Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Review of Boon Burger Cafe

Mmmm, Boon Burger Cafe. Last month a friend and I went to Boon Burger Cafe a few weeks after a really great meal at the amazing Unburger in Osborne Village, and now I'm so excited to tell you about it.

Boon Burger Cafe is an all vegan restaurant. Everything from the burgers to the hotdogs, and even including the coconut milk soft-serve ice cream, is completely animal free with no eggs, milk, or meat. My friend an I each ordered two different burgers from the menu and we both loved our choices.

This wasn't my first time eating in an all vegan restaurant.  Mondragon, just down the street from my campus, also has an entirely vegan menu, and I encourage you to visit them because their sandwiches are amazing.

But back to Boon Burger Cafe. The service was nice and was more of a 'fast food' style where you go up to a counter to place your order and then they bring out your food when it's done (it was the same at Unburger and Mondragon). I don't have much to complain about. I do wish there was more seating in the restaurant. There were probably enough seats for about 15 people, so a lot of folks who came in and took their order were left standing in the front doorway.

But that's enough about the restaurant, let's get to the food!

Here is my burger, the Boon Burger itself. It has a grilled mushroom-rice patty with mayo, dijon mustard, red pepper peach chutney, red onion, sliced cucumber, tomato and lettuce. It costs $7.75, but if you're like me, you just have to get the bacun* for an extra $1.25.

And here is the Salsa Burger my friend ordered. It had a grilled black bean patty topped with crispy corn chips, mayo (my friend replaced it with boon sauce), tomato, lettuce, salsa, avocado, and a slice or daiya cheddar*, and it was $8.25.

And here is the coconut milk chocolate ice cream. Delicious. I'm a huge fan of chocolate and coconut, so I really enjoyed the flavour, and the consistency was just like regular soft-serve ice cream.

I thought the food was really good and definitely worth the price. I think the next time I go I'll follow in my friend's footsteps and will substitute my mayo for boon sauce because I really enjoyed it. I do recommend ordering fries with your meal. The burgers weren't quite as big as the one's at Unbuger where the burgers are a meal on their own.

If you'd like to try Boon Burger Cafe, it's located at 79 Sherbrook st.

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Friday, February 1, 2013

A Review of Unburger

After hearing about Unburger and Boon Burger and their amazing vegetarian burger options, I decided it was finally time to try them out.

Since becoming a vegetarian I've avoided embarking into the world of veggie burgers and veggies dogs, wary of the additives and artificial flavours to make the patties and dogs taste and have the same textures of their meaty counterparts. However, many people assured me that the food served at these two specialty burger restaurants was nothing like the pre-made patties from a box.

So last week I called up my boyfriend and told him we were going on an adventure. A delicious and filling adventure.
The first thing people need to know before going to Unburger is that there are a lot of options and variations to choose from.

First there are the buns. Regular, multigrain, and lettuce (which results in a messier sandwich, but is awesome if you're avoiding carbs).

Then there are the patties. Regular beef and chicken make up the majority of the menu items, but for vegetarians there are two options. The Bella Burger which comes with a grilled portabella mushroom as the patty, and the Great Falafel, which comes with a falafel style patty.

Lastly there are the toppings that cost from $1-$1.75 each and they include things like avocado, various cheeses, bacon, and even pineapple.

For a complete list of everything that is on the menu, click here.

Above you can see I ordered the Bella Burger on a multigrain bun with avocados as an extra topping. It was delicious and full of flavours from the sharp blue cheese and the balsamic onions and herbed mayo.  The variety of textures also helped to make the burger more complex with the creamy avocado, the crispy bun, and the "meaty" mushroom patty.

Biggest thing to note about this burger. Impossible to fit it all in your mouth.

This is the Great Falafel on a regular bun with an added fried egg on top. It seemed like more of a classic burger with the regular bun and the lettuce and tomato, but what really made it special was the falafel patty. So crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. After trying it I understood why my boyfriend didn't want to share. : )

And this is the "Shareables"plate with both regular fries and sweet potato fries and two of Unburger's original dips. The orange one was a sweet chilli dip and the other was a roasted garlic dip. The whole plate was delicious, but I feel like the burgers are so filling, you don't really need to order them.

Unburger is located just off of Osborne street at 472 Stradbrook. Be careful you don't get it confused with Boon Burger on Sherbrook. I did.
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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Mac and Cheese for 2

Mmmm, who doesn't love creamy, delicious, cheesy home-made macaroni and cheese?

Oooo, who hates the hassle of grating, boiling, whisking, and cleaning three pots and a casserole dish?

