Shawarma Time – Ellice Avenue

Shawarma Time on the corner of Ellice Avenue and Sherbrook Street is one of the oldest Shawarma places in Winnipeg. Despite having lived in the area for the best part of 13 years, I’ve only gone in a couple of times over the years. The main reason for not stopping in was that although the food was quite good, I found the place to be a little on the run down side, and not a particularly pleasant space.

Shawarma Time Grape Leaves

The stuffed grape leaves from Shawarma Time

However, recently I went back because I was looking for something good and cheap. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in to see that they have made some changes to the decor. The most notable thing is large, flat screens that display the menu and catch your eye as you walk in. This has reduced the number of unattractive pictures that lined the one wall. In general the tables and chairs also look much better and the general cleanliness of the place is much higher.

I was quite hungry my first visit, so I decided I would order a couple of appetizers and one of their pies. I chose Stuffed Grape Leaves, Kibbe, and one of the their Cheese and Spinach Pies. Continue reading


Clementine Cafe – Exchange District

Over the last few days I’ve been blogging primarily about the Fringe Festival. Being in the Exchange for the Fringe, I’ve done a bit of dining in the area. One of the places I’ve visited is Clementine Cafe.

I’ll get to the review of Clementine in a bit, but in case your interested, these are the Fringe shows I’ve reviewed: Wanderlust, Josephine, Vera Lynn-We’ll Meet Again, 4:48 Psychosis, Wooster Sauce, and Time’s Fancy. I recommend any and all of these shows if you’re interested in taking in some of the Fringe in the next few days. There are also lots of other good shows as well.

Clementine Cafe sign

Sidewalk sign for Clementine Cafe

Clementine is located on Princess Avenue, and it’s just a couple of blocks from Old Market Square, the heart of Fringe Country. The cafe itself is in the basement of the building. Continue reading

Time’s Fancy – Rethinking History

What if? It’s a question we all like to ask at one time or another. It’s a game we often play. Sports Illustrated recently asked the question: What if you could draft a team using players from any era? What would such a team look like? These are generally fun activities that help pass a warm summer or cold winter evening.

Time's Fancy poster

The poster for Time’s Fancy

Time’s Fancy, written by Kevan Kenneth Bowkett, and directed by Teri-Lynn Friesen, takes the lives of Henry V and Joan of Arc and plays a little game of What If? with them. Continue reading

Wooster Sauce – Fringe Review

Sunday was one of those days when I was looking for something light and funny at The Fringe. I had seen posters for Wooster Sauce and thought that might be just the thing.

Wooster Sauce poster.

The poster for Wooster Sauce.

Wooster Sauce is a one man show, by John D. Huston, taken from the writings of P.G. Wodehouse. I’ve been reading Wodehouse since I was a teen, as my dad had a couple of the books, and have since read even more as one of my brothers has a large collection.

Wodehouse created several notable characters such as Psmith and Lord Blandings, but Bertie Wooster and Jeeves are the two most enduring. Due in so small part to the 90s television series featuring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie.

Huston plays all the characters in the show, so it doesn’t work to try and compare his performance to those who’ve played the roles before. I’ve had the opportunity to enjoy Huston’s performances in the past. A couple of years ago I took in his A Christmas Carol, a perennial favourite among audiences. I enjoyed last years Breakneck Shakespeare, along with his performance of Screwtape, which we hosted at St. Philip’s.

The show consists of two of the many Wooster and Jeeves stories. The first from Wooster’s perspective and the second from Jeeves’s perspective. The plots of the stories are pretty much the same, Bertie gets himself in a pickle, and Jeeves gets him out of it.

Of course, plot isn’t an important aspect of Wodehouse’s writing. The pleasure of Wodehouse lies somewhat in his gentle mocking and perhaps stereotyping of the British class system. However, the main pleasure is in his ability to work his way around the English language. The laughs are here in full measure, but not in the form of jokes. Instead they are present in witty writing well delivered.

That’s why Huston makes such a good interpreter of Wodehouse. He to is a consummate master of the English language. He has a great ear for voices and turns of phrases.

As with all of his shows Huston brings each character to life in distinct form. One of the pleasures of watching a Huston show is to watch him transition from bratty child, to bombastic old buffer, to badgering fiance all with a few, slight gestures and changes in voice.

If you’ve been doing some heavy slogging during Fringe, Wooster Sauce makes a nice break. It’s not a turn your brain off work, but rather a put your brain in playful mode work. Sit back and enjoy the English language in all it’s glory, brought to you by a performer who has a terrific command of that language.

The one thing I found disappointing at the evening’s performance was how small the crowd was. One88 was only about a quarter full and this performance deserves much better crowds. Plus any time you head to One88 there are free cookies and cheap beverages available. Take a load off your mind and take in Wooster Sauce.

Vera Lynn – We’ll Meet Again Fringe Show

I stated in my last Fringe review that plays by Theatre by the River are on my can’t miss list when it comes to each years festival. My can’t miss list is rather short, but one other performer on the list is Melanie Gall.

So far at the Fringe I’ve taken in Piaf and Brel: The Impossible Concert, Stitch in Time: Knitting Cabaret, More Power to Your Knitting Nell. Each of these shows was a delight. Gall is a powerful singer with an engaging personality that brings not just the songs, but the stories surrounding the songs.

Vera Lynn song sheet

Page 1 of the Vera Lynn song sheet

This year she’s back at the Fringe with a show featuring the music and life of Vera Lynn, England’s Sweetheart of the Forces during WWII. Continue reading