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.

Cherry Wine?

Recently, I picked up a bottle of Elephant Island Cherry (2007).  That’s right, a wine made from cherries rather than grapes.  In fact, all of Elephant Island’s products are made with fruits other than grapes.

I had heard good things through my interweb travels about this producer, so I decided I’d check them out.  Originally, I was looking for the Black Currant (2006), due to the good review in my Top 100 under $20 book, however, I found the 2007 Cherry and Black Currant at Aligra in West Edmonton Mall.  Intrigued by the Cherry, I opted for that bottle instead.  I also picked up a bottle of Moselland Riesling Avantgarde (I can’t recall the Vintage), mostly because the bottle was too cool looking not to buy.

Before I get back to the wine, I’d like to note the enjoyment I received from shopping at Aligra Wine and Spirits.  The individual that was working at Aligra was very helpful in helping me select a Scotch to purchase for my Dad for Father’s Day.  He hasn’t received it yet, so I can’t vouch for the reliability of the advice.  She did note that the bottle I did purchase was well received at the Scotch tasting they had a few days prior to my visit.

Anyway, the wine.  I’m really unsure what to think.  The first glasses I had was pretty average in my opinion.  It tasted like cherries.  I certainly wasn’t blown away.  The next day, I had a couple more glasses.  It was really tasty, I quite enjoyed drinking it.  So, perhaps the food pairing the first night wasn’t quite right, or the pairing on the second night was perfect.  I don’t really know.  Maybe it tastes better as it sits open in the fridge (which I doubt).  If you want to give something different a try, Elephant Island Cherry is definitely that.  I don’t think I’ll be buying another bottle of this one, but I’m definitely still on the prowl for their other offerings.

Also, I’ve posted a new recipie, Stuffed Pork Chops.  I hope you enjoy it, I certainly did.

Various Updates

I’ve got several differing updates today.

I’ve added some more wines to my cellar and I’ve added two of my favorite recipes:

I’ve also included some recommended sides and wine pairings with the recipes. Please let me know how the meal turns out for you if you give them a try.

Also, Darren and I have started up a new website for our little game design project. Dead Planet Creations is your new source of information for our game, Extinction: Zero Point.  We’re quite excited about the project, so check out the site for more updates.

Trying Something New

As I had indicated in yesterday’s post, I’m going to try and keep a list of wines (and recommendations) for you folks in internet land to use for reference.  I’ve also decided that since I quite enjoy food with my wine, I should try putting up some of my favorite recipies (except for the ones that Emily and I keep a secret!!!).

I’m also going to put up a list of games that I have, along with any thoughts about them.  I’m not sure what I’ll include and exclude, but I’m definately putting up my RPGs and Board Games.

I could put up all sorts of lists, but really, I think three is enough.

 So I hope that this information interests you as it is populated.  As always, your comments are welcome and appreciated!