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Hu’s on First


Hu’s is a favourite of many of my favourite people and it had been all too long since my last visit.  It was also been too long since my last encounter with this particular and special friend.  So this became a perfect time over lunch in the best ways.

We started with crab rangoon which I couldn’t assess from the menu description but turned out to be a kind of spring roll.  They were recommended by the waiter and okay.

He made up for the mediocre choice with his Chicken Pad Thai suggestion which we thought was outstanding.  We continued to take one “last” scoop way after we were full.  Kinda like the eating peanuts I guess and that presents the perfect segue.

Also suggested was the peanut crusted Pickerel.  My readers know that pickerel is my favourite fish and this recipe was outstanding.  The fillet was substantial and held up well to the powerful tastes.  The fish was laid upon a bed of edamame and string beans-also lovely.

The place was bustling when we arrived at 12:30 but had thinned out by the time we left.  So if you are looking for a quieter lunch, wait until the noon lunch crowd heads back to work.  I would call the decor “upscale” for an Asian experience as I am accustomed to the more Mom and Pop local restaurants.

Hu's On First on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “Am I alone in thinking it odd that a people ingenious enough to invent paper, gunpowder, kites and any number of other useful objects, and who have a noble history extending back 3,000 years haven’t yet worked out that a pair of knitting needles is no way to capture food?”-Bill Bryson

Let Love be multiplied.

Soup’s On


 In case you missed my column in the fall edition of Dish Magazine, here it is for your reading pleasure.

We call it “soup” weather when the sun sets earlier and the evenings are cooler.  Our meal planning naturally transforms with the colours of the leaves from salads and grilled items to savoury soups. 

Bernstein’s Deli has a huge selection of frozen soups that have been made for their restaurant patrons -10 varieties on the day that I was shopping.  The Chicken Noodle was just like Momma used to make.  For a special treat, I’ll stop at the Little Saigon Restaurant and order their Deluxe Beef Rice Noodle Pho (soup) which comes in two very heavy containers-one holding the mound of noodles, crisp bean sprouts and thinly sliced beef and the other, the rich dark broth with spring onions floating on top.  A trusted foodie has also recommended the rare beef soup at Binh An on Main St. (she swears it has healing powers).

I often choose soup for lunch and love the magenta coloured beet borsht at Alycia’s, the hearty pasta soups at De Luca’s, or the brandy flavoured French Onion soup at the Keg with the gobs of cheese crusted on top. 

A Chef’s skills are very apparent by the soups they serve.  I commend the stock makers at Bread and Circuses Bakery, The Fyxx, Dandelion Eatery and Prairie Ink.  Special accolades go to the Tallest Poppy where their daily, from scratch soups focus on local and seasonal ingredients.  A Facebook friend also praised the Pernod Chowder at Fude.

For supper soups the Lobster Bisque at the Promenade Bistro takes top stars as well as Spicy Peanut Soup at Saucers and the Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup) at Magic Thailand Restuarnt, Sukhotai and Sawatdee Thai Restaurants (I can’t decide which one I like the best).

Kath’s quote: “Do you have a kinder, more adaptable friend in the food world than soup? Who soothes you when you are ill? Who refuses to leave you when you are impoverished and stretches its resources to give a hearty sustenance and cheer? Who warms you in the winter and cools you in the summer? Yet who also is capable of doing honor to your richest table and impressing your most demanding guests? Soup does its loyal best, no matter what undignified conditions are imposed upon it. You don’t catch steak hanging around when you’re poor and sick, do you?”-Judith Martin

Let love be multiplied.

A Stroll to Saucers


There are very few times that we celebrate Halloween without snow and if the ground is bare it is typically a grey and chilly time.  Yesterday though it was still warm enough to get us out the door for an after work stroll.  The trees are bare but the grass is still green and lots of neighbours out enjoying the time as well. 

