Browsing: Restaurant Features

Kristina’s on Corydon

June27

Hello Readers.  Do you experience times when things become so familiar to you that you don’t even “see” them anymore?  Living where I do in Winnipeg, I take Corydon Ave. on a continuous basis to pick up Sister #3, or head downtown or just because we love to hang out on Corydon or in the Village.  As a result I have driven past Kristina’s literally thousands of times but never, ever stepped foot inside. But that doesn’t mean that I have not imagined what the interior of the restaurant looked like and when I finally met a lunch date there, I was totally surprised.  The décor is sleek and appears to have recently been refreshed.  The place was bustling with diners as well as staff, even though we arrived after the lunch hour.  We accepted a place under the lattice on their sunny patio.  The lattice provided comforting shade but played havoc with my photos.

kristinas1.jpg

I anticipated that I was being treated to this lunch so I let my hostess decide on an appetizer that we were to share.  She asked if I enjoy chicken livers and the truth is, I have enjoyed them only on a handful of occasions, even though I persevere and I have tried to acquire a taste for them.  For me, it is a texture thing.  I don’t like the way that the meat “feels” in my mouth.  Does this make sense to you?  I do appreciate them when they are thinly sliced, sometimes coated and quickly sautéed.  I will say that the rich sauce that they had been braised in had deep tones of red wine and I was content to slop that up with the delicious bread that accompanied the appetizer.

kristinas3.jpg

We both chose Greek Salads topped with grilled chicken-my version sans romaine.  She apparently liked hers, but I must admit that I wasn’t really paying attention as our business conversation was so fascinating, I was hanging on her every word.  In addition, I was focused on my own plate of sheer loveliness.

kristinas2.jpg

At first I was disappointed that the feta appeared to be shaved and not cubed or crumbled into big chunky bites like I make myself at home. This is a testament to how much I enjoy the rich, salty taste of feta.  In fact, the cheese was perfect as I was able to spear a bit of chicken, a veggie and just the right amount of feta with every bite.  Eating with gusto, as I am prone to do, I tore pieces of pita off to savour every dollop of the dressing in the bottom of my bowl.

So now that I know what unfolds once you walk through the doors of Kristina’s on Corydon, I am sure to go back again.  Perhaps not for the chicken livers but definitely to enjoy a sunny salad on their cozy terrace.

Kristina's On Corydon on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Triptolemus, one of the principal figures in Greek religion, is said to be the inventor of the plow and of agriculture, and therefore the real father of what we call civilization.”-M.F.K. Fisher

2734034_s

Love-that is all.

 

 

The Old Spaghetti Factory

June25

When I was asked by Sisters #2 and #3 where I would like to go out for my birthday dinner, would you be surprised when I responded with the Old Spaghetti Factory?  Well readers, here was my train of thought.  Dining decisions aren’t made solely on what you are going to get to eat (I have to remind myself of this, over and over again).  Central location is a consideration and the OSF at The Forks is precisely half way between my locale and Sister #2 and our Mom.  The latter loves to come along for birthday celebration dinners (and she also truly loves picking up the tab)!  Since our Mom is 86, we also have to consider wheelchair accessibility and parking and the Spaghetti Factory does a great job of both.  I had also hoped since it was a glorious night, that our Mom might enjoy a stroll along the paths at The Forks.  This would extend her outing, get her some fresh air and her girls some exercise.

I also predicted that it would be easy to get in without a wait (which it was) and knew that the restaurant is well laid out to maneuver a wheelchair around.  As our hostess escorted us to our table, she indicated that we would be next to huge windows where we could enjoy the fresh greenery of the park and see folks go by on the biking/walking path.  I thought that was a really nice touch and we made a point of taking it in.  The service is so prompt.  I would say a bit too much so, for my dining tastes.  But our Mom loved that there was food in front of us, before we even noticed, starting with their crusty bread that can be slathered with garlic butter.  A small but crisp and tasty salad came next and before we knew it, our spaghetti dinners had come.

