Celebrating National Coffee Day

Let’s have a quick discussion about coffee. Actually let’s have a really long, drawn out discussion about. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who walks the streets of downtown and realizes we have a lot of amazing, world class coffee places.

Just today, I drove for five minutes and passed by four amazing spots, Second Cup, Fools and Horses, Thom Bargen, and The Fyxx. It’s a long story, but I was touring the downtown in this cute BMW convertible from NOTT Autocorp as they are really supporting a push to explore the downtown. It hit me as I was deciding to grab a little “pick me up” that there’s a lot of options of a caffeine fix downtown!

I’ve come to the conclusion that our growth in coffee houses, breweries, and our outstanding restaurants is what’s leading the way for Winnipeg to get all sorts of international attention. For me, the thing that puts a place over the top is if the coffee tastes good black. I’m also a fan of great art on the wall, a cute corner to sit in, and the ability to people watch as I sit and write my blogs and tweet about life downtown.

You’ll typically find me on a Monday afternoon at Fools and Horses on Broadway sitting on the patio in summer. As the season changes I’ll move inside and enjoy an Americano while sitting in the back of the coffee house.

Wednesday I frequent the Second Cup on Graham. I love that it is a locally owned franchise and all the flavoured coffees are delicious. It’s a great place to meet outside the office as the place is massive, and it’s perfect for brainstorming and coming up with strategies to improve business. It’s been a hot spot for me to come up with blog collaborations.

On Saturday morning, there are few places that I love as much as Thom Bargen. You can sit back, relax and reflect on a great week. The coffee tastes great black and you can sit in the corner on their long bench and read a book, surf online, or simply pull out your laptop and write.

Every single coffee house in this city has amazing home baked options for snacks. I won’t even begin to list off the things I love at each place. If you need a doughnut, piece of cake, a muffin, toast or anything delicious you can find both your snack and a place to sit, any day of the week.

So I’m curious Winnipeg, where do you go?

Let’s take this conversation to social media, tag @downtownpeggy and tell me where you go, and why it’s special. I’m looking for surprises! We have Stella’s at Plug In, Fools and Horses at The Forks, Starbucks, Tim Hortons and so much more. I’ve even had a great cup of coffee at the Hotel Fort Garry. So let’s chat about your spot! You know I love spreading the word about the great places in downtown Winnipeg.

Surprise me with your favourite downtown coffee shop, or tell me why you love the spots I’ve mentioned and you may just win a gift card from your favourite spot!

See you downtown,

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Downtown Bro Date Ideas

Can we just all agree that downtown Winnipeg is just about the best place to hang out and relax for an afternoon? You have the Jets in winter and the Goldeyes in summer, The Forks all year with the most amazing atmosphere and shops to grab things you won’t find anywhere else, and in the downtown you’ll find some of the best restaurants in the world waiting to feed you.

Have you met my new friend Jordan Cieciwa? He’s the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ’s new Ambassador of Health and Happiness. Myself, Jordan, and his friend and camera guy Jaremy Ediger headed out for an afternoon and evening of entertainment downtown recently.

Jordan works with NOTT Autocorp when he’s driving around downtown making his wellness videos, so we saw an opportunity to have a little fun in his car, and test Jaremy’s photo skills.

First we checked out The Forks. Jordan is guilty heading to The Forks only when they have events going on. Immediately I saw my chance to convert yet another Winnipegger into a “True Forks Believer”. You have to go people watch and check out the stores that have amazing artwork, unique clothing, and just about everything else including bicycles that scream “Winnipeg”.  It also gave Jaremy a chance to take a couple cool photos.

Photo by Jaremy Ediger

Even though I could walk and shop at The Forks forever, we had places to be and a fancy car to drive, so we zoomed off in style to our next stop, food at “La Roca“.

We found a pretty solid place to hang out with friends at La Roca. I’m not going to lie to you, the best part of La Roca is the amount of cheese in their quesadillas; well, that and the amount of people in the place having a great time. We were heading to the Goldeyes game next, and we weren’t the only ones there getting ready for the Goldeyes to be champs again. Lots of people in the place were gearing up for a good time downtown, and as always with La Roca, the atmosphere was electric.

