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Winnipeg Restaurants


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I think that Steven's reference to Manitoba beef was based upon a visit to Fusion Grill, where they are steadfast proponents of using local produce. They use beef from grass-fed cattle produced near Stonewall, Manitoba, I believe. Having experienced it several times at Fusion, I can vouch for its tastiness and tenderness. Beyond that, I'm not aware of any special "programs" such as Cargill's Alberta "Prime" program, which supplies the Winnipeg steak house, "529". Manitobans seem to be reasonably parochial about consuming their own products. If offered a choice between Manitoba beef and Alberta beef, with quality being essentially equal, I believe that most Manitobans would choose local. It's interesting that there's a quiet, but active, bison production business in Manitoba, as well. I purchased bison tenderloin at an outdoor market this summer that was absolutely stunning in quality. Not cheap, but a wonderful alternative to beef. By the way, there are also a few Manitoba lamb producers that do a great job - I buy Manitoba lamb regularly from DeLuca's market on Portage Avenue. Those in-the-know will phone ahead to butcher Felice and have him debone and marinate a leg of lamb a couple of days in advance. His "secret" marinade is absolutely amazing...roasted properly to medium-rare, you can't stop eating this...piece after piece after piece after piece...

Bon appetit!

's'about the wine...or the food, no - the wine...maybe the food...definitely the wine...but it has to be the food...oh, stop whining! Aarrghh!!!

Winefellow - Proprietor, Kenaston Wine Market. Winnipeg, Canada

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Steve, that is correct. Very difficult to find that brand and grade of beef, indeed. Apparently it represents only a tiny part of Cargill's production. We are fortunate to be able to experience this product at Wow! Hospitality Corporation's "529" Steakhouse here in Winnipeg. I think there is another restaurant somewhere in eastern Canada that uses it as well. Perhaps some of the other contributors know just where that might be. Cheers and Happy Thanksgiving.

's'about the wine...or the food, no - the wine...maybe the food...definitely the wine...but it has to be the food...oh, stop whining! Aarrghh!!!

Winefellow - Proprietor, Kenaston Wine Market. Winnipeg, Canada

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  • 2 months later...
Last I heard, Rolf was working somewhere out of town--Garson, Manitoba. It might be at a golf course/country club, but my memory is hazy.

Just a follow-up on Rolf Hagen...

We drove out to Garson, MB to eat at the Harvest Moon Cafe. It's roughly an hour from my end of the city (we're south, Garson is north-east). A friend was convinced it was the place Rolf was now at. HMC is a tiny little restaurant attached to a convenience store. It looks very pedestrian--not really even like a quaint country cafe. Basic chairs, basic tables, no real decor to speak of though there was an intereseting mural painted on one wall. I peeked into the kitchen and saw the chef who looked nothing like Rolf Hagen. Turns out the owner/chef used to be the chef at Cafe Carlos and La Scala, and is not Rolf Hagen at all. So, still no clues as to what happened to him.

About our meal...I had the eggs benedict, hoping for something similar to the EB served at Al's in Minneapolis. The english muffin was a bit tough (or maybe my knife was quite dull), the back bacon was quite small, and I like my poached eggs to be a little less cooked--I like the yolks to be a bit runny, but these were quite solid. The hollandaise sauce could have had more flavour, and the hash browns were sparse and chunky (I prefer shredded). I'm not saying the eggs benedict was bad, but it was average. I should say, however, that I think Al's has spoiled me and I will never ever be satisfied with any other eggs benedict. Or any other breakfast, for that matter :sad: . Our friend had the spinach and feta omelet. She liked it, but the eggs were not light or fluffy, as I expect them to be in an omelet. My mother had the garlic sausage, which came with hash browns, eggs, and toast. The garlic sausage was the highlight of the meal, I think. It was not hard as garlic sausage can sometimes be, and there was a perfect amount of garlic in it. The seven-grain (whole grain?) toast was also very good, but it turns out the bread was from Gunn's, not homemade as we had thought. We had Belgian chocolate mousse pie for dessert. It was really just a French Silk pie, but I liked it.

