You are reading Day 5 and 6 of our adventure. To start at Day 1, go here.
The next morning, after sleeping in, we headed out to the Exchange district in downtown Winnipeg.
The Exchange district is the “downtown” of Winnipeg, full of rustic old buildings, culture and commercial centers, and houses a wide selection of restaurants, night clubs, art galleries, retailers, as well as living spaces. It’s an amazing place to stroll through.
We walked around the Exchange district for hours looking at the various gems it had to offer. Lots of trees on the streets gave the area a warmth and inviting atmosphere. The streets were built with various cobblestone and brick designs. Artworks dot the walls in the alleyways which we took detours to look at.
White Star Diner
White Star diner was one of the many locations recommended for their poutine and pulled pork sandwhiches. Sadly, it is only opened for lunch and we were too early for such a meal. When we return Winnipeg again, we will definitely try White Star Diner out.
After a few hours of walking we decided to get a light breakfast. For that, we decided to go to the Underground Cafe – home of the Fabulous Sun Burger.
The Fabulous Sun Burger – toasted sesame and sunflower seeds, vegetable protein, mozza and cheddar cheeses, rice, eggs, and assorted spices, baked to perfection. Served on a toasted bagel with lime-dill sauce, romaine, green peppers, onion and tomato.
If you couldn’t tell from the ingredient list, the Sun Burger is a 100 percent vegetarian burger. California offers many shops who attempt to create a tasty vegetarian burger, but none of them hold a candle to the Sun Burger. While most vegetarian patties can be described as dry, blah, or soggy, the Underground Cafe appears to have figured out the perfect blend of ingredients necessary to create a one-of-a-kind component. This is in no way a hamburger wanna-be, which we think, is the best way to create a vegetarian burger.
It would be a shame to mention the Underground Cafe without mentioning the location and design of the cafe itself. It is, as the name would suggest, underground, beneath a rather drab, commercial brick and mortar building. The Cafe, however, is nothing like its accommodating structure. The walls are covered with surreal murals, artwork that appears to be created by someone lacking a good nights sleep and a bit of an obsession with Captian Jean-Luc Picard from the Star Trek and Spiderman. Our arrival was a bit early, so we most likely missed the colorful characters that the shop was designed for. If the menu doesn’t get you talking, then the art on the walls will.
We visited a few other locations in the Exchange district. Imagine Games and Hobbies – is located across the street from the Underground Cafe and has Game tables set up that are free to use.
Mondragon – Bookstore and coffeehouse is not just any bookstore and coffeehouse but one that offers Vegan/Organic/Local foods as well books and periodicals relating to anarchism, ecology, indigenous issues and resistance, Marxism, feminism, human and animal liberation, queer issues, sexuality, health, vegetarianism, economics, labour, media, analysis, activism, education and social change. We took the book list directly from their website, as the shear amount of variety they have on their shelves was a bit much for our brains to remember.
The Exchange district is also home to Peasant Cookery which we visited a few days prior. You can read more about that by going to Winnipeg Day 2 of our adventure.
The rest of the late morning/early afternoon was spent walking around the nearby area. We worked up a pretty big appetite by the time our legs could no longer carry us, so we made way back to the car and set off towards our destination for lunch.
The Big Boy (200 grams) – Montreal Smoked
Myer’s Delicatessen has got to be the best sandwich shop ever created in the history of mankind. Fresh, soft bread, a perfect amount of spicy mustard, and the perfect balanced amount of meat, oh god, SO GOOD! Just writing this I feel the overwhelming desire to fly back to Winnipeg just for another bite.
The Illegal Curve (400 grams) – Pastrami
Originally, the only reason we had selected Myer’s Delicatessen was due to the fact that it was the only location in Winnipeg which served Montreal Smoked Meat. After looking over their menu and devouring their amazing Pastrami sandwich as well as Montreal Smoked meat sandwich, we can’t help but wonder why the location is not a world renowned landmark. It is, bar none, home of masterfully crafted simple yet exquisite sandwichs. If you found yourself in Winnipeg with only enough time for one meal while you are there, Myer’s Delicatessen is the only place that should be on the list of “food”.
The weather turned wet and rain kicked in as we left Myer’s so we headed back to the hotel to rest our feet.
Later that night we wanted something easy without travel as we were worn out and tired. It was decided that with the rain and our aching feet the restaurant located in our hotel was the perfect place to go. The Current according to some Winnipeg residence and visitors was worth a trip. We had already eaten there for breakfast, which we found severely lacking in flavor *you can read about that in Day 4, but we were optimistic and hoping that the dinner would be a step up. We popped into the bar and had some drinks and appetizers to test it out.
Poutine – fingerling potato fries were too mushy. Gravy had no flavor, really watery and flat. It is no longer in the menu now and a good thing, as this was a disgrace to the world of poutine.
Prawn Martini – as described in the menu – “Chardonnay poached black tiger prawns with spicy horseradish cocktail sauce and lemon olive oil dressed spring greens.”
Their prawns didn’t taste like they had been poached in chardonnay. It was just plain water. The greens were soggy and old. The smell of mildew and rotting greens lingered in my mouth after taking a bite. Perhaps they weren’t meant to be eaten and only there for garnish. Don’t get me started with their cocktail sauce!
The prawns were wrapped around an upside down martini glass for some reason and had to be pried off the stem. The amount of cocktail sauce was too small compared to the portions of the prawns. One could argue, what did you expect, being in the middle of Canada? Why would you order a seafood dish? Then I ask, why serve it? If you can’t produce a dish that tastes fresh and appetizing, why is it on the menu? Why would a restaurant bother to serve a product that they have no pride in?
Wings – as described in the menu – “A full pound, crisp fried and tossed in hot sauce. Accompanied by blue cheese cream.”
They were so dry and crunchy. Overcooked. Once again… why bother?
Hamburger – tasteless. We don’t remember the name that they gave it but it is no longer in the menu.
Since the appetizers were so disappointing our appetite was ruined and we no longer had any desire to waste anymore of our money there.
The Current was the only disappointing restaurant we tried in Winnipeg. We even took the time to give it a second chance and yet it failed even worst. At least the breakfast from Day 4 had been edible. Save your money and stay away from The Current. Winnipeg has much better dining experiences and fresher food to offer.
This was our last night in Winnipeg, we had a great experience regardless of our last meal for the day.
The next morning before we fly to Calgary, our host took us to Salisbury House which is well known for its “nips” which are pretty much hamburgers. The American equivalent is along the line of Denny’s in California. We ordered the Bacon Bacon Nip and it was surprisingly good. Way better than burger that The Current had to offer.
And that concludes our Winnipeg trip. We got on our flight and headed off to Calgary.
/r/winnipeg, thanks for everything! We could not have found as many gems as we did without your input!