Celebrating Saint Andrew and Ordination

Today, November 30th, is Saint Andrew’s day. It is the last major feast in the church calendar before the beginning of Advent. Among other things, Saint Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland. If you click on the link above you will find how that came about.

Andrew is one of the twelve apostles. He is the younger brother of Peter. A figure in the background of his older, more visible brother. As the youngest of six boys, I can relate to the idea of being in the shadow of older, more voluble, brothers.

Saint Andrew's oatmeal

I kicked off my Saint Andrew’s day celebration with a good, hearty bowl of oatmeal.

Not surprisingly, as a guy named McKenzie, I have an affinity with the patron saint of Scotland. My great-great-grandfather on my dad’s side emigrated from Biggar, Scotland. My great-grandfather, Fighting Mac, made his reputation as an Australian, and my grandfather, Gordon, migrated to Canada, where my dad was born.

So, that’s the ancestral connection to Saint Andrew. I have another connection as well. Continue reading


Saturday Morning Raw:Almond

As a priest, Saturday’s are generally a semi day off. Generally this means I catch up on my sleep in the mornings. However there are some things that will get me moving early on a Saturday, and the annual brunch at Raw:Almond is definitely one of them. Last year, unfortunately I didn’t manage to get there, but this year I was determined to get back on track.

Saturday greenery.

A little greenery in a Winnipeg winter.

This year with the warmer winter, Raw:Almond had to be moved off of the river and onto the railroad bridge at The Forks. This meant a change in the space and layout. I quite liked the change, as it is a little smaller and combined with the warmer weather, a little easier to keep warm while dining.

Saturday Dream Team:

Although the brunch this week was headlined by Talia Syrie of The Tallest Poppy, she had plenty of help including Chef Ben Kramer, and Pam from Cake-ology. Saturday morning is for super heroes and these chefs are among Winnipeg culinary super heroes.

I arrived a little early for the 9:00 am start time, and so I walked over to the Johnston Terminal to get a coffee from Espresso Junction. I headed back just after 9:00 and took my seat. Continue reading

Stone Soup Fundraiser

Every so often as I wander through downtown I see posters up for events. Quite often I look at the poster and then immediately forget what it was about. Such was the case for the Stone Soup Fundraiser.  This was held yesterday at the Manitoba Hydro Building. I’d read the Stone Soup poster a couple of times, but not really made note of it.

Stone Soup Fundraiser bowl of soup

There are lots of tasty soups available at the Stone Soup Fundraiser.

As I was walking down Edmonton on my way to a cup of coffee, I noticed a CBC van parked across from the Hydro building. I wondered what might be happening and then suddenly I remembered the fundraiser.

Yesterday’s fundraiser was in support of the Child Nutrition Council of Manitoba. This organization is dedicated to making sure that all children have access to health and nutritious food. This is largely done through school programs. It’s hard to learn on an empty stomach.  Continue reading

Tallest Poppy, Sherbrook Street

For several years, The Tallest Poppy bloomed on North Main. A popular breakfast and lunch spot under the ownership of Talia Syrie, the original location was closed when Ms. Syrie took the opportunity to help start up Come ‘N Eat Cafe at the Neechi Commons. Having seen that enterprise successfully get on it’s feet, she decided to return to operating her own restaurant.

While the restaurant is still called The Tallest Poppy, and there are many of the same dishes that are associated with the original, there are some significant changes. First, this time around Ms. Syrie has a partner. His name is Steve Akerman, and in addition to being partner he serves as The Tallest Poppy’s bartender. Second the location has significantly more seating. Third, the hours have expanded to add dinner service to the breakfast and lunch.

Poppy Breakfast Tallest Poppy

The Poppy Breakfast from the Tallest Poppy

I had been to The Tallest Poppy on one occasion at it’s old location on Main Street. I went for brunch and enjoyed the open-faced omelet. Quite simply the best omelet I’ve ever had. I’ve also had the opportunity to enjoy Ms. Syrie’s cooking at the brunches that have been a part of the river pop-up restaurants. This has given me the chance to try several other items on the breakfast menu. Each has been fantastic. Continue reading

Sunday Brunch Raw: Almond

Last winter saw the arrival of winter dining on the river, with the advent of Raw: Almond. Raw: Almond is the brainchild of chef Mandel Hitzer of Deer & Almond restaurant and Joe Kalturnyk of RAW Gallery.  Raw:Almond offers a unique opportunity to experience the creations of some of Winnipeg’s top young chefs in an enchanting environment.  Along with dinner, there was also Saturday and Sunday Brunch served.

Last year I took the opportunity to enjoy both the dinner experience, as well as the brunch. This year, things worked out in such a way that I only did the brunch.  I arrived early and took a place at the table.  As the picture below shows, the table is several wooden units held together with an a small steel beam down the middle.

The seating arrangements for Sunday brunch.

Place setting with all the trimmings to add to the brunch.

Given how cold it was out yesterday, I needed to keep my parka on while I was waiting for Brunch, but overall I was still reasonably comfortable. After all, it’s Winnipeg in February.  I was helped along by the fact that one of the servers immediately brought me coffee, even though they were still setting up.

Continue reading