Devour the District: Winnipeg's eating adventure
From house-cured pork tongue and dill pickles to grilled flatbreads with tangy tabouli and creamy, vegan chocolate ice cream, Winnipeg's Exchange District has always been a hotbed of amazing and adventurous eats.
But with so many outstanding eateries in the 20-block neighbourhood, the big decision is where should we eat?
A new food and walking tour takes that vexing decision off the table.
With seven tasting and sipping spots per tour, Devour the District hits all the culinary high notes in the history-rich neighbourhood just north of downtown.
The summer walking tour is the work of Exchange District BIZ, in collaboration with Peg City Grub and Tourism Winnipeg, among others. The new tour is two-parts eating and drinking and one-part local history lesson with a little walking thrown into the mix.
In between restaurant stops, friendly and history-savvy guides offer a brief history of the area and the 100+year-old historic buildings that have been transformed over the years from grain exchanges, warehouses and storefronts to some of the city's most notable modern eateries.
Guests take a feast on foot during the tour, meeting chefs and restaurateurs who also talk about Winnipeg's cuisine scene and their approach to food. And there's plenty of food to go around.
On a recent preview tour, 14 guests started their 'eatventure' at Peasant Cookery for some house-cured charcuterie, one of the district's most popular restaurants. A sample of a 'soft but structured' garnacha from Spain finessed the brine, salt and smoky notes of pork shoulder terrine, pork tongue and pepperoni, all made in house.
Around the corner, chef Mandel Hitzer of Deer + Almond dazzled with a simple but spritely taste of grilled flatbread with zucchini, tabouli and garlic-laced hummus.
One block along the cobblestoned district landed eaters at Underground Café, the home of The Fantastic Sun Burger. These slider-sized veggie burgers include a patty of sesame and sunflower seeds, rice, cheeses, spices and eggs. Tangy lime-dill sauce, romaine, green peppers, tomatoes and onion added sass.
Across Main Street in the East Exchange, Hermanos and Boon Burger were the next pitstops. New Zealand oysters with a dollop of creamy curry sauce and a spicy pork chorizo with grilled onions and peppers fired up appetites at Hermanos, a South American steakhouse. Down the street, Boon Burger, Canada's first all-vegan burger joint served a sweet repast—chocolate-flavoured coconut milk ice cream.
The tour wrapped with cocktails (a choice of pineapple lemonada, hibiscus mojito or an Argentian Malbec) at Carnaval, a Brazilian barbecue on Winnipeg's picturesque Waterfront Boulevard.
Boutique bakery Cake-ology, delivered a parting gift, a three-bite chocolate cakette and a mini-Imperial cookie.
And in the end, we devoured the district with nary one decision made but everyone's appetite satisfied.
The new tour officially launched Monday June 10th, the first day of Tourism Week in Winnipeg. The tours cost $58 per person and run Tuesdays 2 p.m. to 5 p.m and Thursdays 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tours wrap up for the summer at the end of August. Different restaurants are visited on alternate days.
Participating restaurants include: Blufish, Boon Burger, Brooklyn's Bistro, Cake-ology, Carnaval, Corrientes Argentinean Pizzeria, Deer+Almond, Hermanos, Peasant Cookery, Sensi Wine Lounge and Underground Café.
For more information or to book a tour click here or call 204-942-6716.