This week, Kevin and I took a trip to Quebec City. We stayed within the walls of the Old Town, and thoroughly enjoyed being transported a few hundred years back in time. Our days consisted mostly of walking and eating, with a small amount of shopping thrown in! Our hotel started every day for us with a lovely picnic basket of breakfast at our door. What could be more French than a breakfast of croissant et confiture?
A breakfast of pure carbs leaves you pretty hungry by 11am, so our first lunch at Aux Anciens Canadiens was highly anticipated. They open at noon and we were pretty much banging down the door. It is located in the old upper town in a sweet little heritage house, not far from the Chateau Frontenac. This gem of a restaurant only serves traditional Quebecoise fair, by young ladies in traditional garb, and what a treat it is. I went for the meat pie, which turned out to be a plate of heaven. The pastry was perfectly crusty and flaky, the meat wonderfully spiced (we could smell them baking from the street below) and the accompanying potato, red cabbage, relish and pickled beet were an expert match.
Kevin had the daily special, which was fillet of sole au gratin, and was very pleased with the delicate and cheesy dish. The best part of the meal by far, however, was dessert. Maple syrup pie, a version of Quebec’s famous sugar pie, was perfection on a plate. Sort of like a butter tart without the nuts; it was buttery and sweet and accompanied by delicious real whipped cream. My only regret is that we didn’t buy a pie to bring home!
Another noteworthy meal was dinner at Le Cochon Dingue, which a french speaking friend tells me means the “crazy pig.” This cozy little place is down in the old lower town, not far from the funicular, which comes in handy when you are too stuffed after dinner to climb the many, many stairs back to your hotel. Le Cochon is crazy in a fun and happy way, of course. This cheerful restaurant featured equally cute and cheerful female staff, with checkered tables and a bright, happy atmosphere. Several glasses of sangria made us feel even more cheerful, of course. We ate the “Dingue Formula.”
This is a version of the plat du jour, and for $30, we had soup, salad, steak frites, dessert and coffee. Let’s just say the funicular came in handy after that adventure. My favourite part was the dessert. I chose strawberry cheese pie, which was a pastry crust filled with a cream cheesy centre and topped with fresh strawberries and berry sauce. The sweet-tart creamy combo was heaven- and I hope to attempt a re-creation in my kitchen some day soon.
On our last day in QC, our train left at 1pm. We saved our croissant for an afternoon snack, and went for breakfast at the place to be: Casse-Crepe Breton, just down the street from our hotel on Rue St-Jean. The Old Quebec theme repeated here- cozy, cheerful and staffed by cute young ladies. Kevin thinks that all the boys must be out driving delivery trucks for the summer, because they are certainly not working as waiters. Kevin and I both had savoury crepes to start, mine a ham-swiss-asparagus combo, and Kevin’s an egg-bacon-cheese creation. I think mine was better, but we’ll have to agree to disagree. I’m excited to try some savoury crepes of my own some day soon.
We finished with sweet crepes, and I have to say my cherry one fell short of my expectations, it was cherry pie filling and cool whip. A total let down. Kevin’s had fresh blueberries and appeared to be significantly more tasty. I left half my cherry crepe behind, a bad sign as I am a compulsive plate cleaner! I think the key is to enjoy the savoury crepes and to skip the “whipped cream,” as it is really just a poor imitation.
Other notable eats included some really creamy brie and crusty baguette, greedily consumed as an afternoon picnic, as well as several pints of local brew- I really love their take on a blond beer.
Overall, our trip was filled with lovely sites punctuated by delicious food. I wouldn’t choose to go in summer again, the sidewalks were bursting with tourists by mid-week, but a fall trip several years from now is definitely on my list of places to go and things to eat.