Browsing: Restaurant Features

Segovia Revisited

November30

If I could have a neighbourhood restaurant where when I arrived, they would know exactly what choice of wine was my favourite-I would chose Segovia.  The next best thing to being recognized for my restaurant loyalty, is to dine with someone who is.  My friend lives within walking distance of the tappas house and finds herself there quite often.  She has sampled so many items on the menu that she gave me a tour by indicating “well we’ll start with that, eat our way through here and end over here”.  In the end the food is so rich and satisfying that we concluded the supper by sharing three items and had to go for a walk to create some breathing room.

We arrived at 7 on a Friday night to find that it was standing room only.  We got the last two seats at the Chef’s final prep station which I loved because of the vantage point but had difficulty with because of the heat.  This is not a criticism of the restaurant-just a reality at this stage of my womanly life.

We started with Pan Con Tomate which is a refreshing tomato crown for a rustic toast.  The next surprize was a “Tortilla” served with herbs and aioli.  I have no idea how this dish starts as a tortilla but in the end-I don’t care what it is called.  The blend of richness from the aioli in contrast to the variety of herbs is divine.  The only dish that I had tasted before were the seared scallops on cauliflower puree.  As my dining friend is not inclined to seafood, I got the entire dish to myself and it was an amazing as I remembered it.  The scallops are just barely cooked allowing the silky texture and delicateness to take centre stage.  The puree cauliflower beds are a lovely complement and the plump raisins, a salty/sweet lover’s dream.

Daughter #1 is a regular at Segovia too-she’s even been invited to a special party that the restaurant is hosting.  I’m very happy for her and yet okay I’ll admit it JEALOUS! 

Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “One of the delights of life is eating with friends, second to that is talking about eating. And, for an unsurpassed double whammy, there is talking about eating while you are eating with friends.”-Laurie Colwin

You’ve got a friend.

Chop

November29

I decided not to be a foodie last night as my husband and I enjoyed a quick dinner in the vicinity where we were shopping so I did not take any photos as the food arrived.  We had just had our first massage and to be frank-I was so mellow that I didn’t give a poop about any of my usual responsibilities or pre-occrupations.  But here it is the morning after, and I am trying to recollect the details of the evening to share them with you.

We had watched with interest as Chop was being built.  The bones of a restaurant were apparent right from the start and so we eagerly awaited completion.  OMGoodness it seemed like the longest construction job known to man.  Here it is more than a year later and we never had a reason to give it a try.  When we arrived at 5:30 the dining room was already full and even though the bar was a bit noisy for our conversation, we liked the decor even better than the dining room’s.  Service is what I would call “Joey-style”-the front doors are flung open by a beautiful girl upon arrival, there are wine samplers served if you have to wait for a table and there are many people responsible for delivery your food and checking to ensure that you are happy with your choices.  Upon departure, someone else is at their post to ask how your entire evening was and to wish you a happy evening. 

Our favourite white wine was not served by the glass so we ordered a bottle.  But we had been warned by our masseuse that any alcohol that evening may give us a headache as our bodies were trying to flush chemicals that had been released in the process.  Aren’t our bodies wonderfully made?  So after the consumption of lots of water, we enjoyed a small glass and asked for the rest to be corked to take home.  This was pleasantly accommodated.

We shared a Chop salad and a Chop burger, mostly because I wanted to try the Chop fries.  They were described on the menu as being served with shards of Gran Padano Parmesan, sea salt and three dips.  Alas, the fries were tasty enough but with none of the promised cheese and the single dip was ketchup.  The burger though was exactly as promised-meaty, juicy and a fascinating combination of tastes.  The salad too was chock full of hearty ingredients-blue cheese, avocado, bacon, chopped egg, chicken chunks and then tossed in a light dressing.

Our server was obviously accustomed to serving out of town guests as the restaurant is connected to the Sandman Hotel and is minutes from the airport.  She was a wonderful Winnipegger-patiently convincing us that even though the Saskatchewan Roughriders are the Bombers number one nemesis, we should put rivalries aside and cheer them on to victory.  I was already convinced, the Rider fans are a wonderful example of what a fan should be-supporting their team through wins and defeats.  Winnipeggers have a tendency to jump on and off the bandwagon (myself included). 

Spending the day the way we did -it felt like we were kind of tourists in our own city.  An affordable way to have some re-creation. 

Chop Steak Fish & Bar on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “If we aren’t supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?”-Jo Brand

Love is all you need.

