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Prairie Fare: Drive and dine

From Scratch — Unique Eateries of Rural Manitoba is your guide to great eating 


If you think time for touring Manitoba ends as the first flake falls, get your snow tires on.

Beaches and campgrounds are shut down, of course, but places to eat great food stay open year round.

A new guide From Scratch — Unique Eateries of Rural Manitoba will help you find them. This handy little guide, released earlier this year by the Manitoba Regional Tourism Network, lists over 50 cafés and restaurants dotting rural and northern Manitoba. Inside you’ll find lodges, tea rooms and small-town cafés tucked away in all parts of the Interlake, the Parklands, eastern Manitoba, the Pembina Valley and Central Plains, and western and northern Manitoba.

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For those who haven’t dined here already, there’s some delicious destinations ahead of you. To name but a few, there’s the Spicy Radish at Whitemouth and Beausejour’s Le Beau Cafe and Fudgerie on Manitoba’s east side. In western Manitoba there’s The Sawmill Tea and Coffee Co. in Boissevain and Virden’s Farmhouse Bistro and Tavern and Arbuckles Fine Eatery and Curiosity Shop at Binscarth. If you’re in Grandview the Friendly Corner Bake Shop is not to be missed and neither is The Starving Artist Cafe Bistro and Gifts at Roblin.

Someone’s done all the taste testing ahead of your arrival at any of the sites in the guide, and wholeheartedly approved, by the way. All locations were recommended by staff with the half-dozen regional tourism associations that assembled the guide.

These are places meeting higher expectations, by ditching the grill and serving fresher food, often from local-supplier ingredients, along with better coffee and specialty baked goods.

Their intent putting this together was to give these eateries more visibility, and entice more Manitobans to visit, says Kathy Swann, executive director of Parkland Tourism. The guide was available at places like The Forks in Winnipeg this year to try to get more venturing outside the perimeter.

“We thought people would be intrigued by some of these café-type places out in the country,” said Swann. “It’s just to get people circulating in rural Manitoba more.”

Regrettably, I learned of From Scratch only recently, or I’d have written about it sooner than this. But then again, it’s “low season” now precisely because most of us stay home too much. I checked around last week to see if I was too late. Happily, most of the places I called are open through winter, albeit with reduced winter hours. Before you set forth, please call ahead.

You can download the guide as a pdf here.


Crowd-pleasin’ Manitoba pork back ribs

If there’s one meal that makes hungry folk happy every time, it must surely be ribs.

Rib Rub:

  • 4 racks of Manitoba pork back ribs
  • 2 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. EACH salt, chili powder, coarse black pepper
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne

Barbecue Sauce:

  • 1-1/2 c. ketchup
  • 1 c. apple juice
  • 2 tbsp. EACH Kahlua, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, molasses
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. chili powder

Lift and peel membrane from back of each rack of ribs. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, mix all rub spices together and shake well until blended thoroughly. Rub generously over both sides of each rack; cover and refrigerate up to 12 hours. Roast ribs on foil-lined baking sheet at 350 F (180 C) for about 1-1/2 hours. Cover loosely with foil if ribs are browning too quickly. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine barbecue sauce ingredients. Bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 30-40 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly; stirring occasionally. Remove ribs from oven when done. Finish ribs on a preheated barbecue over medium heat, about 5-8 minutes per side; baste frequently with warm sauce.

Serves 8. Source: Manitoba Pork

West African pork peanut stew

Here’s a delicious slow cooker recipe that will fill your kitchen with tantalizing aroma.

  • 2 lbs. Canadian pork shoulder blade roast, well trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp. EACH ground cumin and salt
  • 1/2 tsp. EACH curry powder, coriander, cayenne pepper, ground ginger and cinnamon
  • 1 c. sodium-reduced chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1/2 c. natural chunky peanut butter
  • 1 14-oz. (398-ml) can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 c. chopped blanched peanuts
  • Cilantro leaves for garnish

In slow cooker, combine pork cubes, onion, garlic and tomatoes. Add seasonings and spices. Stir in chicken broth and tomato paste; mix well. Cover and cook on LOW until pork is tender, 6-8 hours. Stir in peanut butter and black-eyed peas. Cover and cook on HIGH, about 15 minutes more. Blend in lemon juice to refresh flavours. Ladle stew into individual bowls. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro leaves.

Chef’s Tip:

Keep meat refrigerated before slicing into cubes. Cold meat is firmer and easier to slice, resulting in more uniform pieces.

Serves 6 to 8. Source: Manitoba Pork

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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