I would have to answer "yes" to both of those questions. I love home-made mac and cheese. I love it so much, I'll never open up a box of KD again. But I really don't love having to carefully whisk together a béchamel sauce, grate the cheese, boil the pasta until it's cooked (but not fully cooked!), and then bake the whole thing, thus dirtying multiple dishes and leaving me with no time to do my home work.

But you know what? I can live with all that, because let's face it, mac and cheese is something special. A labour of love. Something worth putting in the time to create from scratch.

What I can't live with are the calories. Now I know some folks out there are thinking "who cares about calories? This is mac and cheese we're talkin' about!", but the truth is, the guilt I feel from eating a whole bowl of the real-deal mac and cheese full of mozzarella, cheddar, butter, and whole milk with little room to spare for any leafy greens, ultimately ruins the blissful experience of eating the noodles and completely wastes all the time I put into making the dish.

But now I've found a way around that guilt. Behold, Mac and Cheese for 2, a simple but delicious recipe adapted from the one I saw on Chow's website, that results in two moderate sized portions.

Mac and Cheese for 2

The béchamel sauce
-1 cup milk (whole or 2% is best, but others can be used)
-2 tbsp salted butter
-1/8 cup flour
-1 tsp salt

Other ingredients
-1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
-3/4 cup shredded aged cheddar
-1 cup macaroni pasta


Warm the milk in a small pot over low heat. Melt the butter in a medium sized pot. Add the flour, and then whisk constantly until the white mixture turns a light brown colour. Then add the milk to the flour and butter mixture and whisk constantly. Continue to whisk for about 2 minutes until the mixture thickens. Stir in the salt and set aside.

Boil the pasta in water until they are cooked, but still quite chewy. They will continue to cook when they have been added to the sauce and are put into the oven. Drain the pasta and add it to béchamel sauce on medium heat. Add the shredded cheeses, and when the cheeses have melted, pour the mac and cheese into a small casserole dish, top with a little more shredded cheese if you like, and bake for ten minutes.

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Friday, December 21, 2012

The Newly Opened Royal Punjab

The Royal Punjab opened its doors less than a week ago and tomorrow will mark the third day I am going there to order their amazing vegetarian platter. There aren't a lot of Indian restaurants in this neck of the woods, but I can confidently say that I found a really, really good one.

There are so many things I love about this place. The simple but elegant decor, the comical Italian paintings that I suspect were left behind by previous owners, the fact that the restaurant is across the street from my favourite bubble tea shop Popocha, the building's parking lot that is always empty, and above all other things, the delicious food that contains just the right amount of spiciness, creaminess, and heartiness.

The Royal Punjab is so new, they don't have menus, but never fear, the options that are available are so simple, reading material is unnecessary. The restaurant offers its customers individual platters containing small bowls of different dishes, such as curry chickpeas, spiced yogurt, vegetables, and classics like butter chicken (or in my case, butter tofu).

But I haven't mentioned the best parts about the meal yet. Naan bread is included, as is a small dessert, and the price is so inexpensive! My boyfriend and I went there together, ate far more than we should have and completely stuffed ourselves, and our combined bill at the end of the meal was only $23. Amazing!

People have the option of ordering the vegetarian version or the non-vegetarian version of the platter, or if they're in the mood for something in particular, they can order individual curry dishes. Someday I think I will order lots of the individual dishes when I go with a larger group of friends and we want to share, but for now the platter is the perfect thing for me to eat a variety of delicious Indian dishes.

Here are some photos from my latest visit, including the desserts we received at the end of our meal.

Butter tofu. I used to love butter chicken (really, who doesn't?) so this was such a treat for me.
Another dish that used tofu instead of meat. This one was a tad bit spicier, but so delicious.
These small desserts were deap-fried dough balls covered in syrup called "gulab jamun". I don't have much experience eating Indian desserts, but this one resembled a Tim Hortons "tim-bit" covered in syrup. At first they were a little too sweet and squishy, but after we had finished eating them, my boyfriend and I considered ordering more. Sadly, we were too full.

