Bindy’s Caribbean Delights

Working, as I do, just south of the Assiniboine River, The Forks makes a great place to take a break and stop for lunch. It’s also home to Espresso Junction, so there’s a good coffee place on site to add a finishing touch to my meal.

The Forks has been in the news of late with the planned upgrades to their food court. I’ve been working my way through the various fast food options that are in the current food court. I’ve been to two or three recently, and the first on my list to write up is Bindy’s Caribbean Delight.Bindy's SignI’m not sure how long Bindy’s has been part of the Forks, but it seems to have been there almost from the beginning. It’s been a number of years since I’ve been there. Regular readers will know by now that I have a great love of Caribbean Food, and particularly like the hot sauces. Continue reading

New Year, New Power Rankings

Spring has arrived. Thanks to the early warm weather, many of the Food Trucks have already hit the streets. More exciting then this is the arrival of even more new food trucks.

This is my third annual Power Rankings post for the Winnipeg Food Truck scene. In 2013 when they were new, I wrote an explanation of power rankings as part of that post. With the early arrival of spring, I’ve had a chance to get out and try several of the new trucks along with some of the old ones. I plan to include all the trucks I’ve tried in this rankings.

As the summer progresses, some trucks will be in for a re-visit.

Last year, I tied my power rankings to Manyfest. As a result, I didn’t include several trucks. This time around I’m going to add them in.

Please remember, that although a truck may land on the bottom of the power rankings, you should still give it a try. This is not like the NHL or NBA. None of these trucks are tanking in the hopes of signing a bright young chef. Also, given how tough the food truck business is, nobody is overpaying an executive chef in the hopes of ending decades of mismanagement. This is meant to be fun. Plus, it’s skewed towards my favourites.

2015 means New Rankings

1.) Poutine King

While the rankings are new, the top spot is still the same. Great food, and sets the standard for being on the street, somewhere or other. This year the truck is at the Forks as well as on Broadway.  Also in addition to great food, makes good use of Social Media to promote the truck.

There's no new champ. The Poutine King still reigns.

2.) Red Ember

Dividing time between Broadway and the St. Norbert’s Farmers Market. Red Ember has quickly become a fan favourite. Also, North America’s biggest food truck. Continue reading

Churro Stop, Sweet Stop

As Winnipeg’s food truck scene continues to evolve, one area that is still a little under represented is the dessert area. There are a couple of ice cream trucks, and of course the ice cream bikes. However, other than Tokyo Rabbit, and these ice cream vendors, dessert is still a little hard to find. The entrance of The Churro Stop into the field helps to change this, and while in the frozen treat area, Pop Cart sounds like they wish to raise the bar in treats on a stick.

Churro Stop explanation

Churro Stop has included information on what a Churro is for people, like me, who are unfamiliar with them.

I wasn’t particularly familiar with churros when I made my first visit to Churro Stop. Fortunately they provide information on the side of the truck for the culinary challenged like me. What I did learn, as I did some reading around is that Churros are popular across South America in particular. Also they seem to be more of a crispy treat than the doughnuts of North America.

Sometimes, when I try a new food, it doesn’t necessarily come acr4oss as I expect it to. That’s why I like to check around and find out whether that’s a lack of knowledge on my part or if the dish varies a lot from the tradition. Varying from tradition isn’t alsways a bad thing, but I like to know if that’s the case. With the Churro Stop Churros it was my understanding that needed correcting.

Basic Churro Stop churro.

The Churro Stop’s basic Churro. No filling or glaze but lots of sugar. The ridges do a great job of trapping the sugar.

The Churro Stop has generally been at the Forks, but they have also been out of Broadway.

Value:

The Churro Stop has two prices. 5 plain for $5.00 or 3 filled for $5.00. They are reasonably sized, and adequately filled. This makes for a good meal topper, or a mid-morning coffee snack. Drinks are available for $1.50. 4/5

Selection:

Selection is still somewhat a work in progress. So far, they have the plain, and two filled churros, Bavarian Creme and dolce Du leche. They are also working on a chocolate dip that they hope to have on the menu in the next few days. 4/5

Quality:

I liked the crunchiness of the churros, and they have been golden brown on the outside. I’m not generally a fan of Bavarian Creme, but Churro Stop has created a really good one. It is smooth and sweet without being cloying and thick like so many doughnut shop ones are. The dulce De leche has a nice caramel texture and taste and again manages to be sweet without overwhelming the taste of the Churro. 4.5/5

Churro Stop Bavarian Creme Churro

The creme in the Bavarian Creme oozes out nicely.