We finished our food paid our tab and chalked another win up for La Roca. From there, things got real.

Real rainy that is.

We headed over to Shaw Park where we got the terrible news, game cancelled due to rain.

Photo by Jaremy Ediger

For those of you who don’t know, the Goldeyes just won their second title in two years and their third since 2012. The Winnipeg Goldeyes are the American Association Champs back to back, 2016 and 2017!

This team is a well oiled machine: they play with pride, and they play to win. There are a ton of cities in the states that know about Winnipeg because our baseball team crushes them each and every year, but who’s counting right? We were! Huge congrats to the Goldeyes. Even though you didn’t entertain us this night, you came through in the end. History was written, and the events leading up to the win were so “storybook” that even Sports Illustrated took note. The Winnipeg Goldeyes are famous!

However for our day downtown, we now had a bit of a gap.

As it turns out, Jaremy is full of fun facts about Downtown Winnipeg so he took us to some of his favourite spots to share some local history. As a guy that loves the music and entertainment scene, Jaremy has walked most of the downtown to see a ton of local bands and he blew our minds with a couple facts.

Photo by Jaremy Ediger

There was a team decision made that we are going to start a regular trivia segment on Instagram. The downtown is simply the coolest, and it should be celebrated.  So, speaking of celebrations, we want to see where you party… specifically where you partied to celebrate the Winnipeg Goldeyes winning the second title in two years. The best celebration selfie wins $100 at La Roca. I believe everyone needs to get down there to try their amazing food! Enter to win now by sharing your selfie on Facebook (find the post and share your photo in the comments), Twitter on Instagram by September 30th at 4pm. Tag me @downtownpeggy to enter!

See you downtown,

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Thick Cut Bacon And An Epic Concert – That’s Downtown Living

If you are into delicious food, a brand new restaurant just opened up at 285 Portage called Tipsy Cow. I’m not telling you that you have to eat there, but I’m telling every person I meet how amazing the Thick Cut Candied Bacon is. It’s where I fueled up before Interstellar Rodeo, and I’m trying to figure out if I can somehow eat there twice a day for the rest of my life. Pro tip, try combining Little Brown Jug 1919, TC Candy Bacon, and the Winnipeg Burger; that’s the good life and you can only find it downtown.

When you walk into Tipsy Cow you know it’s going to be good. There’s a bar in the front ready to get you started with a local drink, or you can get seated right away and get some amazing starters for you and your group/date. Tipsy Cow is a simple place to get a good burger, and a beer and then get on to an amazing venue downtown.

I personally went from a burger to watching Beck rock the house at the Forks. This is an artist I’ve been waiting to see since 1997 and he lit up the stage and the crowd. Even the hipsters said he was cool and couldn’t help but dance a little as this master of the stage entertained a full house.

The Forks is always an option for entertainment. If you missed Interstellar Rodeo this year, make sure you plan to be there next year. Also, add The Forks to your favourites list and follow them on Instagram and TwitterThe Forks always has something going on in their events section. 

Add Tipsy Cow to your Winnipeg “must eat” list, perfect before a game at MTS, a concert, or just because your working downtown and working makes you hungry. I’m certain this restaurant will make your day complete; they have beer and bacon, the rest is a bonus.

SHARE this post on Facebook or Twitter and you will be entered to win a $50 gift certificate to Tipsy Cow (enter by August 27 to be entered to win).

See you downtown,

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Peggy’s Squad Contest Winners

I had such an amazing time on the Breakfast Club Tour with my Peggy’s Squad Contest Winners!

We had the opportunity to visit three incredible downtown restaurants, including Prairie 360, Blaze Restaurant at the Delta Winnipeg Hotel, and Café Bella. Each stop provided us with a delicious breakfast/brunch feature, which we all really enjoyed.

We also discovered and learned more about downtown Winnipeg’s history at Upper Fort Garry!

Breakfast Club Tour 2

Be sure to watch out for the  next Peggy’s Squad contest coming soon!

