Snacks: A Canadian Food History – Janis Thiessen


I received a review copy of this book through University of Manitoba Press.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. The official launch for Snacks will be held tomorrow, October 10th, at McNally Robinson Booksellers.  The book launch begins at 7:00 pm and will be held in the atrium of the Grant Park Store.

Snacks. A part of what makes life worth living. Snacks of course mean different things to different people. For some people snacks mean vegetables dipped in hummus or some other healthy type of dip. If you are such a person you might as well stop reading now.

Snacks: is all about those sweet, salty, deep-fried, flour caked items that bring us pleasure as we sit and binge watch Netflix. The comfort food we turn to when we gather with our families, or grab and sneak off and avoid our families(Hey! It happens). For some people snacks are integral part of their eating day, while for others they are more markers of special events

Snacks for the read

Reading material with snacks to go alongside it.

Snacks: A Canadian Good History  is the the third book by Janis Thiessen, a history professor at the University of Winnipeg, with a specific focus on labour and oral history. Thiessen shares here own memories of snacks, and how the way in which they were part of her life growing up. Snacks is a love letter to many favourite Canadian Snack foods. At the same time it recognizes that like all relationships the story of snacks in Canada is complicated with many low points as well as high points. and things are rarely exactly as they seem to be. Continue reading

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Greenish Cafe – Downtown Skywalk System


The rainy weather over the last few weeks has forced me inside more on the occasions that I am out walking. When I’m downtown this means traveling through the Skywalk system. Roughly halfway between Cityplace and Portage Place, lies Greenish Cafe, a Sushi and Salad place. There has been a sushi restaurant there for quite a few years, but I’ve never really been tempted to go in. However, over the last few months there has been a renovating of the space, and Greenish (nb the website only has phone number and email on it, so far) has emerged.

Greenish Cafe Americano

The Greenish Cafe Americano

One aspect of Greenish that caught my attention before I went in is that they have a sign advertising their coffee prices, which include a $2.00 Americano. I thought it would be worth my while to visit the place just to give the Americano a go.

A couple of other factors made me want to stop in at Greenish. One is it’s proximity to Coffee Depot, which I enjoy from time to time, and the other is that it made me think of Sushi June in the Cityplace food court that offers some really good food.

The first thing I noticed when I entered the Greenish location is that it looks more comfortable than it did before. There is a nice bench running the length of one wall, and the the tables and chairs are quite pleasant as well. the renovation has also left the place feeling more cosy as well.  Continue reading

Sargent Taco Shop – Tam’s Pho


Generally I do reviews of restaurants separately, but today I’m doing a review of both Sargent Taco Shop and Tam’s Pho. While the cuisine is different, and one is trying to replicate a distinctive vibe, they have a couple of things in common that make for a good review.

Tam's Pho water.

A glass of lemon water from Tam’s Pho.

The first is that they are both small establishments. Sargent Taco has one table and a few stools, but advertises itself as a take-out restaurant. Tam’s Pho has a little more seating space, but also does a lot of take-out business. The second is that they are both located on busy main streets. Sargent Taco not surprisingly is on Sargent Avenue, and Tam’s Pho is on Portage Avenue. The third is that they are both on the lower end of the scale as far as price is considered. You can get a good meal, cheaply at either restaurant. The fourth is that while the cuisine is different both serve really good food.

Quick and Easy to Go

My friend David Driedger, who I had visited The Mami Project with, had put a post on Facebook that his favourite Mexican restaurant was reopening. He didn’t give a location, but as I was walking down Sargent one evening, I saw The Sargent Taco shop was open and figured it must be the place. Continue reading

Beaurivage Bistro – Saint B Hotel


Beaurivage Bistro & Cafe

Regular hours 8am – 2pm Monday to Saturday. Open evenings by pre-arrangement(see bottom of review).

Writing a blog, I often wonder if I’m connecting with my readers. Sure, view counts say something, but I’m not always sure if people are actually reading. Of course, the longer I write the more little indications I get that people are in fact paying attention.

Beaurivage table cloth

A cross section of one of the Beaurivage table clothes.

One of the ways this happens is that friends and colleagues start recommending places that I should visit. A few weeks back I was at a dinner put on by Emmanuel Sudanese Mission, one of the two Sudanese parishes in our diocese. The parish was established ten years ago, and the Sudanese community there wanted to show their appreciation by putting on a dinner.

While there, one of my colleagues, Rev Dr. Jane Barter, told me about Beaurivage, a restaurant she had recently visited with her partner Glen. She was enthusiastic about here experience and so I made a note to check it out when I had a chance. Having visited, I can say Jane’s enthusiasm is more than warranted. Continue reading

Meltdown Grilled Cheese, Tia Maria’s Taqueria


It’s the second weekend of September and that means it’s time for Manyfest. Manyfest means it’s time for Food Truck Wars. This year there are 52 trucks entered. Although it may surprise some people, I won’t be trying them all. Instead I’m focusing on trucks like Meltdown Grilled Cheese and Tia Maria’s Taqueria, neither of which I’ve tried before.

The Meltdown menu

The menu sign for The Meltdown Gourmet Grilled Cheese.

To attempt to cover several trucks over the course of the weekend will require eating of epic, heroic, or simply foolish proportions. Fortunately, I’m on the scene with more stomach than sense. Continue reading