Portability:

The churros come in paper bags which are up to the job of holding them. The first time I went I ordered a double order and they gave me a larger paper bag to place them in. 4.5/5

Service:

The owner of The Churro Stop is very friendly and engaging. He’s working hard to get people interested in his product. Everytime I’ve been the service has been quick as well as friendly 5/5Stop Sign

The Churro Stop Overall:

This is a truck that does one thing. As it is still only the first week out, you can expect the odd glitch along the way. However, I think long term this will be a truck that does one thing, and does it extremely well. 4.5/5

 

Juice Me Juice Truck

The ever expanding world of Winnipeg food trucks has a new entry. Juice Me Juice brings to the food truck scene cold-pressed juices. Juices are nothing new, Booster Juice is all over the city and Obby Khan own Green Carrot Juice Company in addition to his shawarma joints. So it was only a matter of time before the juice craze hit the road.

Juice Me

The Juice Me Juice van

In writing about this truck, I’ll say right at the start that my belief in the benefits of juicing isn’t particularly strong. However, if you take the time to Google, there is plenty of information out there on both sides of the argument. I’ll leave it to you to read up and judge for yourselves. With that out of the way, here are a few of my thoughts on Juice Me Juice. Continue reading

Royal Punjab Sweet House

Royal Punjab Sweet House & Restaurant was the most recent destination for the Why Cook Wednesday Supper Club. Royal Punjab is located out in Fort Richmond, and on an evening like this I’m quite happy with the BRT. It’s just a short jaunt from St. Philip’s to the entrance to the transitway, and I’m able to get down to the south end of Pembina in quite good time.

Royal Punjab sign

The Royal Punjab sign is one you won’t miss as you are traveling down the road.

The Royal Punjab has gone through several iterations over the years. Included in these are a couple of Chinese restaurants and a Mongolian restaurant. You can still see the exhaust piping from the big Mongolian cooking pit as you enter the restaurant. The main seating area is really large, and we were seated off in a side room that could hold 30-40 if necessary. The ceilings are high and there is a general feeling of roominess in the building.

Royal Punjab seating area.

The main seating area of Royal Punjab Sweet House.

The prices were good, but the buffet was really well priced. It was $13.99. It’s not the largest buffet, but the dishes that were there were really good. In many ways it reminded me of the buffet at Dhoom on Donald, but with 2 or 3 extra dishes. The buffet choice was so popular that I was the only one in the group who didn’t go for it. One good feature of the buffet is that when they came around with the Naan bread, there was plenty to go around. There was no need to flag down a server later to get a refill.

Royal Punjab Buffet Plate

A buffet filled plate. The club members are patient and kind in their willingness to let me photograph their dishes.

Royal Punjab a la Carte:

I decided to go for the Lamb Vindaloo with rice. The menu made it appear as the rice was an add-on, but when I went to pay at the evening I discovered that it was included in the base price of the dish. As I was eating it seemed that all I was going to get was bone on lamb, but there were several nice boneless chunks of lamb as well. The Vindaloo was reasonably hot and spicy. It left me on the edge of the, making me sweat, level of heat. To wash it down I enjoyed a Kingfisher Beer. It’s light, crisp flavour went well with the spicy food.

Royal Punjab Lamb Vindaloo

The Royal Punjab Lamb Vindaloo packs a decent spicy punch.

A good helping of Basmati.

A good helping of Basmati.

Royal Punjab Beer

A light, crisp beer that went well with a spicy dish

As always the conversation and company is the best part of these evenings. I was seated next to my friend Gerry Bowler. A recently retired U of M history prof, Gerry is also a renowned scholar on the subjects of Christmas and Santa Claus . Although, this evening the discussions revolved around British Panel shows as well as the world of education.
Royal Punjab Sweet House on Urbanspoon
One of the other features I liked about this place, is that we were in no way rushed. The service was good, and they came around to make sure our water was topped up, but otherwise we were left in peace to enjoy each others company.

