Long Island Cafe – Portage Avenue


I recently decided to visit the Long Island Cafe on Portage Avenue just across from the University of Winnipeg. It’s been quite a few years since I last visited the cafe. At the time it was largely a coffee and dessert sort of place. Since then it’s become more of a lunch/early supper place with an emphasis on Vietnamese cuisine.

The prices are quite good and there is a good bit of variety on the menu. The cafe does a lot of takeout. As a result a lot of the dishes are pre-made, and the freshness tends to vary. If you are regularly in the neighbourhood it seems like the sort of place where you could find out the best days for certain dishes.

The fried rice from Long Island Cafe. A somewhat disappointing dish.

The cafe is an interesting place to walk into. There are coolers and freezers all over the place, It gives the vibe of being coffee shop, restaurant and tuck shop all rolled into one Continue reading

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Tom Yum Thai – Sherbrook Street


Tom Yum Thai is one of those restaurants I’ve often passed, but never entered. As a bus rider, I find that getting to North of Portage, where I live in the West End, back to North of Portage on Main is often as a trip, as convoluted as this sentence. As a result, I generally walk when I go to such places as Stephanchew’s Church Goods, or to visit the Exchange District.

Being on the corner of Sherbrook and William, Tom Yum Thai, is often en route, but not the destination. However, a few weeks back, after a pastoral visit at Health Sciences Centre, I figured I’d give it a try for a late-ish supper.

The restaurant is only open until 8. I arrived at 7 and found the outer door locked. However, someone was inside, saw me, unlocked the door and assured me I was welcome to eat there. Not surprisingly I was the only customer in the restaurant.

Late Supper at Tom Yum Thai

The restaurant has an extensive list of Thai dishes to choose from. I chose the Salad Rolls and the Green Curry soup. The Salad Rolls came first and I found them to be a bit of a disappointment. There was no cucumber in them to speak of, and the lettuce and noodles were quite dry. The portion size was quite good however.

Lots of carrot for garnish, but the filling wasn't quite as interesting.

Lots of carrot for garnish, but the filling wasn’t quite as interesting.

Continue reading

Vanxai Laos Thai


Earlier this year, Urbanspoon, which I had used for traffic referral was bought out by Zomato. I’ll avoid the rant over why this has been so terrible. However, it has caused me to change my review focus somewhat. They emphasize neighbourhoods, so you are going to see quite a few Saint Vital posts in the next while, as I attempt to improve my status there. I’m starting that off with my recent visits to Vanxai Laos Thai restaruant on St. Anne’s. Having both Boun’s and Vientiane┬ánearby, I also thought it would make for an interesting comparison.

I’m not sure what was originally in the building that Vanxai now occupies, but it’s purple exterior makes it stand out as you head down St. Anne’s just after it splits off from St. Mary’s. Inside, the building is quite cozy. There are several tables along the wall on your right hand side, and a few on your left including a couple in a little raised enclosure. Both times I visited Vanxai I was there off peak hours, and so I had no trouble finding myself a table. Continue reading

Vi-Ann Restaurant


For all the years I walked by it in Osborne Village, I never once visited Vi-Ann restaurant. I’m not sure why, although Spicy Noodle House has always been my Osborne Village stand-by. Then all of a sudden, in a controversial decision, Vi-Ann was gone. Eventually it re-opened on Notre Dame. However, it was only recently that I noticed the new location. This time I decided I had to make sure I tried it. So, in the last couple of weeks that’s what I did.

Vi-Ann Salad Rolls

Plump and fresh Shrimp and Pork Salad Rolls

The feeling when I walked in was that the space had at one time been home to some sort of chain restaurant. It turns out that it was a CIBC branch. While not a restaurant I think the fact that it was a small bank gives it something of a generic feel. As a restaurant, Vi-Anns decor is simple and straightforward. The most notable thing is a large screen TV on the one wall that plays CBC news on an endless loop. However, based on several Vietnamese restaurants that I’ve visited, I know it’s the food and not the decor that is usually the selling point. Vi-Ann is no different.

Late Supper at Vi-Ann

My first visit to Vi-Ann was on a day when it was getting later in the evening and as I wandered down Notre Dame there weren’t a lot of places still open. Vi-Ann was open until 10 pm so I knew I wouldn’t be in a rush to finish my meal. Went I when in I was told to take a seat at any table, and so I ended up right in the middle of the restaurant. While not busy there will still several tables in use. Continue reading

Tasty Soup at Portage Place


The other day, I was wandering through Portage Place and decided that I might stop in at the Food Court for a bite to eat. I was planning on doing a bit of a circle through, but when I got to the east end, I noticed that the Teriyaki Experience kiosk was gone, and had been replaced by a new Asian restaurant called L & Y Tasty Soup.

Tasty Soup Sign

The L & Y Tasty Soup Sign.

There was a bit of a hand-made approach to some of the signage and I asked my counter server whether or not L & Y Tasty Soup is part of a chain. She told me it is not. It is a unique local restaurant. This made me quite happy, as I like supporting local restaurants, and you don’t often find them in malls.

Tasty Soup Meals

My first I decided I would go with the Chicken Curry. I was going to add the Salad Rolls, but as it was towards the end of the day Saturday they were sold out. So I opted for a spring roll instead. The spring roll was all right, but nothing remarkable. The Chicken Curry was quite mild, but the curry sauce was flavourable and smooth and mixed well with the rice, making it easy to pick up with the chopsticks. The chicken was quite tender and there were lots of pieces. Continue reading