Bermax Cafe and Bistro

December4

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One of my favourite cookbooks is “Jerusalem”. The book is as much an intriguing story about the people who dwell together in the ancient city as it is a catalogue of excellent recipes. The book is where I first came to know the egg and tomato sauce dish known as Shakshuka. The authors of “Jerusalem” state that the dish is actually Tunisian in origin.

I first tasted the dish prepared by a French trained, Italian chef in a little café called “The Fat Hen” in Seattle. I have also enjoyed it at a couple of spots in Winnipeg. The Bermax Café and Bistro is a kosher Italian Café that does a very good job with their version of Shakshuka.

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I would have preferred my egg to have been slightly less firm so that I could have allowed the piping hot sauce to finish cooking the egg. This is not a complaint as the tomato sauce was out of this world with the unusual inclusion a smoky paprika and cumin. I plan on returning so that I can enjoy that sauce on a pasta dish.

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My breakfast date chose a pineapple pancake when her request of a granola pancake was not available. Sweet chunks of pineapple were mixed into the batter as well as being served on top of the pancake. The cake also came garnished with cottage cheese. Was the dish a breakfast or a decadent dessert? At home we often enjoy pancakes with a generous scoop of cottage cheese, sliced bananas and maple syrup. My family has inherited my sweet and salty addiction!

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I am actually surprised that I have resisted Bermax for as long as I have. The bistro is walking distance from my home and all my favourite foods are contained on one menu: black truffle, eggplant, artichokes, gnocchi and pizza. They even have a Shakshuka pizza!

The Bermax Caffe + Bistro is located at 1800 Corydon Ave. They have an extensive all day breakfast, lunch and dinner menu available. They are open Monday- Thursday 8 am until 9 pm. They close at 3 pm on Friday and are closed Saturday. The are open Sundays from 9 am until 9:00 pm and are wheelchair accessible.

Kath’s quote: With reference to shakshuka- “It sounds like the name of a comic book hero. Or some kind of fierce, long-forgotten martial art. Or perhaps something that said comic book hero would yell as they practiced this elaborate martial art, mid-leap with their fist in the air“.-Smitten Kitchen

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Isla Mujeres Trip Report-Day 9

November28

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We love so many things about staying on the airport strip. But the best part is being excited to get up with the sun, make our coffee and then just sit there.

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We had established our Luna d’ Miel routine of D walking into town for his second coffee, newspaper, tortas, fruit and juice. This is when I would typically go shelling & sea glass hunting. At that point I had almost a full bag of alga marine, my favourite sea glass colour. D also checked in on daughter Boo as she was still ill the previous evening.

We also love that the Luna d’ Miel unit that we stay in, has a fairly well equipped kitchen (including an electric frying pan that we had taken down years prior). Taking full advantage, we stayed in for a fabulous breakfast of Isla ham and eggs.

I spent the day I and out of the sun, It was cool in the shade (almost too cool) and hot in the sun (almost too hot). D finished his book and we took turns in the hammock. I felt sleepy all day and tried to rest. We snacked and nibbled the day away. Daughter Boo and the Frenchman had our golf cart for the day. We loved going back and forth to pick them up and drop them off.

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At 6 pm we were at K & M’s hotel to pick up their excess supplies. So far we have done so with most of the people who have departed. We will consume a bit of it and find an unsuspecting local to pass the rest off to.

Had a lovely Happy Hour at Jan & Bruce’s. They are in the old Glady’s apartments that we stayed over New Year’s years ago. We walked the crazy ladder to the roof.

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Dinner was at Bertha’s (link here) & Sister #2 and her husband joined the four of us.

We stopped at J and B’s to pick up more supplies and ended the evening with a glass of wine under the stars. We were the only inhabitants at Luna d’ Miel that night.

