2012 reminiscing: Winnipeg gluttony!

Another Purge Post! It’s been over a week since my last post, and I’ve been neglecting the blog due to other, more pending commitments. This past weekend saw me spend all Saturday on some much needed paper work, and all Sunday with my husband, deep-cleaning the first floor of our house top to bottom, inside and out. It was a lot of work and took a long time, but we’re so happy we did it. The house seems like new and it’s much brighter. Now this gives us time to enjoy our weekends without the guilt of a million chores to do around the house.

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The last Winnipeg post summed up my first weekend back at home. Now begins the major gluttony I experienced when my friend Adrienne and I spent a day together.

But first, I had to renew my passport while at home, so did the quick renewal service to be able to pick up my new passport before I went back to Scotland. My passport photos:

As I was looking through my mom’s food cupboards, I came across all the North American jumbo-sized foods she had. I totally forgot about this! Many people here joke about how in North America everything is bigger; usually it’s referring to cars and houses, but rarely to food containers. Although this photo doesn’t show scale, just know that in Scotland, possibly all of Britain, maybe even Europe (although that’s probably stretching it), you can’t get a 4 L jug of milk or large containers of Activia yogurt. Starbucks vanilla syrup is only sold in 375 mL bottles, not the 1 L bottle featured here, and peanut butter and mayo are sold in small jars. Baked beans come in cans no bigger than 400g (this one was probably double that), and only in tomato sauce, NOT maple syrup, (which, by the way Canadian readers, I LOVE and miss. Anyone want to send me some?)

Everything’s bigger in North America

One of my closest and oldest friends Adrienne, who I’ve known for 26 years (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We met in Grade One when we were six!), came to see me in Winnipeg. She’s a former Winnipegger herself, and works for WestJet, so has the luxury of travelling all over for very affordable prices. I picked her up at the aiport and we headed straight to The Falafel Place, Winnipeg’s best place for falafel and other Israeli and Jewish comfort food. I used to go here all the time when I lived at home, often for brunch, and always had to wait for a table because the place is always packed full! Diners can sit at tables, or the front counter where you get a first row glimpse of all the action. The owner is from Tel Aviv originally, and is very passionate about his restaurant. He wants customers to have a good experience and good food, but he doesn’t like it when you linger about at your table when others are waiting to be seated. He will make it known to you that it’s time to leave, ha! When he is cooking, he will tell his servers ‘Food is ready! Food is ready! Come get some food!’ The first meal I had at The Falafel Place, I sat along the front counter, watching all the line cooks. There were two guys, scooping falafel batter into the deep-frier and working the griddle, who were jokingly making fun of the owner, imitating all the funny things he said to customers. It was a great time, and because we were so close to the line, we left smelling of cooking!

The infamous line

I ALWAYS have falafel at The Falafel Place (naturally!), but have thoroughly enjoyed their Chicken Noodle Soup with Matzo balls, Latke potato pancakes with sour cream and apple sauce, and the humus as well. My absolute favourite meal? The Israeli Falafel.

A pita stuffed with falafel balls, humus, salad and homemade fries on top. Amaaaazing! And if you’ve not tried it before, fries and humus are an incredible combination. You can also have a Canadian Falafel with sweet potato fries instead.

Adrienne also enjoyed the Israeli Falafel.
We then headed to Assiniboine Park, a large greenspace in Winnipeg, where we strolled around the duck pond full of Canada Geese, naturally.

The one thing Adrienne and I had planned for this day was to have dinner at Wasabi on Broadway, in my opinion, the best sushi and modern Japanese food in Winnipeg, (and I’m not saying that because I used to work there). My husband and I don’t go for sushi here in Scotland: we’ve tried a few places that were either okay or horrible, and still haven’t found that great sushi place. I miss Wasabi so much and often wish I could enjoy their food whenever.

For Adrienne and I, this meal was about total indulgence!

Clockwise from top left: Spicy Mango Prawns, tempura prawns tossed in a spicy savoury sauce with chunks of fresh mango (I would often enjoy these after a shift); Goma Ae, blanched spinach in a black sesame sauce; this last roll was a special (I can’t remember the name), with beets, cream cheese and candied walnuts. All fantastic!

