Dine on the frozen river in Winnipeg at RAW: Almond
If you learn one thing about the people of Canada it’s that they embrace the lot that life has given them when it comes to the elements. Whereas in England we shiver and curse the weather, in Winnipeg, when it buckets down with snow and the wind chill factor takes it down to a horrifying minus 40-something degrees, instead of getting on a plane to someplace warm, they go outside to play.
Since 2013, chef Mandel Hitzer of Deer + Almond and Joe Kalturnyk of RAW: Gallery, have worked together to create a three week only pop-up restaurant on the frozen ice of the Assiniboine River, RAW: Almond. In previous years, guest chefs including Vancouver’s Vikram Vij and Saskatoon’s Dale McKay have created dining history.
I got to visit on the last night where chef Tristian Foucault of Peasant Cookery cooked up a five course menu featuring foie gras tourchon with a cranberry maple gastrique, duck confit and goat perogies with duck procuitto brown butter, and shrimp crusted king salmon with wild rice and walnut sauce.
Diners perch on fur-covered wooden stumps around a long table on the ice. Heaters blow hot air to keep out the chill but we still kept our hats and scarves on while we ate. Exciting, unique and downright delicious, it’s no wonder the season sells out each year.
Is it worth trying to score a ticket to this unusual event, to freeze your behind off in Winnipeg? Absolutely! Go, embrace the weather, enjoy the festivals and dine in one of the world’s most unique restaurants.