Reason #1 to eat at Deer + Almond: Chicken Fried Chicken

deer and almond

 

Deer + Almond
85 Princess Street
204-504-8562
Neighbourhood: Exchange District 
Website: deerandalmond.com
Facebook: facebook.com/deerandalmond

Twitter: twitter.com/deerandalmond

Chicken fried chicken. That’s the first reason you should take a seat at Deer + Almond for lunch.

This Exchange District spot has been on everybody’s favourite list, practically since the day it opened in 2011. Chef and co-owner Mandel Hitzer is a kook in the best possible way. He’s a bon vivant with big ideas who is willing to take chances. (His restaurant on ice—RAW: Almond is proof of that.)

In the kitchen, that zany spark translates into wild and wonderful food that falls in its own category: fusion comfort food with a side of global zing. Mandel’s madness has method. And that combination of heart and head make it easy to find reasons to love Deer + Almond.

Back to reason #1: Chicken fried chicken. On a recent visit, this bite jumped from the menu. Who doesn’t love fried chicken, after all. But Deer + Almond’s version gets extra marks for its crunchy, Asian-influenced carrot and cabbage slaw, thick-cut slices of capicola and cilantro-spiked sour cream.

Reason # 2:  The roast turkey sandwich. This grilled panini version comes with rosehip aioli, grilled apples and dijon. It sets a new standard for turkey on any plate.

Reason # 3: Spaghetti squash soup with roasted pumpkin seeds. This was no ordinary soup of the day. Great layers of flavour and the added bite and texture of seeds made this a memorable bowl. Every chef should be able to make stand-out soups.

Reason #4: The sausage links hanging in the window. Decor is urban with a hit of rustic, and charming yet cheeky. Two walls of windows flood the room with light. Distressed wood tables, a street facing bar top for diners and a floor to ceiling chalkboard mural are just a few design highlights.

Reason #5: The menu surprises and delights. And that’s because Mandel doesn’t rest. And he certainly doesn’t rest on his laurels. He makes great plates but ‘good enough’ isn’t in his makeup.

Now, go find your reasons to love Deer + Almond.

Lunch is served at Deer + Almond. (All photos by Robin Summerfield)

Lunch is served at Deer + Almond. (All photos by Robin Summerfield)

Chicken fried chicken at Deer + Almond.

Chicken fried chicken at Deer + Almond.

Peg City Grub is your ultimate source for food in Winnipeg. From the hottest chefs to the best new restaurants to the most delicious events, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Twitter @pegcitygrub and visit www.tourismwinnipeg.com for more on the city’s fabulous dining options. Check out our Facebook page for the latest scoop on food trends.

Peg City Grub is a Tourism Winnipeg culinary initiative.

New & Noteable: Winnipeg’s newest restaurants

People who love to eat are always the best people. Marion Street Eatery. (photo by robin summerfield)

Welcome to the Marion Street Eatery where their mantra—people who love to eat are always the best people—is declared on a chalkboard in the dining room. (Photos by Robin Summerfield)

It has been a busy year on Winnipeg’s restaurant scene. While big-name chains like Earls and Milestones have new locations in the works, it’s the smaller, independently owned restaurants that are changing the city’s food groove.

In the last 18 months or so, at least 20 new food purveyors have opened shop.

The city’s evolving food scene includes new bake-shops, coffee shops, counter-service sandwich spots, a games café, juice bar, a small plates eatery, a meatball and porchetta diner, and the list goes on.

We’ve seen the addition of a remarkable new restaurant—Era Bistro—inside a remarkable new landmark, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Nearby, at the Inn at the Forks, well-loved chef Alex Svenne has taken the helm at Smith, a carnivore’s delight set in dining room cum rustic chic cabin that oozes Canadiana.

Across the Board, a games café in the Exchange District, stocks about 600 board games for kids and adults of all ages. A menu of creative sandwiches, salads and pizzas rounds out notable new eatery.

New bakeshops include The Store Next Door, by the folks at Chew, and Sleepy Owl Bread in the West End.

Chef Sean McKay opened The Mitchell Block while chef Scott Bagshaw of Deseo branched out, opening his second spot Enoteca.

Marion Street Eatery, a St. Boniface breakfast and lunch spot is spot on with its menu of inspired eggs, special salads and great creations found between two pieces of bread.

The Good Will and Little Pizza Heaven have combined forces in the former location of Pop Soda’s to bring Winnipeggers a great new live music and event venue right downtown. The Handsome Daughter has taken up a similar mantel in Wolseley on Sherbrook Street, an emerging food street in the city.

Up the road, chef Talia Syrie and her business partner Steve Ackerman have relaunched The Tallest Poppy, a homey comfort food stop complete with waffles and chicken.