Clockwise from top left: Wasabi Tempura Roll, crab meat, shrimp, avocado, and edamame, dipped in tempura batter and deep-fried; Spicy Tuna Nachos, fresh (raw)tuna in a spicy mayo with avocado, on wonton chips garnished with chillis and flying fish eggs; Vegetarian Caterpillar roll, yam tempura inside with avocado on top, drizzled with a Japanese BBQ-like sauce, and Tiger Roll, cucumber inside avocado, with shrimp pressed on top, and again the Japanese BBQ-like sauce. Some of my favourites that I’ve missed for too long!

After dinner, and with stuffed bellies, we walked to Osborne Village, a trendy area of town full of restaurants, shops and pubs. On the way, we passed the Legislature Buildings, where the decisions for the province of Manitoba are made.

Our destination was Baked Expectations, a Winnipeg institution I think, and our second planned location to visit. This restaurant is celebrating thirty years of business, and was for my friends and I, a regular place to go to eat diner-style food (such good fries!), sip on pink lemonade, and enjoy delicious (and large) desserts. Although Adrienne and I didn’t need dessert at all, we still wanted to indulge. It’s not everyday you and one of your best friends can have a girls day together is it?

Our decadent treats, clockwise from top left: the vast dessert case full of pies, cheesecakes and triple-layer cakes at Baked Expectations; Pumpkin cheesecake (Adrienne); my Pavlova (the only dessert I ever order), and German Chocolate Cheesecake, (Adrienne’s friend joined us).

Let me just say it’s a very good thing I ran four miles that morning!

We culminated the evening with a photo of the two of us:

Age and Danielle: Friends forever

You would think that after such an indulgence, we wouldn’t need so much food the next day? No such thing! We went for lunch to one of the new restaurants in the Exchange District, Winnipeg’s historic neighbourhood where my dad’s art gallery is located (!), called Deer and Almond. You know those restaurants or stores you pass a million times in your every day travels but never care to go in, but were curious about anyway? This location is one of those, and now that I’ve dined there, upon the recommendation of both my parents and sister, I’m glad to say I’ve satiated that desire.

I would describe their food as classic diner-esque food with Asian ingredients. Our server, Peter, was excellent! His knowledge for the menu and passion for the food are what I miss about restaurant experiences. I’m used to good service and asking my server questions and actually getting and immediate answer from them; here in Scotland, that type of experience is rare unfortunately. Peter told us he actually researched the many interesting foods that were featured on the menu to educate himself and to be able to serve customers; if only all servers were like that!

Clockwise from top left: Chicken with cilantro (coriander) and toasted chilies with a Chinese vinager; Adrienne’s Reuben of smoked corned beef, kimchi, American cheese and island dressing on what appears to be Naan bread; baked figs stuffed with combozola cheese; and Soba noodles (Japanese buckwheat noodles) with seeds, leafy greens, marinated vegetables, yuba (tofu skin) and Thai vinaigrette. Let me just clarify, I shared the chicken and soba noodles with my dad.

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The best part about my meal was that it wasn’t at all heavy, and was very fresh in taste. I will definitely return when I go back to Winnipeg.

Considering we ate at four restaurants in two days, maybe it’s a good thing we don’t hang out regularly…… But sometimes a girl needs to chat for hours with one of her best friends over good food, am I right?

Next up: more Winnipeg posts and my first yoga experience in Scotland.

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Things have been quiet on the running front this week because it’s snowed!!!!!! The streets and sidewalks of Laurencekirk are a wee bit too icy still, so some of us have taken to the new gym in town to get some running in. I did an interval workout on the treadmill last night, which is the first time I’ve run on a treadmill since I’ve actually become a runner. Ironic, isn’t it? Anyway, I got a month trial membership to last me until mid-February, when all this weather will be done, (unfortunately). Hope you’re staying warm in your corner of the world.

What do you do to stay fit in the cold winter month’s?
In which restaurants would you love to be a complete glutton?
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6 thoughts on “2012 reminiscing: Winnipeg gluttony!

  1. I should brush my teeth before I read your posts, because they always make me hungry!! Especially the falafel thing. It looks awesome.

    Also, I really hate how you can't smile in passport photos anymore. Everyone looks so glum!

  2. I hate that you can't smile either, my first passport had a photo of me smiling, but #3 and #4, along with both my UK visas have a Danielle who is trying very hard NOT to smile.

    Pat and I were just saying how we wish there was a good falafel place in Aberdeen!

  3. I actually couldn't believe how big everything was, I'd totally forgotten. All of those containers wouldn't actually be able to fit into our fridge here.

    I've got one more Winnipeg post that I'm working on, then begins the writing of the yoga post!

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