I’ve been eating lunch regularly at Neechi Commons at 865 Main Street. A number of schools I serve as a faculty advisor for the university are in the area. I’ve discovered it’s a great place to go for lunch. The commons is an Aboriginal owned and operated cooperative and contains not only a restaurant but also a grocery store where I often stop after my school visits to pick up items I need for supper .There is also an art store called……..
The waiters are friendly, helpful and polite and the food at Niche Commons is always good. I especially enjoy the homemade soups. Last week I had a delicious cream of cauliflower and yesterday’s special was a beef barley. The bannock is wonderful and so are the salads. Yesterday I tried the wild rice salad. The restaurant has a full menu with all kinds of burgers and breakfast items as well.
Winding Staircase Leading to the Restaurant
Neechi means friend/sister/brother in Cree and Ojibwa.
Kitchen at Neechi Commons
Neechi Commons is the largest commercial employer of First Nations and Metis people. More than 50 people are employed by the store and the art shop represents the work of some 40 artists.
Tables are decorated with stones and little pine logs
If you’ve never been to Neechi Commons you should really drop in. But if you come for lunch come early. The place is often packed.
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Eating with The Stars
Eating Bannock Voyageur Style
Winnipeg author Larry Verstraete launched his new book Life or Death on Sunday at McNally Robinson Booksellers. This is Larry’s fourteenth book.
Read all about Larry and his launch party in my post on Vast Imaginations, a blog for children’s writers.
We have breakfast every Saturday morning at the Free Press Cafe. This Saturday morning we found ourselves in the middle of a movie set. Crews were out turning Arthur Street into a Christmas wonderland, with blow up Santas, lights and even a mailbox for sending letters to the North Pole. We watched as workers used hoses to spray some kind of white stuff all over the trees. This turned out to be unnecessary since just a few minutes later it actually began to snow for real in Winnipeg. We found out from the waitress at the cafe that the film being shot was a Hallmark Hall of Fame special called One Christmas Eve and that it starred Anne Heche. Apparently Heche plays a newly divorced Mom having some unexpected adventures on Christmas Eve. Later our friend Les dropped by to join us for breakfast. He sometimes works as an extra on movies being shot in Winnipeg and he told us a film crew has been in Winnipeg for a number of weeks already filming this movie. Les had been hired to work on the set the following night.I don’t know what the story line is about but fire fighters and fire engines, police cars and ambulances and stretchers were being put in place for filming so I’m thinking there must be some sort of accident scene. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see when the movie is aired on television. Seeing film crews in our neighborhood isn’t at all unusual since Winnipeg is a popular site for making movies. Our historic Exchange district can easily be turned into downtown Chicago, New York or San Francisco at the turn of the century or in the present. Having movies shot in our neighborhood is just one more thing that makes living in Winnipeg’s Exchange district interesting.
Other posts about movies in our neighbourhood…….
I’m Living In the Middle of A Movie Set
White Noise Film Premiere
Dave and I spent a long time looking for a place in Winnipeg that would serve wonton mein as good as the soup we found in so many restaurants in Hong Kong. Wonton mein was our favorite supper during our six years in Hong Kong. We’d stop in at a little street side restaurant in our village on our way home from work and have a bowl of the dumpling and noodle soup. It filled you right up. A complete meal in a bowl. After about a year of searching in Winnipeg we discovered an excellent wonton mien at a restaurant called Noodle Express at 107-180 King Street.
On Monday we walked on over before the Winnipeg Jets game to have a hot bowl of soup. The restaurant is just behind the Winnipeg Chinese Cultural Centre and yes those are flakes of snow in the photo. It was snowing hard on our way over to the restaurant.
You choose what you like off the menu and write down your order.
The staff at the restaurant is efficient and no-nonsense.The decor is plain and utilitarian. The soup however is anything but ordinary.A visit to Noodle Express always brings back wonderful memories of warm evenings in Hong Kong and is the perfect antidote to a wintry Winnipeg night. We’re glad we’ve discovered a place right here in Winnipeg with wonton mein almost as good as what we ate in Hong Kong.
Other posts about Hong Kong…….
Help Me Decide
Making Chinese Dumplings
Fighting for the Bill
My husband and I watched the Winnipeg Jets play the Minnesota Wild in their second last home game of the season. Read all about it on my What Next blog.
Tags: Winnipeg Jets
I laughed. I cried. I know that’s a cliché but it’s what happened yesterday when we attended the play Kim’s Convenience at the Manitoba Theatre Centre. Kim is a Korean teacher who immigrated to Canada as a young married man to make a better life for his family. He buys a convenience store in a Toronto neighbourhood and spends his life behind the counter.
