Carbone – Authentic Italian Coal Fired Pizza

The Isabella PizzaDowntown Winnipeg is changing for the better. There is some debate about what finally turned it around. Was it building the MTS Centre? The return of the Jets? More condos in the Exchange District? Or the redevelopment of Waterfront Drive? One thing is certain, the tides are changing and more people are spending time and money downtown.

Carbone has been coal firing pizzas on Taylor Avenue since 2010 and they recently opened a second location downtown, at 260 St. Mary Avenue. It has a sophisticated vibe, beautiful staff and great food and drinks. Moving away slightly from the more family-style atmosphere at their Taylor location, downtown they have DJ’s who play on the weekends and are open until 2am Friday and Saturday night.

As much as I love the pizza, what I really love is slinging my own pints! For the first time in Winnipeg, we now have self-serve taps to go along with our coal fired pizza and wings. There are about half a dozen options and they will be rotating throughout the summer. Servers give beer lovers a magnetic button that when applied to the tap measures pours by the ounce and you are cut off after two rounds.

With the SHED (Sports, Hospitality and Entertainment District) and the new regulations from Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries in full swing I hope we see more firsts in our downtown.

Pizza's are being prepared for the lunch rushMade fresh daily dough flyingJoe pulls pizza from the coal ovenJoe Paletta, head chef for Carbone, told us a few stories about how the communal tables combined with the self-serve taps change the atmosphere in the restaurant. “Customers are pouring pints for each other and talking” it forces diners to interact in a really fun way.

This downtown location has a simple menu and is designed around the Italian-imported coal oven. Burning Anthracite coal, this amazing heat source bakes at 850 degrees and has a short blue mostly smokeless flame. All of Carbone’s signature dishes are baked this way and it makes for a unique flavor.

Pizzas are king at Carbone and you are encouraged to get creative. Their topping lists are grouped by price and the possibilities are endless.   If you are looking for a sure thing try the Nostra Pizzas: signature pizzas designed by Carbone.  They are fantastic.  I loved the Isabella with roasted red onions, artichokes (my favourties) arugula and goat cheese.Joe Paletta at work

Drink specials abound and you will be hard pressed to find better prices on wine during their feature Tuesday Wine Night. You can order cocktails off their menu or let the bartender follow their inspiration, I was impressed by both.

Get down to their 50 seat patio to enjoy these dog days of summer.

 


Sarah Zaharia

Winnipeg Fringe Festival – A Festival for Everyone

Like Father, Like Son? Sorry.What is it with the Winnipeg Fringe Festival? How is it that this city has maybe the third largest Fringe on the planet? I don’t ask this facetiously. I’m honestly curious. I was speaking to a friend of mine who is a veteran of the Winnipeg theatre scene and she said that she’s just as at a loss for an explanation, so I began theorizing. Maybe it’s because the festival is aimed at the everyman and the everyman’s grandmother as much as it’s aimed at theatre aficionados, artists, and twenty-somethings taking the summer off to drink beer and soak in culture. It’s a festival for everyone.

She pointed out that she didn’t recognise most of the faces in the crowds, to which I conceded that I also went most of the nearly two weeks without seeing a familiar face. These weren’t the Winnipeggers who filled the Tom Hendry Warehouse or PTE during the regular season. These were people who came out to see live theatre maybe once a year and who knew a good bargain. I mean seriously, you couldn’t do better for your money than taking in five or six plays at the Fringe. If someone tying themselves up with rope wasn’t your thing, no sweat. It was only ten bucks. If you happened to stumble into a hall where two people were playing truth or dare on stage and you suddenly recalled (with horror) the first kiss you ever had as a sweaty pre-teen in a basement closet at your best friend’s birthday party playing the same game, don’t worry—the show was only an hour and there were 170’ish other shows to pick from.

If it sounds like I’m ragging on the festival you should probably come to a play with me next year and see how happy I am to be in attendance at a show. Any show. I love it. I love the smell of street meat wafting over me as I gulp down my reasonably priced beer and take in the music at the cube. I love showing up an hour early to a show only to find out it’s already sold out, because I know that that means an artist who has worked very hard is getting the audience they deserve (I’m looking at you, This Is Cancer). The Fringe might be the strangest festival that Winnipeg has to offer, which is the root of its charm, because you honestly can’t predict what you’re going to get.

