Monday, February 1, 2010

Back Porch scenes

You may have noticed, I’ve been talking a lot about Manitoba. Now I’m back in Toronto, after a blissfully relaxing two weeks at my parents’ farm in Sainte-Anne, Manitoba.

I played with the border collies, walked on the frozen river with my mum and helped (sometimes) with feeding grain. And because my parents have been locavores since before locavores appeared in the lexicon, and because Manitoba winter’s are, um, harsh, eating locally means eating cheese and meat. Lots of it. Potatoes, onions and beets too. And some sharp, crisp pickles. I return to Toronto well fed and, I think, slightly fat. I feel great.

I also did some eating outside the farm, which brings me to this place.

Back Porch is a café on the outskirts of the small farming community of Linden, 30 or so kilometers south-southeast of Winnipeg. Denise Collins and her family opened the café in October, in a house once owned by her great-grandparents.

It’s a house that’s been in the family, and it feels like it. A narrow staircase leads to a cozy second floor, which has been renovated into an open space that somehow comfortably fits a half dozen tables and a few reading nooks.

Back Porch is open for breakfast and lunch. The kitchen serves coffee and espresso, breads, buns, bagels, cinnamon rolls, soups and sandwiches. On Saturday mornings, Collins offers a robust brunch buffet, complete with bacon, eggs and sausage. Brunch is just under $9, which is especially good when you consider the prairie view from the top floor.

You couldn’t pay for this in T.O.