After my travels, I was pleased to return home and realize that I have learned a few things.
- The sky is very large: This is unnerving. If aliens attack, they have a clear shot from anywhere above Manitoba.
- Mountains and large concrete structures make me feel safe.
- In Winnipeg, they eat pancakes out on the patio.
- I have reached the age where I’d rather eat a vegetable than an entire bag of Cheetos.
- My digestive system has reached the age where it won’t even try to cope with excess. It is a crotchety old bugger and won’t think twice about screwing me over to make a point.
- Winnipeg is the Slurpee capital of the world. More Slurpees are sold in Winnipeg than anywhere else on Earth.
- A container full of pancake batter will explode if exposed too long to direct sunlight.
- A container full of pancake batter will turn into pancakes along the side of a hot car in the middle of the day.
- Mini donuts are really just deep-fried pancakes covered in sugar and served hot in a wax paper bag. They can also be called: “Manna from heaven.”
And so my trip to Winnipeg is over, and I am safely at home. Five pounds heavier.
The wedding was lovely, and my friend Sarah was a beautiful bride. See?
But this is a food blog, so I’d best get down to business. Sarah and her groom, Kev, and their families were fantastic hosts, showing me around and feeding me practically nonstop. And while the first day, I had some concerns …
… by dinner time we ate real food. When I was in high school, I ate a Wunderbar and drank a bottle of Coke for breakfast pretty much every day (and I still have all my own teeth!), and Cheetos were pretty much a staple food. I was flattered that they thought my youth was still intact, and that I could still eat like that, and a little sad that I’ve reached an age where something with flax might have been more desirable after a certain point. (I am not looking forward to the blog post thirty years from now where I talk about how thoughtful Sarah and Kev were for feeding me crudités, but all I really wanted was a bowl of spinach purée, and a glass of Metamucil, so I wouldn’t have to chew.)
The next day, we went to a place called George’s. It’s a greasy spoon somewhere off the highway, and it was pretty much AWESOME. Kev said that the restaurant had been built in parts. That is, at first, it was a tiny little place, and then they added wings, and a “patio.” The burger was fantastic, and the burger platter was epic. I can now state, without hesitation, that the best burgers in the world are in Winnipeg.
As you can see, the fries were some sort of miracle, but the burger! Oh, the burger! It was a cheeseburger, but they put all the delicious melty cheese on the bottom, which is preferable because your taste buds are on the bottom, and my tongue always wants to be hit with cheese first, if it has an option. The sauce that comes on everything at George’s is meaty chili, which is pretty much genius. I have never had a better burger. AND THE BUNS ARE ALL HOMEMADE … from the taste of them, every day.
Later that day, we went to The Forks, because I was all whiny that we hadn’t been to a city yet, even though people kept telling me, “This is the city.” Still full from George’s, we thought it would be a good idea to eat mini donuts, because it’s never been a bad idea to eat mini donuts.
And that’s when I realized that mini donuts are essentially deep-fried pancake batter, and then I realized that I have never loved anything more.
And speaking of pancakes …
In Winnipeg, they make a thing called a Giant Apple Pancake. And in Winnipeg, they eat pancakes out on the patio, the way that regular people drink beer.
The great thing about this pancake, aside from it being a pancake, was the sugar. The cinnamony, sugary apple part was sticky and sweet, but in addition to that, there was a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar on top, so in addition to the syrupy dissolved sugar, there was the slight crunch of unmelted sugar, but the fantastic thing was, it wasn’t cloying or excessive. It was pancake magic, and I couldn’t stop professing my undying love.
In Winnipeg, I am very annoying.
And Kev bought me a souvenir.
The trouble was, the instructions said to keep the batter chilled. And then we went to the park, and attempted the children’s museum, and then my batter breached. Breached! The hot Manitoba sun caused the baking powder to activate and suddenly there was carbon dioxide bubbling and the batter grew and exploded out the top of the container, and soon it was all over the ground, and my hands, and a picnic table. But I loved my souvenir, and wasn’t prepared to leave it, and we had to go home because the wedding rehearsal was in a few short hours, so Kev said I could keep it but only if I held it out the window of the car in case it kept leaking. And then the lid blew off, whacking Michelle in the face, and the batter began to splatter, coating me and the side of the car in the batter equivalent of a bloodbath. It baked on, and the car smelled like pancakes for the rest of the trip.
At the risk of this post becoming unruly and unreadable for it’s length, I’ll conclude somewhere about here. Winnipeg is a pretty all right place, and I had a good time. There were perogies AND meatballs included in the wedding feast. The cake was all strawberries and whipped cream. And the bar? It was open.
I flew back at 7:00 am the morning after the wedding, dead tired and sick with whatever gross germs were circulating on the plane, so I didn’t feel like writing or cooking yesterday. Tonight though, we will have a vegetable feast, and I will tell you all about it tomorrow. Because it’s been a long time, and I thought of a cool way to riff on moussaka when I was in Winnipeg, fantasizing about vegetables. In the meantime, I’ll sign off with a couple of wedding pictures, because if you can’t exploit your friends on the Internet, then you have to exploit strangers, which isn’t nearly as fun.