Fools & Horses, Coffee & Wine

In my Bronuts post, I commented on the trend towards gourmet toast. Yesterday, I walked into Fools & Horses Coffee, on Broadway, and what’s on the menu? Gourmet Toast. Apparently Winnipeg’s food scene is even trendier than I thought.

Fools & Horses seating

There’s lots of sunshine coming through the Fools & Horses windows.

Of all the new restaurants and food trucks I’ve visited in the last few weeks, Fools & Horses is the one I’m most excited about. There are few reasons for this. It’s on the way to work. Fools & Horses is operating as a social enterprise. The shop is committed to using local produce as much as is possible. Most of all however, James & Kendra Magnus-Johnston, two of the five owners, are good friends of mine. They have been a constant source of support and encouragement in my life for several years. I’m really hoping they will succeed.

The heart of Fools & Horses is it’s Mod Bar. The Mod Bar is a state of the art espresso machine that allows the baristas (baristae?) greater control over the coffee making process. In addition, being built into the counter it brings the barista closer to the customer while the coffee is being prepared.

Pilot Coffee, a direct trade coffee roaster out of Toronto will be the flagship roaster for the shop. The principal reason for this, is that Pilot is the only company in Canada that has adequate experience in dealing with a Mod Bar set up.

Fools & Horses Mod Bar.

Working at the counter. The Mod Bar units are in the front middle of the picture.

If you look at the picture above, you’ll notice taps along the wall at the back. These are the taps for the beer and the wine. Fools & Horses is a licensed cafe, which will allow patrons to enjoy a wide variety of beverages.

Although they only opened yesterday, I got my first chance to try their coffee a week or so earlier when they were testing out their equipment. The first drink I got from the cafe was an Americano. The Americano is my go to beverage. I was very impressed. It was clean with no aftertaste, and went down nice and smoothly.

Fools & Horses

Fools & Horses offers a clean, smooth Americano.

When I went in yesterday, I was looking for something with a little more sweetness to it, so I decided to go for their Mocha. Hands down, this was the best Mocha I’ve ever had. Fools and Horses makes their Mocha using shaved organic dark Chocolate that they melt with just a touch of hot water before adding the espresso and milk. The end result is a Mocha that is rich, and gives a good mixture of coffee and chocolate flavour.

Fools & Horses Mocha
The Fools & Horses Mocha is the richest I’ve ever had.

 Fools & Horses Food:

Much like Folio Cafe at CMU, Fools & Horses will use a mixture of in-house made and locally produced food for their menu. Their is a little something for everyone in their sandwich and pastry menu.  Among their offerings are a couple of gluten-free items from my St. Philip’s neighbours, Cocoabeans. They are also offering Croissants from Frenchway Cafe. Cookies from High Tea Bakery, and Cinnamon Buns from Jonnies (go for the Monkey Brains if they have them).

Fools & Horses will also have baked goods from their in-house baker Michael Harms. He will also be providing the bread for their sandwiches and toast. The fillings for the sandwiches are coming from Miss Browns and Shawarma Khan. This is a great example of businesses collaborating with each for their mutual benefit. I’m especially pleased to see Shawarma Khan involved, as the response to my review of the restaurant was one of the early sources of encouragement in my blogging.

As Fools & Horses is just getting opened, Things will be added as time goes on. The charcuterie is now available. The beer and wine should also be available in the next day or two.  Another one is chocoturie, provided by Chocolatier Constance Popp. If the quality of the goods already available is any indication, it will be well worth the wait.

Fools & Horses

There are some jams and mustard available for take home.

In keeping with their practice of supporting local producers, Fool & Horses will be selling a select number of products for take home consumption. These will be the same products used in the making of the toast offerings. Two companies involved are Flora & Farmer, and Smak Dab Mustard.

Fools & Horses Croissant

Frenchway Croissant at Fools & Horses

Having enjoyed my Mocha, I decided to pick up something to go as I left the cafe. I went for a Masala Chai tea, and one of the croissants. While I don’t generally add milk and sugar to my tea, I think that’s the only way to drink Chai. My recent experience of Chai has been in fast food type establishments, and this made for a bracing exception. Back at the church, I enjoyed the flaky croissant as I finished the Chai.

Over time my coffee shop preferences have changed. There has always been at least one place that has been a sort of home away from home for me. Fools and Horses is going to be that place from now on.
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