Explore Your Own Backyard, Local, Travel

10 Essential Winnipeg Experiences

Can you spot the deer family?

Hello friends! I recently contributed to an article written by my friend Alicia at Prairie Style File, about the wonderful things that you can do/find while here in Winnipeg, featured on her blog and Room 5 by trivago. My contribution is a little hidden gem – Assiniboine Forest, located across from Assiniboine Park Zoo.

Click on the link and it will take you to the write up on her blog. If you’ll find yourself in Winnipeg, please take some time to walk the trails at this lovely natural urban forest. You’ll find different lengths of walking trails, a marsh that is home to many creatures, and you’ll even come across deer that will stop to say hello.

Explore Your Own Backyard, Local, Travel

A New Vision

Hello friends! Now that my university journey has ended, I want to focus more on this little blog o’mine. I am hoping that I can spend more time writing about things to do locally, traveling, and food. Sure, there are thousands of blogs out there that already have that content, but why not add my own personal twist to it?

You may noticed that this blog has a lot less content than before. That is because I’ve gone ahead and deleted old content, so I can focus on the new. I had a lovely coffee break with Alicia from Prairie Style File yesterday, and listening to her adventures as a travel writer has really inspired me to get back into it. I’m hoping that I can bring you some new content and feature different things while sticking to travel, food, and local jaunts.

If you’re a visitors centre and would like to collaborate with me to feature your lovely city/town, please feel free to contact me through the “Let’s Collaborate” link above. Let’s get talking!

Local, Reviews

Interstellar Rodeo Winnipeg

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Just be awesome. That was the motto for the Interstellar Rodeo weekend music festival held at The Forks, August 14-16. The inaugural festival hosted many talented musicians ranging from Hawksley Workman, Polaris Prize winner Tanya Tagaq, Sarah McLachlan; Dwight Yoakam,  Blue Rodeo, JD & The Sunshine Band, Vance Joy and much more. The weather was fantastic (with the exception to rain on Saturday), and the venue was the perfect setting. Interstellar also took a very unique approach to the typical music festival by pairing selected wines with each performer. This new addition was wildly accepted by attendees as the beverage tent saw long lines throughout the weekend festivities.

I was fortunate enough to receive tickets for the Friday lineup. Sinead O’Connor was slated to close that set; however, she cancelled due to illness. Juno and Grammy Award winning singer Sarah McLaughlin happily took her place and closed out such a lovely evening. My friend Vanessa was my guest for the evening and it was nice to get out of the house and celebrate an evening of music with her.

It was hot. Hot and humid. Although the weather was a little sticky for a while, we had a lot of fun. We were able to find a good spot to watch the shows, enjoyed some pizza from A Little Pizza Heaven food truck, and relaxed.

I picked the Friday night lineup because of Sinead. When she cancelled, I was a little disappointed. Upon hearing her replacement would be Sarah, I was thrilled. I have always wanted to see Sarah in concert; the remainder of the lineup was another reason for choosing that evening. It started with Hawksley Workman, best known for his hit singles “Jealous of your Cigarette” and “Smoke Baby”. Workman’s hour-long set was filled with hits from his numerous albums, including his latest, Old Cheetah; ending his set with the 2003 Juno nominated song “Smoke Baby”. Workman changed instruments, dazzling the crowd with an  incredible drum performance.

2014 Polaris Music Prize winner Tanya Tagaq was next, providing an hour long freestyle set. For those not familiar with Tagaq, I highly suggest that you Google her. This was my second time seeing Tanya perform (first at RWBs Going Home Star: Truth & Reconciliation) and I am absolutely in awe of her raw and unique talent. An accomplished Inuit throat singer, Tagaq takes her talent and makes it her own with a distinct visceral sound.

Winnipegger Scott Nolan played a 15 minute set before Sarah McLachlan took the stage. Nolan can be described as an indie folk-like singer and discussed a recent Twitter post by Canadian musician Raffi and his message to Prime Minister Harper.

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McLachlan’s set began shortly after 8:30PM, joined by former band-mates & co-writers Melissa McClelland and Luke Doucet, who now form the duo Whitehorse. Sarah began with my favourite, “Possession”. For those who are not familiar with the song,  it was written based on McLachlan’s personal experience with two crazed fans. After the song, she talked about how her fans have told her that they dance to it at their weddings and how she finds it a little (humorously) weird, especially since it’s about a stalker. Sarah covered all of her hits – Possession, Angel, Into the Fire, Building A Mystery; World on Fire, I Will Remember You, Ice Cream, and Sweet Surrender. After talking about Sinead O’Connor and how they toured together during Lilith Fair (including a pregnancy rumor started by Sinead), McLachlan broke out into Nothing Compares 2U, O’Connors’ 1989 hit song. Sarah serenaded the crowd with new songs – In Your Shoes, Monsters, Beautiful Girl, The Sound that Love Makes and Song For my Father, a song she wrote for her dad after he passed away in 2010.

