In yesterday’s post I wrote about being at the Transition Winnipeg Upskilling Festival. I mentioned that the event was held at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU), and that the coffee, tea, and cookies for our breaks had been prepared by Folio Cafe. Folio Cafe is part of the new Marpeck Commons that has opened at CMU.
The Marpeck Commons is the new building on Grant Avenue that contains the cafe, library and bookstore among it’s occupants. It is also the one of the end points for the skywalk that allows for convenient, safe and easy pedestrian crossings of Grant. One of the notable features of the building is the large bank of windows that let’s a huge amount of natural light into the building. This, combined with the high ceilings give the whole area a real open feeling.
Our day at the Upskilling conference did not come with lunch. We were given the opportunity to brown bag it, or to make other arrangements on our own. I thought this would make for an ideal opportunity to check out Folio Cafe. Judging by the number of attendees that were in line behind me, it was a thought shared by many.
Folio Cafe for Lunch:
One of the first things I discovered as I was getting my lunch was that Folio Cafe isn’t producing it’s own food. Instead they are carrying a variety of restaurant items from several popular Winnipeg locations. On offer were cinnamon buns from Jonnies. I didn’t have one this time., but Jonnies is my first choice for cinnamon buns.
For lunch I decided to go with a soup and sandwich combo. The soups and sandwiches are made in house, and not from Stella’s, as I originally wrote. The soup was a spicy curry, while the sandwich was roasted red peppers. The sandwich was already prepared when it came into the cafe, but was grilled by the staff when I ordered it. It was well toasted with plenty of filling.
Having had a couple of cups of coffee already, I wanted something else to drink. I went with the Dry Soda, Blood Orange Soda. While I appreciate the attempts for a low sugar drink, I found it only had a hint of orange flavour to it. Although, it should also be noted that there are other cold drink options available.
I also really enjoyed the coffee. The cafe gets it’s coffee from Detour Coffee. Detour coffee features Direct Trade coffee. Direct trade is something I made mention of in my post on the lecure by Thom Hiebert of Thom Bargen which was offered at St. Margaret’s.
After lunch I went over to the bookstore that is also located in the Marpeck Commons. I figured I’d take a quick look around and see if there were any interesting titles. I thought I might find more food related books, but didn’t. However, I did pick up the book below for only a buck off their clearance table.
After picking up the book I wandered back to the Cafe. I had the pleasure on the way of a brief chat with former Music Prof John Martens who I had sung under many years ago as a member of the Mennonite Oratorio Choir. He also gave me a short history lesson on some of the early attempts to bring the two Mennonite Schools, MBBC and CMBC together.
I decided when I got back, I’d take a quick look at the Gelato selection that they carry. This section is provided for them by Eva’s Gelato. I’ve always been a fan of the non-dairy gelatos. I went with the Lemon. The lemon flavour was strong with a nice bite to it. This was a nice counterpoint to the earthy quality of the soup and sandwich.
Most of the staff are CMU students from what I could tell. The service I recieved was very friendly. I was fortunate to be the first in line, so I got my order quickly. There were only two staff on but they worked their way through the lineup quite fast. They also did a good job getting the afternoon coffee ready after a fairly hectic lunch rush.
The opening of Folio Cafe makes a welcome addition to the landscape at CMU. Even if you have no interest in university type activities, you should find a reason to visit the cafe. The architecture alone is worth the visit, and so are the products they carry.