Thursday, December 22

Oh, Stella's!

Stella’s Café and Bakery has expanded rapidly since its humble beginnings in 1999.  Originally located on 166 Osborne St., the business has boomed to provide 4 more locations all across Winnipeg.

One of their newest locations, Stella’s Café at Plug In, falls perfectly in line with the restaurant’s unique and trendy atmosphere.  The restaurant is adorned with contemporary art and beautiful, open windows that offer a glimpse of downtown’s busy streets.

Image from

Parking is limited here, which is the norm for almost every downtown eatery.  You can find free parking spots in the evenings and on the weekends in front of the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  Otherwise, you may choose to pay for your parking behind the Buhler Centre.

Stella’s offers a walk-up menu, as well as a dine-in option.  The hosts are always friendly and welcoming, and the servers are quick to check in with their patrons.  The only awkward part is navigating around its tight space if they decide to sit you in the very back.  The place is usually quite packed, making seating options limited.

They have a decent selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.  Their bottomless coffee ($2.45) was average, but lacked body.  Their special holiday eggnog latte topped with egg white foam ($3.25) was, on the other hand, tasty and rich.

If it’s your first time at Stella’s, you must choose something from their breakfast menu.  Although most of their lunch and dinner items are great choices, all-day breakfast is their specialty.

We ordered the veggie café ($7.75 - two eggs, three veggie breakfast patties, hash browns, toast & jam) and the grand café ($11.50 - three eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, hash browns, toast & jam.)   They have a wide selection of breads to choose from, and almost every variety is served fresh and chewy.  Their hash browns were crispy and well seasoned, although some were slightly burned.  The patties were moist and had a slightly spicy aftertaste, while the meats were tender and tasty.  Their serving sizes aren’t baffling, but there are so many items on your plate that it becomes hard to find room to fit it all in.

Stella’s is renowned for their homemade jam.  The sweet concoction spreads like melted butter, and has huge chunks of juicy strawberries and blueberries.  It’s arguably the best jam in the city, and you can buy it by the jar at the front of the restaurant.

When asked where the washrooms were, we were instructed to cross the hall into the other end of the Buhler Centre.  Unlike the rest of the building, the facilities are small, bland and inconveniently located.

Stella’s at Plug In offers a pleasant location to dine-in and is a must go for breakfast foodies, although their parking and restrooms are not ideal.  They offer friendly and consistent service, delectable eats and the journey downtown is worth the visit - even if it’s just to grab a jar of their mouth-watering homemade jam.

Stella's Cafe at Plug In on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 20

Vi-Ann nostalgia

Vi-Ann Restaurant was the first place I ever visited in Osborne Village.  What I now know as one of the trendiest and hippest parts of town, I then only knew as the site of one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in town.

As some of you may have already heard, both Movie Village and Vi-Ann Restaurant are being sought after by Shoppers Drug Mart in hopes of an expansion on the adjacent lots.  Tomorrow, the city's board of adjustment will decide whether or not the plan is a go.  (For more information, click here)

After reading the news, blog posts and tweets about the expansion plans, I decided to take a stroll down to Vi-Ann's myself.

After walking through their front door, I was surprised to see an influx of patrons in the vicinity.  The restaurant was bustling with customers, optimistically chowing down on tasty soups, noodles and rice platters.  The atmosphere exuded one thing: hope.

I picked up my regular order of vegetarian spring roll vermicelli (one of there reasons why I love this restaurant is because they have an extensive vegetarian menu), and proceeded to sign the petition form placed on one of the tables.

I personally have nothing against corporate expansion, nor do I have a nit to pick with Shoppers Drug Mart - I happily shop there on a regular basis.  However, I do feel strongly about supporting local business owners who have worked hard at making a name for themselves in this city.  Here's hoping.

Vi-Ann Restaurant owner Bac Bui originally immigrated to Winnipeg back in the 70's.  He worked as a labourer for 25 years until he decided to pave his own path by opening a business in 2001.  Vi-Ann's has since strived in Osborne Village and offers people a taste of genuine Vietnamese cuisine.

To read more about this story, the Winnipeg Free Press posted an article here and there is also a Facebook page here.  My friend Maria also blogged about Vi-Ann's here.

Saturday, December 17

LMFAO (literally)

The entertaining "party rock" duo LMFAO dominated the stage last Wednesday during their Cherrytree Pop Alternative Tour in Winnipeg.  The MTS Centre was packed with young men and women dressed in bright neons, loose-fitting gym shirts and zebra print.  It felt like a modern day 80's throwback.

Far East Movement, another rising hip-hop/electro pop ensemble, opened for the tremendous two.  They worked the stage and jammed to a variety of songs, including their top chart hit (Like A G6) and a few similar tracks.

The crowd only expected SkyBlu and Redfoo to show up in familiar rockstar fashion: fashionably late.  But get this - they hit the stage right before 9 p.m. and the show were finished before 11 p.m.  For two men that write lyrics inspired by drinking, drugs and women, they were surprisingly punctual and professional.

Their stage was not dressed up with fancy lights or pyrotechnics, but their cathy tunes and hilarious antics carried the show.  They sprayed the crowd with bottles during Champagne Showers, let loose an inflatable zebra to crowd surf in the pit and effortlessly changed from one ridiculous outfit into the next.  They made entertaining look easy.

Quest Crew, the third season winners of reality show American's Best Dance Crew, were just as fun to watch.  Their breakdancing moves were sharp and playful, and they added much more character to their roles as opposed to being mere robotic backup dancers.

The most shocking and mentionable part of LMFAO's performance was their last song, Sexy and I Know It, where SkyBlu and Redfoo highlighted their confidence by stripping down to some very revealing underwear.  The rest of the dancers followed suit, and they rocked the rest of the song in sparkly and neon coloured undergarments.

The show was consistently enjoyable, the crowd was having a good time and LMFAO did what they do best: PARTY ROCKED.

Sunday, December 4

My, has the time flown!

Is it just me, or has the first semester snuck by under our noses?  It's hard to believe we're already wrapping up the first term of our program.

Past CreCommers and instructors weren't kidding when they told us we'd have a microscopic social life, and that we may not see our friends and families for months.  Nor was it an over exaggeration about the tears and the fears.  Not in the least.

But what I think deserves a little more recognition are the good times we've all shared.  I don't mean to sound like a cheese ball, but I think that these past few months have been an amazing and invaluable experience.  I've met some standup people and made friends that I absolutely adore.

So, through the streeters, 8 a.m. deadlines, auto fails and live-hit derbies, I would like to thank my section for a memorable first semester.  You guys are an impeccable bunch!

Just a few moments from section numero uno (sorry if I'm missing some of you).  It's been fun!