Pastry Castle – Edmonton Street


A couple of months ago, I was walking down Edmonton Street, and noticed that the storefront next door to the Magic Room had brown paper up on the windows and that there writing suggesting that the Pastry Castle would be opening soon. After I posted a picture of this, I discovered that it was a new location for the cafe, as it had originally existed in St. Vital.

I kept my eyes open, and one evening I was walking by the building and noticed that the open sign was lit. I walked in, and couldn’t see anyone around. I thought maybe I had walked in a couple of minutes after closing time, and that they just hadn’t turned out the lights and locked the door.

Pastry Castle Biscotti.

An almond biscotti from Pastry Castle. How it got the green colour I’m not quite sure, but the flavour wasn’t affected.

I waited for 4 or 5 minutes and still no one showed. So, I looked up the number on the website, and phoned. The phoned was answered and when I said I was in the cafe and wondering whether or not it was open, It turned out it was and a woman came out of the back area of the store to serve me.

Pastry Castle Oatmeal Date Cookie

A date filled oatmeal cookie. The top view doesn’t show the date, but it was nicely filled.

On subsequent visits, I noticed there is an electronic announcement that informs the staff that someone has entered the building. I guess it wasn’t working on my first visit.

I decided to stay and so I took a look at what was on display. There is a good variety of baked goods in the cabinet. One of the things that I noticed was there was a good selection of little cookies, which I really liked. Continue reading

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Garry Street Coffee, Human Bean Coffee + Tea


Downtown Winnipeg has recently seen the opening of two new coffee shops. Or to be more precise, one new coffee shop, and an old coffee shop that has relocated. The new shop is Garry Street Coffee, located at 333 Garry Street, and the relocated shop is Human Bean Coffee & Tea, which after leaving both The Forks, and the Millenium Library,has reopened in Cityplace, just across the street from the library.

Hot Chocolate from Garry Street Coffee

A warm, soothing Hot Chocolate.

In some ways the two shops are quite different. Garry Street Coffee is located on the main floor of an older building and next to the Garrick Event Centre. Depending on whether or not it’s sunny outside, the interior can be quite dark and moody. There is limited table and counter space and the vibe is 60s coffee house, even to the magazines that look like they were published in that era(they’re not, they are up to date).

Human Bean Cider.

The Caramel Hot Apple Cider from Human Bean City Place. I like that the cider is not overly sweet.

Human Bean Coffee & Tea on the other hand is located on the main floor of Cityplace, a downtown mall. Continue reading

Little Bangkok Thai, Shawarma Fusion – Cityplace


If you’re a reader of Dining with Donald, and not from the area, you may not know that Winnipeg gets cold. Real cold. Periodically this cold arrives for extended stays like it did from mid-December until the last couple of days, with only a minor respite in the middle.

Over the years Winnipeg developed a downtown walkway system that helps to take some of the bite out of the real cold weather. Generally I walk out of doors, but during these cold snaps I find myself taking advantage of this system on a more frequent basis.

Little Bangkok Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Little Bangkok Thai soup

The Tom Yum soup from Little Bangkok Thai in the Cityplace food court.

There are many restaurants along the way. Included among them are the ones in the food courts at Portage Place, Cityplace, and Winnipeg Square. Of the three, Cityplace has become my favourite food court. The main thing about Cityplace is that they seem to have the best mix of chain and local establishments. I rarely visit the chains with the exception of Za Pizza Bistro, which is a local chain.

Over the last few weeks I’ve visited two food court tenants. One is what appears to be locally owned LIttle Bangkok Thai, Continue reading

Browns Socialhouse Portage Avenue


Browns Socialhouse describes itself as an upscale casual dining restaurant. It’s a largely western Canada chain. According to their website there is one location in Ontario.

By and large it’s a glorified sports bar. Sort of like Underdogs, but with better furniture. That is to say there are TVs all over the place including a giant screen one over the bar that consists of several smaller large screens (if that’s not an onxymoron). There are three locations here in Winnipeg, but my visits were all made to the one on Portage Avenue, downtown, across Portage Avenue from the highest bidder naming rights arena.

Browns Socialhouse coaster

A beermat/coaster from Browns Socialhouse.

