Category Archives: Winnipeg Street Eats

For fabulously fresh fish n’ chips find Fergies at The Forks.

As you all know I love food, street food, fine food, pick up a fork and stab me food.  So it should be no surprise that I love good fish.  Growing up literally a 5 minute bike ride from Rainy Lake in North Western Ontario I could hold a fishing rod before I learned to tie my own shoes.

Mom and Dad both loved to fish so I grew up with an appreciation for the different flavours that came out of the lake.  It was a funny little rule that my father had when he took the family out for dinner.  We could eat anything on the menu besides freshwater fish.  He reasoned that we had access to a well stocked freezer full of the best fish in the world so why should he have to pay for it when eating out.

Fergies Fish n' Chips at The Forks Market

Having said that I no longer live 5 minutes from Rainy Lake so what’s a poor boy to do when he’s got a hankering for fish.  Well I head down to Fergies Fish n’ Chips at The Forks Market.  The current incarnation of seafood market and fish and chips stand has been open since 2004 and boasts having access to the over five million visitors The Forks Market attracts each year.

Although Manitoba is hardly next to any major seaport we are however a première shipping hub supplying North America with everything from fresh flowers and yes you guessed it fresh fish.  One thing Fergies prides itself on is the freshness and quality of its ingredients.  From the locally grown fresh cut Russet Burbank potato to the “caught yesterday” selection of Cod, Halibut and Lake Manitoba Walleye (Pickerel).

When eating fish freshness is king, and Fergies delivers that in classic style. Each piece is coated in a beer batter moments before it hits the hot oil, protecting the delicate filet and effectively poaching it to give a crispy delicious exterior and a moist flaky interior to the fish.

Simple and delicious fish and chips served in paper

The chips are treated with equal care, freshly cut and blanched in hot oil before being quickly dunked again for a properly cooked fry.  Crispy and hot on the outside and tender on the inside.

Put the two together and an English favourite hits Winnipeg.  A dash of salt and a splash or two of malt vinegar is all you need to complete this after pub classic.

So when you get a craving for an inexpensive but delicious fish treat you know where to go, Fergies Fish n’ Chips at The Forks Market.

Fergie's Fish 'n Chips on Urbanspoon

Taco, Taco, Taco: El Torrito comida de la calle

As many of you already know I am a big fan of pointing my jeep in a random direction and exploring the street food options in my home city of Winnipeg.   This long weekend the direction was simple to choose, I headed downtown to the afternoon site of the El Torrito taco truck.

The Winnipeg street food scene has long been dominated by scores of smokie carts and burger trucks that have a strangle hold on the Canadian street food market.  But just last month I began hearing rumblings of something exciting and new, at first I thought people were talking about a trip down to Mexico or chatting about a Food Network program they had seen on taco vendors.  But they insisted there was indeed a taco truck in Winnipeg, and they even had a following on Twitter.

Intrigued to the point of obsession I made it my mission to find this elusive taco truck and taste its bill of fare.  Indeed El Torrito (@ElTorrito1) does have a large following on Twitter and a write-up in the local pages of Metro.

El Torrito comida de la calle

When I came upon the truck at its downtown lunchtime location, I could smell and hear the difference from across Portage Avenue.  The aromas of savoury meats being grilled and the pumping music from a boom box had a small crowd wondering what this apparition was, unaccustomed to having a Mexican option the crowd watched as I bravely strode up to the front window.

Immediately a friendly face appeared from inside and offered me the daily El Grandé  special.  Three tacos (beef or chicken) and an authentic chorizo dog with chips and drink for $10.  How could I say no to that?

As I ordered the cook and co-owner Ian Bowman smiled at my enthusiasm and shouted over the music how hot I wanted my tacos.  I replied “hot, but don’t make my face melt off.”  He laughed and said with a sly grin, “but I like to make faces melt!”

Simple and authentic taco goodness

The tacos themselves are based on traditional Mexican street food, if you’re looking for hard-shelled tacos covered in cheese and cliché then you’ve come to the wrong truck my friend.  Simple is the name of the game here, and fresh is how they taste.  Hot grilled meat, some salsa verdé, tomato and a hit of cilantro wrapped up in a warm tortilla is what you get.  A lime on the side and some chili sauce for heat makes for simple street taco perfection.

The chorizo dog was also very good, a mild pork sausage also served with salsa verdé, onions and tomato was a welcome break from the smokie sausages that Winnipeggers are accustomed to.

Overall my first impressions of El Torrito were good although the tacos seem a bit small and not overly laden with meat, by local standards they are still a bargain at 3 for 5 dollars.  The condiments are fresh and the service is enthusiastic, more than once I saw the cook poking his head out to see if I was enjoying my lunch.

So if you’re in need of a change look the taco truck up on twitter (@ElTorrito1) and head down for a bit of spice this summer.

Springtime. When men’s thoughts turn to…Smokies!

Ahhh, I can feel it now.  Springtime is here!

Grass is peeking through as the winter’s snowy blanket recedes and the smell of sausages is in the air.  Like the buds on the trees and flowers that are beginning to awaken, the smokie carts are back on the streets of Winnipeg.

As soon as the pavement starts to show again and the hemlines on Broadway Avenue begin to creep up the legs of the secretaries and professionals, you can bet the smokie carts will be out in full force.  The propane fired grills sending out smoke signals once again to the hungry masses that crave delicious tube steaks on fresh Winnipeg rolls.

My own personal pilgrimage took place Saturday afternoon, the weekday traffic and crowds downtown were gone and little stood between us and hot meaty goodness.  The Winnipeg Convention Centre played host to our quarry and we quickly homed in on the twin carts with a crowd gathered round.

Smokie carts are always a sure sign of spring

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Bob Vs. The Goog

Goog.  Noun: A Canadian ice  cream confection consisting of an upside down blueberry shake, with a hot fudge sundae and bananas topped with whipped cream. Available at the Bridge Drive-In Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The Goog Sundae

Spring finally must be here in Winnipeg.  This weekend two significant events happened that all but guarantee warmer weather is finally on its way.  Firstly I broke the BBQ out of its icy embrace and fired up the charcoal for the first grilling of the season.  Secondly the Bridge Drive-In is has opened its shuttered windows luring out Winnipegers from under their warm blankets with the promise of ice cream treats.

Bridge Drive-In

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Winnipeg Street Eats: A Bourdain Friendly Dog Hits Winnipeg.

Well another weekend is upon us here in Winnipeg.  This particular afternoon found myself and my significant other in search of something new and exciting.  Well we found that today in spades.

Dingo's Store Front

Winnipeg hospitality group WOW! has opened a new style hot dog  joint in Winnipeg’s Little Italy.  Dingo’s Wild and Crazy Dogs marks a departure for the group from fine upscale dining to upscale street food.  The concept diner features a dozen specialty quarter pound hot dogs on the menu, any of which could have lept directly from Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations and onto my tray.

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