Dine Chartier – an Adventure

Last night I had the opportunity to go for dinner with my parents and my lovely wife, Emily. My parents wanted to take Emily out for her birthday and I was lucky enough to also be invited.

Yes, that is my happy face.

The interior of the restaurant is rustic – distressed wood and fixtures, mis-matched chairs. Chalkboards framed with chunky art frames line the walls. These are used to describe the features and the rotating craft beer taps along with some chalk art. It was a really exciting space to walk into and experience.

Our server (whom I forget her name, so that makes me the worst, but she was the best) told us that she could bring us samples of any of the craft taps to try it out before settling on a full glass, which was a really nice thing to hear. I skipped this option entirely and went to the Situation Brewing Earl Grey Tea Saison, as I have had the Afternooner before, and the other beers on the menu were either ones I’ve had, or not quite what I wanted.

The menu was very intriguing. Many small plates to choose from, many unique offerings.

My parents decided to share the Mussels and Clams.

As a sneak, I definitely stole some. It was enjoyable, I preferred the mussels to the clams personally.

As for Emily and I, we had the Crisps.

Pork rinds and chicken skin. Healthy. Om nom. The flavours were fantastic. The pork rinds were light and fluffy, the chicken skin was salty and chewy and delicious. Also, I was eating fat fried in fat. Because I’m an adult.

Then my beer had a problem. It was empty. I reviewed the board and decided that I wanted to give the Fallentimber Meadjito a try. This time, I took our server up on that sample opportunity. Let me tell you – if you like Mojitos…find this and drink it. If you don’t like it, please deliver your unused portion to my mouth.

Finally – it came time for our main courses. Also, this is where the adventure in the evening occurred. See, I couldn’t decide on what to have for dinner (the Crab Roll is probably what I would have ordered if it was available, but snooze, loose, blah blah), so I traumatized our server. I asked her to pick my main for me because I sure couldn’t. She looked at me like she was a deer about to be smashed by a car on the highway. Apparently this is not something people do, ask for food surprises. Personally, I’d get drunk with power.

Well. I’m not people. This is my way of getting outside of my comfort box in the land of food. Without a sufficient push I won’t go outside of my normal. So. Today was time for adventure. I assured her that I was going to be happy with anything and to not tell me what I was getting until it arrived – she promptly stated “how about the Beaumont Smoked Meat Sandwich”? In her defense, she probably didn’t hear my last request because it was a little loud and I can be quieter than I should be sometimes. I said “sure”!

It arrived, wrapped in butcher paper with a plate of fries that looked amazing. I unwrapped the sandwich and it looked delicious.

Food layout by Emily, nurse, wife,  and food artist.

The sandwich was really delicious. The meat was tasty and well complemented by the in-house made pickles and mustard. My fries were assaulted by everyone at the table. I can’t wait to eat the second half of this today (not fries, they were sacrificed to our stomachs last night).

Emily ordered the Roasted Chicken. The presentation was very appealing.

The bite of the chicken I had was nice. Good flavour, juicy chicken. Only downside: we expected a bit more ‘sauce’.

I didn’t take photos of my parent’s meals because I can only impose so much on people I’m eating with. My mom had the Pork Chow (a nice flavour, really enjoyed the lentils) and my dad had the Roasted cod (I did not sample, as it disappeared too quickly). Both presentations were great. Take my word on it.

Finally, it was time for dessert. Three of us had the Pets de Soeur. It looked too good and I ate half of it and realized crap, I didn’t take a photo. So I’m not sure if I actually ate it. But. It was really good – I particularly enjoyed the calvados ice cream. My dad had the Pot de Lemon Meringue, which I did get to sample and it was a really nice curd and shortbread and a light fluffy Meringue on top. Again, no photo, see imposing and the whole fiasco with my dessert.

So. That’s the adventure at Chartier. I highly recommend you go. It’s great.

Also, hopefully our server reads this. Because she gave me a great meal and will probably pull the same thing on her if she serves me again. Because I like adventure.

