On Tuesday my husband Dave and I enjoyed a food tour with our friends, Debbie and Esther. The tour was called Devour the District. Sponsored by the Exchange District Biz association it takes you to some of the 40 restaurants in Winnipeg’s Exchange District to sample items from their menus. Luckily I had signed up for the tour early in July. Devour the District is offered twice a week but is completely sold out for the summer months.
Rochelle was our very knowledgeable guide. She knew so much about the Exchange District’s history and architecture. A university landscape architecture student working on her Masters thesis she gives tours as a summer job.
Our first stop was the Peasant Cookery. My husband Dave and I have eaten here several times in the past and had always enjoyed the experience.
The Peasant Cookery is in the Travellers Building and Rochelle told us that in the early 1900’s when many salesmen were beginning to come to Winnipeg, they formed a union and this building offered union members accommodation on their trips to Winnipeg. There were offices, meeting rooms, lounges and even Turkish baths in the basement. It was a pretty high-class, high service establishment. At the Peasant Cookery we were served pork belly with pineapple and cucumber. I have NEVER ordered pork belly because the thought of eating a layer of fat just ‘grossed me out.’ But I have to say this was delicious.
The pork belly was perfectly paired with a slightly sweet German Rudolf Muller Reisling. It’s nicknamed The Bunny Wine because there is a rabbit on the bottle. The waiter was very friendly and told us The Peasant Cookery’s speciality is oysters and their record for oysters sold in one night is 2002.
My husband Dave was a gentleman and held the door for everyone at The Deer and Almond our next stop on the tour. It’s a restaurant that is considered one of the city’s best. I learned the name comes from the chef whose name is Mandel Hitzer. Mandel is the German word for almond. Deer was chosen because the chef thinks the deer is a magnificent animal.
We had a “it’s a small world” experience here when Dave realized one of the waitresses was a former student of his and……
Debbie found out two of the patrons were former elementary and junior high classmates of hers.
We were given the Korean Fried Chicken dish to taste. The chef told us it was a kind of Asian KFC style dish. He got the recipe idea from a bar- tender friend. It was very good but filling. We moved on to Shawarma Khan, one of the newer restaurants in the Exchange. It is located in the former Free Press Building built in 1883.
Owner Obby Khan was funny and entertaining and told us all about his restaurant. He believes fast food can be healthy food and so all the ingredients used in his restaurant are 100% natural with no preservatives or fillers.
Obby is a former CFL player and in the restaurant he displays the jerseys he wore while a member of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Ottawa Renegades and Calgary Stampeders.
He also has a wall full of signed photographs of CFL football players.
Obby has acknowledged his former football team by painting the ceiling blue and having a gold strip run around the dining area.
Obby’s family is from Pakistan and Obby is a practicing Muslim so it is important to him that the food he serves is all halal (foods that Muslims are allowed to eat.)
Obby says they are constantly trying to improve their product and they serve more than 200 people lunch every day. He gave each of us a chicken shawarma to try.
Hermanos tapas restaurant was next. It is located on the main floor of the Ashdown Warehouse, where we live. We had been there once before, but it is often hard to get in since they are very busy most evenings. They served us mussels in an English cream curry sauce and………
And a chorizo sausage dish with peppersJust down the same street about a block we stopped in at Boon Burger for……..
Their chocolate coconut milk icecream
I was intrigued by this unique sculpture in the Boon Burger lobby. I think it may belong to the architectural firm who has an office in the same building.
Our last stop was on the waterfront at the Carnaval Brazilian Barbeque where we went in the bar to have a drink .
Don’t these red wine sangrias look great? I had a drink called a Twisted Citrus which was very refreshing. Devour the District was a fun tour, delicious and a great way to be introduced to some of the many exciting dining options in the Exchange District.
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