Sunday, June 19, 2011

My Manitoba bucket list, and some Shmoo Torte

...let me guess.  You've never heard of shmoo torte.  Trust me, neither had I before moving here!

I've been reflecting back on my past year in Manitoba, and have sort of played around with making a "Winnipeg Bucket List".  It's not ALL food-related, but it's a list of things I haven't yet done here that I would want to experience before leaving.  It would go something like this:

  1. Skate on the Red River
  2. Try bannock and/or pemmican
  3. Eat at Fusion Grill, a "prairie fusion" fine dining restaurant
  4. Have a meal at the fanciest steakhouse, 525 Wellington
  5. Enjoy a delicious prix fixé menu at Inferno, a French restaurant in St. Boniface
  6. Ride the water taxi... if they ever open the dock behind my building!
  7. Have brunch at The Black Sheep
  8. Giggle at the retro theme while enjoying fries at Ray & Jerry's steakhouse on Portage
  9. Take a drive out to Lockport and go to that little roadside restaurant that Shannon keeps telling me about
  10. Trek out to Gimli and get some delicious fish
I've talked about some prairie-related deliciousness before.  These would be things that I've never heard of, but are super-popular here.  If I had a loonie for every time I heard, "It must be a Manitoba thing..."  I'd long ago checked red velvet cake, honey dill dipping sauce, and puffed wheat squares off of my bucket list.  I ticked off shmoo torte only recently, though.

In Osborne Village (just a few blocks east of my apartment), there is a FANTASTIC restaurant called Baked Expectations.  I've mentioned it before.  It's easily one of my favourite little places to go.  I'd heard some of my Manitoba born-and-bred coworkers talk about shmoo torte in the past, so I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about.

From what I've been able to gather, shmoo torte is made of pecan angel food cake, layered and frosted with whipped cream, caramel sauce, and more pecans.  I'd had it on very good authority that Baked's offering was one of the best in the city.  A little Googling (and an article from The Globe and Mail) tells me that "schmoo" can mean "gooey" in Yiddish... no surprise then that this is apparently a Bar Mitzvah staple among Winnipeg's large and wonderful Jewish community.

(As a side note, my search for the origins of this cake brought me to the blog "Winnipeg o' my Heart", written by a fellow foodie with a similar Manitoba transplant past.  There's one I'll be adding to my Blogger reading list!)

So after all that, you might ask, "What did the shmoo do for you??" (terrible pun, I know.  It's Father's day... I think I'm channeling my dad's sense of humour even more today).  To be perfectly honest: I don't think shmoo and I will become the best of friends.  I mean, if you put a slice in front of me, I'd eat it... but that goes for just about anything.  I'm not the hugest fan of the texture of angel food cake, and pecans certainly aren't my favourite nut.  Add to that the relatively plain whipped cream layers, and I was just kind of 'meh' about the whole thing.  Now, the caramel shmoo sauce WAS delicious... but anything dipped in that would be good.  Overall, I don't think I'll be crawling back for more.  Which, I must admit, is a good thing... I don't need any more difficulty selecting a dessert from Baked's extensive menu!

Looking forward to checking off more Manitoba to-dos,

1 comment:

  1. Hey Honeybee!! Welcome to the Winnipeg blogosphere, you're a wonderful addition! Thanks for the shoutout, too :)

    Great list... several of your items are on my Manitoba bucket list too! You're going to love Inferno's, it's amazing. I've only been on the water taxi once, but I loved it. We took it from the Forks stop to the Corydon stop, on a perfect sunny summer afternoon, and even though it was only a five minute ride it was a super-fun and memorable experience, and I can't wait to try it again.

    Funnily enough, I just heard something about Rae & Jerry's that makes me want to go there (even though I'm not a steak-eater)... Friday morning on CBC radio, they were talking about Manitoba-related Dad anecdotes for Father's Day. Marcy Markusa told a story where she had gotten laid off, and she called to dad to commiserate. He told her, "When you get laid off, you go to Rae and Jerry's, and you'll feel better." She was like, "What? Why??" But he insisted she just go, and so she went. And sure enough, she did feel better. Just something about the whole atmosphere. I got a kick out of that story and am now curious to see the place for myself!