Browsing: Restaurant Features

Unburger Revisited

June12

Over a year has come and gone since the opening of Unburger and D had still not had a chance to visit there.  But the fabulous little place was “top of mind” since Uptown’s- Best of Winnipeg list had come out and indicated that it was voted “best new restaurant” on the vibrant Winnipeg scene.  (Food Musings was declared “best Winnipeg blog”-quite an honour).  A casual dinner with a business friend from out of town became the right occasion and D finally ventured in.

D just had to have the Drunken Aussie, tempted by the taste combination of beets, double smoked bacon and Bothwell cheese.

But look more closely for the real taste sensation-an omega three, perfectly cooked,  sunny side up egg, perched on top.  This makes for glorious, rich and goey eating.

Our American friend loved her Chicken Burger (but I was holding the table by the window and was not in ear shot to hear which one she ordered).

I was well pleased with my choice of a Bella Burger- a portabella mushroom burger with a special treat of balsamic onions.

At Unburger even the sides are good or shall I say the sides are especially good.  I was really hoping that D or our friend would have ordered either of the potato fries but was not disappointed by the “Edamommy” in curry salt and was over the moon for the 8 Grain Energy Salad that D and I both chose.  It was chock full of 2 kids of quinoa and roasted almonds-yummers!

Kyle came over to say hi but quickly had to get back to expediting the hot orders from the busy kitchen to his hungry guests.  It sure is wonderful to see young talent like the Unburger guys obviously doing so well.  The food and the restaurant itself is fresh and clean and simply adorned.

The evening was gorgeous and so we had a walk through the village and ended the evening with a glass of wine at the new/old Basil’ s patio-a perfect summer evening in Winnipeg.

Unburger on Urbanspoon

Kaths quote: “Love and eggs are best when they are fresh.” –Russian proverb

Deer + Almond

June4

Sometimes connecting with long-standing friends feels as if there were never any gaps in your time together.  Such is the case when friends Laura and Sue indicated that they wanted to take me out for a birthday lunch.  We have celebrated many of my birthdays together but not so many as of late.  I miss our times together but we made up for lost time with this rendezvous.  We enjoyed bonding chats and a beautiful bottle of wine (2 in fact) and the food-ah the food!

Tapas is my favourite menu style but is not conducive to all lunch gatherings.  I have shared so many forkfuls off of plates not my own, with this trio though, that it is not an issue.  There was a time when we enjoyed dim sum together almost once a week.

There was harmony in our selections and the end result was a delectable sampling of tastes.

My first bite was of Potato and Egg and I could have happily, eaten an entire plate (potato lover that I am).  The tiny multi-coloured potatoes where lightly squashed and then topped with shredded egg and fish eggs.  The saltiness of the roe was a perfect compliment to the silky oil and perfectly cooked potatoes which tasted almost sweet.

The spicy cilantro chicken came next and although it was undercooked, the meat was succulent with a little bit of heat at the end of a bite.  The cilantro garnish did not seem to be an essential flavour in the dish.  Too bad-I love the fresh taste of cilantro with chicken.

One of their specials was grilled fava beans with feta which were unique and delicious.

I have no idea what the ingredients of this last selection were but the details do not really matter when something tastes this good.  The grilled cheese was creamy and silky and the bread perfectly grilled with what tasted to me like an extra generous glob of butter.  Whatever else was stuffed inside, perfectly blended with the identified tastes.

The locale at 85 Princess Street is nicely appointed but very noisy as there are no floor or wall coverings on concrete to buffer the boisterous lunch chatter.  We solved this by staying half the afternoon, when it became much quieter.

I find the decor of my favourite Winnipeg restaurant-Segovia, cozier and their staff more acquainted with the passion of tapas but I was definitely intrigued by what Deer + Almond has going on and will likely check them out again.

Deer + Almond 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

Love-that is all.

Sunday Lunch at Pine Ridge Hollow

May31

There are times when D and I head out to the cottage for a short time without packing up any groceries.  This is a far cry from the days when the kids were growing up and we looked like the Beverley Hillbillies even when we were just packed up for a short time.  This weekend, was a case in point.  We arrived in time for Saturday evening dinner at the “big” cottage as it is affectionately known (meaning that it is “bigger” than our tiny one).  On Sunday morning we had coffee fixings and then we headed 2/3 of the way into town and ventured into beautiful Bird’s Hill Park.

When we arrived at Pine Ridge Hollow (without a reservation) we were told that there would be a 15 minute wait, which we gladly used to snoop around their splendid gift shop.  The decor items are gorgeous and perfect for the cottage, so we made a couple of little purchases.

When we were sat in the second floor dining room, we noticed many multi-generational families in large groups finishing up their lunches.  We’ll have to remember this special gathering place in the future.

I was an absolute thug after we perused the menu because it was so beautiful, I had a difficult time making a choice.  The physical layout of the menu has a number of photos and sections and little anecdotal words.  I guess I was so drawn to it because it is very much like my blog template.

In the end I chose the apple, walnut and goat cheese salad, which after I ordered it, realized that is was almost exactly what I ordered my last time to a restaurant (that being Dessert Sinsations the previous Thursday).  I told you I was distracted….

