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Food ManyFest

ManyFest Meanderings

After a two-year Covid related hiatus, ManyFest was once again held this past weekend in downtown Winnipeg.

2014 Toronto Festival of Beer Video
2014 Toronto Festival of Beer Video
first meanderings

ManyFest Calderata
A bowl of Calderata from the Champs food truck at ManyFest 2022.

I missed the 2019 edition, so this weekend was my first time back since 2018. It also happened to be the first full weekend of my vacation. This meant I had time to visit on all three days of ManyFest.

ManyFest features a variety of activities. There is a three-on-three basketball tournament. Live wrestling, live band karaoke, a broadcast of the Banjo Bowl and NFL games,. plus carnival rides, and an off-leash dog park. 

These are all entertaining, and I did take some of them in, but the heart of ManyFest, is the Food Truck Wars. Food Truck Wars features a large number of Winnipeg’s Food Trucks competing to win various titles. You’ll need to scroll down a few posts to find out this years winners.

Most of the places I tried won’t be on that list. The main reason being is that on the whole, I used ManyFest as an excuse to visit trucks that I had never tried before. So, below, will be a list of the ones I visited running from favourite to least-favourite. 

ManyFest Food Truck Choices
Miss Tiny's Jerk Chicken
Miss Tiny’s Jerk Chicken was my favourite dish from the ManyFest Food Truck Wars.

Miss Tiny’s Jamaican Food Truck delivered a real winner for me. I love Jerk Chicken, and this a good version. There is plenty of flavour and spice, but it is not overly hot. Served on a bed of rice and peas, with a side of coleslaw, this is a can’t miss dish. 

Full Loaded Brisket
The Fully Loaded Brisket on a Bun was a late highlight of ManyFest for me.

The next dish was the last dish I tried at ManyFest. They were literally closing down Memorial park around us as I was eating. The above is the Fully Loaded Brisket on a Bun from a truck called: Fully Loaded. The brisket was tender and well-seasoned. I liked the horseradish mayo loaded on top, while the cukes and chips, gave it a nice little bit of crunch.

Next in line was the Calderata Rice Bowl, from Champs Food Truck. This is a traditional Filipino dish, with a good combination of rice, meat and protein. Champs won the judges choice category at ManyFest.

LIttle Bones, Big Wins
The Hot Honey Wings from Little Bones Wings.

Little Bones Wings is one truck that I have visited before. I ordered the Hot Honey Wings. The sauce was both sweet and hot. The wings are quite large, and I like that coating stayed crispy even with all the sauce.

Many Fest Sangria Ice
This is the Sangria Swiss Ice from Trendy Treats.

Of all the trucks at ManyFest, the lack of lineups for the Trendy Treats Ice Cream Truck is the most perplexing. They make as really good, quality product. They sell regular varieties as well as alcohol infused varieties. They really should be dealing with much longer lineups.

ManyFest burger.
A loaded cheeseburger from EuroDonair.

The ManyFest food truck offerings tend to be large, and on the pricey side. However, there are a few items, like the EuroDonair loaded Cheeseburger, that give you a more reasonable bang for your buck A good burger., with a good load of toppings. My only problem with this one is that they serve it to you on the paper. This makes it a little difficult to carry.

ManyFest milkshake from BDI
A Blueberry Milkshake from local institution Bridge Drive Inn.

Bridge Drive Inn brought their Ice Cream truck to ManyFest. Bridge Drive Inn or  BDI is a Winnipeg institution. Their brick and mortar location is just of Jubilee Avenue. I very rarely go there, because the lineups are generally very long. However, they offer a good milkshake and other treats, including their signature dish, The GOOG Special.

Butter Chicken bowl
The Butter Chicken from Potoba Food Truck was my one disappointing dish from ManyFest.

The last dish here is the Butter Chicken Bowl from Potoba Food Truck. This was my one disappointment of the weekend as the sauce was overly thick and sweet. It tasted like it was made using Campbell’s Tomato soup, a soup I rather dislike. So, it could just be me. They did win the award for most interesting food truck.

On the whole, it was quite a good weekend. The beer tent was stocked with beer from Lake of the Woods Brewery. I managed to enjoy a couple of nitro cold brews from Sheepdog Coffee. The one thing that would be good to see at next year’s event would be a mobile specialty coffee truck. Also, 3 lemonade trucks rather than 10 would be nice. The extra space could be used for a greater variety of food trucks.

The best part of ManyFest though, was the people I ran into. With Covid shutting so much down over the last couple of years, I often don’t see people that live close by to me. So, during ManyFest it was great running into people that I hadn’t seen for two or more years. 

Well, that’s a wrap on ManyFest 2022. Here’s to ManyFest 2023.

2018 ManyFest Meanderings

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Last week marked the annual return of ManyFest, Winnipeg’s big downtown festival, highlighted by Winnipeg’s Food Truck Wars. This is the first year in a few that I haven’t really taken in much ot the festival. Usually I find it a good place and time to check out the food trucks I’ve heard about but haven’t yet had the chance to visit. However, a combination of bad weather and a busier church schedule meant I only spent a little time around the festival.

