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food

Best Improved Attraction for 2017: Meet the Market

By Joelle Kidd

With stunning design and a revamped food hall concept, Winnipeg’s most historic meeting place has become its freshest attraction. WHERE editors have named The Forks Market Winnipeg’s Best Improved Attraction for 2017.

26915911563_7c1cfe1a4a_oThe place where the Red and Assiniboine Rivers converge has been a gathering place for 6,000 years, as a a sacred site, a bustling trade centre, and a hub for transportation.

What better place to meet a friend for a locally brewed beer?

In the past year, The Forks—the city’s renowned tourist attraction—underwent an impressive renovation project. What resulted is more than a little facelift on Winnipeg’s favourite food court. The Forks Market is emblematic of Winnipeg and a point of local pride; a place where Winnipeggers bring their guests to say, this is my city.

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DRAMATIC DESIGN
The Forks site and its signature ‘Forks Market’ opened in 1989 as a tourist destination, combining fresh market sensibilities with vendors selling handicrafts and imported wares. Its creation was a massive undertaking, transforming a disused rail yard in the centre of the city into one of its top attractions.

In 2014, as The Forks celebrated its 25th anniversary, it became clear it was time to refresh the look. Brainstorming meetings led to an idea that would keep true to The Market’s spirit while giving it a mod makeover.

“Winnipeggers have a sense of ownership for this space,” says Chelsea Thomson, director of communications for The Forks. In order to preserve the aspects beloved by locals, they recruited designers at Winnipeg-based Number TEN Architecture Group, who began to think of the space as the city’s living room.

“The central atrium […] has a very high ceiling with a glass roof,” says architect Greg Hasiuk, who lead the project. “Our intent was to bring down the scale and change the entire look and feel to be more intimate.”

References to The Forks’ past are blended with warm, welcoming elements and twists of local flavour. Raw steel, blacksmith work, and natural wood meld with the historic building, while sleek charcoal accents and pendant lights pull the space into the future.

The centerpiece of this inviting environment is a line of reclaimed oak tables with collapsible leaves that transform into a 88-seat harvest table, fostering the feel of community dining. Like all materials used for the reno, tables were produced locally by custom fabrication shop Wood Anchor.

Other Manitoba-made items include drum-style light fixtures crafted by Metal-Tech industries, decorative blacksmith work by Cloverdale Forge, and drink flights served on Manitoba-shaped boards carved by Huron Woodwork.

In the glass walled atrium, filled with skate-lacers in the winter, three starburst shaped ornaments hang from the ceiling. Come closer and you’ll realize these impressive decorations (made by Wood Anchor) were created from donated hockey sticks. As Thomson notes, “there’s a little piece of many Winnipeggers in this space.”

It only seems right. Stop in for a bite or a pint at any time of day, and you’ll see families chattering over plates of food, couples holding hands over coffee, and girls nights celebrating over glasses of wine—a kitchen party for all to enjoy.

EATING PLACE
If ‘food court’ conjures up images of greasy fast food and chain restaurants, The Forks is the antidote. The former horse stables house a diverse range of local vendors slinging everything from gourmet burgers to Caribbean cuisine.

On any given day, a bustling crowd of diners peruses the stalls and halls. Laughter and chatter create the atmosphere of a party where the guests are constantly changing. Footlong hotdogs piled with sauerkraut share the table with Argentinean-style empanadas and sushi tacos stuffed with crab and avocado.

Plans are in the works for two new ‘microrestaurant’ concepts that will each have a separate seating area but allow for free movement between the restaurant space and main hall.

theforks

SIPS AND SUDS
While spaces that mix drink kiosks and food vendors are common in Europe and have begun to emerge in cities like New York and Portland, Oregon, the concept is new in Manitoba and rare in Canada. Visitors to The Forks can grab a drink at The Common and wander freely throughout the rest of the main floor, melding a family friendly atmosphere with the convivial vibe of a neighbourhood watering hole.

Local brews and outstanding imports are the focus, seleted to pair well with a meal. On tap, find Winnipeg breweries like Half Pints Brewing, Little Brown Jug, Peg Beer Co, and Barnhammer Brewing. A special wine pouring system ensures all bottles are available by the glass, and a curated selection complements the usual suspects with finds like biodynamic natural orange wine from Ontario and a lively pinot blanc from the Okanagan Valley.

Hot Dining

By Trevor J. Adams

DATE NIGHT

  • Intimate Lot Six (page 61) on Argyle Street is a must for serious cocktail aficionados. The bar recently unveilled a new cocktail menu featuring 16 creations. The selection includes As the Valley Blooms (cognac, sake, chamomile, orgeat, lemon, grapefruit, egg white, grapefruit bitters) and the Green Swizzle (gin, lime, cucumber, chartreuse, sage).
  • With its French-inspired seasonal menu, Agricola Street Brasserie (page 59) has helped turn the North End into Halifax’s hottest dining destination. Artfully prepared seasonal dishes, including fresh Atlantic seafood, pair with Nova Scotian wine and beer.

