Can you hear the foodies squealing with glee? They have good reason to be joyful since they've landed on Sargent Avenue in Winnipeg's West end, where culinary dishes and ethnic influences make a beautiful match.
It may be one of the city's oldest Vietnamese establishments but there's little doubt it's one of the best. In an unscientific, cross-country taste test, I voted Viva's hot and sour soup as the winner, but don't take my word for it, try it for yourself. The crispy chicken chow mein is loaded with bright veggies and comes with a gravy of sorts that you just can't stop slurping. Add a dark-roasted Vietnamese coffee topped with sweetened-condensed milk and you'll be buzzing all afternoon.
If you're looking to pick up some fresh rabbit, La Grotto Del Formaggio is the place. This old-world butcher/grocery/cheese shop isn't big on selection but it seems to have everything for your Italian or Portuguese dinner including olives, fresh buns, hard-to-find cheeses and expertly prepared cuts of meat. It's also one of the few places where you can fill a bag with hazelnuts or walnuts still in the shell.
If you can get out of Morden's of Winnipeg without at least one box of Russian mints, you have willpower to be admired. Lots of folks go for the fresh-roasted nuts and novelty chocolates in the shapes of everything from golf balls to automobiles. I can't leave without toasted coconut covered marshmallows and a box of peanut brittle, which I will consume, solo, in no more than two sittings.
For some reason, Lisbon Bakery always reminds me of the old country, even though I've never been to the old country. It has that ‘we are here to bake bread, maybe a few sweets, but nothing more' feel. The no frills approach seems to be working. There's a constant stream of patrons walking out with a bag of Small Buns. That's what they are called. But they aren't small at all. They are huge, soft and deliciously addictive. I'd hate to have to choose a favourite among the buns, white corn bread, sourdough and the thickly crusted Portuguese water bread.
Have you been craving lime-infused mayonnaise since you returned from your Mexican vacation and had that delicious concoction of roasted corn, mayo and chili powder? Get yourself to El Izalco market where you can stock up on the mayo and all your Central American faves and get locally-made tortillas too.
Asia City for young coconut bubble tea
O Tacho for Portuguese dining
Maxie's Pastries for eggrolls and more to go
Lviv Food Store, an Eastern European grocery store
Casa Grande Pizzeria for authentic Italian everything