An OEB Breakfast Co. restaurant opened right near my home last year and I had still never visited it so on Saturday I invited my friend Esther to join me there for breakfast.
It’s a busy place so I was glad I’d made a reservation.
We were given the perfect table in a sunny window with a view out over the city.
Everything on the menu looked tempting and delicious. Esther and I decided we would share a Canadian Lobster and Shrimp Crepe served with Hollandaise sauce and truffle pearls. It did not disappoint. We each added an artfully arranged fruit plate as well.
The wait staff were ever so friendly and I thought the all-gender washrooms with their unique door labels were cool.
Esther and I talked about what the OE in the restaurant’s name stood for. Esther thought maybe ‘over-easy’ to allude to all the egg dishes on the menu.
Looking on the website later I found out OEB is an acronym.
O stands for outstanding people and refers to the great staff.
E stands for embracing evolution because the restaurant likes to try new things and push culinary boundaries.
B stands for bold food integrity. They use farm fresh local and seasonal ingredients.
The restaurant was busy and a buzz with conversation. That made it cheerful but also made it hard to carry on a conversation with your meal companion.
My husband Dave was just a little jealous that I’d tried the new restaurant in our neighbourhood without him so I have a feeling I might be going back again soon with him.
I also like the welcoming statement on their website.
The Beer Can strives to create an inclusive, respectful, and accessible space that is welcoming to all.
Their location on the river beside the historic Granite Curling Club built in 1912 creates a unique ambience for The Beer Can.
We found a nice table under some treesand parked our bicycles nearby.
We were there at three o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and so it wasn’t terribly busy ….
But the fact that there are two fully equipped kiosks serving food and beverages on the site is evidence that at times The Beer Can is a very busy place indeed.
I enjoyed a strawberry-rhubarb cider
and Dave had a Hazy IPA.
I noticed on their events calendar that they offer musical entertainment on Wednesday evenings and local DJ Hunnicutt spins tunes for them on Sunday nights. I’d like to go back for that.
The pandemic certainly wasn’t a good thing for Winnipeg but the fact that it inspired cool places like The Beer Can to open as safe spots to gather for food, drink, friendship and fun is definitely a silver lining legacy of COVID.
Note: Proof that The Beer Can is the place to meet folks was that sitting at a table near us was Manitoba Moose Coach Mark Morrisonand we ended up having a nice chat with him and his table companion.
We were so excited about patios being re-opened on Saturday that we decided to try a breakfast place that was new to us. We were feeling pretty confident after getting our second dose of the vaccine but were happy to note all the serving personnel in masks, a sign-in system before we were seated, and tables placed at a generous distance from one another.
We biked over to The Juneberry in Old St. Vital and used the contactless digital menu to choose our breakfasts on our phones.
The Juneberry menu is an interesting mix of more traditional fare and some Asian influenced offerings. Dave went for the classic breakfast and was especially happy with the generous portion of Saskatoon jam.
I tried the breakfast banh mi, a nod to a Vietnamese classic I had enjoyed on our trip to that country. It was served on a fresh fluffy baguette and stuffed with scrambled eggs, housemade lemongrass pork sausage, sauteed mushrooms, zingy pickled carrots and cucumbers, thin radish rounds, seeded jalapenos, cilantro and spicy mayo. It was fantastic but I could only eat half of it.
We opted to share some baby potatoes made with chermoula- a kind of Morrocan relish.
The service was great and it was uplifting to hear the joyful chatter at the tables all around us. One didn’t want to eavesdrop but most of the other patrons were clearly delighted to be going out for breakfast again on a beautiful Saturday morning.
We’ve had a weekend restaurant breakfast tradition for years. It was nice to reclaim it.
In the early 1970s, during my university days, I was a waitress at two Winnipeg restaurants and I learned so much from those experiences.
I was a waitress at The Paddock across from Polo Park and at the A&W Coffeeshop. I often think about those waitressing jobs because they taught me lots of important lessons.
I learned to work quickly and efficiently at a whole variety of tasks, especially at the A&W Coffeeshop where they really didn’t have enough staff and I was run off my feet.
I had to keep ketchup bottles filled, take orders, total up bills, clean the bathroom, make milkshakes and floats, clear tables, cut and plate pieces of pie and cake, fill drink orders, keep my eye on the kitchen for when my orders were up, make sure customers didn’t leave without paying, work the cash register, wash the floors and wipe down the booths. These lessons in working quickly and efficiently paid off big time in my teaching, writing and homemaking careers.
As a waitress, I learned to keep a smile on my face at all times and exhibit extreme patience. I knew my tips depended on me having a friendly demeanour and not looking upset when people took a long time deciding what they wanted or made negative comments to me. This skill came in very handy when I would be doing parent-teacher interviews at school and I needed to keep a smile on my face as I spoke with one set of parents after another for hours on end. Patience came in mighty handy as a parent and a wife and a classroom teacher.