Osborne Village welcomed The Cornerstone, coffee shop Stain Coffee Company and juice bar Green Carrot Juice Company.

Maw’s Garage and Beer Hall, St. James Tap and Table, King & Bannatyne, Dwarf no Cachette, Red Sea Bar and Restaurant, and a new Barley Brothers location at Investors Field all came on the scene too.

Keep your eyes open for Vera Pizza, which will open on Osborne Street South. Meanwhile, three, well-respected chef/owners are all also opening new restaurants in 2015.

Behold the mighty five-spice chicken wing, The Cornerstone. (Photo by Robin Summerfield.)

Behold the mighty five-spice chicken wing, The Cornerstone.

Across the Board owners Clinton Skibitzky (left) and Olaf Pyttlik. (Photos by Robin Summerfield)

Across the Board owners Clinton Skibitzky (left) and Olaf Pyttlik.

Kyle Lew and Kristen Chemeriki-Lew, owners of The Store Next Door. (Photos by Robin Summerfield)

Kyle Lew and Kristen Chemeriki-Lew, owners of The Store Next Door.

Mmmmmm.... shaved roast wagyu beef burger at The Mitchell Block. (Photos by Robin Summerfield)

Mmmmmm…. shaved roast wagyu beef burger at The Mitchell Block.

Executive chef Barry Saunders (right) overseeing the troops inside Era's open kitchen.

Executive chef Barry Saunders (right) overseeing the troops inside Era’s open kitchen.

Smith

The table is set at Smith.

Peg City Grub is your ultimate source for food in Winnipeg. From the hottest chefs to the best new restaurants to the most delicious events, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Twitter @pegcitygrub and visit www.tourismwinnipeg.com for more on the city’s fabulous dining options.

Peg City Grub is a Tourism Winnipeg culinary initiative.

Tre Visi Café: Exquisite Italian

Ah, the simple satisfaction of a caprese salad at Tre Visi Café. (Photos by Robin Summerfield)

Ah, the simple satisfaction of a caprese salad at Tre Visi Café. (Photos by Robin Summerfield)

Tre Visi Café
926 Grosvenor Avenue
204-475-4447
Neighbourhood: Corydon Avenue
Map to Tre Visi Café
Website: trevisicafe.com
Facebook: facebook.com/pages/Tre-Visi-Cafe

Around these parts, when you say ‘Giacomo,’ most Winnipeg food lovers know exactly of whom you speak.

Giacomo (last name Appice) is synonymous with hearty not heavy Italian food with bright flavours and well-seasoned sauces.

That has been the long-time Winnipeg chef’s modus operandi for decades, first with his original Tre Visi location in the city’s east Exchange District and now with his Corydon area spot. While he sold the Exchange location more than a year ago, Giacomo and his business partner and co-chef Heather Neskar, are now well established at Tre Visi Café.

His enduring popularity as a go-to chef with solid food (along with Heather’s finely honed skills in the kitchen) have made this café version a serious hot spot.

That is made abundantly clear on a recent Saturday night. The 50-seat spot was packed. The reservations book was full. Three servers worked the room, delivering plates and clearing tables for each other and dominating their domain. It was fun to watch the trio remain unflappable despite the onslaught of diners.

And now the food. Oh the food. This lunch and dinner spot serves spot-on Italian. Oh, the simple wonders of a caprese salad; adorned with heirloom tomatoes, slabs of subtle mozzarella, fresh basil, a smattering of pickled red onions, drizzles with balsamic reduction and a crack of black pepper. What beats that?

Capelli Dorati with saffron sauce, roasted red peppers, scallops and prawns dishes satisfying richness—hello butter and cream. Meanwhile, the seafood stew, with salmon, scallops, prawns, clam and mussels performed a magic trick—not devolving into an innocuous muddle of flavours.

Every element of the sea was perfectly cooked and underscored by a light, tomato-based broth. A tower of grilled bread helped sop up the broth below.

Deciding what to pick from Tre Visi Café’s dinner menu took some time. So many pastas called out to be tried. But so did the pizzas and so did the entrées, including some fantastic looking parmiggianas.

We can’t wait to get back to work our way down the list.

Insider’s tip: Weekend reservations highly recommended. Closed Sunday and Monday.

Seafood stew at Tre Visi Café.

Seafood stew

Capelli Dorati at Tre Visi Café

Capelli Dorati

Chocolate truffle bombe with hazelnut

Chocolate truffle bombe with hazelnut

Peg City Grub is your ultimate source for food in Winnipeg. From the hottest chefs to the best new restaurants to the most delicious events, we’ve got you covered. Follow us on Twitter @pegcitygrub and visit www.tourismwinnipeg.com for more on the city’s fabulous dining options.

Peg City Grub is a Tourism Winnipeg culinary initiative.