Opinion

The Crescentwood corner near Grosvenor and Stafford has plenty of evening dining spots. The Canteen Coffee Shop, a handy little venue from the owners of The Grove, starts the day earlier (opening at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on the weekend). Along with good, strong coffee, the Canteen also offers fast, fresh, healthy options for breakfast, lunch and snacks.

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This article was published 3/10/2018 (1079 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Crescentwood corner near Grosvenor and Stafford has plenty of evening dining spots. The Canteen Coffee Shop, a handy little venue from the owners of The Grove, starts the day earlier (opening at 7 a.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. on the weekend). Along with good, strong coffee, the Canteen also offers fast, fresh, healthy options for breakfast, lunch and snacks.

The Taste

Canteen Coffee Shop
160 Stafford St.
204-691-1605; instagram.com/canteen_stafford

Go for: Fast, fresh breakfast and lunch
Best bet: A green salad boosted with grapefruit, cashews and chevre
Sandwiches and wraps: $5-8.50; salads: $7-10

Canteen Coffee Shop

160 Stafford St.
204-691-1605; instagram.com/canteen_stafford

Go for: Fast, fresh breakfast and lunch
Best bet: A green salad boosted with grapefruit, cashews and chevre
Sandwiches and wraps: $5-8.50; salads: $7-10

● Monday-Friday: 7 a.m.-7 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday: 9 a.m.-7 p.m.

★★★ 1/2 out of five

 

STAR POWER

★★★★★ Excellent
★★★★ Very Good
★★★ Good
★★ Mediocre
★ Substandard
No stars Not recommended

The Canteen has seating for 10, but a lot of the counter-service business is takeout. The edited menu starts with coffee, of course, and tea, including a very creamy London Fog. There are smoothies, wraps and sandwiches, pizza by the slice and salads, as well as sweets.

A nice breakfast wrap, cooked to order, includes soft scrambled eggs, cheese and bacon, wrapped in a flour tortilla and crisped up a little with some time in a panini press. A dairy-free Cherry Berry smoothie is fruity, fresh and gorgeously fuchsia.

A composed salad offers some subtle and intriguing tastes, including chevre, grapefruit, cashews and fennel (though the fennel was a bit dry).

Baked goods behind the counter at the Canteen Coffee Shop on Stafford Street. (Photos by Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

Baked goods behind the counter at the Canteen Coffee Shop on Stafford Street. (Photos by Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

A meatlesss taco salad starts with romaine and gets gussied up with black beans, corn, avocado (a little browned) and cheddar, with some chipotle heat in the dressing that brings everything together. (Crucially, the takeout option packs the tortilla chips separately so they don’t get all soggy and sad.)

When it comes to sandwiches, there is nothing as elaborate as the salmon sarnie at The Grove. The club is fairly standard, with thin-sliced smoked turkey. The chicken salad uses chunks of dark and white meat and gets some crunch and contrast from celery and red onion. While I’m generally pro-aioli, there’s maybe too much of it here.

Canteen Coffee’s baked goods include cupcakes from Lilac Bakery.</p>

Canteen Coffee’s baked goods include cupcakes from Lilac Bakery.

Desserts include a changing selection from the nearby Lilac Bakery, a small boutique that offers a kind of platonic ideal of homemade baking. There are beautifully executed versions of old classics such as lemon slices, dream bars, date squares and cookies. There are also some truly adorable mini cupcakes, including a sampled chocolate beauty finished with an intense and not overly sweet caramel drizzle.

The space is a complete remodel, clean-lined and bright, with oversized wood boxes on the walls that act as shelves and counters. If you choose to dine in, you get real bowls, plates and glasses but disposable cutlery (why, why?).

Service is friendly and obliging, and if you choose a grab-and-go option, The Canteen will get you going quickly and easily.

Canteen Coffee Shop’s barista, Shae Newman-Macksey.</p>

Canteen Coffee Shop’s barista, Shae Newman-Macksey.

 


The recently opened Cinnaholic (170-1600 Kenaston Blvd.) specializes in vegan cinnamon buns, and it says something about the expanding accessibility of plant-based eating options that this venue is not some hipster indie coffee shop in the Exchange, but a franchise outlet in a big suburban retail park.

Getting its start in the United States with a Shark Tank pitch, the chain has expanded into Canada, the Kenaston location being the first in Winnipeg. Though a Cinnaholic bun contains no eggs and no dairy, there’s nothing obviously virtuous or whole-wheaty about this treat. It’s basically a vegan version of a smushy, mall-style cinnamon roll — soft, stretchy and super-sweet, the icing just melting slightly into the warm bun.

There’s something very comfy about an old-school classic with vanilla icing, but you can customize with various frostings — lemon, amaretto, coffee or cake batter (!) flavoured — or even gild the lily with crazy toppings such as pretzel sticks, cookie dough and brownie bites.

The coffee is fine, though soy milk is the only creamer option.

A casual customer might not even know the buns are vegan — the shop doesn’t go out of its way to play this up — but there is a vegan price premium. A cinnamon bun with icing and a topping (all a la carte) will come to $6.30.

alison.gillmor@freepress.mb.ca

Alison Gillmor

Alison Gillmor
Writer

Studying at the University of Winnipeg and later Toronto’s York University, Alison Gillmor planned to become an art historian. She ended up catching the journalism bug when she started as visual arts reviewer at the Winnipeg Free Press in 1992.

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