I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a recovering germaphobe, but I feel like half the city has the sniffles right now.
Despite October being an absolute peach, it appears that the cold and flu season of winter is upon us, so I’m making it my food writing duty to send you all some cures.
On that note, here are some tasty remedies — the majority of which are available for takeout, so you can do a follow-up chaser of oil of oregano while you get caught up on Netflix. Because seriously, home is where you belong; no one wants you in the office you puffy-eyed, sore throat-toting, runny-nosed people.
As all good mums know, soup will cure all, so for starters let’s get brothy and clear those sinuses:
Winnipeg has an abundance of great Vietnamese restaurants, most of which have great phở — which we all know by now is pronounced “fuh,” something easy to do if your nasal passages are plugged.
My top choices for this herbaceous, beef stock soup are from two spots on Sargent Ave, both of which are located in strip malls less than one block from one another. Phở Hoàng (794 Sargent Ave) opened in 2011 and slowly built up a devout phởllowing as connoisseurs came to realize that chef/owner Tom Hoàng’s aromatic broth — which simmers for 24 hours — was the real deal. I’m partial to the #17 Phở Tái, Xách ($8.95), the rare beef and tripe phở, which will greet you like a warm blanket of goodness. The restaurant is really cute too which is a plus because, let’s face it, phở is never as good when you get it to go.
Phở Binh Minh (819 Sargent Ave) has quite a few standout dishes including five-spice calamari, excellent spring rolls, and a mango salad that will take your tastebuds to warmer times. And while I’ve included it here for its phở, you could also go for a bowl of their hot and sour soup (small $8.25, large $9.25) which my boss frequently proclaims is the best hot and sour in the city. If you are feeling raspy in the throat this thick soup will coat it nicely, while that punch of sour and spice will give you that psychological advantage of clearing out the impending onslaught of sinus cold symptoms. Plus, it’s full of shiitake mushrooms which are noted to help build your immune system (I read it on the internet, it must be true).
When I feel a cold coming on ramen has always been my number one choice, especially when I was living in Vancouver and flu season was compounded with cold November rains (that one’s for you Axl).
There is something to be said about plunking your face over a steaming bowl of spicy pork broth that makes it feel like you are going to show your cold who’s boss. The spicy miso ramen at Kyo Bistro (185 Isabel St. – ramen pictured at top of article) fits this bill nicely; it will make you sweat it out while also being of a size that is sure to fill you up, making an afternoon nap that much easier.
My other favourite Winnipeg ramen comes from St. Boniface’s Dwarf no Cachette, which surely is Winnipeg’s most adorable restaurant. Their spicy miso is a really rich number made of a salty pork and chicken stock that is swimming with toothy noodles, a lightly boiled egg and some nori, which is a source of vitamin C (so double up on your seaweed order).
Finally, if soup is not your thing, my wildcard choice is to go for as much delicious garlic as possible because — as the whole internet will tell you — it is one of the best foods for your immune system.
One of my favourite garlic-centric numbers is Carbone Coal Fired Pizza‘s New White (12” – $16.95, 16” – $21.95), a pizza that is worth it’s weight in cloves. This bad boy gives you garlic on multiple levels; it starts with a brushing of roasted garlic oil on the dough before being finished with an almost aggressive amount of spinach pesto on top. It’s rounded out by some roasted cherry tomatoes and the creaminess of ricotta and, as an added bonus, it’s vegetarian — unlike everything else on this list (sorry herbivores, that was never my intention but vegetable stock just doesn’t feel like it has all that flu-fighting potential).
It’s such a good pie If they were to replace it with an even newer white (you can ask for the “Old White”) I just might picket the place.
Carbone has two Winnipeg locations, 1580 Taylor Ave and 260 St. Mary Ave, both of which do take out and delivery.
This post is dedicated to my coworker Alan, who stayed at home sick today instead of bringing his germs to the desk beside mine. Good move bud.