See you downtown,

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Introducing Peggy’s Squad Contests!

Many of you know that I love contests and contests are even better when you can enjoy prizes with some of your favourite people. Peggy’s Squad Contests are just that! Enjoy a day or evening doing some of my favourite things downtown and invite your squad to come along.

Here’s how the contests work:

  • Every time you see the image below on my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, you’ll know that there’s a new Peggy’s Squad contest.

Peggy's Squad Contest Alert (3)

  • Follow the instructions provided in the post and you will automatically be entered to win an amazing experience including yourself and 3-10 of your friends (number of friends depend on the contest).

Stay tuned for my first ever Peggy’s Squad contest on Monday, April 24th. Hint: It involves amazing food!

See you downtown,

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The Tours are back in town!

With the warm weather coming in full force, I’m finally starting to feel the winter chill in my bones fade away. What this means for us Winnipeggers: a whole season of great outdoor activities! This week I thought I’d share something I’m most excited to take part in this summer.

The Downtown Tours, hosted by the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ, are a super fun way to explore my favourite part of the city—downtown! This year there’s more restaurants, more dates, and more delicious tastes to discover!

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A Moveable Feast: BYOB: Bring Your Own Bike and cycle to various restaurants and coffee shops around downtown. Your $40 ticket price will get you coffee samplings and appetizers at five different restaurants in one night. New to the tours this year is The Planit, you can look forward to their board game nights on Wednesdays!

Tap In: If you like to end your day with a cold glass of beer, you’ll want to get in on this tour right away! For $30, you receive a different beer at each restaurant as well as appetizer samplings. Favourite tour stop Garbonzo’s Pizza Pub holds a trivia night every Wednesday if you’re looking to add a little competition to your after-work drinks.

Patio Crawl: Patio season is so short, which is why you need this tour. For $30, you get access to a plethora of patios plus one drink of your choosing and shared appetizers. The pizza at Carbone is so good, it’s life-changing! And I guarantee you’ll be doubling back for more zah this summer.

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Winnipeg Wine: This tour might be my favourite! At each stop, you’ll get to sample two different wines from the restaurant’s selection and try some small bites pairings. One of the stops is at The Loft Salon, so you may be able to get a little hairdo touch up while you enjoy your wine. Tickets start at $75 (for an individual) and for $285 you have the option of touring all four restaurants and spending a night’s stay for two at one of downtown’s luxury hotels.

The Breakfast Club: There’s no Molly Ringwald or Judd Nelson, but this tour is still one you won’t be forgetting any time soon! For $30, it’s the whole Sunday brunch experience plus a little added cardio as you walk from restaurant to restaurant trying different breakfast samplings at each stop. Whether you’re a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, or a criminal this is tour is a great stop!

Downtown Flashback: If you’re looking to get out of the office during your lunch break, this free tour is a great option to learn some interesting facts about our city’s architectural history. Tours start at 12pm at Air Canada Park and end around 12:45pm.

All of the tours (expect Downtown Flashback) can take up to 40 people, so get your group of friends together for a night, or morning, on the town. It’s always fun to find new places to eat, and these tours will let you to sample a variety of options so you know what to order next time! Book your tickets today–I know I will!

The Fairmont’s brought a new chef to town

The Velvet Glove. Even the name sounds fancy – and maybe a bit traditional and old-school, right?

That’s what makes what’s going on in there right now so interesting – there’s change. Potentially big change! And based on what I tasted the other night, I like it.

I was lucky enough to be one of the first Winnipeggers to taste the creations of a chef that’s just come to town – Eraj. He’s the new master of the Velvet Glove’s kitchen, just moved here from the Hilton’s restaurant in Toronto. And his first order of business was to reinvent the menu. Top to bottom, breakfast, lunch and dinner – nothing’s escaping his review. (if you love it and you’re hyperventilating, relax – favourites will still have a home, although they may get a fresh twist)

They’ve done some reinventing outside of the kitchen as well – if you’ve been to the Velvet Glove before, the first difference you’ll notice is that it feels lighter, brighter, and airier. They’ve kept the warm wood panels around the room, but have swapped out the chairs for waaaay more modern low armchairs in pale fabrics and upholstered the booths in creamy white leather.