Kath’s quote: “While sleeping in a hammock, with the touch of a warm wind we remember why we are in love with the life!” -Mehmet Murat ildan

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The Harth, Mozza and Wine Bar

November20

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We were checking out a newly opened The Harth, Mozza & Wine Bar in the south end of the city. The dining room was so elegant, I could not believe we were in a strip mall. The best part (next to the food which was exceptional) was the story that our server told us about Tony. Tony once owned and operated his own hair salon, but sold it and retired a couple of years ago. Since he liked working so much, he is making himself useful at Harth. In fact I would say his efforts were instrumental as he handmade all of the fresh pasta and cured all the meats served in the restaurant. He also chopped all the wood for the giant pizza oven that dominates the front of the kitchen. The day we were there for lunch, he was doing dishes. “Why?” we asked our server. “Because the dishes needed doing” he replied. We wondered if Tony cut hair in the kitchen too.

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The secret to Italian food, as I have been told while travelling through Italy, are the ingredients. The Radditorie pasta, so named because the shape resembles a radiator, was simply tossed with exceptional ingredients-eggplant, heavenly tomatoes, surprising mint and ricotta salata. The latter being a fresh ricotta that is pressed and dried. The pasta was so delicious that I wished that the petite portion was a wee bit more substantial.

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My lunch mate had a difficult time deciding which Neapolitan pizza to sample. In the end she chose the Prosciutto which was also adorned with caramelized onion, gorgonzola, arugula and fior di latte. The latter literally means “milk’s flower” and distinguishes fresh mozzarella from cow’s milk rather than the traditional buffalo milk. The reason why my lunch mate was hesitant was the base of fig jam on the pizza. She prefers savoury to sweet tastes but I thought that the sweetness from the jam was the perfect foil to the pungent gorgonzola and the peppery arugula.

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I could taste another ingredient in both the pasta and the pizza and that was “love”. Why would Tony come out of retirement to wash dishes, chop wood, cure meats and roll pasta? It could only be love.

The Harth Mozza and Wine Bar is located at 980 St. Anne’s Road. They are open from Tuesday-Friday 11:30-2 pm for lunch and Monday-Saturday 5-11 pm for dinner. They remain closed on Sundays. Lunch and dinner menus are available and they are wheelchair accessible.

Kath’s quote: “Everything you see I owe to pasta.”-Sophia Loren

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Love never fails.

 

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Duluth 2017

November14

There have been years when we have travelled to Europe in September/October. In the years that we have not, my husband gets itchy feet. He feels the need to get away in the fall even if it is for a long weekend. On Remembrance Day 2016 we “discovered” Duluth Minnesota, enjoyed ourselves so much, that we decided on an encore trip this past weekend.

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We were accompanied by our son-in-law (known in this space as the Frenchman) and our youngest daughter Boo.

Since Boo (and her brother) works in the local craft beer business, our family is very beer oriented. Along with the Frenchman’s objective of hitting up all of the trading companies, my wanting to get started on Christmas shopping and D and Boo wanting to check out as many tasting rooms and brew pubs as possible, we were in for a full weekend. What we did have consensus on, was that it was the last weekend of Restaurant Week for the Downtown Duluth Restaurants and we were determined to visit as many of these on that list too.

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We were delighted with our Air B n B, a two bedroom house perched high on Observation Hill in Duluth. We did have a tricky time finding it and accessed the home from a back lane that was not in the greatest shape. D and the Frenchman headed out for some breakfast supplies while Boo and I got ready for the evening. Once the fellas returned home we made the decision to let someone else do the driving.

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There was snow in the forecast and taking on the vertical streets was no easy fete even on bare concrete. Besides fare to downtown was only $10!

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I zoomed in on the drawbridge that is the symbol of the city from our bedroom window (hence the grid of the screen).

We started with some shopping in the Canal Park area and then scooched over for dinner at Bellisio Restaurant & Wine Bar.

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Since the majority of the weekend was to be devoted to beer, we decided to try Bellisio’s wine flights. D chose a Tuscan flight and I a Merlot one.

Last year the Downtown Restaurant offers included soup, salad and an entrée at Bellisio’s. This year it was limited to the entrée and a dessert.

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D chose the pan-fried pickerel (called walleye in Minnesota)

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and I the chicken pancetta which was lovely and light with a broth sauce.

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I had a taste of the delicious tiramisu but knew that it would put me over the top.

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We stopped first at the Hoops Brewery, but the service was lacking and no one ever greeted us or took our order so we meandered instead to the Canal Park Brewery. They had a restaurant license and the food being delivered to surrounding tables looked exceptional. There were some interesting beer tastes, particularly the IPAs which were very distinctive.