I learned lots of other things waiting tables too. Like how important it was to get to know your boss and do the things that keep them satisfied with your work. To be tough and accept criticism. To ward off inappropriate comments and actions from male customers. To take responsibility even when something isn’t your fault and to act like you have things under control even when you don’t. I learned to relate to all kinds of people.
And…………… I gained a real appreciation for folks who work in the hospitality industry. This means I ALWAYS leave a tip. I try very hard not to complain and do my best to be friendly and kind to anyone who serves me.
Those waitressing jobs fifty years ago played an important role in my life. They weren’t easy jobs but they sure taught me plenty!
We’ve had lots of good times with family and friends at The Handlebar Pub and Grill in Apache Junction on previous visits to Arizona. There is good music, wonderful food grilled over a pecan wood fire and the atmosphere is friendly and upbeat. This time we are staying in Tempe, a completely different part of the Phoenix area and we were surprised to discover there is a Handlebar Pub here too. All the wood both inside and outside of this Handlebar comes from a historic old barn in the midwest. The barn was dismantled and shipped to Arizona. Like its namesake in Apache Junction, this Handlebar has live music on Saturday nights. But unlike the Apache Junction Handlebar which is named after all the beer tap handles that adorn its ceiling this Handlebar gets its name from the fact that it is a popular hangout for cyclists. We dropped into the Handlebar after a steep hike in the hot sun and enjoyed some cool drinks served by our congenial bartender Jordan, who is a student at the University of Arizona. She has her sights set on becoming a criminal lawyer. Jordan steered me towards the Ramble On cocktail and it was a real thirst quencher. We shared a delicious pretzel but I learned later that The Handlebar serves the finest grilled cheese sandwich in Phoenix so we will have to try that next time.
On Wednesday night after enjoying a wild flower desert hike together with our friends we went to the other Handlebar. I am sure during the coming month we will make more trips out to our old Handlebar haunt, but it is nice to know there is another Handlebar within easy walking distance of our current home.
Someone told my husband Dave that the restaurant right next door to our apartment was the place to go for breakfast in Tempe so on March 1 that’s where we headed for our first meal of the day. The parking lot was packed with cars.To our surprise, March 1, 2020, was the fortieth anniversary of the Tempe restaurant named after the famous Hollywood actress Jean Harlow. In honour of the anniversary, we were given a glass of champagne adorned with an orchid and our waitress said the breakfast special a HUGE plate of bacon, eggs, hashbrowns and our choice of toast or biscuits was being offered for just $5.99
Our waitress said the orchid in our champagne was edible so Dave decided to try eating his
An article in the Phoenix Times touts Harlow’s as the best-loved breakfast spot in Tempe and describes it as affably old- fashioned. They compare the wood-panelled dining area with its work-a-day ceiling fans, big shiny booths and fancy chandeliers to the comfort and familiarity of your grandmother’s kitchen and tell readers the informal ambience makes Harlow’s feel like the city’s unofficial living room. The reviewer claims there is nothing fussy or novel about the food at Harlow’s but that’s the whole point.
There were lots of items of Jean Harlow memorabilia on the wood-panelled walls. When we got home I read Jean’s biography. Her personal and professional life story is full of drama and dark, troubling events. She died when she was only 26. The owners of the restaurant say one of their patrons nominated the Harlow name in a contest they held and it received the most votes from customers- so Harlow’s it was.
We enjoyed our breakfast at Harlow’s although we could only eat about half of it. I think we will have to share next time we eat there.
On Saturday the T-4’s, the group of friends I meet with regularly, went to the Amsterdam Tea Room and Bar just down the street from my house to enjoy a luncheon together before I set off on an extended holiday. What a wonderful time we had! The friendly and knowledgeable chef waited on us personally. He patiently answered all our questions about the menu. He brought out each dish and told us exactly what it was and how it had been made. We were impressed that the menu is changed regularly so you can keep coming back and trying new things. So many of the ingredients used in the food preparation are local and almost everything is made in-house.My friend Glenys started with one of the unique tea-infused cocktails featured at the Tea Room. This one was called Earl Grey on Safari and Glenys said it was wonderful. The Amsterdam food menu is served tapas style so you share all the dishes. That’s great because you get to try so many things. We started with the Carrot Hummus with almonds, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate. It was accompained by foccacia bread baked in house. There was definitely a chili flavor to the hummus that added a nice kick. Next up was my personal favourite dish Golden Beets with Peaches, Hazelnuts and Ricotta Cheese. I was so busy oohing and aahing over the Parisienne Gnocchi with Cauliflower Chowda I almost forgot to take a photo. The same thing happened with the Broccolini and Faro dish. We ended with a Snert Stamppot with Local Lamb Sausage. It had a very interesting unique taste. We were the only people in the restaurant on Saturday at lunch but I have seen the place packed when I have walked by so I know its popular. The desserts on the menu looked delectable too and I’d like to go back and try them some time but I had a cake waiting back at our condo for dessert and an early celebration of my friend Debbie’s birthday. My husband Dave acted as our barista making us coffee with his Aero Press. As always we lingered long and caught up on our daily lives.
