Raw Almond-Two Worlds Collide

February12

Many of my media friends are members of Canadian Women in Communications and they recently staged a very special event.  Raw Almond is the world famous* pop up restaurant on the frozen Assiniboine River near the famous junction of the Red.  *I say world famous because originator Mandel Hitzer announced when we were there, that a Swiss media outlet declared Raw Almond one of the top ten things to do in the world!

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Somehow organizers Morgan and Sara Comrie were able to convince Mandel to open the tented venue for a special lunch.  Mandel has not only been working tirelessly to operate the unique temporary restaurant for 21 days in total (the last evening is this coming Thursday evening) but he is also sleeping in a tent on the river to raise funds for three charities near and dear to his heart.  And what a huge heart he has-passionate about the local culinary scene, passionate about Winnipeg and Manitoba and passionate about its hardy citizens especially those with disabilities and others facing social hurdles.

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As we found our fur covered stools fashioned from tree stumps, freshly baked bread arrived at our tables, tipped out of brown paper bags. I sampled both the whole wheat baguette and the rustic raisin loaf.  The parade of dishes arrived family style and first up was one that I had enjoyed previously at Deer + Almond.

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Mandel has deconstructed and then reconstructed a traditional Caesar salad, and the result is a sparkling platter of lacy kale with slices of green apple, shards of parmesan cheese and a dressing with heady tastes of caper and anchovy.

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While we were munching away, and feeling so healthy doing so, pork and apple sausages with pungent mustard arrived.  They were lean and clean tasting with a minimum of salt.

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I would love to nab a kilo of them for my freezer.

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Shimmering beets and huge scoops of sheep milk cheese as white as the glistening snow which surrounded us, were perched upon a bed of grilled rapini which came along as a prelude to the main event: Whole chickens that had been stuffed with rosemary and sage leaves under the skin.

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Savoury notes were guaranteed by lemons, whole bulbs of garlic and huge cuts of onion that were wedged in the cavity of the birds.  Each roasted fowl was surrounded by purple, white and yellow potatoes, roasted whole with their skins on.  In spite of our robust outdoor appetites, we could not manage to eat all the offerings that had been laden upon the table.

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As delightful as our meal had been, the best part of the day was still to come as the guest speaker rose from his place at our table to share in his famous adventure.  I am referring to Tim Sr., half of the father and son duo who won Canada’s first Amazing Race in the summer of 2013.  I took away two key messages from Tim’s eloquent tale: “Cease striving” is a moto familiar and comfortable with me from Psalm 46.  The message is tattooed across Tim Jr.’s back and was their wake up call about half way through the race.  Secondly, was the importance of perseverance as it related to the race last summer and to Tim’s battle with Parkinson’s disease.  It was this message that spoke to me the loudest and made me so very proud.  I am not surprized that Tim and his son won this coveted honour and that is because he is from Winnipeg and when you are from the frozen prairies, you know what adversity is all about.  But Tim Sr. and everyone who calls themselves a Winnipegger is triumphant.  We not only survive in a climate that on some days is colder than Mars; we thrive and laugh at winter by dining on a frozen river!

Kath’s quote: When the world says, “Give up,” Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”~Author Unknown

BeFunky_snow heart

Love-that is all.

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posted under Food Celebrations
6 Comments to

“Raw Almond-Two Worlds Collide”

  1. Avatar February 12th, 2014 at 1:10 pm Morgan Comrie Says:

    Kathyrne, Thank you so much for capturing the lunch in such beautiful language. I am very happy that you were able to attend, and that you took so much away from it. Big hugs, Morgan Comrie


  2. Avatar February 12th, 2014 at 1:17 pm Kathryne Says:

    My pleasure Morgan. Thanks so much for putting it all together.


  3. Avatar February 12th, 2014 at 1:17 pm Sara Comrie Says:

    We were so honored to have you join us, Kathryne! Thank-you for this beautiful post and for capturing the sentiments of the afternoon so perfectly.
    Sara


  4. Avatar February 12th, 2014 at 1:19 pm Kathryne Says:

    As I just said to Morgan: It was my pleasure but thank you for organizing it.


  5. Avatar February 12th, 2014 at 5:41 pm Elizabeth Mitchell Says:

    You really captured the food and fun of the afternoon. it was a wonderful event. I hope we get to do this again next year.


  6. Avatar February 13th, 2014 at 7:38 am Kathryne Says:

    Too bad we sat at opposite ends of the table. Have to plan another lunch…


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