Back in my hometown for a bit. I spent the first 29 years of my life here complaining about how it never changed. How it seemed to be stuck in a rut of mediocrity and crime and white leather tassled purses masquerading as local haute couture, the days blurring into each other with an endless soundtrack loop of Loverboy and Kim Mitchell until one wasn't sure if it was 2007 or 1983. A series of fortunate events led me to leave after years of threatening to do so...not that the city (or anyone else) cared. When you're from Winnipeg, it stays in your bones forever; it's an accepted fact that you will have a cross to bear. But the geographical change was good for both of us. When I return now I'm not entirely sure if the past were a mirage constructed by my own imagination or if I'm only recently seeing through rose-tinted glasses.
Winnipeg, modern Winnipeg at least, is great in moderate doses. In the years since I've left in 2010, the city has seen the return of its beloved Jets, built a beautiful new stadium for the undeserving Bombers, finally completed the first leg of a rapid transit system, is demonstrating that they understand the meaning of the word "world-class" when building musems and making upgrades to urban green space, and got an IKEA (people may think this is not worthy of mention, but it - along with other international brands setting up shop here - demonstrates a healthy economy which is something to praise in addition to having easily attainable Kolsyrad Pärondryck). The next few posts will serve to remind me of Winnipeg's greatness and hopefully get you thinking about visiting and discovering it for yourself. Can't promise you that "Patio Lanterns" won't play on the radio during your stay though.
Without a doubt, the greatest reason to visit Winnipeg is the food. No matter what you are craving, #YWG has it. Pizza isn't just pizza...it's a religious experience at places like Santa Lucia and Mister B's. The Asian cuisine at restaurants like Four Seasons and Palatal will elevate your taste buds to shangri-la. The decor (and refined menu) in a classic joint like Rae and Jerry's will have you questioning if the man in the booth opposite is Don Draper. And dessert is never spared; the Queen of England herself is treated to cakes from Jeannie's Bakery and imperial cookies from High Tea Bakery when she visits. I've noticed so many new restaurants (and now food trucks) I want to try during this stay that I may not get to my favorites. Or I may return to Saskatoon 20lbs heavier. Not sure if I packed my stretchy pants.
There is a unique cultural fusion in all aspects of River City dining. Fast food or a slow, sit down meal, from a truck or at a diner, I'm launching the debate and stating that Winnipeg has the best food in all of Canada. Bon appetite!