Despite the mix-up about the chef, we enjoyed our breakfast but don't think we'll be driving out there again. While the food was fine, it wasn't spectacular enough for an almost 1 hour drive (one way). The prices were very reasonable, however. My eggs benedict was only 6.95, as was the omelet and the garlic sausage was only 5.95. If I happened to be in the area (not likely) I would eat there again, but I would not make a special trip out there--not for breakfast, anyway. I don't know what their dinners are like (saw someone else's sandwich, though, and it looked quite good).

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  • 3 months later...

I am going to be in Winnipeg for a couple of nights and the better part of two days in early July (awaiting a fly in fishing deal my boys and my brothers have concocted) and will be looking for a decent meal or two. Any thoughts or related smart ass comments (either will be o.k.-there's plenty of time to sort the two out :wink::laugh: )?

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Oh Brooks, I'm having a hard time picturing you on the banks of the Red and the Assiniboine --that's about as far from NO as I can imagine on this continent. Have a wonderful time. I know there are Manitobans out here who can give you the skinnyand I promise to quiz my neighbours, whose son went to the University of Manitoba, and hopefully return with something reputable. (If this is your first visit to Canada, you have to stop into a Tim Hortons, kind of the Canadian version of Waffle House)

Let's hear it from the Peg.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I was in Winnipeg about 4 or 6 years ago. Middle of winter. You're chosing a far more intelligent time for a visit. There's a haze of time to these recs so consider them in that light.

My favorite spot was a hamburger greasy spoon. I don't remember the name. I do remember great burgers - and that there seating is across the street in an art galery. You can either order at the hamburger place (no seats) and haul it across or, if things aren't too busy someone at the gallery will take your order and pick it up for you. It's been there for years; someone should be able to point you too it.

There is a marketplace called the Forks. Sort of a farmers market. I remember amassing an interesting lunch there and listening to some live bluegrass music as I ate.

If you collect grand hotels, stay at the Fort Garry. It's been there since 1913 and is nicely restored. Started out as one of the railroad hotels.

If you're staying downtown - that area is quite walkable.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Well, maybe I should cook for the Manitobans. Perhaps I could set up in the Farmers Market and serve Walleye Courtboullion over spicy rice to passersby and entertain them with tales of the Southland. I could use my best Justin Wilson accent, yell bam! alot, and tell Boudreaux and Comeaux jokes. It might be fun (for me anyway). :laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Eats in "the 'peg"...

It can be slim pickins.

There is a restaurant around the corner (behind) the Fairmont hotel in the downtown area. It's pretty good. Also, if you're interested in Indian - there is a year old Indian restaurant also in the downtown area. They serve a buffet at lunch and order off the menu for dinner. Sorry I can't recall the names of these places, but it's been a year since I was in "Winterpeg".

BTW- you may want to reconsider the Fort Garry. Sure, it's been around a while, but I wouldn't recommend staying there - a little on the sketchy side.

Debbie S. aka "ozgirl"

Squirrel: "Darn nuts! How I long for a grapefruit." - Eddie Izzard

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  • 2 weeks later...

Somewhere in this board is another discussion on Winnipeg food but for now, let me suggest:

Siam Thai Cuisine--on St. Anne's near St. Vital Centre. Food quality depends on who is cooking (if it is Samloy, the owner, it'll be great. If it's her sister, less so). My favourites--choochee pla, pla dook foo (which they took off the menu but will still make for me if given enough of a warning), pad phet, golden cups (small serving, but very yummy!). I would stay away from the satay.

North Garden--by the University of Manitoba--for Chinese. If you can order off the Chinese menu, to for it. I like the steamed fish with ginger and scallions (except there are a lot of bones).

Dim Sum Garden--for the steamed chicken with ginger and scallions. When I tried to get it at North Garden, they gave me boneless chicken that they had steamed with the soy sauce/oil mixture. Dim Sum Garden does it right (except I haven't had it there in a very long time, so my ideas may have changed).

For Dim Sum: Last time I went to Kum Koon. It was better than my first post-renovation visit there. Some things are better at Dim Sum Garden, but Kum Koon Garden does har gau and sui mai better. During weekdays+Saturday, Dim Sum Garden has a $1.90/dish special after 2 pm. It's a good deal on Saturdays when they have a full dim sum selection.

