It's gigantic and bright red.
And as Winnipeg's largest food truck, The Red Ember is hard to miss.
This pizzeria on wheels hit streets in mid-July. Spot it on Broadway, other downtown locations and at St. Norbert Farmers' Market on weekdays and small-town festivals on the weekend.
On a recent mid-week visit, loads of customers crowded around the behemoth. At about 30 people, it was the largest crowd I've seen at any Winnipeg food truck this summer. That speaks volumes about the popularity of the truck and quality of the food. (A Winnipeg food truck refresher: There are currently about 20 food trucks in the city. The food truck scene exploded this summer.)
The Red Ember is an impressive, seriously commercial-style kitchen on wheels. Sure, it's brand new to the streets and hasn't lost its sheen but the kitchen sure looks organized, efficient, professional and above all, clean.
The pizza menu is concise with four choices including caprese, classic pepperoni and mushroom, a turkey on carmelized onion sauce and a ratatouille-inspired all-veggie pie.
Daily pizza specials change every day and offer pizza fans a glimpse inside the creative mind of chef/owner Steffen Zinn.
Case in point: On my visit, I scarfed down the Beetza, a pie with a decidedly Manitoba flair. Creme fraiche followed by a layer of creamy, melted goats cheese acted as the base for crispy, thick-cut bacon and chunks of tender (not mushy), sweet red beets. A sprinkle of fresh dill finished this Picasso of pizzas. I can't think of another word for YUM. Get the picture?
A word about the crust: The wood-fired oven achieves that elusive ideal of crispy and chewy all-in-one. Mildly scorched edges add wood-fired oven authenticity and frankly taste great too.
A friendly tip: Take a friend, order two (standard dinner-plate sized) pizzas and commence sharing.
Final word: Winnipeg is a pizza town and The Red Ember is a welcome and inspired addition to the local 'za scene.
- Wood-fired oven weighs 3,600 pounds
- Oven temperature reaches 670˚F
- Winnipeg's largest food truck (Courtesy CBC.ca/manitoba/scene)
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