Let the wookiee win

My son is starting to get older (granted, he’s still only 3) but we’ve begun to play more structured games, which got me thinking.

If/when we start playing competitive board/video/etc games, should I let him win from time to time?

The obvious answer is yes, you should!  But, I’m not so sure that it’s that clear-cut.  Like most parents, I think my kid is pretty smart.  Won’t he figure out that I’m not trying very hard?  Will that teach him that I don’t think he’s an opponent worth putting my full energy into?  Alternatively, will winning all the time teach him to dislike a hobby that I really would like him to enjoy with me?

I think ultimately, it will depend on him and the game.  Some games make it easier to hide that you’re making bad choices, and there are plenty of games that have enough randomness that I probably don’t have to do anything to help things along.

Ultimately, I know that I should be teaching that having fun with me is more important than the outcome, but show me a person that doesn’t like to win time to time.  Absolutely, having fun is the #1 goal, but I remember myself as a young kid – I wanted to win.  I expect nothing different from my kids.

I think this is one of those tricky spots in parenting, or, maybe I’m just reading too much into things.

Eating out with Baby

A few new stops for meals with Jackson means a few more posts from me!

Applebee’s Southside – Overall, the experience was ok.  They did not have cups with lids (like Chili’s) for young ones, but everything else was pretty decent.  We weren’t really impressed with the food this time around, but I’m not sure if that’s a function of what we ordered or if the food is decreasing in quality (we’ve eaten here before and enjoyed it, pre-baby).

A Taste of Edmonton – Lots of choices!  Serve yourself.  Jackson didn’t/couldn’t eat a lot of things, due to his allergies, but we had anticipated this and brought him his own snacks.  It was a fun afternoon out.

Mr. Mike’s

A number of people enjoyed the post I made yesterday talking about baby friendly restaurants. I realized that I missed a few. I given the responses of my previous post, I will try to continue this feature.

Mr. Mike’s – We ate at Mr. Mike’s in West Edmonton Mall. They had high chairs which were of good height in relation to the table. Our server interacted with Jackson quite a bit, asking him questions like what he’d like to eat. It was a very positive experience.  Additionally, the food is very good and quite reasonable for a steakhouse.

Chili’s – We’ve eaten at the Edmonton South location twice and both were positive experiences.  They have great kids cups (with a straw and a lid) which are great.  Jackson drew with crayons for the first time at Chili’s.

Baby Friendly

With a little one in the family, our restaurant experience has changed slightly.  Thankfully, we’ve had pretty good experiences. 

Red Robin– We’ve eaten at both Edmonton South and Edmonton West.  Both, as expected were very good experiences.  Our most recent visit to Edmonton West we had ordered some vegetables for the little one, but they didn’t have anything, so we received some melon, free of charge.  The high chairs are high enough for the little one to reach the table fairly well.
Earls – We ate at Edmonton South Common.  This was a good experience.  We had contacted the manager beforehand to check to see if they had high chairs (they don’t), so we brought our own.  We sat on the patio, but the chair did put the little one pretty low on the table.  I’m not sure if this would be any better in the dining room or not.  We ordered some seasonal veggies for the little one.
Moxies – We’ve eaten at Edmonton South and Edmonton South Common.  South Common was alright.  The high chair was not tall enough for the table we were seated at.  South was a better experience.  The high chair was the right height for the table.  We had ordered some steamed broccoli which we were charged for.

Overall, we were happy with our experiences at these restaurants and would not discourage families with young ones visiting any of them.

I was really meaning to…

Before I found out that I was going to be a father, I thought that I’d blog throughout the pregnancy, talking about what I was feeling and all those sorts of things.  When I found out we were pregnant, I thought, yes, I’d do this.

I didn’t account for:

  1. Full Time Work
  2. Full Time School

Ok, so I guess, for sanity’s sake, I had very little time to blog.

Also, I really didn’t know what to say.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m excited.  I’m scared.  I’m all sorts of things.  I just didn’t know how to coherently put that to “paper”, so to speak.

With less than a month to go, I still don’t have much to say.  It’s an experience that you’ll never really be ready for.