A new Moroccan place just opened on St. Anne's--a bit farther south than Siam. My mother said it was OK. The people are very friendly, but since the place has just opened very recently, there are some kinks to work out. Some food was very good (she had a dish similar to foul mudammes that was excellent, she said), but some was a bit tasteless (like the beef tagine). Hopefully they'll experiment a bit more with the flavours before they start getting busy.

In the same strip mall as North Garden is a Bosnian restaurant. I can't remember the name off-hand, but they make (or at least used to) their own phyllo dough for their pastries.

If you're into Ukrainian food, there's always Alycia's. I think it's over-rated and over-priced, but Winnipegers love the place.

Gunn's Bakery--go there for the Apple Jacks. And the florentine cookies. Just a regular bakery with no seating, so everything is to go. You might like their bagels, too.

Oh, Tre Visi if you're looking for something a little more upscale (Winnipeg generally does not do upscale very well). I love their gnocchi--light as gnocchi could be. Stay away from Amici's gnocchi. Heavy as rocks. (But Amici and it's younger sister, Bombolini's, does other things well).

I'm sure I'm missing things. As for hotels, there are no nice hotels in Winnipeg. Even the "nice" ones have a bit of a divey feel to them. Some downtown areas are quite...unfriendly...especially during the summer when the drunks hang out pestering people. Fort Garry, imo, is a relatively safe bet. I like their Sunday brunch. But if you don't care about the appearance of posh, there are plenty of cheap hotel/motel type places that are newer than some of the "posh" hotels, and so don't seem quite so divey. They're usually away from downtown, though, so you'd be taking the bus or taxi. Places in Winnipeg are relatively close (maybe takes only 20-30 minutes to get from one end of the city to the other when there's no traffic) so taking the bus is really not such a bad thing.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I forgot....go to Bistro Dansk and have a slice of hazelnut pie. I love their hazelnut pie. It's almost pure hazelnut, except for the large amount of freshly whipped (aerated) cream on top. Mmmm. Their schnitzel is good, too, and I used to love their pate but the last couple of times I was there, it was not quite up to par. Others I know love their Borscht, and I think most of their soups are quite good. Oh, despite it's name, it's really more Bohemian than Danish, though they do have some Danish-style sandwiches and frikadeller (sp?).

I would stay away from the Indian restaurants downtown--they're not very good. Instead there's one in St. Boniface (just a leisurely walk away from downtown--if you're staying at the Fort Garry it's even closer) that is quite good. The owners are actually Pakistani. Very good selection of Indian snacks there--all homemade. I can't remember the name off-hand, though...I'll have to get back to you on that.

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Thanks so much! You have provided more than I had hoped for. We are only going to be there for a short while (a Friday night going and coming) so two dinners and two breakfasts. Posh is not us on this trip. My boys, my brothers, my Dad on a trip to get away from the phones and the computers. I can't wait. Thanks again.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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  • 1 month later...

OK- After packing up staples (don't ask-if Homeland Security goes through this box they are going to suspect an invasion of Cajun Terrorists armed with spices, rice, beans, tasso, andouille, and various other implements of culinary terror).

My question is this. Since I need to grocery shop in Winnipeg (as opposed to Kenora, home of Canada OutfittersBrown Bear Lake is us) I need to know how to shop for food in Winnipeg. Do I just head for the Megelomart, or are there some great food shops (particularly for cheese and meat-I won't be buying a bunch as I expect to be dining on Walleye Pie and Grilled Lake Trout-but we will be buying some)? Is there a Whole Food or equivelant.

Any interesting ethnic shopping? I might be able to pick up something fun to cook besides just meat and cheese. Help me out here. I don't need staples, I am looking for fun to cook and eat great quality stuff-money doesn't mean much on Boys Week in the Woods!

Can some of our Neighbors to the North help out a Southern Po Boy in need of good eats?

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Where are you staying, again?