That was how I kicked off my Fringe experience this year. I started with Chris Gibbs’ Like Father, Like Son? Sorry, expecting it to be a one man show about the trials and joys of fatherhood. After ten minutes of what I would describe as a straight stand-up comedy act, I wondered to myself when the actual show was going to start. It then occurred to me that this was the show. This guy was a stand-up comic and the story of fatherhood was expertly woven into the comedy as the through line. That’s one thing about the Fringe, reading the byline for a play will only tell you so much. Whatever my expectations were at the onset, I ended up leaving that show with laugh fatigue, something I’ve only experienced after binge-watching Arrested Development.

no tweed too tightYour Fringe experience is bound to be unique. It not only depends on the show you pick but the crowd you end up seeing it with. For instance, I saw Ryan Gladstone’s No Tweed Too Tight at 7pm on a Tuesday night with a room full of grey hairs in the upstairs room at the Kingshead Pub. The show was one part Pynchon, one part Starsky and Hutch, one part Memento and one part Elmore Leonard. Needless to say, the plot was an entanglement of double crossings, sexual liaisons, fast-talking profanity riddled one-liners, and heads being blown off. I loved it. The audience, however, was hard to read. When Gladstone’s line, “His head exploded like a cargo ship in the Halifax harbour” elicited a groan from the audience, he broke character and asked the audience, “What? Too soon? You guys know that happened like 100 years ago, right?” But that was the crowd there that night. No amount of beer and scotch eggs was going to change that. And you know what? That’s the Fringe for you. Anything can happen and it probably will. The really good performers just roll with it.

Comedy isn’t the only thing that the Fringe had to offer. I learned that the hard way when I attended the last Winnipeg showing of The Untitled Sam Mullins Project, thinking I was in for a one-man comedy show. Don’t get me wrong, Sam Mullins is very funny, but he’s also existential and he’s also a really, really, really good storyteller who knows sentimentality’s address, but never walks through the front door. Do you remember that scene in the Todd Solondz movie, Storytelling, when the writing instructor tells a student that just because something is true doesn’t mean it is good storytelling? Well, Sam Mullins got that memo. After his performance I thought, somebody give this guy a radio show so I can listen to him every day.

sam mullinsSam Mullins is not an anomaly. He represents the high caliber performers that are in the majority at Winnipeg’s Fringe Fest. That was why I could show up to a venue on a Wednesday night with no idea of what was playing and feel fairly confident that whatever I bought a ticket to was going to be entertaining. And if it wasn’t? Well, it’s like I said before, it was only ten bucks.

Maybe you missed Fringe this year. Maybe you’ve never been. May I recommend that you put it on your calendar for next year?

I can’t stress it enough: it’s worth checking out.

 


Sarah Zaharia

My Dream Ice Cream

We are solidly in summer. The weather is as hot as our wildest wintertime hopes and we’re now seeking ways to cool off. What a fantastic problem! And ice cream is the perfect solution.

BUYMBAD4There’s an avalanche of icy options but Cornell Creme is no ordinary ice cream. Their flavours are a perfect cocktail of classic and bold. That said, their Vanilla is the best foundation you’ll find for sundae building and they have exotic flavours like Malty Ale Pail, a beer ice cream. Beer floats anyone?

Lisa Dyck and husband William are Manitoba’s first dairy owner producer-processor. Together they are making spectacular ice cream and know their suppliers well. The Dyck’s dairy farm near Anola, Manitoba provides the cream that is the foundation of their delectable offerings.

Lisa took her hobby to the next level in 2012, when she was given an ice cream maker. She had some experience baking for the teahouse in Anola but her development of Cornell Creme has transitioned the business into to a full plant operation. The Pumpkins Pastime teahouse (sadly, now closed) was where Lisa says she, “Developed my passion for creating something for others.”

There is nothing complicated or hard to pronounce on the Cornell label. Lisa explains that you are buying something totally different when you buy her ice cream. It is a full, fat full-on delicious treat and she makes no apologies for that. There isn’t a flavour I’ve tried that I don’t like but I agree with Lisa, the Vanilla Bean is the best vanilla ice cream I’ve ever had.

When I asked what she wanted for her company, she replied simply, “I want a company that Manitobans would be proud of.”

If you want to get your hands of some of this amazing ice cream for yourself or a friend, you might have to get in line. Vendors that carry Cornell Creme often sell out quickly and those who know it rarely leave with just one flavour. In Winnipeg you can pick some up at Crampton’s Market and Delucas. For a full listing check out their website at cornellcreme.com.

With dreams of a scoop shop dancing in her head, there is a lot more to come from Lisa and Cornell Creme.

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Photos courtesy of Cornell Creme, photographer Ian McCausland 


Sarah Zaharia

Oysters From The Source

DSC02560Where does your food come from? If you take a moment to consider the time, energy and work needed to turn a grain of wheat into the bread on your table, it is truly amazing. As a lover of shellfish who lives in the heart of the continent, the journey these little sea creatures take has always blown my mind.

