Last month I was invited to visit Québec for the first time. In fact, it was the first time I had been to Canada at all, and what an experience!
If you know me at all, you know I kind of judge a destination by the food. Not just the food, but the food definitely comes into play. I had heard from so many people that I must try the poutine, and I did, but not until I was at the airport for my connecting flight in Montréal to go home! Though poutine is all everyone said it was and more, I found food in a few other places that blew my mind. And believe it or not, I found the first dish in a monastery.
The first night of my trip to Quebec was spent with The Monastère des Augustines. I was told a little about this monastery, including that there would be a healthy silent breakfast in the morning to honor the tradition of the nuns. I honestly did not know what to expect. What I found was one of the best things I've ever eaten for breakfast.
I know! It looks so simple! Bananas, orange slices, and some kind of juice with cloves, I think? When I find out the recipe, I will share! It was pure bliss. Then again, perhaps the memory is so sweet, I will not try to recreate it. So wonderful. More to come on the Monastére soon.
The next day our group was hosted at the lovely L23 Restuarant at the Hilton Québec. The view of Québec City from the 23rd floor of this hotel is spectacular.
Take a moment to look around using the telescope, too. So gorgeous.
A spectacular buffet is served for lunch at the Hilton Québec. There was a huge selection of meats, seafood, salads, veggies and, of course, dessert. My second favorite foodie find in Québec was the Tartare De Salmon on the buffet. Yes, those are pomegranate seeds sprinkled over the salmon. Who knew pomegranate seeds paired well with salmon? Unbelievably delicious.
I had heard from friends that being in Québec is the closest thing to being in France, and it's true, especially at this wonderful little cafe in downtown Québec. If I haven't shared before, bread is my weakness. But not just any bread. It has to be special, like a crunchy baguette or a buttery croissant. I had a curry chicken salad sandwich at Café-boulangerie Paillard, and the croissant was the absolute best I've ever tasted. So flaky and light. Often we are more concerned with the insides of the sandwich. Though the chicken salad was wonderful, the croissant was the star.
Though the latte was a nice accompaniment...
Pork cheeks is not something I would typically order, but my husband ordered it a few weeks before this trip and I timidly took a bite. So good! One look at the menu at L’Échaudé, and I knew what I would be ordering. It was fantastic. I tried and tried for better lighting, but trust me on how delicious this was!
Our last night in Québec we ate at Chez Boulay-bistro boreal in the Hôtel Manoir Victoria. Since I was on a roll with ordering something different, I decided to trust our host's opinion and ordered the confit goose and duck parmentier with scalloped parsnips, sautéed green cabbage, herb pesto with Labrador tea, and cooking jus. It was one of the best things I have ever eaten, anywhere. Tender pieces of goose and duck, not at all gamey, and the herb pesto with Labrador tea...who thinks of this? I can't wait to visit again!
And finally, not one of the foodie finds in Quebec (as I ate it in Montréal), but one of the most amazing, and fattening dishes on the planet...drum roll please...POUTINE. And though I did not eat it in Québec, Poutine was born in Québec in the 1950s.
Basically, this dish is simply french fries, meat and/or gravy, and cheese curds. OH-My-Word. Is it no surprise I gained weight on this trip? I will happily say I did not finish the poutine, though I did finish the local beer.
I've spoken to so may people who love Québec, but no one told me about the food scene there. With only a few days to experience it, I can only share a smattering. But rest assured, Québec is for foodies!
I'd love to hear about your experience in beautiful Quebec! Share in the comments!