34 Days of Favorites: Restaurants

When I was growing up, my mom taught me a few things about cooking.

She knew how to make food taste good, and she started teaching me how to use basic recipes at a young age. I remember the thrill of independence I got from being alone in the kitchen, not needing her help to prepare food.

I also remember the taste of mixing up one tablespoon of of salt in the rice with one teaspoon.

And I remember how, during every single meal I cooked, my mom would say, “Food tastes so much better when someone else makes it!”

Now, many years later, I find myself saying the same thing – how true it is!

So pardon me for sounding like every other housewife in the country when I say how much I love going out to eat. I like cooking, too, but how sweet it is to have a break from all the time and effort involved in feeding my family, and cleaning up afterwards.

We don’t eat out very often, which probably adds to the treat of it when we do. It’s partly a budget thing, and partly a pain in the diet thing. Because of some issues with food intolerance, including gluten, it can be tricky to find food I can eat in a restaurant.

In spite of this challenge, we’ve been able to find a number of restaurants we enjoy which serve food equally pleasing in taste and ease of digestion!

Bellisimo’s – Ben’s parents took us here for my birthday last year, and it was quite unforgettable. They offer gluten-free pasta, and cooked up a special dish just for me, to accommodate my digestion issues, and it was one of the most delicious meals I’ve eaten all year. I fantasize about going back. It’s a bit of a pricier place, but very nice, and the other items on the menu looked amazing.

Sushi N – Our family discovered sushi this year. Anika was doing a little homeschool project on Japan, and we wanted to try some Japanese food. When Ben suggested sushi, I was not overly excited, as the thought of raw fish has always grossed me out.

When Ben informed me that sushi does not have to contain raw fish, I became a little more interested in sampling some sushi, so the next time our family went shopping at Superstore, we grabbed a tray of fresh sushi.

It was not love at first bite. The flavor took a little while to grow on me, but after a few rolls, I decided sushi was definitely something I’d like to eat again, preferably somewhere classier than Superstore.

We bought sushi a few more times throughout the year, but it wasn’t until my birthday this year when Ben and I actually tried an actual sushi restaurant.

A friend of mine who had lived in Japan for a few years recommended Sushi N as one of the best locations to get sushi in Winnipeg, so off we went!

My word, that menu was intimidating! So many choices! And strange names. Ben had to google sushi lingo, and we hesitantly placed our order.

Turns out, I love the California or Vegetable Rolls. Oh, yum.

My words of advice: do your research before you go, or go with someone who knows their sushi! And then go back again and again!

The Works – This final favorite is a bit of a cheat, because I only experienced it this last weekend, and not during the 33rd year of my life. It’s so good, though, I have to share…

While visiting my sister in Ottawa, we went out to eat at The Works. They serve every kind of burger you could possibly imagine, plus a whole bunch you couldn’t. (Peanut butter and bananas on a burger??)

I haven’t had a burger in five years, and oh, sweet goodness. There are no words. Gluten-free turkey burger with a topping of tomatoes, garlic, and oregano.

Food heaven.

You may have to travel if you want to try this one, though, because it’s only an Ontario thing, sadly.

There you have it – my three new favorites. What are your favorite restaurants?

34 Days of Favorites: Supper

I have always been a recipe girl.

I learned at a young age that if I followed the recipe on the page very closely, it wasn’t too hard to make food taste good. I never strayed very far from what was written on the page.

But marrying Ben started to change all that.

His family never uses a recipe. They just figure things out as they go along. Ben cooks the same way, and there are some things that just taste better when he makes it. He knows how to give flavour to things.

When I developed some food allergies, I had trouble finding recipes to fit my specific needs. I had to become more flexible and able to adapt recipes to fit my needs. I started to learn how much fun it could be to ditch the recipe and just wing it.

Then last year, for my birthday dinner at a restaurant, I had the best pasta dish ever. Although I could never make it taste the same at home, I sure tried.

The result is a pasta dish we make regularly around here. It is my favorite thing to make and inhale. Er…I mean, politely eat in small, delicate bites.

We tried to come up with a name for it together as a family, and for awhile we called it “The Amazing Adventures of Pete Pepper and Billy Broccoli”, but that’s kind of a long name, and it fizzled out. Now we just call it “That Pasta Dish”.

So, without any measurements (because now we’re all casual about that kind of thing around here!), I share with you my very own pasta recipe:

Pasta (we use rice noodles, because we do that gluten-free thing around here)

Steamed broccoli and peppers

Grilled Chicken, cut into small pieces

Olive Oil

Salt, Basil, Garlic

Cook your pasta, steam your veggies, cut up your grilled chicken, and mix it all together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together oil, salt, basil, and garlic. Pour over the pasta mixture and mix it all up.

Um, and that’s it. Very, very simple. Not really all that impressive, but I love it and could eat it forever.


Now it’s your turn! What’s your favorite food to eat for supper? Do you use recipes or fly by the seat of your pants? (I guess that’s not a very kitchen-appropriate expression, but you know what I mean!)