If you come from the corner of Donald and Portage, you walk past the outdoor patio (which for some reason is empty this time of year). It’s a bit odd as you enter the building. You don’t enter the restaurant directly, but enter the building it’s situated in, and then hang a right at the security desk to get into the restaurant itself.

The restaurant is quite large and open, with high ceilings. It’s divided into different sections. Continue reading

Izakaya Edokko – Downtown Winnipeg


I’ve been making more use of the Millennium Library in the last little while, so I find myself traveling up and down the streets in that area a little bit more than usual. Recently, I saw signs for Izakaya Edokko, a new Japanese restaurant.

Izakaya Edokko salad

A delightful little salad served as a starter each time I visited Izakaya Edokko.

Located on the main floor of Place Louis Riel. Place Louis Riel was formerly a hotel, but now is a combo hotel-apartment building, and has closed it’s in-house restaurant. That space is what Izakaya Edokko has taken over. The space has been nicely redecorated. There main space contains a sushi bar, a few four seat tables, and along one wall a series of tables that can easily be turned into one long table for a large party. In the back there is another room with a bar and several more tables. I haven’t ventured into that section on any of my visits.

The restaurant is a new project for Chef Masa Sugita, the man behind Masa on Pembina, and Yujiro on Grant. Continue reading

Ukrainian Comfort Food – Estellia’s


Last weekend was ManyFest. This year the weekend was a busy one for me. As a result I didn’t get to take much of the festival in. Of course, I visited some trucks for Food Truck Wars.  Although I tried several dishes, Estellia’s Ukrainian Comfort Food was the only truck I managed to visit a second time.

Based out of Dugald, MB, Estellia’s is offering traditional Ukrainian Comfort food. The location in Dugald is a retail store, and they also have a cart along with the trailer they brought to ManyFest. The business is named in honour of the owners’s mother. You can read more of her story on their website.

The trailer’s paint job features the colours of the Ukrainian flag. This makes it stand out from many of the trucks on the street. Unfortunately, the picture of the truck I took didn’t turn out the way I hoped it would. Here’s my experience of Estellia’s.

Estellias messy cabbage roles.

Estaellias messy cabbage roles are a real treat.

Value:

Most of the main dishes cost $8.00 for vegetarian or $9.00 with meat. When I ordered the Messy Cabbages rolls I was a little disappointed when I saw the container I was about to be handed. Then I took hold of it, and my hand dropped about 2 feet. The container is stuffed to the gills. The perogies are a good size, and they come with piles of onions and loads of butter. There are also a sort of mini perogie, that is $9.00 for 10 or $18.00 for 20. Drinks are reasonably priced. 4.5/5

Selection:

Not a huge selection, though having both vegetarian and meat options is good. It would nice to find Kulbassa on offer at the trailer.  4/5

Quality:

I found everything here well prepared. The tomato sauce is quite good. I understand there are some arguments about whether or not perogies should ever be deep-fried, but I really enjoyed the golden crisp pastry on my perogies. Plus, they drench the perogies in real butter. 4/5

Estellia's Deep-fried Perogies

Translucent onions on Deep-fried Perogies

Portability:

Estellia’s Ukrainian Comfort Food scores really well here. The perogies come in a deep dish container. The Messy Cabbage Rolls come in a container with a closeable lid. Plus they appear to be compostable. 5/5

Service:

I happened to visit twice when the lineups weren’t very long. Both times the service was friendly and I received my food quickly. They advertise that good food takes time, but they seem to have the process down quite well. 4/5

Estellia’s Ukrainian Comfort Food Overall:

I quite like this truck. It is certainly a good truck to visit if you wish a really filling meal. This food will definitely leave you feeling comforted, and perhaps a little comfortable as in needing an after lunch nap. 4.5/5

Estellia's Ukrainian Comfort Foods Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bargen Coffee – Downtown


Back when I wrote about Forth coffee, I also mentioned that Thom Bargen Coffee and Tea was in the process of opening a new location in the downtown. Located at the corner of Kennedy Street and Graham Avenue, the new Thom Bargen fills a space that most recently housed an eyewear shop.

The corner space has allowed Bargen’s to create an L-shaped interior with a variety of table types and a long counter for seating. As a corner building there is also lots of natural light streaming in to the cafe. The south wall features a painting by artist Gabrielle Funk.

Thom Bargen art

Art by Gabrielle Funk on the wall at the downtown Thom Bargen location.

Continue reading