We started with an amuse bouche served on a granite slab, of pickled eggplant, artichoke, and bites of crisp little spheres with piping hot mushroom and cheese inside.

Eraj called the next course a bit of ‘Manitoba on a plate’ – a fresh take on salad, arranged like a constellation there were heirloom tomatoes, asparagus seared with a blowtorch, puffed grains to add some crunch, and addictive little dots of goat cheese mousse. Before eating it, it was bathed in a basil cucumber water – it almost turned my salad into a fun little soup!

To get our palates fresh and ready for more tasting, there was something Eraj introduced what he called ‘bubble tea from grown-ups’ – little beads of ‘caviar’ made from cassis with lemon with pinot grigio poured over it and

A much more solid and traditional entree – ribeye so tender I didn’t need a steak knife for it, with a sweet lavender honey sauce, smoked butter and truffle oil with mixed veggies and potatoes.

When dessert came out, he asked us to listen to it – as weird as it felt, we put our ears up to our dishes and heard the snap and crackle of maybe the last thing I expected to find at the Velvet Glove – pop rocks! They were crushed and sprinkled over a dish that was a play on peanut butter and jelly – a flourless chocolate brownie with peanut butter sauce, blueberry confit and drunken cherries. It was so rich I almost had trouble finishing it – but somehow managed to make it through. The things I do for material. 🙂

There are a lot of new things planned for the restaurant – when he sat down with us after the meal, you could tell Eraj was excited about the possibilities – he was already talking pop-up dining, reinventing old favourite for the menu, starting a fantastic brunch, and maybe even changing the name!

 

I can’t wait to see what he comes up with!

 

Manyfest – and Food Truck Wars – starts tomorrow!

So Manyfest – and Food Truck Wars! – start tomorrow! I’ve been doing my advance research and looked at the trucks lined up for tomorrow – it starts at 11AM, so that’s my lunch plan made – and I’ve realized I need to stop eating from now until I get there tomorrow, because I’m going to need the extra stomach room. There are a mind-boggling 25 food trucks setting up on Memorial Blvd to participate this year. I didn’t actually realize we HAD that many in the city – that’s more than twice as many as last year! It got so popular last year the lineups got crazy massive – so doubling the trucks should speed it up a whole lot! (plus it looks like you don’t need tickets this year – just walk up and pay at the truck)

Returning from last year for a second shot at the title:

And below – 15 trucks that are ALL new to Food Truck Wars this year! Some of these are old faves around the city – hello, Red Ember and your epic wood-fired pizza – and some I’ve never tried before! Up South BBQ, which I’m assuming is southern food? Waki Temaki, a sushi food truck – awesome and MAYBE a little crazy-sounding, but in a good way. And Simba Safari Grill…I’ve definitely never tried an African food truck before!

Behold the full list of newcomers that will be at Food Truck Wars starting tomorrow at 11:

 

Something’s Happening on Graham

Graham’s a street that sometimes gets overlooked – it’s not as prominent as Portage, not as big and full of food trucks as Broadway, and because a lot of it is designed for transit and bikes, not that many of us drive down it every day. But over the last little while, I’ve seen it changing piece by piece around Kennedy – and it’s gradually transforming into one of my favourite little blocks downtown! If you’ve never explored it, go check it out on your lunch hour – it’s worth checking out these spots that are new to the block.

Seeing the downtown grow doesn’t always mean massive exciting skyscrapers – although I love seeing those go up too! It’s the building of these little intimate neighbourhoods too, places that draw people to walk around that make the sidewalks fill up with people, and I think their successes are worth celebrating.

Art:

There are murals tucked in between the buildings, including a cute mural tucked away beside Second Cup with adorable helicopter bees (I really don’t know what else to call them). It’s also the street when the incomparable Kal Barteski installed her Love Every Body interactive artwork – I went down to take a selfie, and you should too!