There are probably more ethnic grocery stores than regular grocery stores. No Whole Foods sort of place, though. Winnipegers generally are not willing to pay Whole Foods-types of prices for anything (which is why Ralph Lauren opened their very first factory outlet in Winnipeg 20-ish years ago).

Dong Thai--A small Vietnamese/Chinese grocery store close to downtown. You could walk there from downtown though it would be a 20-ish minute walk. Address is 459 Notre Dame Avenue. They have a reasonable selection--sometimes they even have mangosteen there. They also have, oddly enough, a selection of Mexican canned goods--chipotle in adobo (adobe?), mole in jars, etc.

Deen's--just across the street from Dong Thai. It's a West/East Indian grocery store. Huge selection of beans and lentils that you can buy bulk. Cheap herbs and spices, too. I usually buy my atta there--they have teff, too, if you feel like making injera to go along with your fish :blink:

Gunn's--I can't remember if I mentioned Gunn's. It's a Winnipeg institution. Fabulous baked goods--I especially love their apple jacks (which you can also pick up at the airport at a much higher price) and their knishes. Their bagels get sent all over Canada as does their rye bread. It's in the North End in a bit of a scary area (at night, especially--wouldn't walk around alone there). The address is 247 Selkirk Avenue. It's very easy to get to from downtown--just drive north on Main Street and take a left onto Selkirk. It's a few blocks down. Probably about a 5+ minute drive from Portage and Main.

For cheese and meat, I would probably hit the Forks. That's where the Assiniboine and Red Rivers intersect and was once an important part of the fur trade (it's right near the Fort Garry Hotel if that's where you're staying--walking distance.) A large tourist area complete with retail stores was built there many years ago. They have a number of ethnic restaurants there--the Jamaican patties from the West Indian place are good and Tall Grass Prairie has the best whole wheat cinnamon buns, carrot cake, and whole grain bread in the city. There is also a small cheese store and small meat shop in the food area. A vegetable/fruit stand, as well. Not the cheapest, and perhaps not the best quality in the city, but it's at the very least acceptable and would be convenient. They also have concerts there if you have a free evening or are around on a Sat. or Sun. during the day.

If you don't care about convenience, I suppose you could try Stephan's and Andrews. It's Winnipeg's version of an upscale food store. Expensive, and in my opinion over-priced, but they've been in business for years so they can't be doing too bad. You can find them at 384 Academy Road.

I prefer La Grotta, though. It's at 1-1360 Taylor Avenue and they also have a smaller location (the original one) at 550 Sargent Avenue which is very close to downtown and which you could stop at on the way to Dong Thai and Deen's. The one on Taylor has an excellent selection of cheeses and meats (the one on Sargent does, as well, but it's a bit smaller), as well as olives and assorted antipasti. They also have a nice selection of wines and some reasonably priced take-out foods and cakes. I like their focaccia, too. If you're willing to drive a little out of the way, this is really the place I would go for meat and cheese. It's a bit expensive, but I think it's the best Italian market in the city, though others prefer...

DeLuca's at 950 Portage Avenue. They also have a good selection of meats and cheese, as well as all the other stuff La Grotta has. My beef with DeLuca's is that it never seems very clean, and I have found stuff on their shelves a year or two past the best before date. They were also once fined for selling regular vegetable oil as olive oil (at a jacked up price). Made me not trust them.

If you're in Winnipeg on a Saturday morning, try the St. Norbert's Farmer's market which is south on Pembina Highway. It's small--very small--and seems somewhat pitiful if you've every been to the Portland Farmer's Market or even the ones in MSP. But you can get fresh vegetables--even Chinese vegetables and free-range chicken, bison, etc. I love the sausage stand--I used to get a Farmer's Burger (it's a sausage patty) for breakfast every Saturday and load it up with their homemade sauerkraut. yum! And there's a guy who sells wonderful cookies--his lemon tarts are lovely but he usually only has them later in the summer.

Oh, for a larger and better stocked Chinese grocery, you could try Sun Wah in Chinatown. Another easy walk from downtown at 303 King Street. On your way there stop at Kum Koon Garden for dim sum if you're hungry. Or get some roast duck or crispy pork (or bbq if you like) from the Chinese butcher/deli located in the grocery store. Eat it in the car on your way to wherever you're going. I actually prefer their steamed (or poached?) chicken with ginger but it requires rice.

There's an Eastern European meat place that has wonderful spicy sausages--they looked like pepperoni sticks but weren't. We used to eat them in the car on the way home. I wish I could remember the name...I'll try to find out for you.

If you're interested in First Nation's stuff, Neechi Foods carries wild rice, bannock, and that sort of stuff. It's in a scary area of town, too, but it's a co-operative run by First Nation's people so I like to support it when I can. The address is 325 Dufferin Avenue. It's sort of on the way to Gunn's, too. Just off Main Street.

If you're not staying downtown, and you could let me know where you're staying, I might be able to point you to places closer to where you are.

Last thing...for regular groceries, you could always go to Safeway or Superstore (a larger, cheaper grocery store that also has clothing, books, etc.). There are plenty around the city.

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I forgot to mention...

If you're going to be on Sargent anyway, right at Sargent and Young coming from downtown, if you turn left onto Sargent it's about a block down) you'll find a small strip mall with an Ethiopian, Vietnamese, and Indian restaurant. The Indian restaurant is called Taste of India. It is far, far better than Ivory or East Indian Company (the two Indian places downtown that many Winnipegers rave about though they are mediocre at best). They have a buffet in the evenings--about $12 I think for dinner and maybe $8 if you go for lunch.

Then across the street (kitty corner) is a place called Asia City. They have a few tables but it's primarily a take-out place. You can pick up a couple of banh mi for maybe $1.5o or $2 each or get a 3-choice plate for only $5 to go (or eat in if you want). My favourite are the little tsukune-like meatballs on a stick. Slightly sweet and grilled. Only $1/stick. However, do not leave without getting one of the fresh fruit bubble teas. You don't even have to get the bubbles if you don't want them. But get a young coconut one or mango or lychee. The young coconut is amazingly rich and is not too sweet. It's my favourite. Avocado is another option--it's not as sweet, but you can also get pandan or durian if you prefer. The durian one really does stink, though, so I don't think you want to bring it along in the car if others in your party don't care for the smell.

OH! And I almost forgot!! You shouldn't leave Winnipeg without going for Filipino breakfast! There's a place called Juvian's (I think) which is located at the Balmoral Hotel. It's at Balmoral and Notre Dame (Balmoral is the street you'd be on if going to Sargent from downtown. The Balmoral is very very divey and is sometimes a bit scary but many people go to Juvian's for Filipino food. For breakfast I usually get two eggs, rice, and tocino (only $3.50 unless they raised the price). For those who can eat more, you can get two dishes plus the eggs and rice, or even three. The three is the best value, as it is only $6 and you get a huge serving of food. The choices are tocino, bangus (with bones, sometimes not scaled), longanisa, and one or two other things I can't remember. It opens fairly early--maybe 6 or 7? and you can actually have the breakfast all day. Really, it's an excellent value and if you can't usually get Filipino food where you live, it's a good opportunity to do so.

If I were going to Winnipeg for only two dinners and two breakfasts, I would probably go to Taste of India for one dinner (or India Palace in St. Boniface--not to far from downtown or the one on Ellice), Juvian's for breakfast, then Siam Thai for the second dinner (you'd probably need to make reservations, though, since they get very busy on the weekends), and Juvian's for breakfast again. I would also get some stuff from Gunn's and Asian City for the drives. But then, I tend to over-do it whenever I go back to Winnipeg to visit.

Winnipeg doesn't have a lot to offer in many ways--it's a small city that wishes it were more. But one thing it does have is good food.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm back. Detailed report tonight, but I can tell all of you that were short selling Winnipeg that one can find some seriously good food there with a little effort. To begin with the steamed pork filled buns at Kum Koom Gardens ROCK! They were unbelievably good. Light moist buns filled with sweet BBQ'd pork. (photos to follow tonight). We ate like the rednecks that we are and still got out for under 40 Canadian.

I also ended up at the Red Top Grill (Hwy 1 headed east in St. Vitale District). Great greasy spoon type burger and superb hand cut fries. A throwback hamburger joint/diner that was a real treat for my boys and I.

Photos and details to follow.

One last thing/ What is the deal with you guys spending all of the time warning about "bad areas" in Winnipeg. I hiked all over Downtown for the better part of two days and, outside of a few bums looking for change, couldn't imagine what the hell I had been warned about over and over and over on eGullet and by the locals in Winnipeg (including the concierge at the hotel-by the time that I got done with him I was on the lookout for huge bands of roving criminals on the lookout for wandering tourists on holiday). The people that I met were unfailingly polite (including the bums) and really helpful.

P.S.-I still don't get gravy on fries. Ketchup Dammit! Ketchup! That's the way to go. Get with it already! :raz::laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I'm back. Detailed report tonight, but I can tell all of you that were short selling Winnipeg that one can find some seriously good food there with a little effort.

One last thing/ What is the deal with you guys spending all of the time warning about "bad areas" in Winnipeg.

P.S.-I still don't get gravy on fries. Ketchup Dammit! Ketchup! That's the way to go. Get with it already! :raz:  :laugh:

Mayhaw Man:

Am looking forward to the more detailed review. It is always nice to read something from someone who has recently visited a city.

"Selling short" can often happen. I found much the same thing when I inquired about Regina. It was not the "culinary wasteland" some replies had lead me to conclude.

The mosquitoes must have got the "street gangs" :biggrin:

Ketchup dammit? No way, white vinegar rules!

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Actually, vinegar is fine for pickles, salad dressing, and works well in the water to keep boiled eggs from cracking-but on fries? No. Never.

I digress-

On to Winnipeg and my thoughts to food there. You have to understand that Winnipeg was only a handy stop during this recent round of fishing so this will probably not be as comprehensive as I would like. Frankly, I kind of wish that I had a few more days to kill as I think that the ethnic eating and grocery shopping potential has been highly underrated by most people here. Sure it's a big burg in the Prairie and is apparently looked at as sort of the Lincoln, NB of Canada (No hatemail from Lincolnites, only an example :wink: ). A city that exists because it kind of has to as a business center for the area but somewhere with not much to offer. Anyway, after all of the bad press I was not expecting much and was happily suprised. The downtown is somewhat vibrant and much of what I wanted to do could be accessed by foot (although, once again according to local wags, I am lucky to be alive after hoofing it all over Winnipeg) or cab (which are really cheap by New Orleans standards).

Anyway, onto the food:

On Friday I got the happy news from my lazy as hell brother that since he drove with one of my kids and I was getting the relative pleasure of a) traveling with only one child and b) flying instead of driving north across the fruited plain (say this over and over again-housetreebarnsilohousetreebarnsilohousetreebarnsilohousetreebarnsilotownhousetreebarnsilohousetreebarnsilohousetreebarnsilohousetreebarnsilotownhousetreebarnsilohousetreebarnsilohousetreebarnsilohousetreebarnsilotown- You have just driven through the midwestern US and South Central Canada. Beautiful in a way, but mind numbing for a thousand miles or so) that I could finish up the shopping for a weeks worth of groceries for the cottage in the woods. Shop for 6 guys (not including beer, he wanted to handle that all important task himself-Discuss the State of Canadian Beer Here! Please?) ice it all down, get it ready for air transport, and still be in Kenora for dinner at 8. N.P. I met my youngest brother (a confirmed non shopper, although he can identify good food if forced at gunpoint) and we headed out for Safeway and the adjacent Superstore at the edge of the St. Vitae district in Winnipeg (conveniently located across the road from the St Vitae Curling Club House and Curling Court-a great photo op for those of us who have mo clue at what's up with curling but are somehow fascinated by the strangeness of the sport and end up glued to the TV when it appears late night on ESPN 2 :laugh: ).

First the produce:

I found it interesting and refreshing that the location of origin for everything (that I looked at anyway) was very clear. Potatoes from the US and Canada were labeled differently (even if the same type), etc. The selection was great. I could have been anywhere.

Now on to the meat. I have no clue if it was just this Safeway, or the state of Canadian Beef in general, but the meat in this store was positively glowing. It was gorgeous. And Cheap! Beef was just great (tasted great too, incidentally) as was the pork. We loaded up on a rib eye to cut for steaks (it had been boned, incidentally, and now that I think of it I don't think that I saw any bone in meat. Is this a result of Mad Cow or just Canadian shopping preference?), big thick pork chops, a couple of kinds of sausages and some great (it turned out to be, anyway) thick cut hickory smoked bacon from Quebec. All in all a very satisfying experience at the meat counter.

Thus loaded we headed out of town with a quick backtrack to the Red Top Drive Inn, a place that my keen eyed 11 year old spotted as being "cool". It was, in fact, cool. We had burgers and my brother had a gyro (Greek owned and operated by a guy named Nick-what else?). The burger meat was grilled and served on very good bread (something I found all over during this trip). The fries were semi skinless, hand cut in odd lengths, and fried to very crispy (and I would bet that they were fried in animal fat, although I am not sure about this). The gyro was bursting with meat and peppers-really good in fact. You Winnipeggers and travelers on Hwy One should seek out this fine place. (photos will be added when my brother emails me his, we were using his camera that day-he thought that it was a bit nerdy to be photographing things for a food site and my own easily satisfied pleasure-but he cooperated. After all, he is a bigshot nerd at Dell.

On to Kenora, Ontario in the heart of Ontario's Cottage Country.

We had dinner at Haps. A restaurant and bar on the Harbor in Kenora. Apparently the most happening spot in Kenora. We had an assortment of TGI McChilibee's type foods and all of it was pretty good. Burgers, steaks, fries (no gravy for me although the more heretical types in my family seemed to enjoy this digression from the right and true way to eat fries) etc. The seating was outside and as long as you were covered with enough deet to kill the nearest flying insects, very pleasant indeed.

Breakfast was at at Dino's, a coffee shop on the side of the local Railway hotel (those places are really cool architecturally, as is the Fort Garry in Winnipeg). Great blueberry pancakes and some tasty, very high quality bacon and sausage ( I asked for grits, just for grins. The waitress didn't have any idea what I was talking about :laugh: ). The coffee here is of pretty high quality for a diner and the place is cheap. We ate there coming and going. I reccomend it.

On the way home, after 6 days of eating fish in various ways (walleye and small mouth bass primarily) I was ready for some green food and some red meat. We ended up at Earl's-a HUGE place on the edge of "the Falls" area of Winnipeg right next to the Railway Station. I'm not sure how this happened, perhaps I was tired and didn't express my desire for something interesting. Anyway the combination of very attractive waitstaff, lots of drinks, and some really, really good Canadian Beef seemed to satisfy my dining companions (ever seem an 11 year old tear into 16 ounces of New York Strip after a week of camping? It's a shocking sight :wacko: ) Actually, on the surface, this is a place I would never have chosen on my own, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit and my brothers and Dad loved it so I guess I would do it again. Did I mention the attractive waitstaff? I'm sure that I did. :laugh:

Everyone had early flights on Friday and my youngest son and I were left to our own devices. I woke up early (sunset at 10:30 or so and sunrise before 5-it was awesome-I know it's cold up there in the winter but the summer is just great) and headed over to Starbucks in the bottom of the Portage Mall for some dependable coffee and walked over to the Manitoba Capital Building. It was a really interesting place and suprisingly, damn near wide open at 6 in the morning. I wandered back to have a look at the Assinbone River directly behind it and then went for more coffee and woke up the sleeping boy.

Boy and I headed to Gunn's Bakery and enjoyed a pretty delicious selection of stuff and then I succumbed and took him to the mall for about an hour of looking at stuff you can buy anywhere else in the world, but he loved it. I did talk him into going across the street to the Hudson's Bay Company and I actually enjoyed that, as it is such a throwback. There are very few downtown "true" department stores left in the US and this place was huge-one block, four or five stories, everything departmentalized. Quite fun, actually.

Now, on to lunch. We walked through downtown (managing to avoid all of the ne'erdowells trying to rob us :raz: ) and went to King Street and the Chinatown area of Winnipeg. After going through the stock at a couple of local Chinese Groceries and picking up a few things, we headed for Kum Koom Garden, a highly touted (rightly it turned out) dim sum palace.

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First of all , I was expecting the usual storefront type place that one usually finds this kind of restaurant in but KKG is huge, much more like a cafeteria than a bun shop. And did I mention efficient? Well, let me do that. As soon as you sit down a woman hits the table and takes the beverage order, before her wake clears another woman (the first of 6 different women circulating with 6 or seven items per cart) comes by, offers her wares, and after we chose the one's that we wanted she would snap them into pieces (if appropriate) with her very sharp poultry shears and lay them on the table.

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This is about one third of the plates. We aren't proud and we don't get to do this very often. It is really great to have children who aren't afraid to try new stuff. He mowed through some pretty unfamiliar foods without even looking up. KKG is now the "best dim sum place in the world!"

We ate until we foundered. The aforementioned BBQ Pork Buns were our favorite, but lobster dumplings, steamed shrimp dumplings, spicy pork rib filled dumplings, and some really cool shrimp dumplings with lots of fried dough in a kind of puff deal were some of our favorites. We ate 13 different items (no chicken feet, we'll save that for next time) and loved all of them. Service was great and the servers did their best to explain the items if we asked questions. All in all a superb experience and I would do it again in a minute (in fact, I will next summer as we already made reservations to return-the fishing was awesome and the weather was such a refreshing change from here-90% humidity and rain every day coupled with 95 degree temp).

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On the way out of town I wanted to take Graham to a couple of institutions so we stopped by a Robin's Donuts for a donut or two (like we needed more yeast, but there's always room for a tasty donut) and at the airport (we had a couple of hours to kill thanks to the really stupid and (this is my own observation of actual happenings) really ineffective Homeland Security Precautions we had to be there really early-we enjoyed another donut and some coffee from Tim Horton's. So he has now covered two ubiquitous Canadian Dining Landmarks.

It was a great trip and I look forward to another visit. You Prairie Dwellers need to stop underselling the place. It's a pretty cool looking downtown and in the summer, and extremely interesting place to wander around in. In the Winter-you couldn't get me there with a free ticket and all of the Polar Fleece in Canada. BRRRRRR. To cold for my thin blood. :laugh:

Oh yeah, there is lots and lots of street cart food and Mr Chippie Van type operations. Someone should take some time and analyze these. I had an excellent smokie from a cart on the corner of Portage and Edmonton on Thursday p.m. Good bun steamed and a decent large sausage to go with it. Very Tasty. Are all Canadian cities filled with these food carts?

After all of the warnings about the crime epidemic in Downtown Winnipeg I suppose that I am lucky that I made it out with my skin. :laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I'm glad you enjoyed your stay! Yes, Winnipegers are very humble and somewhat self-deprecating about their city, but I did say that one thing Winnipeg does have is good food :biggrin: . In fact, when visitors would come to Winnipeg I could never take them to sight-seeing spots--just food spots because that's all I knew!

I've never been to Red Top though I've always wanted to. It looks like the perfect place for burgers. In that area is another burger place called Mrs. Mike's or something similar that also looks like a perfect burger place. It's not as "fancy" as Red Top--just a little shack only open during the summer--but I've always thought it looked perfect.

I'm sorry you didnt' make it to Juvian's, though. Filipino breakfasts are the best--cheap and plentiful! And I've been craving Tocino (Mama Sita's just doesn't cut it) so I was hoping for a vicarious tocino experience.

Winnipeg is, generally speaking, much safer than other cities but since I grew up there, I know how much less safe is it now compared to 20 or 30 years ago (all cities are like that, I suppose). There is one area, in particular (not too far from Gunn's), where random beatings would occur on a regular basis--more than one resulting in the death of the victim. I think for me, the beating of a wheel-chair bound man who was merely trying to get across a bridge is what gave me the impression that Winnipeg was no longer a "safe" city.

If you do go back to Kenora and do another stop in Winnipeg, I have more suggestions for you...I forgot about a few great places you would need to know about :biggrin:

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