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Bernstein’s Deli


Winnipeg has a number of  excellent delis that I predict could hold their own when stacked up against Montreal’s or New York City’s.  Many of the cities’ best are in River Heights where I am content to reside, with its glorious elm-lined streets, character homes and lots of quaint shops and restaurants.  Bernstein’s  Deli has been around even before I moved to the neighbourhood and that was close to 20 years ago.  I suppose this is why a friend of mine was shocked to learn that I had never had a meal at this convenient location.  I have shopped at the deli counter and especially enjoyed their homemade frozen soups over the years but had never sat down to enjoy a good old fashioned deli plate.

On this day, I had an equal hankering to try their reuben sandwich as I did to taste their freshly cut, never- frozen french fries.  Luckily for me, I didn’t have to be embarrassed by my indulgent order as my lunch mate ordered the exact same thing.

The sandwich was piled high with top quality corned beef and what we detected was home-made sauerkraut.  I typically prefer Thousand Island Dressing on my reubens which answer the call of my sweet/salty cravings.  Bernstein’s uses a special mustard which is delicious but just not preference.   As I think back, I can’t remember anything about the cheese and then it occurs to me that it was not served with cheese, which I guess means that it was a kosher reuben. Perhaps that also explains the dressing-maybe someone with more knowledge of kosher law could send me a comment.  The mound of fries were perfectly crispy on the outside and potatoey on the inside-yum!   

Bernstein's Deli on Urbanspoon

I knew the people at the booth sitting behind us and thought to myself how nice it is to live in a city large enough to have all the amenities and yet small enough to know and often connect with your neighbours.

Kath’s quote: “I am not a glutton — I am an explorer of food.”-Erma Bombeck



I have six strapping nephews and they all love to eat.  A couple of them are pretty adventurous.  One of them: not so much.  But he does love bacon on EVERYTHING.  A couple of years ago one of these guys mentioned that I should try Bellissimo and I have earnestly tried to make good on his recommendation ever since.  I had set a lunch date for a recent Monday and then  got carried away with some router and Internet issues and completely forgot to keep the appointment.  I found out that Bellissimo isn’t even open Monday and so we re-scheduled.

The big day came this week and I was not disappointed.  The hostess seemed to know many of the diners so they must enjoy alot of repeat business.  I was pleasantly surprized by the decor as I was expecting something less elegant.  We were sat in the lounge with the winter sun streaming in through two walls of windows.  I thought that our server was new but well-trained and very efficient. 

The hot herb buns held us over until our pastas arrived.  The lunch specials looked very tempting but we both ended up ordering off their extensive menu.  I chose the Scampi Bianco and was delighted with the lightly sauteed shrimp tossed with purple and green onions, tomato, and a creamy feta cheese. The sauce was a light tasting blend of fresh herbs and a splash of white wine.  Everything was tossed together with what we thought was a freshly made linguine.

My lunch mate choose the Pasta Giardino which I see is named for one of the owners.  She enjoyed the sauteed red peppers, red onions and marinated artichokes, tossed in a marinara sauce served over a bed of fettuccini.  The lunch portions are perfect-large enough to be more than satisfying but small enough that you don’t need an afternoon nap.

I was amazed by the $20 bill.  Two people can hardly have a fast-food lunch for that.  They have a sidewalk patio which will definitely lure me back.  Thanks for the great suggestion Aaron. 

Bellissimo Restaurant & Lounge on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “To give life to beauty, the painter uses a whole range of colours, musicians of sounds, the cook of tastes — and it is indeed remarkable that there are seven colours, seven musical notes and seven tastes.”-Lucien Tendret

Stock Photos from 123RF

And Bellissimo means beauty.

La Bamba


The intention of “Dine About Winnipeg” is to woo us from our February nesting inclination, to brave the cold and discover a new eatery.   We were more than willing. 

La Bamba has a great selection of Mexican cervesas and tequilas to choose from and D was delighted by his margarita.  He is a purist when it comes to lime margaritas and was duly impressed that it was not a blended concoction from a lime mix but a hand shaken variety with pure lime juice.  He’s been talking about it ever since…

The basket of tortilla chips and salsa verde was an authentic start to the culinary success of the evening. D & I ordered from the “Dine About” selections starting with Sopa de Tortilla.  I often make this soup at home and prefer more lime and cilantro but it was very, very good, just a different recipe from mine.

I had the giant chipotle prawns over Mexican rice.  D had one of my three prawns and I was still more than satisfied (that’s how huge they were).  The Mexican rice-I MUST get their recipe.  I can guess ingredients but I really, really need to be able to duplicate theirs on a regular basis.  So if anyone from La Bamba is reading this, please message me on my blog. 

