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Clay Oven revisited


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


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.

Dim Sum Newbie


These days the world is a connected and smaller place and we are all very culinary sophisticated.  So I was unprepared for the answer when we recently asked Daughter #2’s BF if he liked Dim Sum.  Of course it became my mission to right the wrong of someone having never tasted one of our favourite foods.

In our younger years in the restaurant days, we had a friend from China named Tommy.  He was a famous eater due to volume and the hot sauce poured onto everything including scrambled eggs.  He turned us on to many Asian culinary delights including Dim Sum.  But it took us along time to get the hang of the art.  Once when daughter #1 was just a baby I took her to the ladies room to change her Nappie (sounds better than diaper in a food blog) and when I got back, our table was covered with food!  D said yes to every item that came by on the cart.  Instead of savouring the morsels and then anticipating the arrival of the next one, we were out the door in 10 minutes, stuffed to the gills.

When my office was next to Chinatown, Dim Sum Garden was a weekly treat and we turned many people onto Dim Sum there.  We had an “A” list of our favourite items that we recommended for their introduction: no to the desserts and NO to the chicken feet.

The first taste….

And so it was with great delight that we took the BF to Dim Sum Garden (our family’s personal favourite).  We like their version of sticky rice and find their prices most reasonable.

Inside a packet of sticky rice

Dim Sum Garden on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “If you never try a new thing, how can you tell what it’s like? It’s men such as you that hamper the world’s progress. Think of the man who first tried German sausage!”-Jerome K. Jerome

Love endures

Spicy Noodle House


When I worked in Osborne Village, the Spicy Noodle House was a particular favourite of mine.  I would almost always decide upon a soup but if I was there with someone willing to share and my office gang almost always was, we’d share soup and another of their many stellar dishes-Shrimp Foo Young, Fried Vermicelli and Egg Plant with Black Bean Sauce stick in my memory even now.

On this day I was meeting a friend and colleague for “just soup” before a business presentation.  Their Spicy Peanut Noodle Soup is a classic.  It is a perfect blend of my fav firey spices-cumin, cayenne and red chili powder but you can still taste the heartiness of the broth.  If you want to be crazy decadent -order it with the Deep Fried Pork Chop.  The tender yet crispy strips are tasty on their own but even better floating in the soup. 

Now it would come as no surprize that I am an enthusiastic eater.  I can be dainty enough with the spoonfuls of broth but the noodles posed a real dilemma.  I suppose I could have requested a knife and cut the noodles into spoon size but where would be the challenge in that?  So I persevered and did my best to get the firm and delectable noodles to my mouth- but alas.  Two splatters of spicy broth landed on my white suit jacket.  I had hope that the people we were presentating to were food appreciators as well.

Spicy Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Good manners: The noise you don’t make when you’re eating soup.”-Bennett Cerf

Love endures.

Peasant Cookery


How do two foodies celebrate their last evening together before one of them goes on a vacation?  By finding a new restaurant to try of course.  We had intended to visit this establishment when it was Oui and almost went to celebrate our last wedding anniversary.  But the Urbanspoon reviews were not glowing and when we are acknowledging a special event, we want “glowing”.  So I am not surprized that there has been a change in culinary direction.  I understand that the previous menu was very daunting for the kitchen and this simplified version should ensure stellar dishes from the chef.  Some of the former favourites have found their way onto the Peasant menu.  Simple, well prepared, tasty food is what we are all about and looked forward to tucking in.

We were sat immediately by a really personable fellow and he accurately predicted that we would enjoy one of their round booths.  The decor has not changed immensely and we loved the high ceilings and two walls of windows.  A lovely glass of wine was recommended and a wonderful baguette basket was delivered.  Bread and wine, a simple and yet so satisfying combination that have sustained generations and indeed civilizations.

Thinking ourselves to be poutine aficionados, we couldn’t resist sharing an order.  My husband and I discovered cheese curds together at the Minnesota State Fair which does not just contain a food concession but an entire arena designated to local food preparation  (AND we saw Kenny Loggins in concert that night so I was in heaven).     

The Peasant version of poutine is authentic using a made from scratch gravy and a fairly generous numbers of curds.  But on this night they salted the fries before the toppings were added and even though I love salty foods, it was a bit much.  Next time I think we’ll try a pate.

Remembering my recent trip to NYC where I sampled the most amazing fried chicken at  The Redhead, I was excited to repeat the treat or at least determine if the dish lived up to my Grandma’s recipe.  I would crown her the Queen of Peasant Cookery. 

Although the chicken underneath the crunchy coating was tender enough, I guess my standards were too high as something was off.  The chicken seemed to have been braised or boiled first to tenderize it whereas in my mind a marination works best.  The coating was over salted and also seemed to be overcooked.  And even though I did not finish my portion, the two little drumsticks and thighs did not warrant the price tag (in our humble opinion).  The coleslaw was just okay and the warm potato salad had way too much mustard for our liking.

BUT D’s pork chop was divine!  Well trimmed,  juicy, tender and perfectly cooked to medium.  The accompaniments too were well selected and prepared and lucky for me, D was prepared to share.  I sliced the left overs up for a sandwich the next day and it too was delicious.

So I wish WOW! Hospitality all the best with this concept and know that having peeked into the wine bar and loving the ambience, we will be back.

Peasant Cookery on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “A married couple who enjoy the pleasures of the table have, at least once a day, a pleasant oppurtunity to be together; for even those who do not sleep in the same bed (and there are may such) at least eat at the same table.”-Jean-Antheleme Brillat-Savarin

Let love be multiplied.

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