ROYAL CHEEK: As people on Portage Avenue counted, more than 41 cars in the royal security cavalcade sped towards the airport escorted by a squad of police cars, with lights flashing. After their whirlwind 27-hour visit, Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla were heading off faster than a speeding bullet. One black camper-style vehicle with dark windows stood out in the middle. Could it be the royals? A deep male voice called out, "The royal camper! There we go, ladies and gentlemen -- our brush with greatness!"
DINING OUT WITH HUEY LEWIS: The night before the famous 10-man band Huey Lewis & the News opened the new 1,400-seat concert bowl on Victoria Day at Club Regent, they hit the East India Company for a Sunday evening of savoury delights. Lewis told yours truly after the show (and two standing O's), "That was the best Indian food I ever had anywhere in my life!" Restaurant owner Sachit Mehra (now running for city councillor in St. Norbert) said many big acts have stopped by including Metallica, Dan Aykroyd, Weird Al Yankovic, Ben Kingsley, The Edge and Kenny Rogers.
Most just want to kick back, but Lewis, who loves to cook, was so excited, he tried to get the secret recipe for their famous butter chicken. And what did he find out? "We squeeze our own tomatoes three times a week to really taste it in the sauce. You can feel the tingly on the tongue," says Mehra.
Celebrity Behaviour Report: Lewis and his crew, famous for megahits like The Power of Love and I Want a New Drug, got an A-plus. "What's a celebrity like? Ask a server," says Mehra. "They were great with servers and super-down-to-earth, and that's the hallmark of the best kind of people. We were packed that night and it was nutso, but I asked that everything be tilted to their table, which means all the servers were watching. We had offered to set up a special menu, but they were no-fuss people and said they just wanted to come in and have a good time and enjoy the buffet."
Were Huey's gang picky eaters? "Oh no -- they ate everything!"
In their two nights in Winnipeg, they attracted large crowds to the new Vegas-style concert venue. After his first encore, Lewis yelled, "You want to hear more? Well, we've got nowhere to go!" Lewis, 63, in his blue-tinted prescription glasses, jeans and a sopping-wet white shirt, then waved on his band for a mini-blues jam.
After the show, Lewis stood backstage in the "green room" in bare feet. When advice columnist Miss Lonelyhearts -- a close friend of mine -- sympathetically asked about his love life, he said, "The only problem I have is my girlfriend isn't here with me!" Miss L. advised 36 red roses in the morning as an investment on his arrival home.
MANITOBA BUSINESS HALL OF FAME: Towering videos, the size of giant movie screens, highlighted the lives and successes of five Manitobans inducted into the Junior Achievement Manitoba Business Hall of Fame last Thursday at the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre. The second-annual event's inductees were John Buhler, James Burns, Art Mauro, Lawrie Pollard and the late Bob Chipman. They were honoured in five highly entertaining mini-movies.
Winnipeg's top movers and shakers -- 150 people, with a waiting list -- packed tables with fresh flowers. Said event organizer Marnie Strath: "There was a powerhouse of people -- not often you can get the presidents and CEOs of so many organizations, unbelievably good core of people. It just goes to show you how supportive Winnipeggers are of their own."
The inductees were humble and funny in their acceptance speeches: Said Buhler, who sold Buhler Industries for $195 million before his second career as a philanthropist, "When I was young, we were so poor even the poor called us poor!"
Spotted: CancerCare's CEO Annitta Stenning, Fineline Communications' Polly Craik, business guru Hartley Richardson of Richardson & Sons, Economic Development Winnipeg's Marian James, Canada Safeway's John Graham, Fort Garry Hotel owner Ida Albo. Also making the scene: Leo Ledohowski, CEO of Canad Inns; Rick Frost from the Winnipeg Foundation; David Barnard, president of the University of Manitoba; Great-West Life's VP of community affairs Jan Belanger, Gail Asper, president of the Asper Foundation, Minister of Children and Youth Opportunities Kevin Chief and Conservative Leader Brian Pallister. MC Doug Harvey could have been a laid-back Bob Newhart-style entertainer, were he not president of Maxim Trucks and Trailers.
MERRY-GO-ROUND: Orlando's Seafood Grill disappeared with the fall leaves over on Corydon after more than 20 years and many engagements made in its romantic, curtained downstairs restaurant. Rumours snuck out this spring that Orlando's owner, Arnaldo Carreira, had bought the Step'n Out business on Provencher, which has been billed as "the most romantic restaurant in Winnipeg" and run with panache by effervescent Verna Judge and partner Alan Shepard. Carreira admits he made a bid for the excellent location, near the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, but could not get a lease longer than two years.
On Friday morning, a new sign shone in the sunlight of the old Step'n Out window, saying a new gift shop and café called Dwarf No Cachette Café and Gift will open in June.
Carreira has plans to cook at popular Gus & Tony's at the Park this summer, located on Portage Avenue, a baseball's throw from Assiniboine Park's entrance. "I just fell in love with the place," he says. The chef/restaurateur says the menu there is Greek-influenced but he would add some seafood favourites from Orlando's Portuguese-influenced menu, like shrimp and lobster dishes.
Does Carreira's group have plans to buy the place from father-and-son team Gus and Tony Vialis? He's keeping mum on that subject for now. Stay tuned.
ALL THAT GLITTERS GALA: Counting the gold after a charity gala is part of the fun, but as the season reaches its height in May, it gets harder to pull in the crowds. "We're sitting at about $110,000" after expenses, says Shari Wolsey, of Crohn's and Colitis Canada, who put on the recent Retro Rockin' Night at the RBC Convention Centre Winnipeg. That's good money, considering they served dinner for about 400, down from 550 last year.
"There were five big (charity) events going on the same night and the women's U.S.-Canada soccer game at the stadium. Next year, we're having our party early, on Feb. 28." This year's All That Glitters event was the Retro Rockin' Night, with '50s theme music throughout the dinner that had people dancing in their chairs.
Football-great-turned-shawarma-king Obby Khan greeted people in old-fashioned formal gear, including a twirling walking stick, and his trademark black-and-white patent shoes. "I love these shoes! This is the third year I've rented them, so I'm buying 'em!" said the former Blue Bomber, now owner of Shawarma Khan on McDermot Avenue and the newly opened Green Carrot juice company in Osborne Village. The 6-5 dad has become the permanent poster child for Crohn's and colitis fundraising in Winnipeg, as he has suffered mightily from the disease for years.
Spotted: Big bidders Earl and Cheryl Barish from Salisbury House, Dilawri Group's Ashok Dilawri and Glen Daman, Terracon Development's Ilse Hansch Pflug; G2 Logistics' owners Darryl and Jon Gershman; Winnipeg Moving's Brad Krulicki; Winnipeg Police Association's Mike Sutherland, Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries' Christine Girardin, Magellan Vacations' Dianna Davidson and event organizer Julie Paterson.
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 Scene & Heard, 1355 Mountain Ave., R2X 3B6.