Believe it or not, you don’t get rich writing for local newspapers. But very often, journalists are rich with experience, being granted access to things that aren’t available to the average Winnipegger.
To celebrate the launch of its #finditdowntown campaign, the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ invited members of the media to partake in a one-of-a-kind experience: to take a horse-drawn sleigh ride tour through downtown. At each of three stops, we were adorned with some of downtown’s most esteemed culinary experiences.
Gourmet sandwiches on Broadway
The first stop introduced us to the new downtown lunch and breakfast venue, Nick’s on Broadway. Chef/owner Nick Graumann and Chef Ana Damaskin prepare sandwiches the good old-fashioned way: rubbing and roasting their own meat, making homemade (divine!) brioche and sourdough, and creating their own sauces.
They also encourage sweets with lunch, offering chocolate-covered popcorn and a delectable brittle for a light midday treat.
We regrettably left a few of the tasty, halved beef dips behind to save room for our next destination: Carbone Coal Fired Pizza.
Pizza paradise at Carbone
Here, we were welcomed by attentive servers and open taps to give pouring our own beer a try. It held up to the lavish, high-class service that has grown customary in this downtown spot.
Carbone provides bottle service upon reservation on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, and has a full guest list each of these nights when the tables are cleared out, a DJ is moved in, and a dinner out organically leads into the next stage of the night with a full-on dance party.
It’s a unique experience to Winnipeg – as is the food, being the only coal-fired pizza in all of Canada. The coal heat enhances the flavours and lowers emissions, making it an eco-friendly indulgence. The self-pour taps are also exclusive to this Winnipeg destination, and it’s an engaging and interactive way to unwind with friends over pints.
There were also pitchers of Carbone’s white and red sangrias perched on our table (we chose right!) and we enjoyed several of its signature pizzas: my favourites are the New White, with spinach pesto, cherry tomatoes and roasted garlic oil; and the Calabrese salami pizza with roasted red peppers, kalamata olives and spicy eggplant.
Reluctant to leave the comfort of the free-flowing taps and pizza paradise, we hopped back on the sleigh with two newcomers in tow: Benjamin Nasberg and Joe Paletta of Carbone, who wanted to see what their neighbours at Rudy’s Eat & Drink came up with for their outdoor winter patio.
The Igloo Ice Bar at Rudy’s
Designed by RAW:Gallery’s Joe Kalturnyk (a founder of the river pop-up restaurant experience), the tent resembles the structures of RAW:almonds’ past – only this time, it’s frigidly furnished. Ice couches draped in faux fur, a frozen table and full ice bar inhabit the tent, keeping it a cool but incredible immersion into winter.
The drinks were heavenly; a favourite was the Por Favor, a tequila, cranberry, pineapple and triple sec concoction with a salted rim. (Apparently, it’s George Clooney’s tequila – and it tastes appropriately beautiful and elegant.)
Rudy’s Igloo Ice Bar is open to the public Thursdays through Saturdays, and provides a newfound emblematic winter activity – a friendly spinoff from RAW:almond’s cocktail bar.
The tantalizing, handcrafted drink menu is unique to the outdoor patio, and includes other inventive drinks like the Canadian Tuxedo and Winnipeg Shaft.
We were absolutely spoiled with amuse-bouches like oysters, lobster cones, beef carpaccio, fried chicken wings, a charcuterie board and churros for dessert.
It was a great day to be in the media – a great night out in Winnipeg – and a pleasure to find it all downtown.