Ah, yes, The Forks, you might be thinking, I've been there before so I already know everything I need to.
While there's much you probably do know about the city's number one tourist destination—it's been a meeting place for thousands of years, it's technically not a fork but a confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers and the market, which now houses a dozen local eateries and retailers, was originally horse stables and haylofts—there are constantly new changes, updates and discoveries happening around the downtown site.
We're willing to bet you didn't know at least one of these latest Forks happenings:
The Common has firepits, fresh new beers, and sleek new patio seating
As the evenings begin to cool off, you can flock to The Common outdoor patio where they’ve added even more seating to the already expansive area in the form of Adirondack chairs, wooden loungers and bar stools circling leafy planters throughout. Shade sails have been installed to keep both you and your beer at optimal temperature during warmer days, and after dark, you can cozy up with pals next to firepits on the lower patio, which are turned on for cooler evenings.
Whether you're just popping by, or staying for a pint or two, the patio is always open and accessible to everyone – no purchase necessary.
All of this, plus a nifty new beer list heading into fall (the taps rotate with the change in season, with five local brews every time), which includes a crisp Ontario apple cider from Tawse Winery, the Silicon Wit from local legend Oxus Brewing and Duclaw Brewing’s Sour Me Unicorn Farts—which, fittingly, is a sour ale made with edible glitter that you’ll notice shimmering subtly with every sip.
Neon Cone makes all of their ice cream—more than a dozen flavours—in-house
Have a hankering for honey lavender? Try this one, which uses local Tall Grass Prairie honey. A burning desire for birthday cake? An entire cake is actually baked then blended into the ice cream base. Eager for espresso flake? The coffee is sourced from De Luca’s. Got a sweet spot for strawberry? Local MB farm berries make up the compound before being mixed into an oat milk base.
All of that alliteration to say that Neon Cone uses fresh, local and often inventive ingredients in their artisanal ice creams (avocado, lime, basil and roasted pistachio was a vegan option available earlier this month, and black sesame was a big hit before that.)
If soft-serve is more your style, Neon Cone uses real Belgian chocolate dips (no cheap compounds here!) sourced from Montreal in a full rainbow of colours and flavours, including hazelnut, Baileys and cotton candy, which is sure to please kids and adults alike.
Having been a fixture at The Forks for almost 30 years (the family owns Fro-gurts frozen yogurt shop as well), Neon Cone is growing in all the right ways while still remaining true to its own unique style and service.
The tacos everyone’s talking ‘bout
Fan-favourite food truck Habanero Sombrero (regularly found at 325 Broadway) is now open in the market, serving up authentic tacos exactly like you'd get down south. The menu, inspired by traditional Mexican street food, is pleasantly straightforward: mix and match two or three tacos, including carnitas, battered cod, sautéed mushrooms, and garlic chipotle shrimp. Add chips and homemade salsa, guac or queso, grab a cold Jarritos, and you might as well be beachside with a view of the Pacific—especially with the warm temps we’ve been seeing lately. Chicken or mushroom street quesadillas are also on the menu and highly recommended, especially for the kiddos.
Corto is the city’s most underrated lunch spot
It’s a bold statement, but then again, we’re talking about some bold flavours here. Chef Scott Bagshaw’s famed Italian-focused eatery Passero also serves up an incredible array of sandwiches, pastas and salads until 4:30 p.m. each day at its takeout counter Corto. The same fresh ingredients and flavours from his dinner menu can be tasted at lunch with saucy numbers like the buttermilk-fried chicken parm sandwich and the roast beef with truffle jus. The newly expanded lunch menu also includes Passero favourites ricotta gnocchi, beef tartar, tuna carpaccio and spaghetti carbonara. Round out your meal with the tomato salad with Calabrian chili, citrus, fresh mozzarella and basil, or beets with feta, hazelnuts and grapefruit.
To find all that The Forks has to offer, visit their website.