Even though the ingredients were very similar, they tasted very different and I enjoyed Pine Ridge’s version just as much.  Just one tiny suggestion-the server knew that I was avoiding deep-fried items because I had already passed on the pickerel for that reason and yet the two disks of goat cheese were panko coated and deep-fried.  I set them aside and had them packaged up for a treat for D.

D on the other-hand, knew exactly what he wanted and ordered it immediately.  He loved their Reuben as he indicated that it was not over-powered by dressing and cheese and the quality of the corn beef and the pungent sauerkraut shown through.  He was also tickled with the hand-cut fries and added that it was one of the best Reubens that he had ever tasted!

I also enjoyed my individual pot of tea so much that I asked for the pot to be refilled with hot water.  I can’t specifically say whether it was the tea itself or the quaint little tea pot that the soothing liquid was served in.

The attention to detail on this property is unsurpassed in the decor, plate presentation and the facility as a whole.  As we walked through the garden on our way back to the car, we could not help but notice that they are perfectly set up for weddings.  If they go to such trouble for a simple lunch, imagine the effort that would go into a wedding!

Pineridge Hollow on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “The table was set up inside the cartshed. On it there were four sirloins of beef, six fricassees of chicken, casseroled veal, three legs of mutton and, in the centre, a beautiful roasted sucking pig, flanked by four chitterlings with sorrel.”-Gustave Flaubert

Love-that is all.

Dessert Sinsations

May25

Even though some time has past since Mother’s Day, last night was the absolutely perfect time to celebrate with our Mom.  When you are 85 and health issues limit your outings, spreading them out a little bit is a smart strategy.

When the Karsh exhibit was at the Winnipeg Art Gallery we parked just adjacent, had a delightful lunch and spent a leisurely time in the gallery.  Mom had such a lovely day, that she requested that we repeat the scenario so that we could attend the Norman Rockwell exhibit before it leaves the city.

And so it was that we assembled again at Dessert Sinsations.  Being a part of the marketing world, I can’t help but reflect that the name of the restaurant does not really do it justice.  Yes, their dessert case is over the top with selections and I have tasted many delicious treats from that bounty.  But I personally do not live for dessert and this lovely cafe offers so very much more.

The savoury dishes that my Mom chose on her last visit, must have been memorable because she ordered exactly the same thing for this celebration-the garlic and mushroom soup and the poutine (I have obviously inherited her poutine-loving genes).  She ate til her heart was content and then packaged the rest up for her lunch today.

The three sisters, made healthier (but not less delicious) choices.  Sister #2 went with the Black and Blue Salad-blackened steak and blue cheese.

Sister #3 chose The Gardener which looked amazing when it arrived at the table.

And even more so, when we peaked inside.

My gorgeous pear and walnut salad was a masterpiece when it was placed in front of me.

And looked completely different when I placed the addition of the grilled chicken breast.  The light dressing had a slightly maple taste which complimented the ground walnuts of the dish-kind of like having a healthy version of maple/walnut ice cream!

The kind servers (we had three of them popping over to our table) allowed us to stay parked as we ventured over to the Winnipeg Art Gallery (my first post-university job).  We were all enamoured with the exhibit, Mom particularily so with the depiction of a little boy’s discovery of a Santa suit in the bottom drawer of his Dad’s bureau.

Delicious and wholesome food and exquisite artistry which celebrates good old fashioned values and family-the perfect way to celebrate a belated Mothers Day.

Dessert Sinsations Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie”. ~Tenneva Jordan


“The whole Mediterranean … the wine, the ideas … seems to ride in the sour pungent taste of those black olives … A taste older than meat, older than wine. A taste as old as cold water.”

Lawrence Durrell

Casa Grande Revisited

May15

With so many amazing restaurants on my must try list in Winnipeg, it is rare that we dine at a single place with regularity, even if it is one of our favourites.  But since Casa Grande is the special spot of Daughter #2,  she selected it for her family birthday celebration.

We all started with their delicious house salad again and the Frenchman shared his olives with us-can not get enough of them!

I choose exactly the same dish as my last visit-the seafood spaghetti.  This time I switched things up and ordered the scallops.  The scallops were succulent and meaty and added more protein than the baby clams.  The kitchen also obliged me by going really easy on the olive oil and the juice of the scallop was enough to make every twirled forkful, a delight.

The birthday girl ordered the same dish that her Dad had ordered previously so I did not take another photo of it.  It looked exactly the same as when D ordered it-fancy that.

D selected this loaf of lasagna.  Hearty and authentic was the way he described the dish.  His portion was so huge that he enough to share with Daughter #1.

The Frenchman chose the penne. He tried so hard to leave a helping on his plate for his lunch the next day but that proved to be difficult and he was drawn by one more forkful on repeated occasions.

Daughter #1 choose the gnocchi and was the only one not overly impressed.  It was not that there was anything wrong with the dish, just that when she has selected gnocchi at other restaurants, she has enjoyed it more.  She put this down to misordering and will simply select something different next time around.  D was willing to share his lasagna with her.  Unfortunately for her, I was enjoying my spaghetti too much to offer her any (I am not always a perfect Mom…).

The servers at Casa Grande who we are getting to know us quite well by now, overheard us making reference to a birthday and brought out a dish of ice cream (and five spoons) to celebrate.

Casa Grande Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Kath`s quote: “Once again, my life has been saved by the miracle of lasagna.”-‘Garfield’ (Jim Davis)

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