Browsing: Restaurant Features

Little Goat Food & Drink, Winnipeg

November28

A group of wonderful women who do the same vocational training work that I do have also become my good friends. We didn’t want to leave our Christmas lunch until December when we are all so busy with festivities and have a tendency (or at least I do) to get “lunched” out. That is why a recent get together was just the thing. I was appointed to pick a spot and I have been wanting an excuse to visit the Little Goat on west Portage Ave.

Our server Milaine with her gorgeous green eyes and delightful demeanor made us feel right at home. When I couldn’t determine what I was going to order, she helped me out by suggesting her favourites-a small dish of Mac & Cheese with a Verger salad.

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Tucking into the roasted pears, candied pecans and crumbled goat cheese (Milaine’s suggestion when she heard that I didn’t love Blue Cheese), I would trust her advice at any time.

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My lunch mates all started with cups of the soup of the day- a yellow squash and wild rice concoction that was divine.

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I had been tempted by the French Fried Chicken and was so relieved when someone at the table ordered it so that I could taste and photograph it. The dish was petite but rich and satisfying and the little drizzle of balsamic vinegar added just a dash of acid so that every subtle ingredient was enhanced.

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Restaurant owner and Chef Alex puts out a new Tartine (open faced sandwich) each and every day. On this day it started with wild rice topped with a mixture of garlicky kale and quinoa, a beautifully poached egg and a lemon sauce on top of it all. The portion was enormous and not a surprise when more than half of it was boxed up for later.

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Another friend loved her French salad and I was more than content with my French Onion Soup bowl full of Mac & Cheese. The luxurious sauce of gruyere and mozzarella, crowned with grated old cheddar and toasted bread crumbs was scrumptious and just my cuppa tea.

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I had decided to order Melaine’s favourite dessert-bundt cake with apple slices, caramel, nuts and whipped cream.

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I thought that I could share it with my lunch mates but they ordered their own desserts. An enormous bowl came with not one but two wedges of bundt cake and we truly could have shared it four ways. Even though my mates obliged me with bites I was left to devour the rest on my own. And I did, savouring each and every gooey bite.

Kath’s quote: “There will always be ladies who lunch. Always. And apparently they live a long time”.-Elaine Stritch

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Love never fails.

Clementine, Winnipeg 2018

October15

Down the stairs of a former Princess St. warehouse sits one of Winnipeg’s shining stars. Clementine is open for breakfast and lunch and for every one of the numerous times I have visited, it has been packed. On weekends you have to be particularly patient. It has always been well worth the wait. The morning I was at Clementine recently, two owners of other successful Winnipeg restaurants were noshing there as well.

I was accompanied by a friend from Toronto. He had a bit of a tough time deciding on his order as he thought everything looked amazing. When he indicated that he was torn between the Turkish Eggs and the Fried Chicken on Toast, I jumped in and suggested that we get both to share.

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One of the perfectly cooked poached eggs of the Turkish dish was topped with a glistening tablespoon of zhoug. The Middle Eastern sauce was made from green chilies, garlic and cilantro resembling a pesto. Both eggs were cradled by a silky hummus and served with a side of sour dough toast. The dish was spicy perfection.

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If you enjoy crispy but greaseless fried chicken, you will love Clementine’s version. The chicken crackles as you cut into it and was perfectly offset by the chipotle crema, pickled red onions and spicy sambal syrup.

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My lunch mate didn’t entirely eat his half of the chicken. I was tempted to do so as well as finish off the Baby Red Potatoes with honey and lemon aioli. In fact I could eat an order of those potatoes myself with nothing else!  I love Clementine’s potatoes.

The dishes were a little tricky to divide up but when you are sharing with a good friend, it really doesn’t matter, does it?

Kath’s quote: “I have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them.”-Nora Ephron

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Love never fails.

 

 

Sushi Ya, Winnipeg 2018

October11

Recently a friend texted me suggesting that we meet up for sushi at a restaurant on Corydon that she had forgotten the name of. When I responded “Sushi Ya”, she thought that I was exuberant about her food choice but in fact I was telling her the name of the restaurant! Kind of like the “who’s on first” routine by Abbot and Costello…

Our family have long been fans of this cheap and cheerful sushi spot. Typically when noshing on sushi we each order a roll or two to share all around. Our favourites have been the Winnipeg Dream Roll and any other roll that comes with “crunch”, that is toasted panko flakes. Their Vegetable Tempura Platter was another hit with us. One of my lunch mates was a regular customer and the owner kept sending complimentary treats over to our table.

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On this day, three of us chose our own lunch boxes. These are often called Bento Boxes. The selection included a sushi or tempura box as well as a number of teriyaki choices. The latter struck my fancy and I enjoyed teriyaki shrimp with California roll, gyoza (dumplings), salad and rice. The $12.95 price was great value and I didn’t feel like I had to have a nap after lunch. My lunch mates enjoyed their teriyaki boxes as well.

Kath’s quote: “I’ve sat in sushi bars, really fine ones, and I know how hard this guy worked, how proud he is. I know you don’t need sauce. I know he doesn’t even want you to pour sauce. And I’ve seen customers come in and do that, and I’ve seen him, as stoic as he tries to remain, I’ve seen him die a little inside”-Anthony Bourdain

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Love never fails.

Benjamin’s Traverse Bay Corner, Manitoba

September26

We have two restaurants almost equidistant from us when we are at the beach house. This past summer has been an unusual one. I have been so pleased with our reno and expanded kitchen space that I did not eat a meal outside of our place. That is not entirely correct, as I did dine with siblings at their homes. Although I visited Benjamin’s Bistro just as they opened, I had not sampled their fare until this past weekend.

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I was with one of my Besties and had purchased supplies for French Toast but while visiting good friends who live permanently at Lester Beach we were encourage to give Benjamin’s a try.

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We had spent a leisurely morning, sipping tea and coffee around the fire place to keep warm when all of a sudden the power went out.

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Candles were already lit.

This typically happens during a windy storm but we could not discover any reason for this outage. Without skipping a beat, we changed our plans to head to Traverse Bay corner.

The improvements to the space create a positive first impression. The grungy carpet had been torn out and replaced with an attractive laminate. The walls were no longer full of ding marks from people pulling their chairs in and out. The addition of white trim made the space look contemporary and fresh.

The menu retained a couple of my favourites like the pickerel but there were a whole lot of new options too. I wanted to order a sandwich to ensure that I could sample the side of hand cut French fries. We saw the Breakfast Skillet and Traditional Breakfast go by to other tables and the laden plates looked delicious and great value.

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My Denver was plump with meat and green onions and I dunked it liberally into ketchup as I enjoy at home. But the fries, oohh the fries, were my favourite part of our brunch. They were appropriately crispy and limp at the same time, just the way I like them. Only a splash of vinegar and a glistening of salt is needed for a quality fry, and these certainly made the mark.

Speaking of chips and vinegar, my Bestie is from Great Britain and so was Benjamin. In fact, so were our friends who recommended we stop in! This necessitated the discussion about football (so called there but not to be confused with North American football), favourite teams and recent scores.

When extended our time out and about with visits to the Lakehouse and Carol’s on Leon but when we arrived back at the beach house, the power was still out. It did not stop us from continuing our conversation where we left off and snuggling up in front of the fire.

Kath’s quote: