Where’d you get that slice?

I was treated to yet another day of birthday dinner surprises. The intended restaurant of choice was at Assiniboine Park, but we discovered that the restaurant at the duck pond wasn’t open to the public for dinner service. 

After a bit of driving around, we decided to make our way over to Carbone Coal Fired Pizza located at 1580 Taylor Ave, Winnipeg, Manitoba. This is the second location to be opened here in Winnipeg with the original store located downtown.

 The staff was friendly and greeted us at the door as we entered. The restaurant was clean and well decorated. Our service was prompt and the menu was very easy to make a quick selection. The pizzas are available in either 12″ or 16″ on traditional or glutton free crusts. They have several menu pizzas or you can build your own. 

  
We decided to try the Calabrese Pizza which features Calabrese Salami, Roasted Red Peppers, Kalamata Olives & Spicy Eggplant. The pizza was incredibly delicious and I definitely got to eat more than my half (it was my birthday dinner after all, right?). The flavours provided by the coal oven are incomparable. 

Based on our visit, I am certainly looking forward to trying more of this menu on a future visit. I would give Carbone Coal Fired Pizza a rating of 4 super stars out of 5.

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Do You Know Johnny G?

Is it really fair to write a restaurant review blog in the middle of a boil water order for the city of Winnipeg? Probably not, but the doors were unlocked so I walked in, sat down, and now here we are writing a blog.

Today, I want to share with you one of my favourite restaurants from many years ago, but I haven’t been here in quite a while so I decided to pop my head back into Johnny G’s restaurant. Located at 177 McDermot Avenue, in the heart of the exchange district near downtown Winnipeg, Johnny G’s right across from a multilevel parkade and a moments walk from the nearest skywalk entrance.

On my visit, I managed to beat the evening rush to dinner. I was seated immediately and provided with a menu that was printed with small font on a dark background in dim lighting. Talk about starting out dinner with a challenge. I was informed that the kitchen was fully functional with the boil water order in effect, but the bar had no ice and they had no bottled water available. I like that they clarified any possible items that weren’t available before I had the chance to order.

The server quickly took my order as there was only a couple tables. She was very kind and recommended that I try the Johnny’s “courage” chilli burger. I paired that up with a pint of Guinness (of course). She returned shortly with my beer that she had poured with almost an inch of foam that was pouring down the sides of the glass. I would have appreciated it greatly if she had taken the moment to wipe the side of the glass personally.

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The wait time for my food was reasonable. I was provided with all the proper cutlery and condiments before the food hit the table which is always greatly appreciated so that I can start eating my meal while it is still hot. Sadly today, I didn’t even get to enjoy my hot food because the french fries were past warm and already moving over to cold. I feel like they would have been perfect if they were hot as they had been seasoned with just the right amount of salt. Unfortunately, the problem wasn’t solved by the server as she never came back to check on my food until I had finished eating.

The chilli burger was a naked burger served coated with chilli. Overall, I was disappointed with my meal choice. I am a fan of a naked burger if the chilli has enough flavour to carry the burger, but this chilli was definitely too weak for that challenge. The chilli tasted like nothing more than seasoned ground beef in a thick tomato sauce. On a positive note, I can say the burger was served nice and hot.

The restaurant was very clean. This is always a good thing. However, the restaurant environment was slightly disappointing overall. The lighting was slightly too high for eating, but not high enough to read the menu. The music was appropriate for the venue, but not loud enough as I could clearly hear the conversation of the people sitting at the tables on the other side of the restaurant.

Final Verdict
This was definitely not the Johnny G’s experience that I remembered and loved. I was really let down by the below expectation food quality. Based on my visit, I am sadly giving Johnny G’s a rating of 2/5. Clean and friendly can’t compensate for cold, bland food. I won’t say I will not come back because they are open until 4am and who doesn’t like restaurant food after the bar, but if I have the choice in the future Johnny G’s isn’t going to be anywhere near the top of my list.

Warm up with Lions Winter Ale

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Last night, I made my way down to Osborne Village to see some friends for dinner. I think that it may have been the longest journey every because traffic was at a complete standstill through downtown. I finally caught up with them at the Toad in the Hole for a beverage before we went for dinner.

I was really excited to see that I was able to order Granville Island Brewing’s Lions Winter Ale on tap. Granville Island Brewing was established in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1984 and boasts the title of Canada’s first microbrewery.

Lions Winter Ale is only available from October to March. I find this beer is a slightly heavier, which makes it perfect to relax with on a cold Winter evening. It is also a fairly sweet beer which makes it great to drink on its own.

TASTING NOTES
Caramel malt aromas dominated by cocoa and vanilla. Complex layers of vanilla, bready malts, toffee, cocoa bean and a slight nuttiness. Moderate hop bitterness gives balance so that sweeter flavours do not overwhelm.

Don’t miss out on tasting this great seasonal beer from Granville Island Brewing. I give this beer two thumbs up! To see their full selection of products, click here.

Missing: Date Night

Matt & Mike

In the same way that our culture has evolved, so too has the way that we date a future partner. Relationships develop and move at a much faster pace.  Why do relationships move so quickly, and can we protect our relationships from fizzling out?

Previously, the way in which we met potential partners was through face-to-face meetings.  We were limited to our circle of our acquaintances and those circles of friends and family.  However, with improved access to the internet and cell phones, our circle of friends have expanded exponentially.

As technology enhanced people’s addiction to information, we have applied this craving to knowledge about future partners.  Instant messaging allows us to quickly assess total strangers and interview potential partners. Social media applications also provide us a massive list of potential partners to consume.

With this rapid access to information, we can gauge our partners at a quicker rate than ever before.  While old practices such as courtship are not generally used, perhaps there are some positive aspects that we can bring apply to our current-day relationships.

I propose we back dating.  Whether we just met a prospective partner or have been living together for many years, creating special moments together are important to keep our relationships invigorated outside of the home.  Here are a few ideas:

1. Geocaching

Geocaching is a free outdoor activity that you can share with a partner by using a GPS-enabled device to find different hidden containers or geocaches in cities all over the world. You can download the geocaching app onto your iPhone or Android, and after a free registration begin searching for your first cache in a matter of minutes.  You will be amazed at how close you are to the nearest cache!  Go to www.geocaching.com and happy hunting.

 2. Museum

Visiting a museum can be a fun way to learn about our history, and also gives us the opportunity to explore our partners past though stories they share from their families past.  Perhaps their grandparents were pioneers or soldiers and used various pieces of equipment that are now showcased in the museum.  A trip through the past may provide you both an enhanced journey.

3. Art Exhibit

Beauty is different to each one of us, and going to an art exhibit can provide you with an opportunity to learn more about your partner’s likes and dislikes.  Abstract art work can provide us with a way of expressing different feelings and emotions, and sharing those thoughts and emotions can be a very intimate experience.

4. Restaurant Block

If you want an easy way to have a number of dates with your partner, choose a city block or a street and make it a goal to try every restaurant in your chosen area.  Each week you select the next restaurant down the street until you have completed it.  This is a fun way to not only get to know your partner, but share the experience of getting to know your neighbourhood together.

5. Sports Event

Going to a professional sports game can be an expensive night out.  Why not go cheer on the local University or College team?  These games provide a much different atmosphere at a much lower cost and can provide you with special memories.  Plus you will be supporting the local community.  It is win-win.

Hope this provides you with some new ideas.  If you have more, share them in the comments below.

Happy Dating!

Stella’s Cafe and Bakery – Winnipeg, Manitoba

Stella's Cafe & Bakery - Sherbrook  Photo from www.stellas.ca

Stella’s Cafe & Bakery – Sherbrook
Photo from http://www.stellas.ca

Today, I want to share with you one of Winnipeg’s favourite restaurants.  Stella’s Cafe & Bakery is a common place to go for a delicious meal with friends, but they are most certainly well known for their breakfasts.

Blueberry Banana French Toast

Blueberry Banana French Toast

Opened in 1999 with one location in Osborne village, they have grown to 6 locations including one located in the newly constructed Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. Ensure that you are prepared for a wait because people love the fresh, high quality food provided by Stella’s.

The menu is unique and features in-house baked bars, breaks, buns, cakes, cookies, muffins, pies and other pastries.  I love that they serve breakfast day all-day, with options such as Blueberry French Toast, Smoked Salmon Breakfast, and my personal favourite the Mexican Breakfast which features Eggs served on baked beans and Guacamole.

Salmon Breakfast Custom Ordered Gluten Free

Salmon Breakfast
Custom Ordered Gluten Free

The staff is always friendly and they are willing to go above and beyond to make this a dining experience you are sure to enjoy.  They also serve their own brand of Stella’s jam which features “strawberries, blueberries, sugar, pectin & love” available for purchase for $5.00.

You can find their full menu online, but my advice is go check their menu out at one of their locations.  You will not be disappointed.

Kalan Restauraunt – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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Who would have thought that rice and eggs would end up on my plate for breakfast? Well it does here at the home of Phillipines cuisine at Kalan Restaurant in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Located at 1449 Arlington Avenue, this little restaurant delivers big flavour and taste.

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Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can find both traditional and North American flavours on this menu. Kalan serves your standard bacon and eggs, but you can get that anywhere. The part of this menu that you have to try is certainly the Fillipino Breakfast Menu.

All dishes are served with fried rice, 2 eggs prepared to order, and you chose of meat. Choices include carmelized pork or beef, salted herring, or fried egg plant to name a few. Just a fair warning, that isn’t ketchup in the red bottles.

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Don’t forget to stop by the counter and pick up your treats for the road.

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Seine River Cafe – Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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One of my favourite things to do when I return home is to reconnect with friends over a delicious breakfast. Finding a restaurant that values the importance of this meal had proved difficult, until I discovered the Seine River Cafe. They will deliver an exceptional experience and amazing flavours that will not disappoint.

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Beef Mexican Skillet

Nestled in the heart of the french community of St. Boniface in Winnipeg, the Seine River cafe is a local hot spot to come and enjoy a good meal with friends. The staff strive for excellence and the quality of their menu keeps me coming back, even after I moved away from the city.

Bring your appetite since the large portion sizes will certainly not leave you hungry. The menu features an all day breakfast with traditional favourites such as Steak & Eggs, fruit Waffles, and Eggs Benedict as well as burgers and sandwiches for the rest of the day. You can view their entire menu online here.

My personal favourite is the Mexican Skillet. This dish features eggs made to order on a bed of potato hash-browns, tomatoes, peppers, salsa, sour cream, and served with your choice of beef or chicken.

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Seine River Special Omelette

If you are looking for something a little (or a lot) bigger, the Seine River Special Omelette is for you. This omelette is stuffed beyond full of pretty much everything you could think of. Including side-bacon, back-bacon, sausage, steak, kubasa, peppers, tomatoes, jalapeños, and cheese to name a few.

Leave me a comment below to let me know about your experience. I hope you enjoy and happy dinning!