Culinary Connects Culture: Go globetrotting on a West End BIZ tour
A classic Sesame Street song asks, “Who are the people in your neighbourhood?” before listing off the baker, the grocer, “the people you meet each day.” In this celebration of connection to community, they could be singing about Winnipeg’s West End, an area rich in diverse culture, people, stories, businesses, and of course food.
“This neighbourhood works the way it should be,” says Joe Kornelsen, promotion and development coordinator and executive assistant at the West End BIZ. “You’ve got your barber shop, grocery store, flower shop, and restaurants, all within blocks of each other. This warm community has it all; you can live your entire life in this area.”
Even though the West End encompasses 200 blocks, wherever you are you’re only about five minutes away from what you need. And what everyone needs is the food. The neighbourhood boasts over 110 restaurants with worldly flavours ranging from authentic Mexican, to Ethiopian, to Vietnamese and more.
Equally as enticing are the people behind the plates; each with a unique story about their culture and the food they present.
Both are served up during the West End BIZ’s Around the World in a Few Blocks food tours, which run all summer long and showcase four restaurants per trip. Pop on a good pair of shoes, come with an empty stomach, as well as a readiness for new flavours, and meet the people of the West End neighbourhood.
New Tour Stops for 2019
Feast Café and Bistro: Nourish your body and soul with Feast’s modern dishes rooted in First Nations food. Chef-owner Christa Bruneau-Guenther’s vision for the West End eatery was to make Indigenous cuisine accessible in the community, while serving up healthy, homegrown options. Eat together with friends and share stories alongside a delicious and contemporary menu, with hearty comforts like home-style bison chili and seared lemon pepper Manitoba pickerel sliders. Or try the trendy twist on traditional bannock as it becomes the base for elevated pizzas and “tipi” tacos - authentic fry bread piled high with bison chili or a shredded maple-chipotle chicken, shredded lettuce, cheese, homemade salsa, and chipotle-sour cream.
Eadha Bread: “Eadha” means endurance. And that is certainly needed when making 500-600 loaves of fermented sourdough bread a week. It takes owner Cora Wiens, and her team, three days to get the bread ready for the oven because the hand-powered bakery works with local wild yeast and ferments the dough for 24 hours. And, man, it’s worth it. Made from organic local ingredients, Eadha’s sourdough – which comes in basic, whole wheat, and prairie sun, along with daily specialties - features the perfect structure of a crunchy crust and soft inside. No butter even required.
Make sure to bring a reusable tote in order to stock up not only on sourdough, but the bakery’s sweet and savoury cakes, pies, and twists (vegan options are also available).
Taj East Indian Cuisine: This family owned and operated Indo-Canadian restaurant flavours their variety of traditional and modern dishes with spices coming straight from India: garam masala for the thick butter chicken, cardamom and coriander for the aromatic desi chicken, and a special house blend for the rich Taj Karahi goat. Or, try a host of flavours with one of the restaurant’s ample vegetarian or chicken thalis while you tuck into a basket of extra fluffy naan or a crisp stack of pappadums.
To learn more about some of the other tour highlights (Tacos! Pho! Sticky buns!) check out Peg City Grub’s previous posts here and here. West End BIZ’s Around the World in a Few Blocks food tours run weekly from June until August 28.
Visit westendbiz.ca/tours for dates and restaurants.