Archive for the ‘Winnipeg Restaurants’ Category

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Swing into Spring on May 21st

April 26, 2009

Thought I’d do a bit of promotion here. If you’re in or near Winnipeg on May 21st and want to enjoy some fabulous food and wine, why not come to the “Swing into Spring” tasting that I’m hosting at Mise Bistro.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Sushi in the Exchange District

August 25, 2006

Despite being located in the middle of the continent, Winnipeg is home to some fabulous sushi restaurants. Edohei, Wasabi (both locations), Asahi and Yujiro are all fabulous (and one is dangerously close to my home).

But the office where I toil away at my day job is located in a sushi dead zone. There are lots of other options (including one of Winnipeg’s only wine bars). But there isn’t anywhere nearby where I can scarf down some raw fish.

Edohei is about a fifteen minute hike away in good weather, and Asahi is close enough by bus. But there’s nowhere that I can walk to for a few pieces of salmon and a bakudan roll. So when I saw that BluFish, a new sushi restaurant had opened up on Bannatye (a mere three blocks from my door), I was curious. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Fusion Grill

July 22, 2005

I’m not in the business of promoting restaurants, but anyone who hasn’t checked out Fusion Grill’s new menu is missing out badly. And their all-Canadian wine list has some hidden gems. Off the top of my head, I’d say the following wines look very interesting:

  • Kettle Valley Winery VIOGNIER 2003 Naramata Bench (Okanagan Valley)
  • Sandhill PHANTOM CREEK VINEYARD “ONE” 55% Petit Verdot, 35% Cab. Sauv. 10% Malbec 2001 (Okanagan Valley)
  • Red Rooster Winery “GOLDEN EGG” 2001, Naramata Bench (Okanagan Valley)
  • Angels Gate Winery BARREL 56 PINOT NOIR 2002, Beamsville (Niagara Peninsula)

I’ve seen the Sandhill on the shelves at the Kenaston Wine Market, but the other three are new to me. I’m especially interested in the Angels Gate, as I think Niagara is totally underrated for their fine Pinot Noirs. As the winemakers and growers fine-tune their work, the Pinots from this region should only get better. And BC reds can be pretty big and bruising, especially those from the southern Okanagan (Naramata being a prime example).

Fusion Grill supports some fine local producers and should be applauded for their commitment to Manitoba food and Canadian wine. I regularly see the owner shopping at the St. Norbert Farmer’s Market, picking out the finest vegetables and haggling with the Hutterites (something I’ve never been able to manage).

And if you’re going to pay restaurant prices for wines (and FG’s are for the most part, quite fair), you need some fine vittles to pair with them. Off the top of my head, only a few local restaurants can match the kitchen here. Mise, the Velvet Glove, Provence and a couple of others can reach these heights.

Thus ends our foray into restaurant ravings for now. More on wines next time.

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Restaurants and Wine

April 11, 2005

One of the biggest challenges for wine-lovers in Winnipeg is in finding a restaurant that serves good wine at a good price. Especially by the glass. I’ve never understood why some restaurants charge a 200-300% markup on their wines. And it can be worse by the glass. One restaurant here charges $6.95 for a small glass of Lindeman’s Bin 65, which costs $10.99 in the store. I estimate that they pour about six glasses per bottle – so a $10.99 bottle will net them $41.70. Not a bad profit for the restaurant, but I don’t like paying those prices.

I understand that when you buy wine in a restaurant, you’re also paying for the atmosphere, for the service, etc. Fine. But I’m much more likely to spend money on wine if it’s fairly priced. If I see a wine on the list for $36, but I know it sells for $12 in the store for $12. Atmosphere be damned, I don’t like being ripped off on wine. I tend to buy a lot more wine in restaurants if they price it well. Maybe the restaurant will make less money off each bottle, but they can move the wine a lot more quickly.

And luckily, there are some restaurants in Winnipeg that recognize this. Off the top of my head, I am happy to give shouts out to Fusion Grill (wonderful all-Canadian wine list), Mise, InFerno’s, Spuntino, Bonfire Bistro, the Velvet Glove ($15/bottle markup across the board – also available at the neighbouring lounge) and Earl’s. All of these restaurants serve good wine at a fair price, and they all have excellent food too.

And yes, I did say Earl’s. The chain known more for the attire (or lack thereof) of its wait-staff. Don’t laugh – they have excellent food and they know their wine. Their house wine (at a reasonable $5.35 CDN per glass) is an excellent Cotes-du-Rhone from the Perrin family. They have two tiers of pricing for their wines by the glass – $7.25 and $7.95. The wines are always fresh and they give very generous pours. If you want a decent meal (they prepare fish better than almost anyone else in town) and a good glass of wine, you’d do well to dine at Earl’s.

I had the pleasure of dining at my local Earl’s last night. While my wine was actually pretty boring (the Barossa Valley Estates Spires Shiraz), my dinner companion had a glass of the Yalumba ‘Y’ Series Cabernet Sauvignon. She had to order a second, because I ended up drinking most of her first glass – it was that good!

Actually, I’ll go out on a limb and say that it was stunning. The nose was limited at first, but opened up quickly. I found lots of mint and a few hints of red-fruit and cedar. In the mouth, it showed itself to be a bit lighter than I expected, but it had delicious red-currant and chocolate flavours, with just enough oak and tannins to make it really interesting. Having never tried the wine before, I was really impressed. From what I remember, I think it runs around $20-$22 in the private stores here in Winnipeg. Well worth it. And it went really well with a nice slab of medium-rare prime rib.

Yalumba also makes the Oxford Landing series, which has gotten better and better over the years. I’m especially fond of their Sauvignon Blanc, but the Shiraz is also very good. You pay a bit more (they run around $14 in the private stores), but it’s worth the price. Their Chardonnay and Cabernet-Merlot are widely available in the MLCC for around $11-$12.