Browsing: Restaurant Features

Guest Blogger: Sister #3- Amici at the Niakwa

August15

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Each year I attend a dinner at the Niakwa Country Club as part of the Pink Ribbon Ladies Golf Classic for Hope.  This event is a major fundraiser that supports the work I do at CancerCare Manitoba Breast Cancer Centre of Hope.  I never golf in the event, even if I was good enough to golf in it (which I am not) I would not be able to get a spot as it sells out each year to repeat supporters.  I do however enjoy joining the ladies as they get off the links and sit down to an evening of good food and great conversation.  In the past the food has been very good, so last year when I heard that Amici had taken over the food service I was very excited.  I have to say I was terribly disappointed.  So much so that I didn’t bother blogging about it. Like mom says, if you don’t have anything nice to say….. I am happy to report that Amici has worked out the kinks and the food this year was lovely.

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The banquet room is always packed with tables adorned in shades of pink. This year’s theme was “Angels Walking in our Shoes”. The shoe motif was everywhere, from our napkin rings to the centerpieces and even our dessert. The angel theme was reflected in the set of white feather wings on the back of our chairs.  We were all encouraged to take our wings home with us, just in case we want to pretend to be Victoria Secret runway models I suppose.  The décor is always beautiful and the planning committee so creative with amazing attention to detail.

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Our meal started with the Mista salad, AKA Amici’s house salad, one of my favourites.  Tender butter lettuce with house dressing and toasted pine nuts – simple and classic.

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Our main was once again Chicken Wellington, which I guess is a safe choice when feeding a room full of women.  The chicken breast was stuffed with mushroom duxelle; a paste of mushrooms, onions, shallots and herbs, wrapped in puff pastry. I was impressed that the puff was still crisp and not made soggy by being topped with an herb jus. It was served with wild rice and mixed vegetables.

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The dessert this year was these delightful Stiletto cupcakes courtesy of the Cupcake Corner.

Congratulation to the committee for another wildly successful event!

Amici at Niakwa on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “When one has tasted watermelon he knows what the angels eat.”-Mark Twain

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Love-that is all.

Guest Blogger: Sister #3-Sushi California

August14

My friend and I arrived early for our lunch date with our former pastor who is now living and working in England and was home for short stay.  When I had asked him where he would like to meet us for lunch there was no hesitation, Sushi California. Turns out our friend was a Sushi California regular when he lived in our fair city.

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We were already seated when he arrived. When he entered you would have thought the owner was welcoming home a long lost relative.  We were immediately moved to a larger table closer to the action. After we placed our order, three beautiful bowls of sweet, chilled cucumber soup arrived at our table.  Topped with red pepper and tiny, tender scallops, this item is not on the menu but supplied as a special treat in honour of our friend’s visit.

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Next came our miso soup which was hot and tasty, accompanied by three precious fish appetizers in sauce.

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Our bento boxes; California roll for me and yam rolls for the gentlemen, where the next to arrive.  I love a bento box.  There is something about the lacquered compartments that really appeal to me.  I’m not sure if it harkens childhood memories of cafeteria trays or just pleases my slightly obsessive sense of order. Besides our rolls the boxes contained perfectly cooked edamame, crisp green salad, cold rice noodle salad and two tempura dipped fried gyoza.  Perfection!

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The owner then sent over dessert, a darling ice cream sandwich shaped like a Koi – gold fish; the Japanese symbol of perseverance. A trait we needed in order to finish it all. Like most of Winnipeg’s Sushi restaurants owners this family has come from Korea. They are very hospitable and really value their regular customers. So I thought I should look up the meaning of the Koi symbol in Korean culture.  Turns out it symbolizes self-discipline, not a trait that is easy to exhibit with all the delicious options at Sushi California.

Sushi California on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Serve soup. Believe it is chocolate.” -Stephane Grappelli, (gypsy violinist)

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Love-that is all.

Fitzroy

August9

The south Sherbrook area of the Wolseley neighbourhood  is enjoying a lovely boom recently, with the opening of new living and dining spaces.  As my daughter-in-law and I took a short cut alongside the outdoor patio of Stella’s, we could not help but notice that there was not a table to be had.  The newly opened Fitzroy is almost next door and will likely enjoy the same popularity once word gets around.The food section of the menu, which is delivered on a metal clipboard, divides the small plates into Savoury and Sweet sections.  Our helpful server suggested that they could be ordered separately, as courses, or to share.   I love this style of dining-we called it “grazing” in the old days.

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My daughter-in-law had been to the restaurant before and knew immediately what to select.  Her choice was unappetizingly called Salt Beef.  Don’t let the name dissuade you, because the carved beef which is stacked high on City Bread Rye, is melt-in-your mouth delicious and is actually less salty than most smoked or cured meats you may encounter.  This is achieved when the meat is slow cooked in a piece of high-tech equipment which is a steam cooking system.  The soft rye from Winnipeg’s own City Bread has long been my favourite.  The Keg Steakhouse has served it as their bread preference for decades.   The glass cylinder of cucumbers that accompanied the sandwich aren’t quite pickled enough to be called pickles but are lightly marinated.  They were crunchy, different and delicious.