 

CHILL OUT

Beat the summer heat with a tasty treat. At Sugah (page 52), on the waterfront boardwalk in Bishop’s Landing, you’ll find all manner of confections, but the star of the show is the house-made hand-paddled ice cream, showcasing unique Nova Scotian ingredients.

 

LOCAL FAVOURITES

  • Athens Restaurant (page 62) on Quinpool Road offers the Greek mainstays you’d expect, but Haligonians love it for weekend brunch: omelettes, eggs Florentine, and a buffet chock full of breakfast favourites like sausage, baked beans, pancakes, perogies, pastries, and more.
  • Maxwell’s Plum (page 62) on Grafton Street boasts a huge array of craft beers and brews from around the globe, served alongside burgers, sandwiches, fish, and chips, and pub grub galore.
  • Scratch-made vegan cuisine make Wild Leek (page 63) a Windsor Street neighbourhood favourite. With an on-site bakery, tasty gourmet desserts are the house specialty.

 

ON THE GO

Quick, casual, healthy, and flavourful: Burrito Jax (page 62) on Barrington Street ticks all the boxes for an urban-exploration power lunch. Scratch-made burritos are the house specialty. Pulled pork and pepper steak will bring the big traditional flavours purists demand, or you can give it an East Coast twist with North Atlantic cod.

 

ASIAN ADVENTURE

  • In a historic building on the corner of Morris and Hollis streets, Talay Thai (page 63) serves up heaping portions of traditional dishes like creations like Gung Pad Pik Pow (basil prawn with chili paste), Pla Muek Tod Katem (garlic shrimp), and curries aplenty.
  • Japanese fine dining, showcasing traditional and fusion dishes, is on offer at Sushi Nami Royale (page 62). Check it out on Dresden Row in the heart of the downtown or Lacewood Drive in Clayton Park.
  • Don’t let the strip-mall exterior or industrial-park cul-de-sac location fool you: Dhaba Casual Fine Dining & Express (page 61) on Oland Crescent serves some of the tastiest Indian food around. The volcanic chicken vindaloo isn’t for the fainthearted; the flavours are unforgettable.

 

Editor’s Choice: ABOVE IT ALL

Take a lofty perch above the bustle of Spring Garden Road to enjoy the rooftop patio at Your Father’s Moustache (page 63). This perennial summer favourite is the ideal place to laze away a sunny afternoon with a cold beverage, including four beers that downstairs neighbour Rockbottom Brewpub (page 56) crafts just for this bar. There are daily lunch specials but locals know to go for a signature sandwich (like the haddock bahn mi).  

Manitoba Memento: Camelina Oil

Courtesy of Freefield Organics

Courtesy of Freefield Organics

For a souvenir that pulls double duty as a tasty and ultra-nutritious pantry addition, take home a bottle of locally produced camelina oil. The non-GMO oil is packed with good-for-you benefits due to naturally high levels of Omega-3 and Vitamin E. Don’t worry about burning off nutritional value—unlike other culinary oils, can withstand high heat cooking up to 475°F.

This wonder ingredient, produced by Erna and Frantz Kracher of Freefield Organics, was the first certified organic camelina oil in Canada. On their 400 acre farm in rural Inglis, Manitoba the couple grows and cold presses the seed into oil. To try before you buy, visit restaurant and gift shop Pineridge Hollow and taste chef Matty Neufeld’s camelina-dressed wildberry salad before picking up a bottle. Also available in the city centre at DeLuca’s Market.

Pineridge Hollow, 67086 Heatherdale Rd, 25 km out of the city, 204‑777‑3881; and DeLuca’s, 950 Portage Ave, 204‑774‑7617

Hot Dining: Now Open

Photo courtesy of Khao House

Photo courtesy of Khao House

New charming West Broadway spot Khao House is making waves with crave-able Laotian comfort foods, like steamed buns, fried chicken and naem khao (pictured). 126 Sherbrook St, 204‑783‑3642, khaohouse.com.

Gourmet burger joint Nuburger, a local favourite for creative toppings and healthy ingredients, is joining the ranks of stellar dining options at The Forks Market, with a shortened menu of signatures. The Forks Market, 1 Forks Market Rd, theforks.ca

Newly renovated and revamped, Carne Italian Chophouse delivers impressive eats in a slick downtown atmosphere. Chef Michael Dacquisto’s menu incorporates classic Italian dishes from grilled octopus to veal marsala, along with a collection of creative sides. 295 York Ave, 204‑896‑7275, 295york.ca

4 Reasons We Love Canmore’s Restaurants

October 18, 2016
By Where writers

Restaurants in Canmore pair food with great prices, open kitchens, international tastes and mountain views.

