I am reluctant to name anything the best. You name something the best, and it opens you up to arguments and attacks. Your position can be assailed. Not to mention that anyone declaring something the best is also kind of declaring themselves to be the best judge of what is best.
That is un-Winnipegian. We are an unpretentious city. We don't go around with our noses in the air. Quite the opposite, in fact.
So this column merely strives to identify the good; the kind of good you want to share with others.
In alphabetical order, here is my good Winnipeg list. It's not the comprehensive list; it's just the things I have stumbled upon in the last year or two.
APPETIZER: Carnaval's Pork Belly, followed very closely by its Kale and Broccoli Salad. Yes. Pork belly. And kale. Just go with it. If you don't like it, maybe I'll buy you a Caipirinha. Carnaval Brazilian BBQ is on Waterfront Drive at Bannatyne Avenue.
BUBBLE TEA: Panda Tea's tapioca bubbles are chewy and tender. Its teas and juices are fresh. Its flavours are myriad and you can choose your level of sweetness. Don't know what bubble tea is? Boy are you ever in for a treat.
COFFEE: Someone I know thinks they have discovered the secret of Parlour Coffee. They think the baristas put crack in it, because once you have your first sip, you can't stay away. The coffee has depths of flavour you never knew coffee could have. But be warned. We once met someone who didn't like it. Think of these places as microbreweries for coffee. If you are a Labatt's Lite lover, maybe stick with that. Parlour is at 468 Main Street. If you live on the other side of the Red River, Caf© Postal, at 202 Provencher Boulevard, offers a very similar brew.
CROISSANT: The ones at Le Croissant, at 276 Tach© Ave., are perfection. They've got raspberry and almond and chocolate croissants, but the plain croissant is enough to send you to heaven. So light, so melt-on-your-tongue. So buttery but never flaky. Only problem is, Le Croissant Bakery seems never to be open. It seems they bake a certain amount, sell them all out, and then close their doors for the day. Get there early.
HOME-GROWN ICE CREAM: Cornell Creme is made in small batches with milk and cream from contented cows who live on a family farm near Anola. It is flavoured with pure, real ingredients that you can pronounce. There are no additives. The old saying... we all scream for ice cream? Well, you very well may scream for Cornell Creme. Check out the flavours: Raspberry White Chocolate. Malty Ale Pail. Black Sesame Seed. Blueberry Lavender Dream. Never heard of Cornell Creme? Not surprising. At the moment, it is only available at Local Meats and Frozen Treats (1604 St. Mary's Rd.) and Cramptons Market (1765 Waverley at Bishop Grandin). Please be discreet about this. The fewer people hear about Cornell Creme, the more there will be for you and me.
MARKET: When it comes to an almost spiritual devotion to promoting local foods and products, Cramptons is good. No, it's great. Farm fresh veggies, apple and rhubarb pies from their own on-site bakery, locally made foods. But I've got to give the edge to St. Leon Gardens, at 419 St. Mary's Road, with its "real" (that is, Manitoba-produced) veggies and cheeses and pot pies and free-range chickens only because it's closer to where I live. And, if Le Croissant is closed, you can still get its baguettes there.
MEAT: DeLuca's Specialty Foods is a no brainier -- especially with its attached wine store. But Local Meats and Frozen Treats has Berkshire pork. It even has Berkshire bacon. And that's just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. The husband-and-wife proprietors are a delight, too.
Now, just in case you think I spend all my time fantasizing about food, (which I do), I will conclude with...
VIEW: Get yourself to The Forks. Walk north along Waterfront Drive all the way to the far end. Turn around. There it is, our city in all its goodness. The day view is good. The night view is even gooder.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the good things you have discovered in our city.