Browsing: Restaurant Features

The Grove Pub and Restaurant


The Grove is located at the corner or Stafford St. and Grosvenor Ave. and the  name is a short form of the latter.  We stopped in at this time last fall for a cider on the way out for dinner but I have never had a chance to taste their offerings.  In spite of repeated encouragement from our son who lives just steps away and thinks of the stools at the bar top as a home away from home.

In fact, I had to park just beside my son’s apartment so he knew that I was in the vicinity and met me for a little visit before my lunch date arrived.  He loves the offering of half pints and ordered one for himself and a Bramble for me.  The light and refreshing cocktail is made with creme de casis to sweeten the gin base. 

He also endulged me by ordering the Grove Burger which he claims is the best burger in the city. 

Based on my bite, I would have to agree and the fries were mighty fine too.  I opted for the Chevre and Pequillo Pepper Croquettes and was really disappointed to hear that they were out. 

Instead, I had a cucumber salad which was not quite so decadent but was satisfying with dollops of green olive oil lining the bowl. 

My lunch date decided upon the the chicken sarnie and was equally impressed. 

When my boy moved to the bar top and was joined by a friend, I also got to sample the fish bites which are made from salmon and halibut trim, lightly crusted in panko flakes and fried-oh my!

The room is fresh and light-filled and attracts many local business people and neighbours alike.  Service is attentive and accommodating.  If you live in walking distance, you have a gem of a neighbourhood pub.

The Grove Pub and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”-Benjamin Franklin

The Frenchway Cafe-New Academy Location


We have been a fan of Olivier and his Frenchway Bakery and Cafe at his first location on west Academy and watched with interest as his new locale, mid-Academy was being assembled.  Then, we heard through the grapevine that he was also going into the former Bread and Circus location.  Having been involved in single restaurant openings ourselves, we knew what an under taking this would turn out to be.  Olivier needed to call in for reinforcements and as a result Raphael has transplanted himself from Nice and Antibes (the prompt for my digression yesterday).

D arrived to pick me up for our anniversary lunch with an armful of white lillies.  I gave him an NFL magazine, so you can tell who is the romatic in this marriage.  I plunked them into the bread-maker cylinder that was soaking in the sink, so that we could savour the little piece of time that we had eked out of our day.

I let D chose for us because I could have easily ordered one of everything but even with his decision-making powers we did not make it past the Appetizer selections.  And so three “little plates’ arrived at our table to share. 

The Tarte Tomate was a flaky and tender puff pastry filled with pesto and ricotta cheese and topped with grilled tomato and fresh herbs. The creamy cheese was the perfect balance to the sparkling tomato taste.

Next up were grilled vegetables with a fresh mozzarella and prosciutto (which was optional if you wanted a meatless item).  Even though we appreciate hot vegetables with a hot entree, these were served at room temperature which is the perfect manner to detect the nuances of taste variations.  The first time we sampled a plate of vegetables served in this way was at Cumpa Cossimo our world favourite restaurant located in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast in Italy.  Raphael’s preparation was equal to the very best.

Influenced by the “Frenchman” who is close to our family, we had to try the Petite Tourtiere Maison.  As compared to a Canadian Tortiere, this was more like a giant meatball surrounded by a flaky pastry.  Different and delicious!

We finished off with a tart filled with a sublime custard and a variety of fresh fruit.  The pastry had a cookie quality and made the use of a fork rather challenging.  Who were we kidding, we should have just picked it up with our fingers?  This selection had a “circle of life” feel to it as it look just like the cake that we had for our wedding 27 years ago. 

Frenchway Cafe on Urbanspoon 

Kath’s quote: “Light, refined, learned and noble, harmonious and orderly, clear and logical, the cooking of France is, in some strange manner, intimately linked to the genius of her greatest men.”-Rouff Marcel




529 Wellington Lunch on the Terrace


Back in the olden days, when our kids were young, money was tight, but we still loved fine food and wine-we had a “gourmet club”.  Many friends came and went as they moved away or became uncoupled.  Two members of our group were Doug Stephen and Jim Armstrong both of WOW! Hospitality.  We saw Doug recently and vowed to get together soon.  I haven’t seen Jim in eons but happily that changed recently when I arrived for lunch at 529.

Jim was created to steer the 529 Wellington ship from the lobby of the beautiful restored mansion.  His food knowledge and expertise has been apparent to me ever since I met him in Brandon, not far from his home town of Dauphin.

This was a special lunch with a good friend and business associate who is trying very hard to retire.  The more valuable an employee you are, the harder it must be to leave that employment.  Turned out,  the official day has not yet been announced and we have postponed  my treat until it has been made so.

It was a gorgeous, summer Friday and as we were sat on the terrace over-looking the river, I saw many of Winnipeg’s who’s/who enjoying the day.  The service was helpful and prompt and lunch delicious. My lunch date had a chicken Caesar salad which he quite enjoyed and we shared the fries that are cut from Kennebec potatoes.  Being the “Polak Princess” (as my husband affectionately refers to me) and loving my carbs, I am especially fond of these potatoes.  They have a wonderful balance of sweetness, starchiness and earthiness and a slightly nutty flovour. 