Olsf1.jpg

The time has come for me to fess up.  There is one particular dish from the Spaghetti Factory that I crave and that is the Browned Butter and Mizithra cheese.  Although I have seen ownership change and menu items come and go, I am delighted that it has stood the test of time.  I like to offset the sharp saltiness of the cheese with the creamy texture and taste of their clam sauce and the Manager’s Special allows you to chose any two sauces.  These preferences run in the family as Sister #3 thought that our Mom would also enjoy the clam sauce (she prefers cream sauces to tomato based ones), and Sister #2 also ordered the Mizithra.  She requested that hers come with a side of sautéed mushrooms and let me have a taste.  These too were exactly as I recalled-individual pan seared so that they come out plump and juicy and not braised as is the case from some kitchens.  Sister #3 has her long-time preference too-the combination of spicy meat and clam sauce.  I selected a side as well, of sautéed chicken.  By including a number of these side options on their menu, the OSF creates endless taste possibilities and is sure to have something for everyone.  Which is another reason that restaurants like this are often preferred.

OSF2jpg

There were a number of large groups in that evening and with the quick service and spacious dining room, they do a really good job with large groups.  Our family has had a number of parties at the restaurant over the years.  In fact, D and I had our wedding cocktail reception at Brandy’s that used to be attached to the restaurant when it was located on Bannatyne.  Can you remember that far back?  Our Mom even recognized some of the décor pieces that have long been displayed.  So for our large family who have spent many wonderful times together, a visit to the restaurant is like a walk down memory lane.

Old Spaghetti Factory on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “What keeps me motivated is not the food itself but all the bonds and memories the food represents.”   Michael Chiarello

BeFunky_74947_433858500021147_1925081827_n

Love-that is all.

Mona Lisa Revisited

June21

Mona Lisa Ristorante Italiano at 1697 Corydon Ave., first opened its doors in 1983 (and we have been frequent visitors for 19 years), but continues to reinvent itself on a continual basis, adding to its size in both directions and renewing and refreshing its concept in unique and inventive ways.  I watched with interest as the latest facelift occurred and was waiting for the perfect opportunity to visit again.  When a business associate of mine suggested that we celebrate our mutual birthdays with a lunch, I knew that the time had come.

mona1jpg

The new decor is upscale and elegant with crisp white linens and the outdoor patio which has always been one of my favourites, follows suit.  We whetted our appetites with slices of hot-from-the-oven bread which we dipped into a quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  The menu at lunch is quite compact and this I believe is a good thing, preferring when a few items are prepared with particular expertise, rather than many offerings being done with mediocrity.  I did find it somewhat surprising that the only pasta offering was the pasta of the day: a penne with tomato sauce.  But, priced so affordably at $5 with an Italian salad adding another $5, my lunch date thought that it to be a satisfying lunch, especially for $10.  She also commented that the simple sauce was very tasty and well-balanced.

mona3jpg

I was not so easy to please.  I read over the menu many times and just could not make up my mind.  So I decided to take a risk and ask our personable server to simply order whatever he thought that I would like the best.  After he inquired if I was partial to veal, he immediately suggested that I try their version with an accompaniment of Bocconcini and Tomato salad.  The escalopes were quickly turned with sautéed onions and accompanied by grilled eggplant, zucchini and red peppers in a simple, rustic presentation.  The addition of skinny slices of red onion was a nice twist on the classic Bocconcini salad rcipe, but required a wee bit of salt to enhance the flavour of the abundant tomato wedges.

mona2.jpg

Proprietor Joe Grande was enjoying his own lunch at a neighbouring table.  In all the years that I have been enjoying Mona Lisa’s fare, he is a constant figure.  On my last visit, he insisted that I tour the kitchen, to my delight.  The fresh pasta was being lovingly prepared and was drying on massive wooden racks.  The ancient process, still fascinates me every time I witness it.

mona4jpg

Mona Lisa Ristorante Italiano on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quotes:  “Also, since art is a vehicle for the transmission of ideas through form, the reproduction of the form only reinforces the concept. It is the idea that is being reproduced. Anyone who understands the work of art owns it. We all own the Mona Lisa. ” -Sol LeWitt

heart pasta

Love-that is all.

