Vinh Long Vietnamese

A few months back I wrote about L & Y Tasty Soup at Portage Place. I was particularly happy to find a non-chain restaurant operating in a food court. Well, Winnipeg Square ups the ante in this regard as they have several such places. I’ll try and get around to checking out all of them in the next little while, but for now I want to highlight Vinh Long Vietnamese restaurant.

Vinh Long is easy to miss as you go through the food court at Winnipeg Square. All the other restaurants are either on the side or along the back wall of the court, while Vinh Long sits by itself in a little cubby hole on the opposite side. It’s easy to miss this restaurant while you are checking out all the other options on the other side of the wall. That would be a big mistake, as Vinh Long offers great food and portions at great prices.

Vinh Long Soup.

The Deluxe Beef soup from Vinh Long makes for a hearty and satisfying lunch.

Vinh Long Offerings

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Gaberniks – Winnipeg Square

As the weather in the city has been turning colder, I once again find myself using the downtown skywalk and underground walkway system more frequently. I was looking for a quick lunch the other day, and as I entered the underground mall complex by the RBC building on Portage Avenue, I spotted Gaberniks at the bottom of the escalators, and figured I’d give it a try.

I had tried the above ground Gaberniks location a few years back, but didn’t really remember it. The underground location focuses on soup, salads, sandwiches, etc. I noticed a soup and sandwich combo on offer and chose that. This combo is available in lunch size and full size. As you might expect if you are familiar with my dining habits from reading the blog, I went with the full size.

Gaberniks Pea Soup

Gaberniks Pea Soup

There were two or three soups on offer. I went with the Pea Soup. For the sandwich I went with a Denver. The sandwich choice was partly a matter of nostalgia. Many years ago, when I was a business student at the Notre Dame RRC campus, the Denver sandwich they served at the Buffalo Cafeteria was my go to breakfast choice. The Denver from Gaberniks isn’t good enough to compete with the memory, but it was still a good sandwich. The filling was more frittata shaped, so there wasn’t quite full coverage under the toast.  The Pea Soup was thinner than I like. I prefer mine closer to porridge in texture. Still, the flavour was quite good and the there was plenty in the bowl. At $7.75 before taxes this made

Denver from Gaberniks

The Gaberniks Denver has a frittata shaped filling.

Gaberniks Grab and Go Lunch

The next time I went to Gaberniks my schedule was a little tighter, so I simply grabbed a Cobb Salad to go. There was a short wait in getting it, which was a good thing as the salad was being constructed after I ordered it. Again, the salad was well priced, but I’d rather pay a little bit more and get some better quality ingredients. Neither the ham or the chicken was of particularly high quality. I did like the fact that the salad came with the dressing on the side. That meant nothing getting soggy while I walked back to work. There was also a good portion of dressing, well matched to the size of the salad.

Cobb Salad on offer at Gaberniks

Gaberniks Cobb Salad.

Gaberniks is certainly not high end lunch dining. However, if you are a looking for something that is fresh and fast, it’s a good place to stop by. Also, I found the service both times to be fast and friendly.

Gaberniks Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Vanxai Laos Thai

Earlier this year, Urbanspoon, which I had used for traffic referral was bought out by Zomato. I’ll avoid the rant over why this has been so terrible. However, it has caused me to change my review focus somewhat. They emphasize neighbourhoods, so you are going to see quite a few Saint Vital posts in the next while, as I attempt to improve my status there. I’m starting that off with my recent visits to Vanxai Laos Thai restaruant on St. Anne’s. Having both Boun’s and Vientiane nearby, I also thought it would make for an interesting comparison.

Vanxai Thai Wings.

Vanxai Bangkok Wings with Sweet Chili Sauce

I’m not sure what was originally in the building that Vanxai now occupies, but it’s purple exterior makes it stand out as you head down St. Anne’s just after it splits off from St. Mary’s. Inside, the building is quite cozy. There are several tables along the wall on your right hand side, and a few on your left including a couple in a little raised enclosure. Both times I visited Vanxai I was there off peak hours, and so I had no trouble finding myself a table. Continue reading

Noodle Express – Dim Sum

A couple of weeks ago we had our most recent Why Cook Wednesday supper club dinner. We decided on Dim Sum at Noodle Express in Chinatown. I have to admit that this is a restaurant that I haven’t thought much about despite having popped in during past Fringe Festivals. I’ve also tended to shy away form Dim Sum, thinking it on the expensive side. I do though, enjoy the variety.

I found out, after arriving that Noodle Express has a happy hour for Dim Sum. This meant the meal turned out to be one of the real good bargains on the Winnipeg food scene. Happy hour is also a bit of a misnomer as it runs from the end of the lunch rush at 2 pm to closing time at 8 pm.

Noodle Express steamed bun.

A steamed bun from Noodle Express.

Noodle Express Condiments

Sriracha and some other condiments, which really don’t matter. Sriracha! Sriracha! Sriracha!

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Bourbon Street Grill

Every so often I run into a restaurant that doesn’t quite make sense. Bourbon Street Grill in St. Vital Centre is one such place. I first visited early in 2015 while Winnipeg was under it’s boil water advisory. I was meeting with a couple of clergy friends in the food court, and Bourbon Street Grill was one of the few available options.

What I found strange was, while the restaurant offered a few Cajun style dishes the majority of the menu seemed to be typical of a food court Chinese restaurant. As it turned out, I quite enjoyed the chicken but the rest of the items rather pedestrian.

Fast forward a few months and I was meeting again with the same bunch, and decided to give Bourbon Street another try.

Bourbon Combo

Combination platter from Bourbon Street Grill.

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Helios – Saint Mary’s Road

Just down from St. Philip’s on Saint Mary’s is a new restaurant known as Helios. Helios falls into the category of replacement restaurant. Prior to Helios opening up the space had been home to La Petite France. La Petite France falls into the category of “restaurant that I always intended to visit but never did.”  When I saw that there was a new place opening I decided I’d try it out sooner rather than later.

As you might suspect from the name, Helios is a Greek restaurant. The first thing that stands out about Helios as you enter is that it is bright and open with lots of natural light coming in through the windows. While not a large dining room there are still plenty of seats and room between the tables. Both times I visited I found myself seated by the window.

Helios Avgolemone

The avgolemono soup from Helios

Helios for lunch

My first visit was on a Sunday after the service at St. Philip’s. It was one of those days where the tidying up and everything afterwards meant it was well past the lunch rush by the time I went. This meant that the dining room was empty. Continue reading