ManyFest Sweet Bourbon
The Sweet Bourbon Adult Ice Cream from Trendy Treats/

ManyFest Friday Night

I left work a little early on Friday night so that I could get down to ManyFest before the majority of the crowds showed up. If you read this site regularly, you’ll have read about my great dislike of line-ups. I started off my evening with coffee at Fools and Horses. Fools and Horses is locatd just on the fringe of ManyFest and, asie from being my second home, it’s a nice place to get away from the intensity of the crowds on the festival site.

I didn’t get a picture of the set up, but Fools and Horses had extended their patio for ManyFest with an installation that was part of Dream Streets. Dream Streets is a project of The Dream Factory which works to help children battling life-threatening diseases to live out their dreams. The project out front of Fools and Horses was the work of Emily Sinclair, a local landscape architect, and former barista at Fools and Horses.

Heading over to the festival site, I wandered up and down to get a good look at all the trucks to decide which ones I hoped to visit. After I had wandered my through I decided I would make my first stop Phat Dogs. Phat Dogs is the latest food truck from Derek Collins of Poutine King fame. Last year he was debuting his Wiggle Chips truck and this year was the first ManyFest appearance of PhatDogs.

ManyFest Phat Dog
The Japanese Phat Dog is a great mixture of sweet and savoury.

Derek was out on the street supervising the various trucks when I showed up and so I asked him which of the dogs he would recommend. He suggested the Japanese Dog, and was kind enough to treat to one. The dog starts with a Nathan’s All Beef hot dog. If you’re not familiar with Nathan’s, they are the company behind the famous Coney Island Hot Dog eating championship. It’s place inside a soft bun, and covered with sweet onions, nori, and a great mayonnaise giving these dogs a fine mixture of sweet and savoury in their taste.

The Japanese Phat Dog is also a satisfying eat. Instead of finding another main course or appetizer dish I decided I wanted to try something of a dessert nature. With that in mind I head over to the Trendy Treats truck.

Trendy Treats advertises themselves as serving adult ice cream treats. This is ture, as several of the treats they serve are alcohol infused. However, it’s still the king of place where you can go with the whole family, because they also carry several non-alcoholic treats that the kiddies will enjoy.

 

Many Fest Jolly Rancher
The Trendy Treats Jolly Rancher Swiss Ice.

My visit to Trendy Treats was actually my third of the year. On my first stop, earlier in the summer, I ordered their Sweet Bourbon adult ice cream. This was very enjoyable. The ice cream is rich and creamy and the bourbon flavour shines through, but without any of the burn you get when drinking bourbon. I got mine with caramel syrup on top which added a nice, sweet element to the ice cream.  That’s the ice cream pictured at the top of this post.

On my second visit I decided I would try one of the Swiss ices, and went for fun, with the Jolly Rancher flavour. This was a a really enjoyable treat with lots of litte bits of Jolly Rancher studded throughout. The best part was the that it tasted like I was eating Jolly Ranchers.

ManyFest Peach Bellini
The Peach Belline Swiss Ice from Trendy Treats is a refreshing way to cleanse your palate during an evening of food truck dining.

On Friday I went back to the Adult treat choice, and ordered a Peach Bellini. This is a smooth tasting Swiss Ice. The peach flavour isn’t overly strong, but it tastes very natural. It was a very refreshing dessert dish.

ManyFest Fringe Dining

After my Swiss Ice, I wandered around a little, and then went back to Fools and Horses for another Americano. I noticed while I sat there that there was another food truck out on the street, just across form F&H. This place was called BaoHouse. I figured that every good festival deserves a fringe, so after drinking my Americano I wandered across to see what was available from BaoHouse.

ManyFest Bao House Panko Dog.
The Panko Dog from the Bao House food truck on the fringes of ManyFest.

Bao House turns out to be a truck that is serving a variety of Asian inspired Bao sandwiches, and hot dogs. Having tired the Japanese dog from Phat Dogs I figured I would go with one their hot dogs rather than one of the Bao dishes. They were offering a spicy Panko Dog and that was what I chose.

The hot dog was quite good. I really liked the toppings, expecially the crunch that I received from the panko crumbs spread throughout. The only thing I didn’t like about this dog was that thehy cut the bun completely through meaning that the condiments were spilling out all over the place.

Back to ManyFest on Saturday

My Saturday was quite full, and so I didn’t end up getting to ManyFest until the evening rush was well under way. As a result, I made my one choice based on lineups. I made a return stop at a truck that I’ve tried on a few occasions in the past. Ordering myself a Beef Curry from Simba Safari. I think Simba Safari deserves more business than they seem to get. The beef is tender, as are potatoes, and the sauce is nicely spicy.

ManyFest Simba Safari Curry
Simba Safari Beef Curry

The oddest part of the weekend was the news that it appears that Winnipeg’s burgeoning Food Truck scene is going to be cut short by regulation and onerous business fees. I hope I’ll have food trucks to write about next year, but it’s beginning to look like they may go the way dodo.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.