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I had already heard from my husband, who grew up noshing on Captain Crunch every Saturday morning, that the cereal was a key ingredient in the Crunch Chicken.  I could only detect a hint of sweetness but enjoyed the guilty pleasure, simply because I have long been a good old fried chicken lover.  The spicy dipping sauce and marinated watermelon sides provided a satisfying taste combination when all three were speared together as a forkful.  Rounding off our lunch was a chopped salad with a lemon and olive oil dressing and just a hint of Korean “gocho”, which I mistakenly thought was going to be spicy.

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The dining room is pristine and uncluttered.   The look is appealing but as a result, there is nothing to buffer the music system and therefore I found that it was a bit hard to hear my soft-spoken lunch date.  Go for the food and have that intimate conversation some other time.

Fitzroy on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar below the stairs of Aunt Sally’s cellar.” –Thomas Jefferson

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Love-that is all.

Noshing at Investors Group Field

August1

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We attended the first game Bomber game of the season at Investors Group Field with a guest from the United States.  She has lived in Boston, Philadelphia and New York and is an avid sports fan.  D and I expected to be impressed when we first walked into the stadium building and we were not disappointed.  We were frankly very surprised to see how excited our guest was.  She “oohed” and “ahhed” as we climbed up to the main concourse and she insisted that we take a lap around the venue to experience the entire building (and scope out what we wanted to choose for supper that evening). 

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As we made our circuit, we passed the venues that are run by the stadium itself-The First Down, The Huddle, Grid Iron Grill and the Rum Hut.  The line up at “Shawarma Khan in a Snap” attests to the popularity of Obby Khan’s Middle Eastern sandwich and his reputation as a former Winnipeg Blue Bomber.  I have yet to visit his city restaurant or the concession, but as we are huge shawarma fans, this will definitely occur over the summer.

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We also spied the Salisbury House, Pizza Hotline and our favourite: Burrito Splendido.  We split up and headed to three different concessions, when we had finally made up our minds. 

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It tasted better than this photo looks.

The Butter Chicken Poutine caught my eye.  The fries were pretty good and the butter chicken topping was VERY good. 

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D is originally from Minnesota and has fond memories of ordering bratwursts at Vikings games so he immediately knew that we wanted. He was very impressed with Winnipeg’s version. 

 

Our guest was tempted by the grilled beef station that she compares to a delicacy of western New York State called Beef on Weck.  She thought that the original version might be hard to top so opted instead for the pulled pork at Danny’s Whole Hog Barbeque.  She was duly impressed by her quick supper and simply everything else that she experienced on game day.  In our minds, we have first hand confirmation that Investor’s Group Field is a world-class sports and entertainment facility. 

For our second chance at seeing the Bombers in action, we were invited to the Winnipeg Free Press Suite which was an even sweeter experience.  When we arrived there were enormous chicken wings waiting for us, as well as pulled pork mini buns.  Later in the evening Pizza Hotline individual pizzas arrived.  The suites are well equipped, luxurious and provide the best seat in the house.  We were at Centre line with enough elevation not to miss a play. Way to go Bombers!

Kath’s quote: “The reason women don’t play football is because 11 of them would never wear the same outfit in public”.-Phyllis Diller

 

Love-that is all.

 

Tandoor House

July31

A tandoor is a clay oven that is used in many parts of the world but particularly in India.  The delicious unleavened naan bread utilizes this “appliance”. My favourite naan, resists the teeth when a bite is pulled away, but is soft and yielding when chewed.  The little spots of char, produced when the dough touches the heat, adds the finishing, satisfying touch.  At the Tandoor House garlic naan can also be requested. When a restaurant claims that they have the best “Tandoor” in town, I am assuming that the word describes a style of cooking as well.  Word definitions aside, I am more than fond of Indian cooking as I love the complexity of a curry and the exotic results when applied in various manners to chicken, potatoes and my all time favourite-eggplant!

On the day of my visit, I was accompanied by a colleague who had to make contact with a student who was volunteering at the restaurant.  I can speak highly of Tandoor House’s willingness to participate in projects which benefit the greater community.

My lunch date tasted goat for her first time but decided that the Butter Chicken was her preference.  In fact she declared the dish to be “wonderful-in fact the best that I have ever tasted”.  She loved it to such an extent, that she placed a to-go order to take home, to feed her family that evening.

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I was a bit less adventurous and passed up the goat for the Tandori Chicken, Curry Chicken, Zucchini and Eggplant, somosa and both potatoes and rice (carb lover that I am).  These were all available on the lunch buffet.  I understand that a dinner spread is also laid out in this way.

We were delighted to meet the owner and understand that he also has a second location on Pembina at Ebby, in a building where my office was once located.  What a small world.

Tandoor House on Urbanspoon

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

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Love-that is all.

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