Dinner on the River

Dinner on the River

We were fortunate enough to participate in a uniquely Winnipeg Winter experience. From the masterminds behind Deer + Almond is an annual dining event called Raw/Almond. From Jan 21st to Feb 14th, the restaurant goes outside. The glamping tent is usually located at the crux of the Red River and Assiniboine River at at The Forks. But not this year…

Yellow tape surrounds the spot where Raw/Almond is usually located.

Orange barricades (left) surrounds the spot where Raw/Almond is usually located. Ironman Curling Rinks being set up  in center, and winding skating track at The Forks.

Due to a warmer that usual winter (imagine that!) a new location was set up this year near the walking bridge on stable ground. The day that we attended, a warming hut on the river was removed due to open water concerns. Dinner on the river…? Thanksbutnothanks – dinner on the banks it is!

Skate or Walk....?

Skate or Walk….?

Following the path to the tent.

Following the path to the tent. Bridge art by artist Mike Valcourt.

We are greeted by Chef Mandel Hitzer, and a refreshing apertif.

Once inside, we are greeted by Chef Mandel Hitzer and a refreshing aperitif.

Modern art installation.

Modern art installation.

The modern art installation consisted of molded plastic jellyfish-like shapes connected by clear wires and attached to motors, making each side ebb and bob like gentle river creatures. See below for the Artists’ statement:

Overlapping densities of light and colour are cast into the surroundings of a suspended network of undulating forms. As each transparent element slowly shifts within the mesh, fragments of light are modulated and filtered as they penetrate through the constructed topography. The layering of the forms creates an immersive environment of fluid-like fluctuation, that begins to evoke and mimic the temporality of site. JNZNBRK

Sitting cozy.

Sitting cozy.

New bestie - make sure to sit under a heating vent. Dine on a glamourous meal  and have your hair blown like Beyonce - win=win.

New bestie – make sure to sit under a heating vent. Dining on a glamourous meal and have your hair blown like Beyonce ~ win=win.

Menu with list of dish ingredients.

Menu with list of dish ingredients.

Once inside, we see the menu and the name of our chef – Ben Kramer. Each evening, two chefs were serving 20 people a five-course meal for 3 timed seatings. Quick math – 20 peeps x 5 meals x 3 seatings = 300 individual plates. Talk about quality control!

Chef Ben, looking graceful under pressure.

Chef Ben, looking graceful under pressure.

Chef Ben attends our table before each course is served, describing the dish and how each of the ingredients are prepared.

Busy in the kitchen!

Busy in the kitchen, this is the first course.

Filling 20 plates.

Chef Ben filling 20 plates with Chef  Hitzer in the background.

This was our friendly, knowledgeable and hip server.

This was our friendly, knowledgeable and hip server.

Two lucky diners. We do mean lucky - all tickets for Raw/Almond sold out in 24 hours.

Two lucky diners. We do mean lucky – all tickets for Raw/Almond sold out in 24 hours.

dessert

Dessert!

This is the final course – coconut ice cream and dehydrated honey covering the *best* brownie ever.  The honey, in the process of being dehydrated took on a crumbly snow-like texture. Our other food photos do not give the meals justice. For foodie-quality photos, visit Chef Ben Kramer’s Instagram page.

Until next year, Raw/Almond!

 

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