Browsing: Restaurant Features

La Bamba

February14

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

February9

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

January31

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

Hermano’s

January21

I tried hard to honour D’s birthday request as he had a yearning for some Mexican flavours and we still have a month before we depart for the turquoise Caribbean.  But we couldn’t get into La Bamba because they do not have wheelchair access (shame on them) but he was more than content to try Hermano’s and their South American fare.

And speaking of wheelchair access-with one quick phone call from the car, the owner was at the accessible entrance to escort us to our table.  He came by again later to teach us that one of our favourite winter holiday dishes-ceviche, was invented in Peru.  He also enthralled us with tales about his frequent trips to Brazil and the story of how he has recreated this Latin approach to dinner for us in Winnipeg.

So the wide open spaces, long tables and boisterous atmosphere is not by accident.  South Americans gather as a family to share their day over an evening meal.  This is the goal of our family too and yet with working late, volunteering, late university classes and trying to fit in some exercise, it rarely happens.  Or shall I say, that it does not occur as often as we would like.

We started by ordering a Chilean Merlot (very familiar) but also found a Chilean Gewurztraminer that was lovely.  I professed my love for D over a bottle of Alsatian Gewurztraminer almost thirty years ago….

We ordered just about everything that wasn’t off season from the Tapas menu and were delighted.  The large bread board was laden with Potato Rosemary Sour Dough, Portuguese Pumpkin Loaf and Onion Jalapeno Corn Bread.  They were all distinctive and we concluded that the corn bread was the hit.  But in all honesty, any bread with a scoop of the spinach & basil pesto, or dunked into the white wine juice from the mussels or the garlic butter which accompanied the shrimp, would be delicious. 

food musings

Of the three Empanada’s that were served, I tasted the Chicken and Sausage-a lovely and savoury concoction in a crunchy wrapper. 

food musings

Pipa Camaroes were served “head on” as we recall eating them on seaside vacations.  I was quite adept at lopping off the head with a sharp knife but our Frenchman guest decided to twist his off with his fingers and was sprayed with a red juice-cacbaca perhaps? 

food musings

The grilled chicken skewers with mango salsa were a nice complement to the other seafood items. 

The Calamari tasted particularly fresh which is unusual in the middle of the prairies in the midst of winter.  The tentacle portion was particularly crunchy in its corn crusting.

food musings

Two of the girls were happy to see that we weren’t going to have to eat 13 pounds of mussels when they misread this on the menu: “13/LB”.  I think D&I could and likely have eaten 13 lbs of mussels in the past, thinking back to our honeymoon on Cape Cod where they were served in a big black cauldron (think the witch scene in McBeth).

We also enjoyed what are simply called “chips” on the menu.  OMGoodness-  hand cut potato chips with just a hint of salt.  And there were lots of folded ones which were extra crunchy.  Does anybody else remember the Mr. Greenjeans days when a version of these were served with every order?

Even though we had brought along our traditional Jeanne’s Banana log birthday cake, we couldn’t resit the Tempura Banana split.  Fried bananas is a family favourite-we even make them for late night, “around the fire-pit” snacks.  This version did not disappoint especially because it was served with Eva’s gelato.  Eva’s original storefront was near the end of our street and became the destination of many summer walks.  We think that their Argentinian recipe is superior to the offerings elsewhere on Corydon as they use “real” ingredients not merely the flavouring and colouring of the real thing.

Hermanos on Urbanspoon

D was delighted with his gifts and was a very contented man.  He deserves it: “Cause he’s good, so good, and he treats (me) like a real man should”-Carrie Underwood

love, love will keep us together

La Trattoria

January14

It’s been more than a year since our sojourn through Sicily and the east coast of Italy and we miss the people, the exquisite views and the food!  So when I spotted a cozy looking dining spot while driving down Provencher Ave. in St. Boniface  and then discovered that they served “classically Italian” food-I was enthralled.

It took a bit of time to find an excuse to give La Trattoria a try.  The last occasion that I made the suggestion to D, we ended up staying in our neighbourhood so that we could could also go pot shopping.  Now that doesn’t sound like an ideal date to a most but to a foodie acquiring her first Lagostina cookware-it was bliss.

I digress….I was treating a business associate to a lunch meeting so I suggested we finally give the cafe a try.  I looked longingly at the spacious patio facing the street and a park and began yearning for summer (or spring at least). 

food musings

The dining room was bright and fresh with only one other table occupied.  I choose a spaghetti with Aglio Olio topped with shrimp-this version seemed light on the garlic but spiced up with red pepper flakes.  My friend tried the recommended Ricotta Crespelle-an Italian crepe stuffed with ricotta and spinach and topped with tomato basil sauce and Parmesan cheese.  Both dishes were served with garlic toast and salad sides.  I was delighted with a light tasting Cesar with an authentic oil, lemon and anchovy dressing as opposed to the creamy (an calorie laden) version that many restaurants serve.  We chose a lovely Sicilian wine to accompany lunch.

La Trattoria on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The strands of spaghetti were vital, almost alive in my mouth, and the olive oil was singing with flavor. It was hard to imagine that four simple ingredients [olive oil, pasta, garlic and cheese] could marry so perfectly.”-Ruth Reichl

get tangled up in love

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