D has wanted me to try the many varieties of loose tea that are not being served at Saucers and so we ended up stopping in.  We choose a Rooibos called “The Academy Road” and a white tea which was a delicious blend of lemon and basil.    They are served from these neat little individual pots so that you can watch the steeping process take place and then have the tea effortlessly stream down into the pot (a far cry from most restaurant tea pots where I almost always splash, drip or spill).

I sampled the Chicken Thai Salad and loved the combination of noodles and crispy greens.  Two things made it exceptional-the whole peanut topping and what we were guessing was a homemade peanut dressing.

D enjoys their homemade soups and was delighted as usual with his potato and bacon choice.  He also ordered the Bruschetta which was topped with grilled vegetables, provolone cheese and a drizzle of balsamic.  Perfect ingredients to celebrate the local harvest.

We noticed a couple of families having a quick dinner together and a larger group of girls celebrating a birthday.  River Heights is very fortunate to have a number of restaurants within walking distance and Saucers epitomizes what a neighbourhood cafe is all about. 

Saucers on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “The morning cup of coffee has an exhilaration about it which the cheering influence of the afternoon or evening cup of tea cannot be expected to reproduce.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes

Let love be multiplied.

and the Winner is…..


I was treated to a lovely and unexpected lunch last Thursday at the Garry St. Keg and together with my recent tastings of their chicken fingers at the McGillivray Keg for a light supper before the theatre, I’m prepared to declare the Keg the city’s best chicken fingers (imho).

I will be honest and say that I never did get to my son’s suggestion of the cafe at U of M to taste theirs.  But I did put them up against Confusion Corner (which I would give a honourable mention to), Lisis’s on Main St., Barney Gargles in Selkirk and Mitzi’s downtown and hearing no other nominations, the case is closed. 

My personal criteria is the combination of a crunchy coating and tender white meat inside.  They cannot be too heavily ladened and the coating has to have a taste of its own.  In addition, the dipping sauce is an important and the ability for the morsel to grab and hold onto the sauce is also to be considered.  Since the Keg’s chicken finger is kind of “lumpy” it provides lots of additional surface for sauce adherence.  Their honey dill combined with the seasoning of the coating satisfies my personal favourite taste combination of sweet and salty. 

So with this I conclude my two summer quests, this one and the Grand Beach area’s best French Fry-  the winner being the French creperie at Albert Beach.  Bring on winter….. 

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

Let love be multiplied.

The Food Studio


If you are looking for a unique Christmas party location this year or a place to host a corporate event, The Food Studio on Roblin Blvd is the perfect solution.  Upon arrival, you feel as if you are being invited into the main floor of someones home.  You are greeted with a glass of wine or specialty cocktail and there were three appetizers already set out for tastes.  I understand that the preparation of the guacamole, tempera asparagus and mushroom bruscetta were demonstrated by the Chef for the early birds.

That is what is unique about this culinary experience-you are encouraged to participate in a number of aspects of food preparations for the evening…..caramelizing the apple slices for the soup garnish or cutting the cucumber strips on a mandolin for the salad.  Or you can sit back and watch all the kitchen flurry occur around you and pick up a few tips on the way…how to make a disposable piping bag, the secrets to cooking a stuffed roast,  taking the mystery out of crème brulée and seeing where to cut a cucumber strip to make a cup on the plate for the roasted vegetable salad.   I always gravitate to the kitchen at a dinner party anyway and this is exactly what it feels like.

At one point, we were encouraged to find our designated seat in their dining/sun room and dinner was served.  A creamy soup of squash (and we thought -potato) garnished with the carmelized apple and a squiggle of cream.

Next came the roasted vegetable salad and then the roast pork loin with a cranberry bread stuffing and simply steamed local vegetables.  The crème brulées arrived with chocolate biscotti.  The perfect ending to a perfect evening celebrating new friends and the bounties of the harvest.

Chef Peter Ecker made it all look so easy but fun at the same time.  I recognized his badges that I am guessing would mean he is on the Manitoban and Canadian Culinary team.  We were in very good hands.

Kath’s quote:  “Anybody can make you enjoy the first bite of a dish, but only a real chef can make you enjoy the last.”-Francois Minot

Let love be multiplied.

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