Reuben sandwiches are another in my “favourite” repetoire and 529’s version is an interesting variation on the theme.  The distinctive taste is because their version contains house-made corned beef which is stronger in taste, fattier and tougher than deli corned beef.  I suspect that as well as being house made, it is dry-cured which would account for the firmer, denser quality.  None of these attributes are bad, just different.  The strength of the “corned” taste meant that I could not identify the subtleties of the sauerkraut and Swiss cheese but the combination was delicious.

Looking forward to going back to enjoy the lingering days of summer.

529 Wellington on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “The corned beef is exquisitely done, and as tender as a young lady’s heart, all owing to my skilful cookery; for I consulted Mrs. Hale (Sarah Hale’s cookbook) at every step, and precisely followed her directions. To say the truth, I look upon it as such a masterpiece in its way, that it seems irreverential to eat it. Things on which so much thought and labor are bestowed should surely be immortal…..”-Nathaniel Hawthorne

Testing 1… 2… Testing


The lunch business can be a tough one for Winnipeg restaurants.  Variety is desired for regular diners as well as keeping old favourites on the menu for special occasion lunchers (read: chicken fingers).  The Keg Steakhouse and Bar has locations across Canada and the US.  They understand that if “you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” and are testing new lunch offerings for the system at their Garry St. location.  This provides a unique opportunity for downtown Winnipeggers to be gastronomic guinea pigs. 

We started with a classic Cobb Salad: romaine and arugula topped with chicken, avocado, bacon, tomato, eggs and crumbled blue cheese.  My fellow diner tried to stop sampling because we had so many things to taste and he had a difficult time doing so-it was that good.  I am not typically a blue cheese lover but have recently fallen in love with it when paired with bacon.  This salad had it all.

Next up were a couple of flatbreads, one topped with Butter Chicken, peppers and diced pineapple.  The other with peppers again, onions, asparagus, provolone cheese and pesto aioli. These both came with sides and provided a really delicious solo supper for hubby D when I took home the left overs.

The Portabella Mushroom Burger was almost my favourite.  The combination of the peppery arugula, sweet roasted red peppers, creamy provolone cheese and that pesto aioli was divine.  And I haven’t even mentioned the mushroom-which was moist and meaty. 

I said “almost” my favourite, because the best was yet to come.  The Keg Dog was likely the best hot dog I’ve ever tasted!  It was made of beef (of course) and topped with cheddar, avocado, tomato and the pesto aioli.  But the killer topping was the bacon jam!  When tasted separately it was like a compote with a molasses base and totally satisfied my salty/sweet taste buds.  When added to the creamy avocado, crunchy/toasted bun, and pesto aioli (that I could eat with a spoon) it was the most amazing sweet/salty treat that I have had in a very long time. 

Oh, oh, I forgot to mention the Key Lime Pie.  Next time, I’m trying the Dungeness Crab Salad or maybe the Brie Chicken Sandwich, or maybe the Shrimp bowl….  I was negligent in finding out how long the test period is.  So don’t wait-get in there and be a pig (a guinea pig that is).

The Keg Steakhouse and Bar - Garry Street on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Aïoli (garlic mayonnaise) epitomizes the heat, the power, and the joy of the Provençal sun, but it has another virtue – it drives away flies.”-
Frédéric Mistral

Smoke’s Poutinerie


I would consider myself a Poutine Afficiando.  Not only do I take on month-long quests to find the perfect french fry, I tasted my first cheese curd 28 years ago (almost to the day) at the Minnesota State Fair.  I regard carnival food as a special treat and was astounded when we walked into the ARENA full of food vendors to grab a bit of supper before an evening concert.  The cheese curds were slippery and made a squeaky sound when you bit into it.  And since that time, every cheese curd that I’ve sampled, must pass the same rigid guidelines.  Of course the gravy too, must be just right-savoury but not too salty.  I like turkey gravy best but will settle for a good beef gravy in a pinch.

I once worked almost kiddie corner to Smoke’s location in Old Market Square.  Thank heaven that is no longer the case as the temptatin for weekly visits would be too overwhelming!  We ventured to the Cube in Old Market Square during the Fringe Festival to watch my daughter-in-law, niece and Goddaughter dance.  The day was sweltering so we found a place in the beer garden and cooled off with a shady seat and a cool one.

We tucked in to their traditional fare and declared that it was absolutely the perfect poutine.  Then went back and ordered the “Canadian” to deliver to Daughter #1 who was a Fringe Volunteer and wanting to grab supper in between working and watching a performance.  The one dish contained every food group!  We hope to find many more excuses to be in the area so that we can sample the rest of their extensive menu.

Smoke's Poutinerie on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The potato, like man, was not meant to dwell alone.”-Shila Hibben

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