When I travel to a new city, I always try to ask the locals for recommendations. When a place comes up more than once, it makes my list. If it’s mentioned every single time, it moves right to the top. That’s what happened with Stella’s Cafe and Bakery.
When I was planning a trip to Winnipeg, Manitoba with my friend Liz this summer, we both asked for suggestions in our own way. Her coworker recommended Stella’s. My Twitter friends recommended Stella’s. When one of them (the effervescent Natalie Bell of Peg City Lovely fame) suggested we meet in real life, she suggested Stella’s. I was sold.
With nine locations in the Winnipeg metro, this local chain offers offers cozy little neighborhood spots to enjoy house baked breads, sandwiches, soups and delicious breakfast options all over the city. Stella’s consistently lands on those “best of” lists as the best breakfast in Winnipeg. It lives up to its reputation. This is simple, straight forward food made with quality ingredients.
Sometimes my readers rib me about covering “exotic” or “fancy” food. (There are a lot of proud steak and potato fans in the Prairie Style File community.) I like what I like just as passionately as they do. And I think Stella’s Cafe and Bakery is one of those spots we can all agree on. Yes, you can linger over a Salmon Benedict topped with spinach lemon sauce and fresh dill and served with a rosemary scone at Stella’s. You can also order eggs and bacon and a whole lot of black coffee and get in, get out and get on your way.
We opted for a laid back breakfast in a sunny nook that made the most of the light coming in from the interior entrance to the restaurant. The small dining area was busy, but not packed, and a steady stream of customers grabbed take-out orders and goodies from the bakery cases.
Stella’s offers artisan breads and buns, pastries, pies and cakes that all looked simple and delicious. They even had some bread varieties on the menu that I hadn’t heard of, which impressed me. I’m an enthusiastic consumer of carbs, so I definitely made a few notes for next time.
But since breakfast (not endless bread) was on the agenda, we had some decisions to make. I had the bacon and egg bacon and egg croissant (since I’ve never met a croissant I didn’t like) while Natalie and Liz opted for something sweeter.
The Maple Caramel French Toast is made with cinnamon brioche and topped with maple caramel sauce and wild blueberries. It looked gorgeous. (You can see a photo at the bottom of this post.) I appreciate it when a side of fresh fruit is actually fresh and not the sad, underripe melon mix we often get in the States.
The buttermilk pancakes were awfully pretty as well. You can add wild blueberries, bananas or chocolate chips to your order if you choose to.
But not everything is sweet at Stella’s. The non-breakfast menu is heavy on salads, burgers, chili, curry and noodle dishes, so some of the morning options pick up on this savory theme, like the Mexican breakfast (two sunny side eggs, corn tortillas and refried beans) and a promising looking Chorizo Hash with red peppers, onions and garlic served with salsa and toast. There are several options for vegetarians and vegans as well, from a tofu scramble to a Vegan Mexican dish.
The food was hot and hearty, the coffee was strong and the conversation was lively. That’s pretty much a perfect breakfast in my book. I’ll be back.
And I’ll definitely be asking Natalie for more recommendations the next time I’m in Winnipeg. (Fun fact: Natalie and I were once in the same restaurant at the same time, but didn’t know it until we looked at Snapchat later. We still find this hilarious.) If you like the kind of stories I write, you’ll like her and her work.
I make a rare appearance on my own site! That’s what happens when bloggers get together and there’s a second shooter along who hates being in photos even more than I do.
Photo by Elizabeth Mieke
I’m often asked how I discover the places I write about, as if finding local spots is some kind of magical talent. It’s really not.
Anyone can do what I do. Just skip the places you can visit at home and keep an eye out for something you’ve never seen before. Explore and see what you find on your own. Or read online reviews and see what people are buzzing about. Take a chance and try something new. If you get stuck, just ask the locals for help.
When you find yourself in Winnipeg, just start at Stella’s and work your way out from there. Canadians are among the friendliest, most helpful people on earth and they won’t steer you wrong.
What about you?
What’s your favorite breakfast food?
What does a place need to qualify as a great breakfast joint?
What do you order at Stella’s?
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