But Kim knows the store is not what his life is all about. “This store is not my story,” he says to his children. “You are my story.” That was one of the lines that brought tears to my eyes.
Mr. Kim and His Daughter- Photo Winnipeg Free Press
Kim’s children’s stories have not turned out as he hoped. His son ends up in trouble with the law, has a fight with his father, and runs away from home with all the money from the store safe. Now married with a son of his own and working at a dead-end job in the car rental business he has maintained his relationship with his mother but he and his Dad are estranged. Kim’s daughter is 30, a professional photographer who can’t afford to live on her own and isn’t married.
One morning a real estate developer offers Kim a bundle for his convenience store. Should he sell it and retire or is there still a chance one of his children will want the business? As the family goes through the day we are treated to a window on their lives.
The Kim Family
I think the reason the audience laughs so often, and becomes so engaged with the play is because as they observe the family’s interactions they see their own family. Whether they are of Korean, Polish, Ukrainian, Jewish or Mennonite origin they recognize characteristics of their own families in the Kims. They see their own grandfathers and fathers in Mr. Kim’s old-fashioned ways and pride in the ‘old country.’ They see their own kids in the Kim children who are having trouble deciding what they want in life and their mothers and grandmothers in Mrs. Kim’s steadfast love and loyalty to her family.
The play is only on for a few more days. Go and see it. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry.
Other posts about plays………
Confessions of A Fairy’s Daughter
Winnipeg Fringe Festival
A Mid Summer Night’s Dream on a Mid Summer Afternoon
Mildred Beach with her students at the Runaway Bay Resource Centre in Jamaica
My husband and I just spent a month in Jamaica working with a couple from St. Vital who have started an after school program for children from ghetto neighborhoods in Runaway Bay. Mildred and Tony Beach spend six months of the year in Winnipeg where Tony works as an engineer and the other six months in Jamaica managing and teaching at the resource centre they founded. You can read all about it on my blog What Next in the posts below.
The Remarkable Story of the Runaway Bay Resource Centre
A Day in the Life of the Runaway Bay Resource Centre
Tony Beach listening to a student read at the Runaway Bay Resource Centre
My cousin Kirsten was gracious enough to let me interview her and write an article for the latest issue of Rhubarb magazine about the important work she does at the University of Winnipeg. The magazine has chosen to feature the story on its webpage so you can read it HERE.
The online version of the magazine doesn’t include any of the photos I took so I’m including several here.
Kirsten with the Eat Like You Give A Damn campaign sign on University of Winnipeg cafeteria window
Paw Moo makes soups, sauces and dressings in the Diversity Foods kitchen
Kirsten and Samy a business student from Haiti who works for Diversity Foods
At the Asheville Art Museum in North Carolina I found connections with our own Winnipeg Art Gallery that intrigued me. I’ve written about them on my blog What Next.
Farmer’s Daughter by Prudence Heward- Winnipeg Art Gallery
Another Young Friend by Agnes Millen Richmond- Asheville Art Museum
On Christmas Day in the morning our family went on a walk. The Royal Albert Hotel just begged to have its picture taken. Built in 1913 it was once a respectable hotel for business people visiting Winnipeg. The original owners were Angelo Ferrari and Patrick Grogan. When the Royal Albert was built it had 54 rooms, a buffet restaurant, a coffee shop and cigar shop.
Ad in the Winnipeg Free Press November 1, 1913
Royal Albert Hotel Diningroom
A downturn in the economy and the outbreak of World War I forced the owners to turn the hotel into a rooming house.
October 1916 ad for rooms at the Royal Albert
The ice had made an intriguing trim on the roof of the sun porch on Christmas Day. The building has had an equally intriguing history. During the Winnipeg General strike in 1919 it housed a Labour Cafe where striking women could go for a free meal. In 1920 its manager was arrested for running a bawdy house. When prohibition ended in 1921 it housed a dance hall and bar. In 1930 the building was taken over by a brewery. In 1961 it was purchased by Gordon Hotels and renovated. They sold it in 1969 and in the 70′s it became a home for hippies, prostitutes, musicians and actors. During the 1980′s the hotel bar nurtured the music careers of legions of young Winnipeg bands and in the 1990′s hosted such bands as Nickelback and Green Day.
In the last year the hotel has been front and centre in the news because it was owned in part by a suspected crime figure who died suddenly. It was shut down because of a water main break and in November a man who appeared to be living in the hotel fell to his death from one of the windows even though the owner Daren Jorgenson said no one should be living there. According to a Winnipeg Free Press article, the building will be auctioned off in January of 2014.
For a detailed history check Winnipeg Downtown Places.
Other posts about Exchange District buildings……..
The Millenium Centre