Interstellar Rodeo was an amazing way to celebrate music and enjoy an incredible weekend. I highly recommend attending if they come to your town. If Interstellar returns to Winnipeg next year, you can bet that I will be purchasing a weekend pass. Talented artists, an assortment of food trucks, and an incredible location made this summer weekend perfect to celebrate something that brings everyone together – a love for good music.

Local

Eat Local: Carbone Coal Fired Pizza

pizza qupte

I love pizza. If I could live off of pizza, I would. If calories didn’t count, I wouldn’t eat anything else. Pizza is life.

Now that you understand how much I love pizza, let me tell you about one of my new favourite pizza joints. Located downtown and on Taylor Avenue, Carbone Coal Fired Pizza is a unique experience using a coal fire oven to perfectly bake your pizza. Using fresh ingredients without fillers, the menu offers six hand crafted pizzas plus a make your own option. Carbone is not just pizza… Carbone offers an array of appetizers, salads, paninis, desserts and weekly drink specials. Carbone offers gluten free options; however, they let you know that there may be traces of gluten products in the oven.

Carbone also offers another unique dining experience – beer tables. There are three beer tables in the bar area that are connected to kegs in the back allowing you to pour your own beer. It is quite the sight to see. It is reccommended that you call ahead to reserve a table if you want to try it out.

(C) thisnorthernbelle
The Peppino is a delicious ‘za topped with prosciutto, cherry tomatoes, arugula, parmigiano and olive oil.

With dine in, pick up and delivery (Taylor only – delivery area specific) options available, make sure you check out Carbone the next time you’re downtown or in the Waverley area. I’ve only been once and I’m hooked. For the posted prices, you can’t beat a freshly made pizza with amazing toppings.

Carbone Coal Fired Pizza (Website | Twitter | Facebook)

Downtown – 260 St. Mary Avenue (pick up or dine in only)
204-691-2213
Hours: Monday to Friday – 11:30am to 11pm, Saturday – 1pm to 11pm, Sunday – 1pm to 11pm
*open late on game and event night

Taylor – 60 – 1180 Taylor Avenue (delivery available)
204-488-2554
Hours: Monday to Wednesday – 11:30am to 10pm, Thursday to Friday – 11:30am to 11pm, Saturday – 1pm to 11pm, Sunday 1pm to 10pm

 

 

Local

Shop Local: Jenna Rae Cakes

(C) Belle in the North
For a sweet treat, Jenna Rae Cakes on Academy Road is the place to visit.

It’s no secret – I love cookies and cake. There is no will power when the two are presented before me.

Enter Jenna Rae Cakes. Officially opened for business on March 29, 2014 Jenna Rae Cakes offers a variety of of delectable goodies to satisfy your sweet tooth – cookies, macarons, cake pops, cupcakes, mini cheesecakes, and so much more. The menu changes daily with a tiny spot to sit down and enjoy the treats if you wish to sip a cup of coffee and savour it all.

New to the macaron craze, I had to stop in and see what the fuss was all about. I was not disappointed. The macarons were sweet, flavourful and quite an assortment was available. However, if you don’t get there when the bakery opens at 12… don’t plan on having your heart set on one specific flavour. Very popular with the Winnipeg crowd, the macarons are snapped up quickly and by 1:30 a lot of them disappear.

(C) Belle in the north

This year I decided to go all out with my birthday cake and splurge. Tired of the run of the mill grocery store birthday cake, I arranged an appointment with Jenna and drafted what would become my birthday cake. I didn’t have a party for my Sweet 16, so I thought that 16 years later I would need something spectacular for my 32nd. It was a Sweet 16 redo.

(C) Belle in the North

Jenna came up with this creation – cotton candy cake (extremely popular at the bakery) with butter cream icing, ombré rosettes and sugar flowers. Isn’t it gorgeous? It was absolutely decadent and perfect for my birthday celebration. Thank you Jenna for this beautiful and tasty cake!

If you’re looking for something truly decadent and would like to try the macaron craze, a visit to Jenna Rae Cakes is a must. A holiday macaron package and gift cards are available for a limited time offer.

P.S. It’s macaron not macaroon.

(C) Belle in the North

 Jenna Rae Cakes
 (Website | Instagram | Twitter)

580 Academy Road
(204) 691-4222
Hours: Sunday & Monday – Closed, Tuesday – Friday 12 to 6, Saturday – 12 to 5.