NHL lockout got you jonesing for arena food
Winnipeg Jets season ticket holders Chris Zuk and Chris Carman aren’t sure what they’re missing more because of the NHL lock out: the on ice action or the grub that goes along with it.
“To me, they’re intertwined; one doesn’t go without the other,” says Zuk, who ate a Jets Dog that’s a cut up perogy and a wiener on a bun at ev Red Bottom Shoes ery game he attended last season at the MTS Centre.
“I just came up with an idea,” Chris Zuk announces, as we’re leaving the Jonathan Toews Community Centre. “You know how MTS Centre has all those community club jerseys hanging on the walls? Once a month, they should invite the cook from a community club canteen in to prepare that rink’s specialty.
“I swear, if the MTS Centre had taco in a bag, they’d sell a million of ’em.”
Here is the recipe for the Dakota Lazers Canteen’s taco in a bag, courtesy of Ashley McGraw.
Chris Carman and Chris Zuk at Notre Dame Community Club with some Canteen food. Poutine, Popcorn, and a real chicken burger. (BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)Photo Store
To date, the labour dispute has cost Zuk and Carman eight home games. And eight Jets Dogs. That has the seatmates opining on what they’d like to see included in whatever deal the owners and players eventually settle on.
“When the two sides come to an agreement, they owe every one of us a coupon for a perogy dog,” Zuk says.
If you’re like Zuk and Carman starved for hockey and just plain starving we may have a solution.
There are close to 40 indoor hockey arenas in and ar Red Bottom Shoes ound Winnipeg. Most have an on site canteen where parents can grab something to munch on while they’re cheering on the NHL’s future strike force.
Zuk and Carman accompanied us on a taste tour of arena canteens to find out how the chow there compares to what’s available at the MTS Centre. (Hockey moms and dads were helpful about telling us where to head next; one father is convinced that his son’s coach schedules Sunday morning practices at the Sanford Arena just so he can go there for breakfast.)
After consuming more than our share of vending machine coffee, microwave nachos and roller grilled hot dogs, we were able to come up with a three star selection of what we consider the best hockey canteens in town. (If you disagree with our picks or want to add to them send your selections to . We’ll award one reader a $20 gift certificate to Subway, which opened a kiosk in the MTS Centre on Nov. 9.)Maples Multiplex, 434 Adsum Dr.
A couple of years ago, Virgin 103 FM DJ Ace Burpee asked listeners where the best takeout food in Winnipeg was. One caller nominated the canteen at the Maples Multiplex Red Bottom Shoes a stand run by the same people who own , a seasona Red Bottom Shoes l burger bar located at West Hawk Lake.
“Our menu at the rink is pretty much the same as what we serve at the beach,” says Brenda Melnyk, who cooks alongside her husband, Wally.
Warning: you don’t want to go to sporting Toronto Maples Leafs colours.
“Wally is a huge Canadiens fan,” Brenda says. “If you come here in a Toronto jersey, he gives you the Leafs Burger Special, which is just the bun.”
What we tried: Mac cheese wedges ($3.50); cactus cuts ($4.00); cheeseburger ($4.25).
The cactus cuts reminded us of breaded scalloped potatoes deep fried and served with sour cream and chives. The mac cheese wedges are crunchy on the outside, with a filling of what tastes just like Kraft Dinner. They are also served with sour cream, although Brenda told us that the wedges taste just as good cold, with a side of ketchup.
VERDICT: 4.5 PUCKS OUT OF 5
Dakota Lazers Canteen Jonathan Toews Community Centre,
1188 Dakota St.
“This is a million dollar idea waiting to happen,” Zuk says, as he polishes off the remaining bits of his taco in a bag.
“People complain all the time about how their chip bags contain all this empty air, but this is the perfect solution,” adds Carman. “Fill it with lettuce, tomatoes, ground beef and cheese.”
Taco in a bag has been on the menu at the Dakota Lazers Canteen for about a year, says canteen manager Ashley McGraw.
“But our most popular item is probably our poutine. We have been told by many parents and ice officials that we have the best in town.”