Friday, 3 August 2012

Foodie Friday - The Beachcomber Winnipeg

Anyone from Winnipeg who is a normal age (i.e.. not 15) will remember the Beachcomber. Nestled in downtown, sub zero Winnipeg was a little exotic slice of tropicalTiki heaven where Winnipegers went to eat sweet and sour everything and have cocktails in coconut shaped mugs.

Welcome to exotic paradise

This place was magical.

I probably only went twice in the whole time it was open, but it has been in my heart and memory since the first time I crossed the wooden bridge from the hostess stand and into the "star" lit dining room below.

It was like Bali Hai threw up in there, but in a really good way.

The quintessential 60's restaurant, the Beachcomber served up Polynesian cuisine that was probably a fair stretch of the term Polynesian. And likely, of cuisine. I was a kid when I was there so the only thing I remember is the ambience. Because that's all that really matters.

There were fake stars in the ceiling, palm trees, a little waterfall,  goldfish pond, and puffer fish lamps hanging from the ceiling. 

The Beachcomber closed it's doors in the 1980's, likely to make way for something truly inspired like a Moxy's or Coffee Time. It's time had come, I suppose, but I really believe that there needs to be such a place again. If I had had 50 million dollars, I would open up a Beachcomber on Queen West and the hipsters would flock like flies.

all Beachcomber photos from

fancy, but my pantyhose would for sure snag on those kinds of chairs.

In homage to the Winnipeg haunt I have on offer for you today a veganized version of a  Polynesian dish that never, ever would have been served there. There are a bloody lot of ingredients, so I hope you appreciate it. I also included a cocktail for those of you who like to drink. I mean, like to drink A LOT. And out of a hula girl's skull.  I'm talking to you, Cheryl McKinnon.

I chose to sautee the veggies in broth as opposed to oil to cut down on the fat and calories. By sauteeing the tofu in a broth, you'll still get a nice "fried" taste that will fool your brain into thinking you're eating something way more naughty. However, you are free to use as much oil as you want. It's your life. Go ahead. Defy me.

Vegan Rice Bowl Homage to The Beachcomber.

Yield: 4-6 servings

Stir-fry Vegetables: (veggies cut into bite size pieces)
1 zucchini
1 yellow squash
4 peeled carrots
1 bunch asparagus
1 medium sized red onion
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
2T canola oil or 1/4 C vegetable broth (a bit more if necessary)
salt and pepper to taste
Barbecue Tofu:
8 oz extra firm tofu, drained pressed of all water
¼ cup Hoisin sauce
¼ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Sriracha (Chinese chili sauce)
1 clove garlic, minced
3 T flour 

1/2 cup panko crumbs
1 C pineapple chunks
2 T Canola oil
a bunch of cilantro

How To:
Prepare brown rice according to package directions to serve 4-6 people.

mix panko crumbs and cornstarch in a bowl and set aside.

Stir-fry Veggies
1. Cut zucchini, yellow squash, red onion and peppers into a 1-inch dice.
2. Slice carrots into ¼ inch slices.
3. Cut asparagus into 1-inch segments, and mix all vegetables in a bowl and set aside.
Asian Barbecue Tofu:
1. Cut tofu into 1-inch cubes.
2. In a saucepan combine Hoisin, ketchup, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, chili garlic sauce, and garlic. Bring to boil and then remove from heat to let cool.

4. Coat tofu with barbecue mixture and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
5. Coat Marinated tofu in panko and cornstarch mixture and pan fry in canola oil.

6. Add pineapple chunks and stir a few times to warm, and set tofu mixture aside, tenting with foil if necessary.
7. Wok-fry vegetables in broth or canola oil and season with salt and pepper. 
To serve, put rice in separate serving bowls or plates, top with veggies. Place tofu and pineapple on top of veggies and garnish with cilantro. Serve with extra hot sauce if desired.
cooking up the bbq sauce.

so much going on.

this is what stir fried veggies might look like.


tried to get close up, but len kept fogging up.

For those of you who like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain, here's a vegan pina for you to get your drink on. Check out the recipe HERE

I added a frozen banana, a little less coconut and a lot less rum because I'm a light weight.

I do not like making love at midnight in the dunes of the cape.

Of course, this is not to be confused with This Beachcomber, who I really was ok not ever having to watch again:


  1. I remember the Beachcomber! My parents took me there and they made me dress up and my pantyhose did indeed get snagged on those faux bamboo/wicker/cattail/swamp reed chairs! And that sauce with the pineapple chunks was bright orange, yes? Your recipe, Ellen, looks a lot more healthy -- but a lot less visually blinding.

  2. I remember The Beachcomber. I always thought it was a kind of a magical place. Those are great pictures you have of it. Once again, thanks for the memories Ellen.

    Elaine in Saltair BC

  3. LOL That is just Awesome. What a place to have in Winnipeg!!!!!! Wish we could have something like that in Sask back then LOL

  4. I never heard of the Beachcomber. I'm still old, though. Looks awesome! As they say...good times, good times.

    1. P.S. I never realized that I had never joined your blog before. Why am I just now getting around to it? I have no idea...crazy Friday!

    2. The Beachcomber was a Canadian chain, I believe. And you're from somewhere in TexasAtlantaMaine, right?

      You are not old. You're younger than am I.

      Welcome to My COmplete Lack Of Boundaries. You can check out any time you want....


  5. Ellen,

    You inspired me to begin writing again. I haven't done that in years. I used to think blogs were dry, humorless and only about politics and/or religion until stumbling upon yours. Very good stuff.



    1. Phil,
      Oh those are kind words, indeed. Yes, I hope I inspired you to write about your poops, how your dog makes you crazy and why there can never be enough praise and attention.


    2. You have no idea how much I already do that on Facebook. Wondering if I'll get electrocuted during a thunderstorm when sitting on the commode. (Answer: better chances during #1 than #2.) Or when loose, to never mix up a sleeping pill with a anti-diarrhea pill before a meeting...bad consequences can result. I have 2 Jack Russell Terriers to write about too. Birds of a feather.

      Anyway, thanks again. My blog today gave you credit.