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Expect the Unexpected


To say that our family adventure to Minneapolis this weekend did not go as expected would be a colossal understatement.  The premise was simple enough-head down for a Christmas shopping day on Saturday, go to the spa while the guys were at the Giants/Vikings game on Sunday, drive home Monday. 

We get lots of storms on the prairies but “The Great Storm of 2010” was so surprizing.  When we arrived at about 8:30 on Friday night there was not a trace of snow.  But on Saturday morning we couldn’t see across the little lake that we were staying on and the driveway was completely drifted in and we had to wait to be plowed out.  As we kept our plans of heading to the Mall of America, we thought “we’re hardy folk-how bad can this be?” OMGoodness-visibility was ZERO and that was before the snow froze to our wiper blades and we could not see out the windshield.  D had to skillfully maneuver around cars in the ditch and others parked underneath overpasses trying to clear their views. 

We did a first lap of the Mall and when we rendezvoused at about 2 pm, we let the gang decide where they wanted to eat.  I was a bit surpprized when with almost 40 choices, they picked the familiar- Tony Roma’s.  I guess they could see how stressed out we were and they too wanted something “safe and familiar.”

So we settled in for “stacked” chicken, seafood fettuccine and ribs of course.  The food was pleasant enough but the service was short-handed and distracted.  Little did we know that the city was in chaos and the mall was making arrangements to get staff home safely by closing early.  We’re reasonable people-we understood that we weren’t their priority.

We were all sitting around the same table, enjoying each other’s company and reflecting on our adventure thus far.  We knew that our vehicles had been guided through the storm by angels-we were content.

Tony Roma's 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

Laugh often, love deeply.

Spuntino Cafe


If ever you are in River Heights over the lunch hour and need to stop for a healthy lunch break, Spuntino’s is the perfect place.  I was enjoying a business lunch with a colleague who also happens to be a marathoner.  The snow was coming down heavily that day but it was warm and cozy inside. 

We both started with bowl of homemade chicken soup to take the chill off.  Next came her Greek salad and my Lemon Brocoli salad and we both added a chicken breast.  The chicken was sauteed in a delicate lemon coating as well.  As a result I got the full nutritional benefit of garlic, lemon, lean protein and the broccoli.  I felt like that lady in the commercial  who is trying to get her calcium intake quota and is eating what looked liked pounds of broccoli.   In the end I could not finish the salad and took left overs home to feed Daughter #2’s BF.

The soup and salad was served with the most delicious honemade buns, piping hot out of the oven.  I’m talking so hot that we had to let them cool to open them for a butter application.

We also got a mini-workout after lunch by having to push my van out of the snow drift that accumulated in my parking spot over lunch.  Ahh winter on the prairies…..

Spuntino Cafe on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “Mother: It’s broccoli, dear. —
Child: I say it’s spinach, and I say the hell with it.”-
E.B. White

love makes the world go round

Segovia Revisited


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.



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


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.

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