I’d highly recommend the Amsterdam Tea Room. We all agreed our lunch hadn’t just been a meal. It had been a real food experience.
When my husband Dave plans a date night for us I can always look forward to it being something unique. Last Friday he picked me up after I had spent a long day doing stuff for my Dad and said we were headed for a literary spot.
I would never have guessed it was a brewery, but the Stone Angel fit the bill since it was named after the famous book The Stone Angel by Margaret Laurence. The large statue in the brewery attests to the fact but just to be sure I double-checked with the bartender and he confirmed indeed the brewery had been named after Margaret’s book.
Dave is part of a beer club that meets regularly to explore all the breweries in the city so he had been to the Stone Angel with his club members. I don’t drink beer normally and since I was the only woman in the place during our entire visit I was a little intimidated but I had a good time.
Dave picked out two beers he thought I might like- a Kilter Juicy and a Peanut Butter Stout. I tasted them both. The stout was a little too bitter for me but the Kilter Juicy had a nice grapefruity flavour and I drank the whole thing.
Next, we were off to the Tehran Cafe. I had never had Iranian food before but it was wonderful. I ordered a walnut, chicken and pomegranate stew with saffron rice and green salad. So good. Dave had a lamb shank with rice and Shirazi salad. It was great too.
We enjoyed the interesting art in the restaurant and the attentive service.
A literary brewery and a new kind of food were not what I was expecting for my date night but it was a fun evening. Even after spending more than 45 years together with him, my husband continues to make my life interesting.
Wednesday night we had a group of friends over to dinner. Before our meal, we took them to a bar called Patent 5 near our home in the Exchange District. We wanted to treat them to a celebratory cocktail to mark the fact that we will celebrate our wedding anniversary this weekend. Patent 5 is located in a former stable.
The Dominion Express Company, whose name you see over the front door of Patent 5 was a parcel delivery business. It was founded in 1873 in Winnipeg and built its headquarters at 108 Alexander Avenue in 1904. The stable area for the company’s horses and wagons has been converted into the Patent 5 Distillery and Bar.
Patent 5 offers a menu of interesting and unique cocktails using vodka, whiskey and gin they make on-site. The name is a reference to the kind of still they use to produce their alcohol. It is based on an 1869 design by James Wilson who was issued Patent #5 for his invention.
The interior of Patent 5 is steeped in history as well. All the oak paneling, doors, window frames, chandeliers, and stained glass were taken from the fabled Oak Room at the St. Regis Hotel built in 1911. The hotel closed in 2017 but the beautiful interior of the Oak Room has been preserved in the design of Patent 5. The chairs in Patent 5 come from an old Presbyterian church in Melita, Manitoba and your cocktails are served in vintage crystal glasses. A former Eaton’s Warehousebuilt in 1926 is across the street. You can see the signature letter E above the door.We had a great time at Patent 5. It was very fitting to drink a toast to the history of our marriage in such a historic place.
This photograph caught my eye while I was waiting for my sister to arrive for our lunch date at Resto Gare in St. Boniface. When I asked the staff about it I was told it showed Winnipeg residents waiting at the St. Boniface train station to be evacuated from the city during the 1950 flood. The St. Boniface train station in the photo is now the Resto Gare eating establishment, still, in the very same location, it was during the flood. The original building is over a hundred years old.
The St. Boniface train station in 1913
It was built in 1913. In 1983 the building became a restaurant called La Vieille Gare and in 2008 the name was changed to Resto Gare Bistro. They have a bell in their dining room from a locomotive that used to pull into the St. Boniface Station. My sister and I sat in an old observation train car built in 1914 that has been attached to the station house. The restaurant serves meals with a definite French flavour and in the background as you eat you will hear the latest Montreal francophone music. I tried in vain to find some photos of the train station in the late 1950s because during the 1958-1959 school year I was attending classes at Marion School right across the street from the station. I must have seen the old train station every day when I arrived at school.
My grade one class at Marion School with our teacher Ms Bourreau.
My family lived in Winnipeg’s French Quarter the year I was in grade one because my father was an intern at St. Boniface Hospital. Marion School was built in 1950 and is still in use today.
Having lunch at Resto Gare with my sister was a chance for a lovely visit but also a way to learn some history and take me on a bit of a trip down memory lane.