CHARCUT Roast House, Calgary

Even before Connie DeSousa appeared on Top Chef Canada, CHARCUT Roast House has created a lot of buzz. An enRoute Canada’s Best New Restaurant for 2010, their charcuterie and alley burgers (served in the back alley at various times announced on Twitter) has kept their name on the lips of people in Calgary and beyond.

I ate there with a friend back in February, coincidentally just 10 days before the names of the Top Chef Canada contestants were released. We ended up getting the same entrée, but different sides.

For an entrée we had the Spring Creek Butcher Steak, with arugula, fried matchstick potatoes, and chimichurri. It was probably one of the best steaks I’ve ever had. The meat was so tender that it practically melted in your mouth.

My friend also ordered the duck fat fried poutine served with cheese curds and truffle gravy. It was delicious and so very rich. So rich in fact that we couldn’t finish it even though I ended up trying to help her eat the dish. We were stuffed silly. I could easily see this dish being a good appetizer for 3 to 4 people. It’s definitely something that you need to share. I was sad that they cut out Connie’s Top Chef Canada’s poutine Quickfire challenge because I wanted to know if she had made this version for the competition or not.

Butcher steak and poutine

Butcher steak and poutine

The other side that we ordered was the slow roasted heirloom beets served with house-made soft goat cheese and arugula. The beets were tender and slightly sweet, but to me the star of this dish was the goat cheese. It was creamy and fluffy, and had a light tang instead of a strong tang that you find in many goat cheeses.

Butcher steak, heirloom beets and goat cheese

Butcher steak, heirloom beets and goat cheese

For dessert my friend had cheesecake in a jar. I think they were preserved saskatoon berries, but my memory is a little hazy. The cheesecake was light and fluffy.

cheesecake

cheesecake

I had the flourless chocolate cake with graham crackers and ice cream. It was dense and chocolately, with a brownie-like texture. I ended up having to bring some of it away with me because of being much too full from all the good food.

flourless chocolate cake

flourless chocolate cake

Our receipt was delivered with a postcard and the cutest little pig paper clip.

The bill and the pig

The bill and the pig

Alley burgers were actually being served later that night but I was too stuffed to even think about eating them. I had a great meal and would definitely come back again.

P.S. Did you know that I’m doing interviews with the Top Chef contestants? You can read all the other past interviews by using this Top Chef Canada list.

CHARCUT Roast House
101, 899 Centre Street SW
Calgary, AB
www.charcut.com

CHARCUT Roast House on Urbanspoon

Marrakech souk

While we were in Marrakech, we went to a local souk. Souks are markets – sometimes permanent and sometimes weekly, depending on the souk. This souk wasn’t a tourist one where you could buy souvenir trinkets, but a souk that locals went to for various needs. Part of the souk is permanent and sells things like furniture. The other part of the souk was transient and reminded me of a flea market. You could buy anything including shoes, carpets, clothing… I even saw an old VCR player for sale!

Some of these photos are a little crooked because I was taking them with my camera hidden partially under a jacket draped over my arm. Taking photos in Morocco isn’t always easy as people tend to prefer not to have their photo taken, so unless we had specific permission from someone to take their photo I tended to take unobtrusive pictures instead. I could have straightened the photos on my computer, but I feel like the angles are part of my Moroccan experience and decided to leave them all in instead!

outside of the souk, by the medina walls

outside of the souk, by the medina walls

I cannot stop marvelling at the oranges in Morocco. I still dream of their sweet goodness.

orange seller

orange seller

Moroccans love sweets and pastries.

pastry seller

pastry seller

radishes and other unidentifyable vegetables

radishes and other unidentifyable vegetables

cookware shining in the sun

cookware shining in the sun

I think these were chestnuts but I can’t remember for sure.

nut seller

nut seller

permanent part of the souk

permanent part of the souk

I saw so many tagines during the trip and I dearly wanted to buy one but there was no way I would be able to haul one around for the rest of our trip and I was afraid that it wouldn’t survive a trip through the post office. They were so cheap, and they were all so very tempting.

tagines and doors

tagines and doors

The locals must have thought I was nuts for taking some of these photos. These are parts of an olive oil press. Some of the spiral posts were taller than I am!

olive oil press

olive oil press

How did people got all this stuff home? By cart or truck, if necessary.

delivery truck

delivery truck