If you like Indian food and are looking for a place to eat it in the south end of Winnipeg, I highly recommend going to the Royal Punjab located at 2790 Pembina Hwy, just a few minutes drive from the University of Manitoba.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Review of Deer + Almond

Last Friday evening I had the chance to experience some really fine cuisine at Deer + Almond, a relatively new restaurant located in the Exchange District on Princess Street. The restaurant boasts high quality dishes made with fresh ingredients, all served at reasonable prices that range from $6-8 appetizers, to $10-30 entrees.
The waitress came to our table as soon as we had sat down and settled ourselves. She told us about the casual style of dining at Deer + Almond and recommended that we eat our meal tapas style since many of the dishes on the menu come in smaller portions that are great for sharing.
After we ordered our drinks she brought out a small bowl of popcorn and explained that everyday the kitchen makes a new flavour of popcorn as complimentary snacks for customers. Today the flavour was brown butter and honey, and it was a nice treat before our meal.
The first thing we ordered was a simple yet very delicious Avocado on Toast made with the focaccia the restaurant makes daily, topped with chucks of avocado, olive oil, lemon juice, and some freshly cracked pepper. Like I said, simple, yet very delicious.
We ordered the baked potato with melty cheese, sour cream, and green onions on top. 
We also ordered the Pumpkin Ravioli with parmesan cheese, greens, and mushrooms. I was really excited for this dish, and it was quite good, but I found the mushroom flavour to be a little overwhelming for me.
The Salmon served with pumpkin puree, cucumber, and various vegetables was well done.
Then we ate the Kale and Quinoa salad with mushrooms, snow peas, chickpeas, cucumber, radish, peppers, and quail eggs, served with a light vinaigrette dressing. This was a huge plate of food and it was well worth the $10 it cost. Perhaps with a little more dressing it would have been my favourite thing at the table that night.
The coconut creme brulee was by far my favourite dish of the evening. Rich, creamy, and with a distinct coconut flavour, this dessert wowed the entire table, until we realized how small the dish was. Unfortunately the bowl was only half a centimeter deep...perhaps less.
And then the Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Ice-Cream served atop a small brownie and chocolate mouse and topped with peanuts and salt was very good. I probably could have eaten an entire bowl of the mouse alone...or the caramel...or the ice cream. They were all so delicious and put together the flavours worked perfectly to create an outstanding dessert.
Overall the meal was done really well and our waitress was such a sweetheart the entire evening, giving us recommendations, checking on us frequently, and patiently waiting for me to take photos of all the dishes. I can definitely see myself going there again to eat, perhaps as an inexpensive way to celebrate finishing first semester of CreComm.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Fresh "Meat" at RRC's Prairie Lights

Last Friday I went out to eat at Red River College's Prairie Lights with my mother and boyfriend. When we went, there was a new batch of students taking our orders and preparing our dishes, an experience I find almost as exciting as eating the meal itself. It's so much fun to ask them about their studies and get to know them as they work through the program over the year and take turns doing the different jobs at the restaurant.

I've blogged about the college's student run restaurant many times before, partly because for a long time I considered entering the Culinary Arts program before I discovered the Creative Communications program. If you'd like to read my posts on all the amazing food I have eaten at Prairie Lights (and boy, are there a lot), simply click here, here, and here.

As always, the lighting is very dark in the restaurant, so the photos are often a little dimmer and out of focus than usual as I try to increase the amount of light in the photos by playing with random settings on my camera. I'm sure with a professional camera (and perhaps a little knowledge of more advanced photography) my pictures could look better.

Hmmm, perhaps I should contact my friend Braiden from braidenwatling.com...

So here are some photos of the meal that I had last Friday. Above is a photo of the Corn Puree with Ginger Lobster and Chili Oil.
Here is the Tandoori Tofu with Chickpeas, New Potatoes and Tamarind Sauce served with various vegetables.
And my favourite part of the evening, The Lavender Creme Caramel with Caramelized Oranges and Blackberry Ice Cream.

As always, if you would like to make a reservation to eat at Prairie Lights or would like to see the menus the students have created, click here; or if you'd like to learn more about the Culinary Arts program at Red River College, click here.
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Monday, October 29, 2012

MFB's "Divinely Deseo" Coming in 1 Week!

Shortly after the last Manitoba Food Blogger (MFB) gathering that took place a few weeks ago at Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant, the MFB group went ahead and quickly organized the next meet and greet. What great news! 
I sincerely love the MFB group for bringing lovers of food together for wonderful evenings of eating, wine tasting, and discussions about how awkward it feels when you get weird looks from your date as you bring out your camera to snap about 50 photos of your beautiful plate of gnocchi. Yeah, that topic is often discussed, along with complaints on the low-lighting in pretty much every restaurant you want to review. Ahh, the life of a food blogger. 
All the lovely information about the next event "Divinely Deseo" taking place on November 6th from 6:00pm - 8:00pm is in the photo above. I'm especially excited about the "Surprises to follow" that are mentioned! As well, I have put a map of where the event is taking place at the end of this post. 
If you would be interested in buying a ticket, click here. I hope to see you there!

