Ivory Restaurant – Donald Street


A few weeks ago, I was walking down the street, and noticed that the former Spice Affair was now Ivory. This surprised me because I didn’t realize that the Main Street location was no longer open. So, I took a stroll down Main Street a couple of days later and sure enough, there was no Ivory there any more.

Ivory buffet plate

My first plate from the Ivory Buffet.

Ivory is now the third Indian restaurant to make a go of it in this location. Prior to Spice Affair it was Dhoom, and going back into the distant past, it was a Pizza Hut. In the days when it was Dhoom, it was a place that I visited several times.

My memories of the Main Street location of Ivory are rather limited. I went once or twice, and not much about the food struck with me, but I do remember it having a larger buffet area, than most other Indian restaurants.

Ivory Buffet

When I walked into the restaurant I noticed that the space had been opened up and instead of two smaller sections there is one larger one. Along one wall, there is a very nice looking bar, with three TVs hung over it, which when I was there, were tuned into news programming. Continue reading

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Mercatino- Upmarket Digs, Downmarket Food


Mercatino is the new restaurant that is open underground at 201 Portage Avenue. It’s part of their renovation and creation of a conference center in the basement.

Over the years I’ve gone through the underground at Portage and Main, hundreds if not thousands of time. I’ve also eaten many times at the various restaurants and food courts. The food court at 201 Portage is the one I’ve visited the least, but I’ve still purchased a few meals there. My favourite food place in that food court would have been Deek’s chicken of 20 years ago. At the time they served a rather nice roast chicken dinner.

Mercatino TV

There’s a really big TV down by Mercatino, where you can catch up on all sorts of sporting news. I’m sure it will be popular when the Winter Olympics start.

When I saw them close the area off and start to renovate I was curious as to what kind of food would be available once the renovations were finished. After the renovations were finished, I noticed that there was only one restaurant, Mercatino, and it looked a lot like Marcello’s. One of the things that also caught my eye was that it had a lot of tubs of candy and chips, etc. such as you would find at a convenience store.

Although I had been waiting to see what the restaurant choices might be, the first thing I noticed was the dining area. Continue reading

Aalto’s, Men’s Breakfast


One of the little interesting tidbits from the Grey Owl dinner I went to a couple of weeks ago, was that the meal began with grace. That’s rather uncommon at public, non-church gatherings. Even more uncommon was that as clergy in attendance, I wasn’t the one called on to say grace. I was thinking about that this morning as I attended the St. Margaret’s Men’s Breakfast at Aalto’s in the Pembina Highway Canadinn.

Aalto's coffee

There was lots of coffee available at the table for the Men’s Breakfast at Aalto’s

As a priest I am, in one sense, always on the job. Yet there are places and groups where that is more in theory than in practice. The St. Margaret’s men’s group is one of those places. Sure, I’ve acted in my priestly role at the men’s retreat, but more often than not the men’s group is a place where I can sit around and chat and share the ups and downs of life (priests have those too, though I’m sure you know that).

Continue reading

Marcello’s – MB Hydro Building


I love buffets.  I  really love all you can eat buffets.  This can make things a little tricky when I eat at a pay by weight buffet, such as Marcello’s.  Marcello’s is located on Portage Avenue in the main floor of the MB Hydro Building.  They place the emphasis on the freshness of their buffet and on the whole they deliver.  They also describe themselves as a market, but it’s more convenience store than market from what I’ve observed.  That said, I’m focusing on the buffet and deli aspect in this review.

Marcello's buffet.

Some of the buffet choices at Marcello’s

Marcello’s Buffet Selection:

One thing that makes it tough not to over pile one’s plate at Marcello’s is the wide selection in the buffet.  I didn’t actually count, but I would guess there are over 30 different dishes available.  This doesn’t include the soup which you can buy by the bowlful.  There is a good selection of meat and vegetarian dishes.  The latter including several salad choices, as well as a selection of fresh fruit.

In keeping with the commitment to freshness, most of the dishes are not overcooked. The vegetables, while not particularly crisp, are at least not soggy and messy.  One gets a bit of a snap when biting into it.  The meats are moist although sometimes the pieces of chicken breast can be tending towards dry. Continue reading