this view.

Because we were a large group and time was limited, we ordered from a limited menu.

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Next to me a friend choose the smoked salmon sandwich and across from me,

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a bison burger arrived.  Since I was with business acquaintances and I already felt sheepish about asking if I could take photos of their meals, I didn’t ask them for a taste.  Suffice it to say, that they were well pleased.

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Bowls of hand cut potato chips were served family style.  Holy moly, I could have devour the entire bowl…….

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I selected the rotini and since so much time has past since I enjoyed this meal, I can’t for the life of me, remember what it contained.  I can tell you this:  I have heard concerns that with Prairie 360’s kitchen on a separate floor than the dining room, the food does not always arrive  hot. On this day, the pasta was piping hot, in fact, I had to let it cool off for a bit, before I could tuck in.

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We moved to another floor for the official presentation of the day and coffee and dessert was set out for us to help ourselves.  The chocolate pate was dense, creamy and so amazing.

Prairie 360 on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “A friend is someone who sees through you and still enjoys the view.”-Wilma Askinas

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Love -that is all.

 

 

 

 

Santorini Restaurant

September11

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We are extremely fortunate within our immediate circle of family and friends to travel the world.  As I write this a close friend is in Greece.  Social media allows us to travel vicariously through photos and updates. Lo and behold after gazing at your pictures-I had a hankering for Greek cuisine!  By coincidence, my friend is on the island of Santorini and Winnipeg has its very own restaurant by the same name: Santorini 1839 Portage Ave. in Old St. James

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The moussaka was my choice (an obvious one if you are familiar with my addiction to eggplant).  This traditionally prepared dish was exactly as I remembered from my brief time on the Greek Islands where I first tasted the dish.  Theo and her husband Dimitrios’ version contains spiced beef rather than ground lamb.  The eggplant has been beautifully sautéed and the layers of it and potato are richly satisfying.  The crowning glory was the luscious béchamel sauce layer.  I could eat the beautifully browned custard on top of any casserole you could name.

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Spanakopita is another of my Greek favourites.  My lunch date and I detected a from-scratch phyllo pastry.  The spinach, feta, onion and egg stuffing made the triangular pastry bulge.  I guessed that it might have been seasoned with a tinge of oregano and a squeeze of lemon.

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A vegetable soup, Greek potatoes and salad accompanied both dishes and created great value.  My lunch date must have been extremely disappointed when she forgot her leftovers in my car.  The tidy and airy surroundings are comfortable and Theo who waits on the tables herself, could not possibly be more inviting.

A couple of notes: There is Wheelchair access but not to the washrooms. Cash only.

Santorini Restaurant & Catering on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “That fellow Béchameil has all the luck!  I was serving breast of chicken á la crème more than 20 years before he was born, but I have never had the chance of giving my name to even the most modest sauce.”     -Duke of Escars, 17th century

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Love-that is all.

Cibo Waterfront Café

September9

Not often do I write about a restaurant visit where I have dined solo but this was the case for my visit to Cibo Waterfront Café.  I had so wanted to check it out that I suggested it to a friend of mine for a lunch rendezvous.  Unfortunately, those plans had to be postponed and in the confusion, turned out not to be set up at all.  But I thought “what the heck”, I was already there (in fact I had driven in from our little beach house that morning) so I perused the menu and decided what I would not have been able to order had my friend been there.  She is not food allergic but avoids carbs and dairy.  I try to avoid highly processed carbs as well but couldn’t resist the bruschetta platters that I had seen coming out of the kitchen.

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There are seven different choices and you are permitted to choose three of them for a platter.  My selections were: Buffalo mozzarella, tomato & basil, sautéed mushrooms & goat cheese and grilled veggies & Trappist cheese. The baguette tasted as if it had been flame toasted, just how I like it.

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The three selections complemented and yet contrasted each other. I especially enjoyed the mozzarella one as the toast was pungent with garlic, rich and creamy mozzarella and the tomato and basil added a sparkling taste.

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The river side café is beautifully situated in the ever-developing Waterfront area.  What was formerly the James St. pumping station is now home to the restaurant with its soaring ceilings and exposed brick walls.  There is a comfortable patio with river views and a deck which provides additional vistas of the water.

I did not know the specific location of the café and so walked through the Waterfront Park to find it.  The stroll was beautiful and I can see why so many people are moving into the area.

Cibo Waterfront Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Fish is meant to tempt as well as nourish, and everything that lives in water is seductive.”-Jean-Paul Aron

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Love-that is all.

 

 

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