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Eating Vegetarian at Smoke's Poutinerie

So last week a classmate and I decided to walk over to Smoke's Poutinerie to grab a quick bite to eat before our next class started. What's that? You say you've never heard of this beautiful place? Well never fear. I was like that too once. Thank goodness I put an end to that sooner rather than later. I already feel sad enough having never heard of the place until this school year, I can't imagine how depressed I'd be if I hadn't eaten at Smoke's Poutinerie until after I graduated. 
This was my first time going to the restaurant devoted to serving specialty poutine and I was so excited.
As soon as I stepped in I was immediately impressed by the interior design, a throwback to old-fashion diners. The menu was equally impressive. From Traditional poutine to Curry Chicken and Philly Cheesesteak, Smoke's has a wide selection that will satisfy any poutine craving. They even have a few vegetarian options for people who can live without bacon, such as the Veggie, Veggie Deluxe, and the Veggie Nacho. 
My friend got the Bacon poutine (clearly she is not one of the people I mentioned above).
And I ordered the Veggie Deluxe poutine, which comes with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and green peas, along with the classic gravy and cheese curds. 
I thought the poutine was delicious and I am definitely going back to try their Veggie Nacho which comes with salsa, guacamole, jalapeños, and sour cream. My friend and I both ordered the small sizes of poutine, and at first I was a little worried it may not be enough and would leave me hungry again later in the afternoon, but it was actually a struggle to finish the entire box. I'm really glad I played it safe, because it would have been a horrible tragedy to waste such delicious food.
If you'd like to visit Smoke's Poutinerie and taste some of their different poutines, they are located in the Exchange District at 131 Albert Street.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

The MFB Gathering at Segovia

Last week I was lucky enough to go to a fun and entertaining event at Segovia Tapas Bar and Restaurant. The Manitoba Food Bloggers group held their monthly gathering at the stylish eatery just off Osborne St. last Tuesday from 6pm-8pm. Segovia has been in the news recently after Macleans released a list of what it believes to be the top 50 restaurants in Canada and Segovia was listed as one of the two best restaurants in Winnipeg (the other was Pizzeria Gusto). If you'd like to see the other restaurants in Canada that made the list, click here for the original article.
The event was amazing. The restaurant's interior invited people to relax and socialize with its warm tones and dim lighting, and the food was some of the best I had ever had. The event was titled "Time for Tapas", "tapas" being Spanish for "appetizers", so the evening was filled with an endless supply of delectable one-bite morsels coming from the kitchen. Along with the tapas that were being walked around the restaurant, there were small wooden boards placed on each table containing various cheeses, different types of salami, olives, nuts, and fruit preserves. If you'd like to take a look at Segovia's menu, click here.
I'm excited to announce that I have finally tried blue cheese! I didn't like it though. Even though I loved how smooth and creamy it was, the sharp aftertaste wasn't all that pleasant. I also had the opportunity to try many other things for the first time while at Segovia. Scallops, octopus, sardines! It was both amazing and nerve-wracking. A little warning: octopus is really chewy.
It was also really great to see other food bloggers from Manitoba last Tuesday. Colin from cenquist.com, Adrian from adriantrimble.com, Courtney from The Fig Tree, and Destini from The Healthy Wife were all there, and I also got to meet some new folks too.
If you'd like to learn more about Manitoba Food Bloggers or would like to attend some of their future events, go to their facebook page.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Waffle Guy in Winnipeg!

Today an amazing thing happened. During my first class this morning I looked out the window to discover that The Waffle Guy was parked out on the street! Normally this trailer can be found on one of the streets by the University of Winnipeg, but due to popular demand from Red River College students, The Waffle Guy journeyed to our campus for the week.  
As soon as I got out of class, a friend and I walked across the street to get ourselves some Belgium waffles for breakfast. A plain waffle with one fruit topping was $6.00, and then after that each extra topping was $1.00. My friend decided to order strawberries and whipped cream on her waffle, and I opted for strawberries and ice cream on mine, both costing $7.00.
This was the first time I had ever eaten a Belgium waffle, and it was amazing. So sweet and crispy, and deceivingly small, this waffle was able to satisfy both my sweet tooth and my grumbling stomach.  A small warning to folks who order ice cream or whipped cream for their waffles, you can't tell in the picture, but the waffles are piping hot as they are made fresh to order. As well, the fruit that comes on the waffles is fresh and never frozen. At the time I couldn't believe that the gentleman was actually bringing out a cutting board, knife, and container of fresh strawberries, just for our two waffles!
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