My fellow diners were well pleased with their Chicken enchilada verdes and D declared that La Bamba has the truest Mexican food in the city.  A high compliment as we are so addicted to Mexican fare, we often talk about opening our own little tiende.

We enjoyed a well-priced Argentinian Malbec with dinner.  A house-made tequila ice cream with coconut wafers was the last course and the evening was touted a success. 

La Bamba Restaurant on Urbanspoon

When the Spanish celebrate Valentine’s Day it is with this expression: “Feliz dia del cariño y la amistad” “Happy day of affection and friendship”.  And so it was that we kicked off Valentine’s weekend in the most appropriate way.

Kath’s quote: “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails

Recreating Cumpa Cosismo


When I joined the Foodbuzz Blogging Community I had to fill out a foodie profile and I was asked where my favourite restaurant in the entire world was located.  This proves to be a very daunting task whether you are a world traveller or just trying to think back over the thousand of restaurant meals that you’ve likely enjoyed in your lifetime.

After much deliberation I choose Cumpa Cosismo in Ravello Italy.  It is said to have been Jacqueline Onassis’ favourite restaurant when she vacationed in the area which I understand was frequently. 

The cafe is a little off the beaten path, that is to say not off of the main square.  But the reason why it was hard to find is that it is known simply as Nettie’s to the locals, after notorious Chef/owner Netta Butone.  Her traditional recipes are simple and exquisite.  Nettie knows her stuff-she personally brings the laden platters to the table and then you don’t see her again until she presents you with the cheque.  

Every once in a while, I attempt to recreate her anti-pasta which is a selection of local vegetables.  Hers was cauliflower, diced zucchini, swiss chard, peppers, eggplant a bit of soft cheese. 

For mine,  I separately saute or grill a number of favourites in extra virgin olive (use your best stuff here) and one or two in black truffle oil for variety.


For a couple, I’ll add freshly chopped garlic or fresh basil -but just use what you have on hand and keep it very simple. 

A tip I learned about the eggplant, is that after lightly grilling you stack it, so that the steam in the veggie will continue the cooking process.  To serve, I take each eggplant slice and roll it into a tube. The platter can be served hot if you are entertaining at home or cold if you are taking it to a friend’s. 

Kath’s quote:  “I feel a recipe is only a theme, which an intelligent cook can play each time with a variation.”-Madame Benoit

Bon apetito!

Jonnie’s Sticky Buns


When I was a child my family vacationed each summer at Grand Beach.  One of our special treats was when my Mom would send us to the old Grand Beach bakery (at the edge of Grand Marais) just as it opened in the morning, for a dozen of their Sticky Buns.  We would run our fastest to get them to the breakfast table before they cooled off too significantly.  So as is consistent with most of my fondest with food-cinnamon buns hold a very special place in my heart.

If the pursuit of the perfect french fry is my summer quest, I would say the search for the perfect bun is my winter one.  We like to walk to places in our neighbourhood to sample cinnamon buns (I suppose we are justifying the treat) and we’ve enjoyed The Frenchway on Academy and  Stella’s on Grant.

But on this Saturday morning it was -30 so we opted for a warm car to make a new discovery.  That week we had been perched at a stoplight and saw a paper poster on a hydro pole for Jonnie’s.  A day or so later I saw that Jonnie’s was following my tweets.  So here is advertising in action-the poster got our attention, the tweet added the frequency and lo and behold Jonnies Sticky Buns got our first of what we predict will be many visits. 

We enjoyed “The Classic” (in house organic stone milled whole wheat) and “The Leroy” (organic white) but also could not resist a “Chocolate Chip” (with Callebaut Dark Chocolate for Pete’s sake) and a “Banana Nut” (with roasted walnuts) to pack up for home.

We ordered ours grilled with Black Pearl Coffee and then had a lovely visit with the young family sitting at the only other table in the storefront.  We started our family life in one of the big old three story homes in Wolseley and discovered that they lived on the same street. 

We will be back for the “Herb and Cheese” (with fresh herbs, Bothwell cheese and date sugar) which is the Thursday feature and the “Caramel Rosemary” which is the Friday specialty.

Wolseley is fortunate to have Jonnie’s in the neighbourhood but with its convenient location at 941 Portage it is perfectly located for commuters, especially if you are already making a stop at Deluca’s (almost across the street).

Jonnies Sticky Buns on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “Sticky cinnamon buns belong to Philadelphia as do Independence Hall and the Twelfth Street Market. This is a bun of true cinnamon flavor, of a stickiness incarnate.”-Best Recipes of 1949  by Mark Kurlansky 

“Sticky cinnamon buns belong to Winnipeg as do The Golden Boy and The Forks.  This is a bun of true cinnamon flavour, of a stickiness incarnate.”-Food Musings

Stock Photos from 123RF

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