Eat On Samosa

June10

We do not venture south on Pembina Hwy. very often and do not savour the complex tastes of Indian food frequently either, so this visit was unique on both accounts.  Our eldest daughter picked the Eat On Samoa (109-2800 Pembina Hwy.) for us.  She is an adventurous eater, as are all of our kids-what a blessing.  When we arrived, the little place was full but there was a large table right in a bright and sunny window, that seemed to be waiting for us.

samosa1.jpg

Orders are placed at a quick-serve counter and we decided to try four varieties of somosas between the three of us.  The lovely lady behind the counter (we found out subsequently that she was the owner Manika Pradhan) encouraged us to select a half dozen instead.  She helpfully suggested, that the cost was lower and that there was no tax assessed when purchased in this manner.  So we chose two chicken, one vegetable, two beef and one bison samosa.  Upon tasting each, we decided that enjoying three out four varieties was a good thing.  We did not care for the gamey taste of the bison-not a criticism, just a preference.

samosa2.jpg

Next up, we shared two butter chicken platters for the three of us and it was more than enough food.  We enjoyed the chick peas and mixed vegetables as much as the chicken itself.    Our palettes are not discerning enough to know if the curries were the same on both the veggies and the beans.  We didn’t mind, as both were delicious.

The butter chicken was perfection.  The chicken was still moist and tender, just like “butter”.  This is how the recipe got its name, as you may already know.  We enjoyed the extra tomato-based sauce on the jasmine rice and lopped up every droplet.

There are Dine –in, take out and catering menus available.  Be mindful of a slightly elevated lip at entrance; otherwise the restaurant is weheelchair accessible.  There is plenty of surface parking available.  Fort Richmond is fortunate to have this convenient place in their neighbourhood for eat in dining, take out and catering.

Eat-on Samosa on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.”  –M.F.K. Fisher

raisins8.jpg

Love-that is all.

 

 

 

Guest Blogger-Sister #3, Kudara Sushi

June3

About 20 years ago I tried sushi for the first time and to be honest with you, I was less than impressed.  At the time there were only three sushi places in Winnipeg leaving me lots of other restaurant options so I wouldn’t have to eat it again, so I thought.

Don’t get me wrong, I love fish. I’m actually a bit fanatical about fish.  I eat it at least twice a week, but I don’t like things that taste fishy.  Sounds like an oxymoron, but good fresh fish doesn’t taste fishy.

With the rapidly growing popularity of sushi restaurants I have really had no choice but to give this sushi thing another try.  So for the past five years or so I have grown to enjoy many sushi restaurants, although I still avoid fish roe and prefer to switch it out for tempura crunch.

kudarasushi.jpg

Well my appreciation of sushi reached an entirely new level when I discovered Kudara Sushi at 427 Academy Road.  Not easy to find if you are searching just by address, but it’s in the 7-eleven strip mall behind the Domo on Academy. Kudara Sushi puts a creative spin on their dishes which are as beautiful to look at as they are to eat.

Kudura Sushi1.jpg

We started with the tempura vegetables and while I thought the portion could have been bigger, I was very impressed with the taste.  Not at all greasy and served piping hot.

Sunflower & Crazy.jpg

We decided on four rolls.  My very favorite was the Sunflower, filled with tamago (Japanese style omelet) cream cheese, cucumber and avocado; this rice roll is topped with a thin slice of deep fried yam.  Dipped into the combination of sauces served along side this roll made it the perfect melt in your mouth bite.  A close second in my mind is the Yami Yami. (I think I like yams a lot!) This rice roll is stuffed with fried yam, cucumber and cream cheese and smothered in crunchy little strands of more fried yam.

Yammi Yammi & Volcano.jpg

I also really enjoyed the Crazy.  Filled with spicy tuna and cucumber and topped with thin salmon and creamy avocado. We weren’t as fussy on the Volcano the spicy tuna sashimi on top was too thick for my taste and overwhelmed the sweet chopped scallop hidden inside.

Everything was very fresh. The little bits of sauces running along side some of the rolls was what put me over the top with delight.  Not like the sloppy orange mayonnaise you often find at sushi joints.  These sauces where light in texture but full in flavour.

Kudara is a little place with only four tables. But they do a brisk take-out business. The room is cute and the owner (I only met KJ) is very personable.  My dinner companion and I really appreciated the poster on the wall that featured translations of Japanese words like Unagi (eel), Tobiko (flying fish roe), Tako (octopus), that you often see on a sushi menu and feel silly repeatedly asking what they are.

I think I will order a platter of this amazing sushi for this year’s birthday celebration.  I can’t image a better gift of food to enjoy and share with my friends.  Rumour has it they’ll whip up some Korean dishes upon request, so I’m sure to be back for more than just sushi!

Kudara Sushi on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “In Mexico we have a word for sushi: bait.”-Jose Simon

BeFunky_318679_424701104270220_1224619711_n

Love-that is all.

« Older EntriesNewer Entries »