Oysters may be an acquired taste but those that love them can’t get enough. In Winnipeg there are a number of restaurants being supplied by a little oyster farm called CN Shellfish on Fanny Bay in British Columbia. Available at Wasabi in Osborne Village, Inferno’s Bistro, The Loft, the  Fort Garry, and Fairmont Hotel, it takes a mere day and a half from the BC farm to your Winnipeg table.  These are very fresh oysters!

This 35 million dollar industry supplies Canadians and sends tons of DSC02563shipments to Asia. These farms generate some of the highest quality and most sought after shellfish in the world. Regulations governing their production ensure the highest quality and the highest prices.

In the hierarchy of shellfish King Crab reigns supreme. But not far behind are Geoducks – totally bizarre creatures. These guys sell for $20-$30 a pound and they are so popular in Asia we rarely see them in the Canadian market. They can grow up to 140 years old!

Shellfish has one of the few licenses for growing Geoducks and as proud members of Ocean Wise, they constantly strive to do things as naturally as possible.  CN Shellfish has been in business for 3 years but its history runs deep. Nam Lao and Cory Hesketh own the farm and Hesketh’s father ran the farm before them.  With oysters and clams all growing on their farm, it is a busy place.

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Merroir, a take on the French word Terroir, is used to describe the flavours and qualities of a region and products farmed there. Co-opted from vintners, chocolatiers and coffee producers, oyster farmers have taken it as their own.

On the farm I had the chance to taste oysters that are aged on the beach against those matured on the rafts. It’s amazing how different they taste. East Coast oysters tend to have a lighter taste as they grow slower because of the colder water. On the West Coast they have more salt and brine in the flavour profile.

The next time you crack oysters open remember how far they’ve come to be slurped up off your plate!

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Sarah Zaharia

A Ballet Indulgence

mixed program 2At the end of some ballets, the audience will cheer and applaud from the comfort of their seats. Others will provoke a few people rise to their feet, then a few more, and then one-by-one people stand to their feet in an effort to follow suit. At the end of last night’s ballet, every single person was on their feet before the curtain was down. Andre Lewis was accurate in his prediction during pre-show introductions that Mixed Programme is “a royal treat that would have us on our feet”.

Mixed Programme consists of three completely unique and dynamic short ballets. The first, “Defile” celebrates the connections between the junior dancers and the company, and expressed the technique that each level learns. It started with ten-year-olds in soft shoes and finished with advanced pointe work and stunts from the leading dancers in the company. The second, “The Vertiginous Thrill of Exactitude” was speedy and full of adrenaline, showcasing the dancers’ ability and technical mastery. The third, “The Four Seasons” was a visual masterpiece. Set to Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”, this piece followed one man through seasons and showed his relationship with time. And, in my opinion, it is one of the most beautiful pieces of ballet of all time.

As you can see, the night was an indulgence for ballet-lovers. It involved every age of dancer, from little ones inliam10 the recreational division to former-principal dancers, such as Alexander Gamayunov, John Kaminiski, Caroline Gruber, and Evelyn Hart.

Yes, Evelyn Hart. Andre Lewis announced before the show began that Evelyn would be making an appearance in the “The Four Seasons”, so I anticipated her to be on for just a moment. I kept my eyes peeled for her throughout the entire second act. Spring, summer, and fall went by, then a man playing winter appeared and wrestled with the main character, showing the struggles that winter brings. Suddenly, as the fight ended, Evelyn Hart moved onto the stage. The audience recognized her presence immediately, and a collective hush filled the room as we watched her grace the stage again. She danced as beautifully as ever, and I silently wished her appearance would never end. Much to my delight, her time on the stage was not brief. She represented the beautiful parts of winter. We watched the main character have a fit about the cold and how desperately he wanted winter to end, while Evelyn swayed in the background, unmoved by his temper and patiently waited to be embraced. The scene was chilling and it was an honour to see her dance again.

Mixed Programme is a must-see. Because of Evelyn, because of “The Four Seasons”, and because of the eclectic celebration of classical ballet that had us all on our feet.

Post by Meghan Zahari and photos by Vince Phakala for RWBmixed program 11

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Processed with VSCOcamSince she was little, Meghan has had a love for words and kept her nose firmly stuck in a book. Now, she’s a writer, a wife, and the owner of a pug and a puggle. She spends her days reviewing local ballet and theatre, writing all kinds of stories, running Concrete & Cloud, taking classes through University of Toronto, and doing projects and social media for a local chiropractor that promotes natural health.

www.meghan-zahari.com


Sarah Zaharia