Photo by Sharlyn Carter French inspired Tuna Tartar and French-Canadian Poutine at Chartier restaurant in Beaumont.

Market Gypsy: Summer time and road trips

There are a few good reasons to pack up the car and head out on a mini road trip when the weather is perfectly hot.

Your morning coffee is brewed exactly how you want it, and you just drove 12 hours two days before, but Beaumont is worth every sweaty second.

I went to try the rustic, French-Canadian restaurant Chartier, which promises posh-home-cooked cuisine and has been on my eatery radar for a year. No disappointment once there.

The interior reminded me of home: wrought iron, brick, barn board, antlers, and my favorite saint-Catholic-dollar store candles. It reminded me of grandma’s kitchen and I never wanted to leave. It was the infectious excitement from my 17-year-old waitress Kianna who made me feel like I was back in my hometown.

She excitedly shared a few of her favourite choices from the lunch menu. I decided on an item that I try no matter where I am: Tuna Tartar. The diced Ahi tuna with tiny fresh spring peas as a ‘caviar’ on sourdough crostini was divine. The crostini was thin cut sourdough, drizzled with truffle oil. Heaven.

But in a French restaurant, I must try the poutine. Not the best secondary dish to have with a light tuna tartar but I needed to try the gravy. The French certainly do it right. The gravy was silky, rich, and wonderfully addicting.

I pulled out my phone. I hate when people have phones at dinner tables but this was important. I called two people. I secured my next visit to the restaurant immediately with two friends. The idea is to come back on a Sunday and have brunch. Their brunch menu has numerous eggy options, including a twist on the Bennie, features a Lobstercado, and Pain Perdu. Their menu changes three to four times a year and is based on what is grown locally each season.

With the recommendation from Kianna, I headed to the most brilliant little crepe shop. The Crepe and Shake shop is nestled on an acre of land in downtown Beaumont and is in walking distance from Chartier and a beautiful Catholic Church.

At first I thought I would never eat a full crepe because it might be too filling. Then I read the menu. I ordered and devoured the Dandy Andi, a homemade crepe topped with organic garden strawberries picked on site, freshly whipped cream, and drizzled chocolate. This town is holy in so many ways.

The menu features 15 different crepe options, half are savoury and are named after a family member.

Kerrie and Sam are family members who live there. Yes, live there. The shop used to be a nunnery. In 1932, four Catholic nuns settled there and lived in the building. Today it has transformed into an outdoor eatery, which sharing the fascinating history of how Beaumont was settled.

I had to have the rhubarb nectar with fresh mint before I headed back to Red Deer as a simple delight reminding me that sometimes the most interesting and fascinating places to visit are right outside our municipal doorstep.

Sharlyn lives in Red Deer and is a foodie with a gypsy soul, creating a feast and connecting with those who love to cook. You can find more on Instagram and Facebook as Market Gypsy.

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