Most of my dining out experiences are completely & utterly impromptu, spur-of-the-moment panicky affairs; apparently if it ain't last-minute, it ain't worth it. Our visit to Murrieta's on Whyte here in Edmonton was no exception.
Mike and I were heading to Cats at the Jube and I realized that morning that we hadn't booked anywhere to eat before the performance. If that's what you called it. I think either my Facebook or Twitter status that night was “I've understood operas sung entirely in Italian more than I just understood Cats.”
I didn't get it. Synthesizer music original to the '80's, songs that I couldn't hear the words to so it wasn't that enjoyable and a plot that escaped me. At one point in an especially long, drawn out number Mike turned to me and whispered “Am I stuck in Stairway to Heaven?”
The fellow theatre goers to my right made me giggle in the middle of the performance I heard one mutter under his breath to his seat mate “Oh wait….is this a plotline?…oh….oh no. My mistake. It's not.”
Luckily, dinner at Murrieta's was fabulous and made up for the two hours stuck in one of the worst musicals I've ever seen.
So that morning Chef Chartrand was nice enough to make a reservation for me when he headed in to work. At Murrieta's, that is. If you hadn't heard already, he's moved from L2 and on to Murrieta's as their executive chef. If you haven't heard of Chef Chartrand, you've been ignoring me far too much, at least on this website because he's the chef helping me with the Culinary Arts Cook Off.
And if you haven't heard of the Culinary Arts Cook Off, then you must have blacked out every time I mentioned it. I know I want to….
To be honest I have walked past Murrieta's many times but never went in so I was astonished how large it is inside. It's a huge, lofty gorgeous space that you would never guess from the outside.
The bar is beautiful, shiny and sleek…
..the chairs beg you to sit in them and sample some delights from their very extensive wine list, one of the largest in Edmonton I am sure.
After I wandered around making a general pest of myself taking pictures – why I go early in the evening so I don't have too many people staring at me- and annoyed the staff a while longer, it was time to eat.
Chef Chartrand treated us to what can be one of the best culinary experiences of your dining life : the Chef's menu.
You just give the chef free rein. Throw caution to the wind and hope for the best. Feed me, you say, whatever you like, how you like, when you like.
Now of course, take this with a grain of sea salt. The chef's menu is not always available at restaurants, I have no idea whether Chef Chartrand does this on a regular basis at Murrieta's or which chefs enjoy this concept at their respective establishments.
I will say it doesn't hurt to ask the server at the establishment you're eating at if you are feeling adventurous.
Chef Chartrand started us out with an amuse bouche of a perfectly done and gorgeously plated Digby scallop. A work of art on a plate.
I also took one look at the cauliflower on the plate and thought to myself : Lord love a duck.
Perhaps Karlynn, the next time you tell a chef to go ahead and create whatever he wants, you might want to enlighten him as to what foods you are allergic to. Which is broccoli. And brazil nuts. Now, the odds of there being broccoli in any given dish were probably small and Brazil nuts pretty much non-existent, however I did enlighten the staff to tell poor Chef Chartrand.
You just can't take me and my EpiPen anywhere.
After the amuse bouche the server came back and placed two tea pots of hot water onto our table, informing us that they were for the next course which of course peaked our interest. Not long after came one of the most delicious concoctions I have tasted in a long time.
Truffled beef on top of creamy vegetables but not only that, as you can see in the photo below, the jar was served in a bowl of aromatic herbs. When served, the hot water from those teapots was poured on the herbs surrounding the jar.
The smell was intoxicating and because of the fresh basil in the herbs this was an especially lovely dining experience for me. This combination smelled exactly like my first risotto, a wild mushroom risotto topped with truffle oil and then served with fresh basil on top.
I couldn't stop smelling it and smiling, the scent memory placed me right back in the NAIT kitchen on my mushroom course.
The entree was seafood based which delighted me to no end and it's a compliment to Chef Chartrand that Mike enjoyed everything save the Ahi Tuna.
I actually witnessed my husband eat salmon because it was so mild, so perfectly done that he enjoyed every bite.
I stole his Ahi tuna and laughed evilly the entire time. It was delicate, rich and perfect with the spears of palm heart and I stole it off his plate.
I adored the addition of a perfectly done, creamy egg yolk on the plate because I love egg yolk on everything and this salmon was no exception.
Dessert, my favorite part of every meal. This was a decadent in-house made lava cake, strawberries topped with spicy pepper threads and berries. I thought the spicy pepper threads were the perfect addition, I love a spicy heat with chocolate.
Now, as for the dish I would return for?
The trufled beef in a jar won, hands down, even over the amazing dessert because of the experience as a whole while partaking of that dish.
All in all the amazing dinner saved the evening as it went downhill from there. Cats crawling throughout the audience, bad 80's music and only one truly good song out of the whole 2 hours made for a nap, if I had only dared.
Thanks again to Chef Chartrand and the lovely staff at Murrieta's.
Speaking of Chef Chartrand, the picture I had of him that night at Murrieta's didn't turn out, but this one was taken at the Culinary Arts Cook Off and sums him up perfectly! This was shot while he was running around helping restaurants set up the morning of the cook off, but still keeping his great sense of humour!
We'll see again you tonight!
Nothing Like Ending My Posts With a Threat Magpie0