ON. THE. RIVER.
If you're from Winnipeg, you know that this is no big deal. We do this sorta thing ALL the time. The river's frozen? Put up a gourmet restaurant. Makes perfect sense.
Anyway, I spent a few minutes (in my very warm bed) before texting back something like "Ummm...sure." Then I got dressed.
Tights, jeans, two pairs of socks, turtleneck, chunky sweater (so much for looking like a girl), scarf, mittens, parka, Sorels, and a plaid, faux-fur lined Elmer Fudd hat. And I was worried that it wouldn't be enough.
We arrived at the tent-cum-restaurant at about 10:30, but were told that we would have to wait until noon for the next seating. Remembering that there were cinnamon buns and coffee to be found inside the Forks market building, we decided to stick it out and put our names on the list for 12:00.
After wandering around (sitting, drinking coffee, eating, running into friends, getting lost, getting found) for an hour or so, we made our way back to the middle of the river and took our places at the long communal table. Seating was on stumps, which, while clever, turned out to be a little chilly on the bottom. (Tip: if you go, take something warm to sit on. I sat on my hat.)
Brunch started with Red River Cereal topped with blueberry-apple sauce. It was warm and yummy...and curiously spicy* and it was the perfect way to shake off the chill and warm up the taste buds. (My guess was a pinch of cayenne, but I'm still not sure.)
Next up was a big pancake with maple syrup and (for all but two of us) lots of crispy bacon. And communal plates of fruit salad that confused some of us at first (we're sometimes all a little *too* polite), but in the end bonded us as a group. It's all about the sharing and caring, right, Care Bear?
After the pancake came sharable (heaping) plates of potatoes and corned beef and scrambled eggs, and plates of sliced bannock with yummy, peppery gravy. By this time, we were all good friends and dispensed with any hesitation when it came to passing the plates around. I can say without any question that everybody had their fill.
Of course, there was still room for dessert - homemade sausage corn dogs and the most amazeballs homemade marshmallows. I had room for exactly one marshmallow - any more and Heather would've had to call for a team of sled dogs to pull me out of there.