The next morning the guys walked down the hill to fetch Starbucks coffee. We could hear them when they arrived back as they were really huffing and puffing from the exertion of the vertical terrain.

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We split up to do more shopping on Saturday morning but reconvened at lunch time taking in another featured restaurant-Toasty’s. The restaurant space was kind of dark and not terribly inspiring but the food was terrific. We started with French onion soup made with one of the local beers and then moved onto cheesy BLTs.

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For dessert we enjoyed an interesting take on bread pudding.

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Bent Paddle was our afternoon destination. D had taking their beer tour the year prior. If recollected accurately, Bent Paddle was the brewery that kick started the craft beer industry in Duluth.  The rather large facility was absolutely packed on a Saturday afternoon with many tables playing board games. The number of craft breweries matched Winnipeg’s number but remember that Duluth is 1/10th the size of our fair city!

We took a breather over snacks at our Air B n B, deciding that a house instead of a hotel room was the way to go, especially at a time when you want to gather together. The living room was so comfortable and preferable to sitting on beds in a hotel.

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We had one last brewery to check out so we determined our supper destination based on walking distance to The Blacklist, as we were cabbing it again. The Black Water Lounge was dark and cozy but we thought that the servers wearing bustiers deserved a change in uniforms. The low lighting made photographs impossible. We were quite delighted with lobster bites, blue cheese stuffed shrimp and a huge filet of smoked salmon. These we complemented by signature martinis.

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The Blacklist is Duluth’s newest brewery and was also packed. Unfortunately the live band was not conducive to visiting, so we stayed long enough for another couple of flights and headed “home”. In spite of tasting some very distinctive beer, we concluded that Winnipeg’s local brews were just as fine, if not more so.

Back at the house, D watched the Phoenix vs Jets game and filled me in on the score in the morning. After another jaunt to Starbucks on foot, we completed another round of shopping.

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Since we were no longer downtown we were just looking for a spot with wholesome food. Grandma’s Saloon and Grill  on Miller Hill did the trick.

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D selected the chicken pot pie that was so huge, he requested a to go container and we finished it later in the car.

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I decided to get back to my regular eating habits and chose this chicken and wild rice salad (besides I knew that there would be kettle chips in the car for the journey home). D was able to catch the first 1/4 of the Vikings game on TV and then the rest of it on the radio in the car home. Duluth was such a distance though that we also had the time to listen to the Bomber play off game too. Calculating the tally of our favourite teams: Jets win, Vikings win and Bomber lost. Two out of three ain’t bad.

Kath’s quote: “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy“. -Benjamin Franklin

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

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Isla Mujeres 2017 Trip Report-Day 8

November8

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Our little ray of sunshine.

This was the day we moved from Centro to our “home”-Luna d’Miel.  J1 & J2, the little girls, Daughter #1, Lori and the rest of entourage departed that morning. Our sunshine had quite the melt down when they had to leave for the ferry. 

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We waved farewell and then packed up what was left in our hotel and waited for our golf cart to be delivered. We drove to Luna d’Miel to make sure we could check in, then drove back with our stuff, and were settled by 1 pm.

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As is always the case, we felt at “home” with D in his hammock and I to the surf and the beach.

We switched from hammock to chairs and back again. Later in the afternoon, we went to Chedrui for special potato chips and ate them with rum and colas for our Happy Hour in the front roadside chairs.

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We went down to Playa Sol with what was left of the gang for the last sunset before D & D (the newly married couple) departed for Tulum.

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Sister #2 and I walked to Amar (click on link to read all about our dinner) to ensure they could accommodate all of us. The place was very well appointed and as Dyl pointed out “it had a nice vibe”. When we arrived the place was not terribly busy but by the time we ordered, every table was occupied.

I did not record in my journal what we got up to after dinner but I suspect it was what we do every evening of our stay at Luna D’Miel. We sat together by the water and listened to the crashing waves, while reflecting on another day in paradise and how we were truly blessed to experience it.

Kath’s quote: “I’m always sad to leave paradise, but I leave behind the hopes of coming again soon”. -Irina Shayk

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Love never fails.

 

 

 

 

 

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