SNUCK OPEN! The new Cornerstone Restaurant at River and Osborne tried to pull off an unannounced soft opening for dinner Monday night -- and opened the doors to a big surprise. "There was a lineup outside the door at 6 p.m.," says owner Miles Gould. "We only got our liquor licence Friday night, and we don't even have our sign up, but it's been amazing already!"
Gould already owns popular British bar and restaurant the Grove at Stafford and Grosvenor, which doesn't get a lot of walk-by traffic. "But there are sure a lot of people around here in Osborne Village," says Gould. Unlike his British-style restaurant in Crescentwood, the contemporary Cornerstone is serving an international menu designed by chef Norm Pastorin, coming over from the Grove. It has a long, New York-style bar for 14 funky people in the cocktail lounge and picture windows for looking at the Village people outside. Chef Norm's wife, Kristel, is now the chef at the Grove, with Carew Duffy as manager. And now Megan Moxley, of the famous Osborne Street rent-everything family, is a manager at the Cornerstone and has the advantage of knowing the whole neighbourhood. The new restaurant, in the gutted former Papa George's location, is in full swing from now on, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week.
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NEWBIE SCORES TWICE: Winnipeg filmmaker Judith Morrow, who took eight years to make her first film, The Healing of Heather Garden, is reaping the benefits of perfectionism -- she was recently selected to screen her film at two prestigious U.S. film festivals. This week, she's in Denton, Texas, 64 kilometres from Dallas, at the famous Thin Line documentary festival, where they showed her controversial film about Manitoban Heather Garden, who was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis, could not walk without aids and cured herself through alternative methods and holistic health advisers. Garden walked and ran again and has stayed vibrantly healthy for 11 years. In fact, at the Winnipeg screening at the Gas Station Theatre last summer, she arrived from Brandon on a motorcycle!
Unlike Manitobans, the filmmakers gathered in Texas are enjoying 20 C weather in a beautiful college town. Next challenge: a screening at L.A.'s FirstGlance film fest in April. "I'm very tired, but next week I'm going to L.A. to learn about publicizing my film. I'm learning to do this!"
HIDDEN TREASURE: Didn't plan anything for Valentine's? Listen up! In the northwest corner of the city, at 1030 Keewatin St., beneath a deceptive sign that shouts SWEETS, you can take your honey to the Samosa Crown Indian restaurant and look like a star. This unexpectedly romantic little spot is in the middle of a busy strip mall, with big semi-trailers rattling by. But once you hit the door, the aromas of spices and exotic Indian music draw you in. An outstanding dinner buffet, and many flavours of nan bread to go with it. People sitting around yours truly last week were exclaiming they had "never had a better buffet." It's open over noon hour and from four to nine in the evening, so go early. Staff don't speak much English, so phoning ahead can be an adventure. Most people just go!
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NEW RAGE IN WINNIPEG: Winnipeg women are sneaking off to a warehouse in the Inkster industrial area to hit the catwalk with their buddies and pretend to be models. The place is quietly labelled the Creative Stage Emporium. There's nothing quiet about it! Mothers, aunts and grandmothers are prowling the ramp in outrageous costumes, with smoke billowing and rock music blaring I'm too Sexy For My Socks. The new Creative Stage Emporium (204-415-7640) is hidden on tiny 17 Muir Rd., near Church Avenue. Inside, it's set up like a fantasy fashion show and provides racks of themed costumes for multiple changes, plus props and wigs for dress-up parties. It's the brainchild of Carla Oliphant, who happens to be the sister of artist Wanda Koop. Oliphant started out with digs on Henderson Highway, giving dress-up parties for little girls out front and sewing costumes for dance and theatre groups in the back.
Word of the princess parties with a real modelling ramp, lights and music got out, and soon there were tweens, teenage-diva parties and then stagettes for brides. Now grown-up women's groups want their faces in the spotlight and a night of strutting that catwalk. "I haven't had this much fun for years! Everybody should do this," enthused Heather Black, a big cheese with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg, dressed in glitter and carrying a rock star mike!
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STUPID CUPID: Was your aim a little off this year? Did you set up some blind dates that made your single friends wish they had gone blind? Award-winning archer Diane Minion who co-owns Heights Archery, 2281 Portage Ave., suggests a novel solution this Valentine's Day. "They should come out to Heights Archery for some practice." In the lower level, there's also glow archery -- if you can imagine -- in the party area, which you can rent by the hour. To reserve, call 204-832-4421 ASAP.
Got tips, events, sightings, unusual things going on? Call Maureen's tip line at 204-474-1116, email Maureen.Scurfield@Winnipegfreepress.com, or send letters to Maureen Scurfield, c/o The Insider, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.