Casa Grande Pizzeria

November26

I have rediscovered Casa Grande just recently but it sure looks as if their following has not waned over the years.  We arrived for lunch before the strike of noon and managed to snag a table but had we been detained we might have been out of luck.  I recommended the cosy place recently when Daughter #2’s BF was looking for an authentic Italian place to plan a date.  With the red and white table cloths and wax-laden white candles, it reminds me of the spaghetti eating scene in “Lady and the Tramp”. 

I have yet to sample a pasta as I try to avoid carbs at lunch but the salads are divine.  I am a purist when it comes to salad dressings having carefully noted the technique while travelling Italy.  A salad like the Greek one that I chose this time or the Italian that I enjoyed on my last visit,  just need a couple of tosses with a good quality olive oil and some vinegar to let the veggie and protein tastes shine through.  If the salt and pepper have not been added in the kitchen, then season at the table and you’re done.  The mozzarella in the Italian and the feta in the Greek is plentiful and satisfying.  But just to make sure, my friend and I who were sharing the salad also ordered a small Italian sausage pizza.  And even though our eyes were bigger than our tummies, it was a  great lunch accompaniment.  Although, had we known that the salad also came with a basket of grilled garlic toast, we likely would not have ordered the pizza as we left the entire bread basket untouched. 

The pizza crust was as good as my home-made (imho) with lots of crunch and a hint of sweetness. Even smothered with cheese and topping, you could tell that the sauce was carefully prepared. 

I am really looking forward to my next visit as they serve one of my very favourite Italian dishes.  They call it Seafood Spaghetti-I remember it as Spaghetti ai frutti de mare from our travels up the east coast of Italy. 

The server was handsome and attentive and the gentleman behind the cash register who I am guessing also has a hand in the food quality, equally handsome and charming.

Casa Grande Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it; and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied; and it is all one.”-M.F.K. Fisher

That’s Amore.

Clay Oven revisited

November24

I have let too much time pass since our visit to the Clay Oven a couple of weeks ago and now I am at a loss as to the names of all the dishes that we sampled.  I was also distracted by the conversation-a chance to get caught up with Sisters #2 and #3, our Mom and my Mom’s best friend.  She and my Mom have lived across the street from each other for 54 years!  You can imagine the joys and sorrows shared over that number of years.  She was my also my kindergarten teacher for two years.  The latter when I was age-appropriate but the first when I was four and she was willing to provide a place where I could get a break from my twin brother and sister.  I remember so many details from that time so vividly. 

Anita who is one of the family owners of the Clay Oven had our table all arranged for us.  She is a lovely host as are all of the dashing men that she gets to work including our young server who was wonderfully attentive.

We started with a small platter of Samosas.  As we shared the bites on the plate, we noticed how some were quite mild and others quite spicy.  Perhaps they were made by different chefs or perhaps the curries did not get thoroughly mixed.  It was fun to taste the varieties of heat that can be delivered by one item.

I know that we had Butter Chicken because the tender chicken was unforgettable and I also recall that we enjoyed the Korma and an assorted Naan basket, but to be frank, the rest of the details are gone.  Except to say that everything that we sampled was carefully prepared, served piping hot (and stayed hot in those beautiful metal dishes) and there was plenty to share between the five of us with left overs of Naan to go with shepherd’s pie the next night.

The decor of this location on Kenaston  is just my style-a brightly lit open kitchen where you can clearly hear the slapping down of the Naan being prepared; sleek and elegant with cosy touches like colourful toss cushions on the bench seating.

They have expanded this location to include a separate party room complete with its own sound system and bar!

Clay Oven on Urbanspoon

Love amplified.

Garwood Grill

November19

I am not certain how long the Garwood Grill has been on Pembina Hwy. but our Mom says that she and my Dad used to enjoy going there.  My Mom has lived in her home in EK for 55 years and so it is likely that this was when she and my Dad lived on Chevier Blvd. in the 50’s.  Could this be so?

I know that I have been enjoying their “home-cooked” recipes for 25 years.  Particularly memorable are the Burgers and Denver sandwiches and their Clubhouse can hold their own against the Wagon Wheel and Rae and Jerry’s.  I have even indulged in the past on their Classic Pork chop Dinner.  All carefully prepared using from scratch ingredients.

Lately though Sunday breakfast is what draws Sister #3, an honourary Sister and me (when I am free from family responsibilities).  Eggs over easy arrive perfectly cooked, the Canadian back bacon is thickly sliced and the hash browns arrive “crispy” as ordered.  Coffee is frequently refilled and service is more than pleasant.  The Garwood is a real “old school” jewel in Fort Garry. 
Garwood Grill on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “He smiled rather too much. He smiled at breakfast, you know.” -Charles Wheeler

Love endures.

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