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Quick & Casual

Source: June/July 2013

It’s summertime, and the living should be easy. Pick up a prefab picnic from these flavourful quick casual joints and nosh on the beach, at the park or out in the wonderful wilds of Manitoba.

After one pilgrimage to family-owned and operated Lebanese spot, Baraka Pita Bakery, you’ll be among the devout. This Main Street mainstay smells amazing as its pita oven is in constant production. For a lakeside lunch forgo the renowned shwarmas and donairs in favour of sharables; pita chips, roasted red pepper hummus, garlicky tzatiki, stuffed vine leaves and lemony tabouli salad. Seven kinds of honey-kissed baklava are simply the best around. We’re partial to a rendition that sees the pistachio-studded phyllo morsels crowned with dark chocolate.

Osborne Village’s Burrito del Rio set the pace for locally owned, fresh casual dining in 2009 and continues to lead with its carefree vacay vibe and consistent Mexi grub. Burritos are the natural choice to grab and go. Juicy sautéed camarones (shrimp) pack a bright punch of chile lime, step up to the counter for customized toppings, such as snappy tomatillo salsa verde and soothing lime sour cream. Got time to linger? Snag a patio seat patio and a frosty Mexican cerveza.

Burgers and fries have long been at the top of the casual food pyramid, and justifiably so. Head to Daly Burgers for a rendition of a Winnipeg icon; the chili burger. Best not consumed in the car, this burly classic beef burger is smothered in robust meat chili and has most reaching for a knife and fork. Do this epic dish justice and pair it with an order of golden crisp shoestring fries and thick beef gravy. Inject a bit of colour into this fast food feast with a generous Greek salad made with iceberg lettuce and all the Mediterranean fixings. It’s not summer without soft serve, and this classic joint with a retro vibe dishes out creamy cool goodness in cups or cones. Grown ups looking to avoid sticky situations love mocha cappuccino milkshakes.

Barbeque and al fresco eating have been an item for eons. Lovey’s BBQ emphatically embraces picnic culture with emblematic red and white checkered paper lining baskets of its finger-licking Manitoba pork ribs.   Time is the secret ingredient at this meat-lover mecca where low and slow is the righteous mantra. Order a  spread to share replete with classic fixings such as tart vinaigrette ‘slaw, baked beans, creamy potato salad and warm corn bread or opt for the perennially popular tangy pulled pork sandwich on a white sesame seed bun. For good measure we like ours with a side of juicy, deep-fried pickle wedges and ranch dressing, of course.



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