There’s an amazing farmers market:

The Downtown Farmers’ Market started here last year. The plaza behind Manitoba Hydro Places is already a great place to sit for lunch when it’s sunny, but when the Thursday market comes out, it’s packed with people like looking for an excuse to leave the office for lunch and buy fresh-baked cookies!

Constantly changing menus at Sana SoupHouse:

They’ve been there less than a year and already I’m not sure what I’d do without their soup of the day list when it’s a rainy day and I need a cozy lunch. Plus, how many places in the city actually have soups like Chilled Strawberry, West African Peanut, and Pumpkin Apple Spice?

Rare finds at Bison Books:

This used & rare book shop relocated here a few years ago, and I never get tired of visiting it to see what literary oddities they’ve dug up. My favourite recent find, courtesy of their Facebook page: Elvis’ Favourite Recipes.

A new shop has popped up:

Pop-up events and pop-ups shops are all over the downtown this year, and I can’t get enough of it! The latest – Chook, at the corner of Graham & Vaughn, which has clothing, skateboards, and comes complete with a skateboard ramp inside! It wasn’t open when I was there, so I shamelessly peered in the windows to take pics.

 

The Urban Bakery is back home on Graham:

After nearly 10 years on Portage Ave, the Urban Bakery renovated a space on Graham and added a ton of creative touches, from a shoe wall to a handcrafted wood slab checkout counter, to an entrance that leads off the back alley!

It’s coffee heaven:
Alright, these aren’t new, but they’re essential! There are no fewer than 3 coffee places within this block: Starbucks, Second Cup, and the independent coffee house Twist Cafe. Second best of all, they all come with patio areas to sit and sip in the sun. Best of all – the Second Cup names their plants.

Graham Ave Second Cup

 

Finding my favourite Caesar downtown – Part 1!

A friend sent me an email the other day, telling me that May 13th was National Caesar Day in Calgary – they actually created a day to honour the day the classic Canadian cocktail was first mixed. Makes sense, actually! The drink’s so popular (apparently we drink 350 million Caesars every year in Canada) that lots of downtown restaurants have their own special spins on the recipe. So to celebrate this very important holiday – and the fact that patio weather has FINALLY arrived – I took some clamato-loving friends out to taste as many of downtown’s unique Caesar recipes as we could and find our favourites.

 

The restaurant: Rudy’s Eat & Drink

The drink: Rudy’s Signature Caesar

Why try it: Rudy’s blends a signature red pepper & horseradish puree  into the standard Clamato and Worcestershire. Results – there’s a whole extra layer of flavour, body and yum. Bonus – snackable pickled green bean garnish!

Rudy's Signature Caesar! #caesarweekend #Winnipeg

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The restaurant: Tavern United Downtown

The drink: Build Your Own Signature Caesar Menu

Why try it: Because the brand-new build-your-own Caesar menu has more than 30 different options – meaning you can go crazy creating an almost infinite number of custom combos. You pick what you want on the rim, what hot sauce, your juice (classic Clamato, or tomato, pickle, or olive), your garnishes, and which liquor you want (we all considered the Guiness or tequila but chickened out). Our friendly bartender Matt created thsee two beauties for us:
Top: Sea salt, tomato & pickle juice, Frank’s Red Hot, dill pickle, and vodka.
Bottom: Lemon pepper rim, horseradish, Worcestershire, chipotle Tabasco,  clamato, pickle juice, and gin with lime and pepperonccini garnish.

Results of Tavern United's epic build-your-own-Caesar menu #caesarweekend #winnipeg

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The restaurant: Earl’s on Main

The drink: Caesar, Baesar

Why try it: The Earl’s signature spice mix plus Valentina hot sauce made the classic Caesar here a hit with all of us – we couldn’t convince the bartenders to tell us everything in the mix, but they did reveal red & green tabasco, garlic, and pickle juice are all in there. Extra points for serving it out of a jar with a slice of jerky as a garnish!

The Baesar is beer + Caesar. The beer is their lightest signature lager, and it makes the whole drink lighter and super-refreshing – perfect for patios this weekend! (Caesars are also on special for $4 on Sundays!)

Caesars at Earls on Main! #HappyLongWeekend

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Tomorrow, part 2!