Guest Blog: Fun Foods of Winnipeg

There are plenty of towns in Canada where you can get a pizza. But only one place I know offers foodies the choice of a “nip,” a “goog” or a “shmoo,” and that’s Winnipeg.

Salisbury House is a restaurant that’s been around for decades and is partly owned by Burton Cummings of the Guess Who — it showcases some of his old guitars and memorabilia. You can order up a nip, which the rest of us might call a hamburger. The story goes that a former owner didn’t like the sound of the word “hamburger” and somehow came up with “nip,” perhaps because it was meat nipped off one end of a steak.

In the Osborne Village area you’ll find a dessert place called Baked Expectations that sells something called a “shmoo,” a soft, moist angel cake drenched in caramel sauce and topped with pecans. The word “shmoo” is said to have derived from a (somewhat risque) Yiddish word. Shmoo also was a character in the old Li’l Abner comic strip.

The Bridge Drive-In (known by locals as the BDI) is one of the best-known spots in Winnipeg, where folks gather to gobble down ice cream treats and, in summer, enjoy the fine weather at a picnic table. The “goog” is a milkshake with blueberries, peanuts, chocolate and other goodies. Its name comes from the nearby bridge that crosses the Red River. I once asked a few natives what the name of the bridge was. They all answered, “The BDI Bridge.” They didn’t actually know the name. Which, if you think about, means the bridge would be named after a drive-in that’s named after a bridge that nobody knows the name of. I did some investigating on Google when I got home from my Winnipeg trip a few years ago and found out that the bridge actually is called The Elm Park Bridge. But I like the BDI Bridge story a little more.

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