Canmore dining, where to eat in Canmore

Canmore’s pubs have unbeatable lunch specials.

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Top 5 Restaurants with Live Music

Photo courtesy Prairie Ink Restaurant

Photo courtesy Prairie Ink Restaurant

Dining is not just about taste; get the other senses involved at these restaurants, which offer live music in harmony with mouth-watering flavour.

Prairie Ink Restaurant (pictured), inside McNally Robinson Booksellers, hosts sweet music every Friday and Saturday night. Acoustic crooners and jazz trios are the backdrop to healthful eats like kicky curried spaghetti squash. Reservations preferred. 1120 Grant Ave, 204‑975‑2659, mcnallyrobinson.com/restaurant

Hip venue The Good Will slings java during the day and sates late night cravings with slices from Little Pizza Heaven. Indie rock, jazz, and hip hop artists usually take the stage. 625 Portage Ave, 204-221-1577, thegoodwill.ca

Excellent pub grub, like indulgent pulled pork poutine, makes Le Garage the place to lounge. Consistent live shows range from local legends to open mics. 166 Provencher Blvd, 204‑237‑0737, garagecafe.ca

Expert musicians tickle the ivories at swanky Palm Lounge inside the Fort Garry Hotel while the kitchen plays with on seasonal, scratch-made fare. Jazz and classical piano is de-rigeur, often with a talented vocalist joining in. 222 Broadway, 204‑942‑8251, fortgarryhotel.com/dining

Winnipeg’s stellar jazz scene can be found at Nicolino’s every week at the Wednesday Night Hang. Budding musicians and seasoned pros share the stage, while diners sample rustic Italian cuisine. 2077 Pembina Hwy, 204‑269‑5004, nicolinosrestaurant.com

Hot Dining: Now Open

Photo courtesy The Forks

Photo courtesy The Forks

The eagerly awaited renovations to the Forks Market Food Hall have transformed the space into a sleek and modern dining hall complete with communal tables, attention-grabbing light fixtures, and black accents. Anchoring the room is The Common, a craft beer and wine station offering local pours in flights presented on a board shaped like our province. Other new venues include Fusian Sushi and Argentinean spot Simon’s Cuisine, as well as a new rotating food stall, NEXT, which acts as a permanent pop-up, showcasing a different local chef or restaurant every month. A few remaining expectant stalls guarantee that more good eats are in the works. 1 Forks Market Rd, theforks.com

Hot Dining: Cute Creperie

Owners Phil Salazar and Candy Lam. Photo by Ian McCausland

Owners Phil Salazar and Candy Lam. Photo by Ian McCausland

Entrepreneur Candy Lam first encountered Japanese-style crepes while making buying trips to Asia for her clothing store. With the help of her husband, Phil Salazar, Lam re-imagined the crispy, cone-shaped versions of the beloved French pancake for Winnipeg. With unique sweet and savoury fillings and names like “Pump Up the Yam” and “It’s-A-Smore”, Kawaii Crepe shows how fun and food go hand in hand. 201-99 Osborne St, 204‑415‑2833; Unit D-1220 St Mary’s Rd, 204‑691‑3700

Hot Dining: Now Open

Peg Beer Co. photo by David Wakeman

Peg Beer Co. photo by David Wakeman

Peg Beer Co., the latest venture from Nicole Barry, former CEO of local Half Pints Brewing Company, has opened its doors in the Exchange District. A one-time warehouse turned skatepark is now home to this convivial brewpub, where craft beer is joined by family-style feasts. Chef Aron Epp’s menu takes inspiration from the earthy, farm staples of past generations with shareable spreads and ingredients pulled from Manitoba soil. 125 Pacific Ave, 204‑416‑2337.

Saperavi is the first Georgian restaurant to open on the prairies. The bright 2nd floor space serves Caucasus specialties like khinkali, a spiced meat filled dumpling, and shashlik, meat grilled on skewers. 709 Corydon Ave, 204‑416‑3996

Editor’s Pick: Top 5 Hidden Gem Restaurants

Folio Cafe courtesy CMU

Folio Cafe courtesy CMU

These little-known, out of the way, or surprising locales offer stellar eats for city explorers.

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Editor’s Pick: Top 5 Kid Foods Reimagined

Photo courtesy Marion Street Eatery

Photo courtesy Marion Street Eatery

With gourmet renditions of homey dishes on trend, chefs are getting in touch with their inner child. These childhood favourites are all grown up.

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Editor’s Pick: Top 5 Wild Poutines In Winnipeg

loveys2Photo courtesy Lovey’s BBQ

In a city with as much Francophone influence as Winnipeg, it’s not hard to find that glorious mixture of french fries, gravy, and melty cheese curds. These spots branch out from the classic with irresistable toppings and tasty twists.

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