Browsing: Restaurant Features

Baraka Pita Bakery

October21

I have lived in Winnipeg all of my life and am still finding new little places that fascinate.  My husband and my son often chat about donairs from their backpack trip through Europe together.  I have never tasted a donair but understand that it is beef and veggies on a pita.  If it is made with chicken, does it become a shawarma?  I need to do some more research-yum…..

On the day that I visited Baraka Pita Bakery (1783 Main St.) pita pies and pita pockets were going in and out of the oven and there were a number of people sitting at tables waiting for their late lunch.  I was intrigued by a little pita packet displayed on a counter that was folded into a triangle.  When I inquired, I found out that it was a spinach fatire and the handsome gentleman behind the counter offered me one to taste.  I bought a dozen to have at home with soup or as an appetizer and this past Sunday proved to be the right time to test the taste with my family.  They loved the concept but found that the spinach was too lemony.  Perhaps next time we’ll try the beef fatires.  There looks to be falafel, dolmades and a  number of dips.  I am planning on shopping at Baraka again soon to have a bon voyage dinner for my husband who is off to Israel next month. 

Baraka Pita Bakery on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “On the subject of spinach: divide into little piles. Rearrange again into new piles. After five of six maneuvers, sit back and say you are full.”-Delia Ephron, ‘How To Eat Like A Child’

Stage Door Deli NYC

October15

Having lived across the street for many years from Oscar’s on Hargrave St. in Winnipeg, I can safely say that I know good deli.  By this I mean, dill pickles with the right balance of crunch/vinegar/garlic, fresh rye bread and just shaved meats.  The truth is, in recent years I’ve tried to avoid processed and cured meats.  But we literally stumbled upon the Stage Door on a shopping expedition to Century 21.  And when in New York, do as the New Yorkers do…..

Sister #2 and I split 2 selections-their Signature Reuben and ginormous Meatloaf served wrapped in aluminum foil, a bag of chips and of course-a pickle.  The sandwiches were socked with meat and were delightfully messy to eat.  On the salty side, but I’m not complaining as I sweated it out that day looking for designer bargains next door.

Something was so familiar about the storefront of the place and then I remembered…there was a photo taken on 9/11 of a clock on a street that recorded the time of the attacks.  St. Paul’s Chapel that became the temporary headquarters of the rescue mission is near by.  Imagine the heartache that the staff of the Stage Door have lived through?  Serving regulars day after day and then in a single moment-they are gone.

The decor is non-existent, the service a little curt, but the “old school” food a must have.  You will be walking into urban history, a proud tradition started in 1937.  Good on you Stage Door-the show must go on.

Stage Door Deli Iii on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quotes: “New York is a gothic Roquefort.”-Salvador Dali

Lingering Summer-Mise restaurant

October13

It is not unusual  in Manitoba to have snow that stays on the ground at Hallowe’en.  There are some years that we’ve had snow for Thanksgiving.  This year though, it is still summer on the prairies.  So when a couple of business friends suggested a Friday afternoon rendezvous at Mise on Corydon Ave., I was stoked to see if the patio might still be open.  Except for the wasp that landed in a glass of Malbec, it was a perfect way to kick start the Thanksgiving weekend.

Both my friends had dined at Mise previously so they already had thoughts about what to order.  I was tempted by the “Confederation Cove Mussels” but because I thought that it would be hard to top Inferno’s and 7 1/4’s “Moule & Frites”, I let my eyes wander further down the menu.  Food Musings readers know that I am crazy about both eggplant and artichokes so to haveboth in one pasta dish-bliss!  While we sat in the sun, a basket of chewy baguettes was served with sunflower oil (instead of the typical olive oil).

Lunch arrived.  The “Angel Hair Pasta with Grilled Vegetables, Roasted Red Peppers, Concasse Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Feta Cheese, Pickled Eggplant, Wilted Greens and Artichoke Hearts” was sublime. Salty from the olives and cheese, oily (in a good way), spicy (from the vegetable marinade I suspect) and smooth from the perfectly cooked pasta.  With such an explosion of tastes, I was content with the portion size which was generous for lunch but not excessive. 

I’m thankful for good friends, good food, fine wine and a lingering summer.

Mise on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “ Grilling is like sunbathing.  Everyone knows it is bad for you but no one ever stops doing it.”-Laurie Colwin

Ess-a Bagel NYC

October6

We were delighted to find this landmark on our second trip to New York.  The original location Ess-a Bagelat 1st and 21st  was a lovely destination for an early morning walk from our “home away from home” near Gramercy Park.

The decor has seen better days but was not even noticed by the line up of people ordering their “to go” items.  The couple of older gentlemen that were seated at the tables looked right at home.

On our first visit to what I call carb heaven,  I would have described the service as “curt” as the counter guy had so many people to take care of but on this occasion he was willing to have his photo taken (or maybe it was because I was with my sister-in-law and not my husband on this visit).  He shouts your order to another staff member who obediently counts and bags the confections.

Now bagels from home are pretty good especially with a smack of Winnipeg cream cheese and I’ve even had the wonderful good fortune to sample bagels in Jerusalem, but Ess-a bagels are another species.  They look like over inflated tires!  The are appropriately chewy on the outside requiring a real good tug to assist your teeth in tearing off a bite.  The inside is tender and yeasty-a perfect platform for the piece de resistance, the schmears: savoury cream cheese with herbs, garlic and spices and smoked fish of course.  And sweet offerings with cinnamon, nuts and  an endless array of fruit and berries.

These were our backyard breakfasts for our extra long New York weekend and the memory of them have me searching out seat sales once again.

Ess-a-Bagel on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote:  “the first printed mention of bagels…is to be found in the Community Regulations of Kracow, Poland, for the year 1610 which stated that bagels would be given as a gift to any woman in childbirth.”
‘The Joys of Yiddish’ by Leo Rosten

Inadvertent Quest

October5

For some reason unbeknown to me, I seem to be on a quest for Winnipeg’s best chicken finger. The primary criteria is that it is made with a real chicken tender or breast and that is a given with the list below.  I ‘ve sampled these in the last weeks:

Barney Gargles: see yesterday’s full review, I’m thinking I like fish in beer batter better than chicken

Confusion Corner: a healthy portion, stacked high and attached with a skewer, crunchy and not greasy

The Keg:  the ones we grew up on so we may be impartial.  But the recipe actually seems to have improved of late

Mitzi’s: an interesting breading and juicy lean meat but I missed out on the dipping sauce

My son declares that the ones made at the Bison Grill at U of M are the ones to beat.  They are made according to the 100 mile criteria and the breading is full of oats and other whole grains.

So what’s your preference? floured, cornmeal, bread crumbs, panko flakes or beer battered?

Is what’s inside as important as the coating?

Who has the best dipping sauce?

Where’s the biggest portion/best value?

I’ll compile the definitive list when I’ve heard from enough of you.

Kath’s quote:  “Once we sowed wild oats, now we cook them in the microwave.”-anonymous

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