MAGICAL OPENING: The snowy opening bash of Terrace in the Park housed in the glassed-in Assiniboine Park pavilion Monday night featured a ceiling of mini-lights twinkling overhead and savoury scents floating in the air. A soft snow fell outside the windows all evening. People still dressed up from work were clinking fancy drinks, gossiping, milling around and giving out warm hugs and double air kisses. Doug Stephen, president of Wow! Hospitality, with his red-headed sweetheart, MLA Kerri Irvin-Ross, in tow, beamed at the podium, thanking everyone involved in the new venture. Chef Simon Resch and sous-chef Jess Young spent half the evening teaching guests how to properly slurp three kinds of mussels. Staff circled with tasty bites on big spoons and Terrace manager Mike Episcopo hovered at the door to greet arrivals with a sample of hearty fish-and-veggie soup, with a standup oysters in the shell.
The new seafood spot for Winnipeg is intended to be informal, fun and moderate in price. Small and medium plates are $12-$19 and large seafood sharing plates are $29 per person. They're also offering meat entrees for non-seafood dining companions. Spotted sampling the tidbits: the Delta Inn's Helen Halliday, the Red River Alumni Relations' Dale Oughton (a young Tony Curtis), Variety volunteer Dieter Koberstein, Winnipeg Press Club president Dwight MacAulay, cocktail party wit Jim Ingebrigtsen, president of Winnipeg Building and Decorating Dave MacAngus, Bell Media's Lori Gilfix, marketing guru Kathy Schwartz and Free Press co-owner Bob Silver in suave après-ski wear. Also making the scene -- Astral Media's Mara Brenan, man about town Louis Trepel, lawyer Brenlee Carrington and Kathryne Grisim of the popular Food Musings blog. Curtis Newton played in the background, creating a happy party ambiance all evening.
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SNEAKING OPEN: The Tre Visi Café snuck open over the last week with Giacomo Appice and Heather Neskar serving up a room full of diners who arrived there due to word of mouth. The casual café spinoff from the formal Tre Visi downtown will not be having a grand opening, but it was still almost full at 9 p.m. on Wednesday.
"We have never done openings," said Appice, the big boss/chef working in the kitchen. Why not? "We HAVE to invite everybody who's been loyal and we might forget and offend some people." Appice brought three of their favourite dinners from the fancy Tre Visi downtown (which often feeds visiting celebs snoozing at the Fairmont). They also offer gourmet pastas at $16, other entrees to $24 and have introduced gourmet pizzas. Friendly Appice denies he's going head-to-head with the Grove across the street.
"A different crowd wants to go there. In fact, we go there for drinks after we finish at night. They have better beers and we have better wines. They have fish and chips, and we have desserts that are 90 per cent gluten-free." Clearly, Appice is a lover not a fighter. "It's a friendly neighbourhood. That's how we look at it."
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GENTLEMEN, START YOUR RAZORS: "Movember" officially ends at midnight tonight and you can shave that cookie-duster off the top of your lip -- and kiss your sweetheart again.
Unless you've been living under a snowbank, Movember is a prostate cancer awareness month, and this year's aim was to raise raise $1.1 million as well as to educate people. But Wednesday night was prize night for full-blown moustaches grown since Dec. 1 for the contest. Grand prize finalists hit the stage for clap-offs at the Pyramid, with many prizes and shining sashes for "Mo Bros and Mo Sistas." This year, women came out in moustaches from black and bushy to hot and pink.
IT consultant Nick Pizzi -- the Monopoly guy with top hat and monocle -- won Man of Movember designation, which lets him compete nationally. Kevin Barske, a dark-haired 37-year-old in mountain shorts, suspenders and green hat, won for his swooping handlebar-styled moustache that curved right up his face. "My wife Heather had to draw it on my face so I knew where to shave," he confessed.
Co-hosting Jenna Khan said to itchy contestants: "You had to groom them and have the, um, awkward moments with them... but you were all ambassadors for Movember."
"The Gunslingers" -- Dan Lamoureux, Kurtis Carlson and Ashley Nichol -- won for Best Team. Women wore "fantasy" mustaches, such as Dani Lee Sinclair from "the winehouse" and Kerri Hopkins from Wasabi on Broadway, dancing to music by the MacLean Brothers.
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email to Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield, c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6.