I get a kick out of plays-on-words and Chaise Café & Lounge is a clever pun for me.
I have heard speculation that perhaps the restaurant is so named because of the sleek white leather couches that adorn the lounge. In fact, I would venture to guess that the café’s moniker comes from the owner’s name: Shea, hence Shea’s or Chaise. This is clever stuff, for a "wordie" and a "foodie", like me.
The occasion for the lunch was the celebration of two birthdays, both occurring days prior. A sunny deck was in order and Chaise’s south-facing one, with an array of blossoming planters buffering the street traffic, was just the ticket.
My friend decided upon the basil pesto fettuccine and roasted beet salad. The pasta was virtually weightless when I tasted a forkful and yet the sparkling freshness of the house-made pesto was almost electrifying. I would definitely order this dish again to re-experience that single taste. There was a roasted beet salad described on the menu which was not actually served with the fettucine. Instead, slices of boiled beets adorned the plate with a hearty drizzle of a tasty dressing.
I opted for a healthy veggie burger comprised of an eggplant patty with cilantro, jalapeño and walnuts and topped with smoked provolone cheese and spinach. I eat eggplant every chance I get and was surprised and well-pleased with how its taste is enhanced by cilantro. The multi-grain flatbread that it came perched upon contributed to the hearty nutty flavours. I tucked in with my knife and fork to savour every little bite. In contrast, I went all out when I "upgraded" the fries to poutine. The promise of rich duck fat gravy, cheese curds, truffle oil and candied bacon was simply too much to resist. I could not detect any truffle oil and the candied bacon was sparse, but the other aspects of the dish were decadently delicious. The duck fat gravy was rich as promised, but did not really have the consistency of gravy. This is an observation only and I lapped up every dollop.
When our server found out that we were both celebrating birthdays, the café treated us to dessert. Tiramisu was my friend’s choice and I, a coconut cake. With a creamy butter icing and liberal doses of coconut, both toasted and untoasted, I was grateful for the gift.
Kathryne Grisim’s foodmusings.ca blog was named best local blog in Uptown Magazine’s Best of Winnipeg readers’ poll