Santé Charcuterie & Restaurant - Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Charcuterie Tasting
Sometime, in my travels, I stumble across some amazing jewels. Santé Charcuterie & Restaurant is one such place. I woke up a bit too late to get a sit down breakfast so I set out from the hotel (without my camera of course!) to find something that would be quick and delicious, knowing that I may strike out miserably. In fact I hit a home run!

Santé is the brain child of Jeremy Hansen who had the idea of opening a restaurant that would bring the food from farm to the table. He believes and loves food and wants to ". . .help people be mindful of their food." It's evident at first taste, how much care Jeremy puts into his food. And for that I thank you!

The above is a little sample plate the nice Amanda set up for me while I was marveling at the beautiful pastries and deserts. I decided to start off with the sopprasetta it had a nice clove flavor to it that went along so well with the mustards.

Amanda told me to hold off on the duck prociutto because of it's potent flavor, so taking her recommendation I tried the next logical step with the salami. It was hard, salty, and had a nice olive flavor and a nice kick in the back of the throat. This would be perfect with some red pepper aioli on a baguette or just with some nice gruyere cheese.

The chicken terrine and the mortadella are similar in their nice mild flavor, however, the terrine had a very nice herb flavor to it that was very memorable. The mortadella had a nice fat flavor. What you want in a slice of prepared meat!

It was finally time to try the duck prociutto and I was so glad I had saved the best for last. The prociutto was so moist and soft it melted in your mouth but still had the texture that you come to know in prociutto. The five spice flavor was prominent but not overwhelming. I fell in love again.

Assorted Mustards
Santé makes their own mustards and aioli's. The base mustard has a nice back of the nose bite to it and is a bit runnier than most mustards but is still beautiful. The red pepper aioli has some of the sweetness from the red peppers which adds a great deal of difference from the flavor of the regular mustard aioli. Each is great just on a piece of bread or with some of the meats above.

Guanciale Omlette w/ Black Trumpets
Guanciale is an un-smoked Italian bacon made from the jowl of the pig. It's delicious and light in flavor compared to bacon but still has nice fat. To put it in an omelette with risolé potatoes, manchego cheese, and top it with black trumpet mushrooms, is like eating the most decadent omelette you've ever tried. The mushrooms add a nice texture to the omelette while the manchego's richness is balanced by the potatoes.

Unfortunately, this was my least favorite of my pastries. It's very difficult to find the perfect mixture of chewiness and crisp in a macaron. This macaron was just too hard and had no chew. I'm sure there is good reason for this. So I can't discount Santé on this one yet. I'll have to go back the next time I'm in Spokane.

Rosewater Marshmallow
Homemade marshmallows are all the rage right now. I am starting to see them pop up all over the place, from blogs to restaurants. So there must be something special about them right? Well the beautiful thing about them is that they are a nice fluffy medium for delivering delicate flavors. Rosewater, to some, is a bit too floral when it's in a desert as just rose water. Put it in a marshmallow, and you've got a nice delicate flavor that is mellowed by the marshmallow. It's great, very unoffensive, and delicate.

Paté du Fruits
I had to get more than one just to make sure I had more left over and had full intention of sharing them with the band. But then I ate one, and I couldn't let them go. Each is a like a little scoop of preserve that is packed full of fruit flavor. And the beautiful thing is, they are made from real fruit. Now only if we could get these in the place of Fruit Roll-Ups in kids lunch boxes!

I can't remember the last time I was so thrilled about a restaurant. And, to just stumble upon one in a desparate attempt to find breakfast, only made me love this place more. Happy eating!

Oh yeah don't forget to check out the nice bookstore next door!

--Joe Kwon

Navigate to Santé's website.

Executive Chef Jeremy Hansen
Pastry Chef Lynette Pfleuger

Au Général La Fayette - Paris, France

This day was a day filled with many many miles of walking the streets of Paris to try to get lost. Crackerfarm (@crackerfarm) and I set our destination for Sacré-Cœur and started walking. Knowing that the Sacré-Cœur was up at the highest point of Paris, we just started walking up hill. Lo and behold our assumptions were right!

We stumbled across this restaurant while attempting to get lost in this wonderful city. In fact it's pretty difficult to get lost in a city when you know what 'metro' stop your hotel is off of. But nonetheless the romanticized view of coming across something no one else has seen was on our minds, and we were bound to find it. Well of course this didn't happen but it did lead us to several beautiful boulangeries and patisseries. (Post to come later!)

When I was planning my culinary endeavors for this trip I knew I wanted to eat a three very specific things. They were crépes, duck confit, and a croque madame. This french really know how to eat and I'm not just talking about their fine dining, but I'm talking about their bistro foods. Duck confit is duck that is slowly cooked in duck fat. How can you go wrong, right? This duck confit was cooked so perfectly with a nice crispy skin and rich dark meat and served with garlic potatoes. Confit de Conard, Pommes à l'Ail

I don't think it'd be a true bistro style meal without proper bread and of course moutarde. If you follow my twitter feed (@joekwon80) you know I kinda set out early in the morning today trying to find some find french dijon mustard. There is nothing like it, and in france every bistro serves up their bread with a good spicy dijon, at least all the ones I've been to. I can't emphasize what an amazing this mustard is. It's great with the bread that comes with the meal as well as a substitution for the ketchup for fries (although not as good a substitution as mayo). Moutard

In any case a good attempt at getting lost in this beautiful city turned out to be a culinary jackpot. I can't wait to come back to Paris and lose myself again!

Au Revoir!
--Joe Kwon