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I ATE: Quebec

August 4, 2012 by Joan Nova in Travel, Travel Retrospectives | 13 Comments

Now that I’ve whined about my travel experience on my recent trip to Quebec City, I feel better so I’m happy to share some of the highlights; most importantly, a reunion of my travel gal pals.

Quebec is a lovely and picturesque city to visit but, with all due respect, there is a reason you don’t find Canadian restaurants in every corner of the world … 

They don’t have much of a traditional cuisine and what I tasted I didn’t particularly like. Of course, everyone said we had to try poutine (fried potatoes with brown gravy and cheese curd). And we did. We ordered 2 side orders for a table of 11 people. It tasted pretty good at first, but it’s wrong on so many levels that I knew I wouldn’t eat it again.

I also heard about tortiere (beef meat pie). That, too, was disappointing, at least in the place I tried it. Sort of pot pie but without the vegetables and thickener. Just ok and I wouldn’t order that again either.

Like many of us, when I travel I like to try food that is unique to the region. I take no comfort in ordering something that is familiar or ‘safe’. Within my own personal set of parameters, I try to be adventurous.

Once I got the idea of eating “Canadian food” out of the way, I discovered there are lots of good restaurants in Quebec but they’re basically of every other ethnicity.

Foie gras is a great regional specialty and I had it several times. This gorgeous dish was at the Hotel Ste-Anne, 32 Rue Ste Anne. It was foie gras on toast with caramelized onions, stewed figs, carrot preserve, fruits, and sauces. Each bite was heavenly.

Salmon is another speciality. This was the comforting duo I had at the Delta Quebec Hotel the night I arrived late, frustrated and hungry.

At the newly opened Bistro L’Atelier (624 Grande Allee Est), we sat outdoors and I thoroughly enjoyed this salad of boudin noir (blood pudding) served with a warm apple compote.

At Savini (680 Grande Allee Est), a popular Italian restaurant, lamb shank was a winner!

A little street photography.



And the very impressive Sainte Anne Beaupre.

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13 Comments

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  1. Katie says:

    Picturesque indeed, Joan! Your street shots are vibrant and colorful.

    Regarding poutine, I’ve heard about it, although I can’t say I’ve tried it. I love French fries, but I’m not sure about the gravy and cheese curds… Good for you for trying it though. Like you said, it’s important to sample the local cuisine and not just stick to the familiar when you travel.
    Katie recently posted..Estofado de carne | Beef RaguMy Profile

  2. I’m heading to Quebec for a couple of days in a month to kick off a girls trip also, so appreciated your thoughts about the food there!

  3. Too bad you were not in Montreal, we could have met! yeah the ‘popular’ Quebec dishes are fast food and not good. And in Quebec city there are a lot of tourist traps. A good tourtière at Christmas homemade is awesome. Game meat is the way to go for a local experience.
    Evelyne@cheapethniceatz recently posted..SRC: Creamy Coconut Bread PuddingMy Profile

  4. Lori Lynn says:

    Images are terrific!
    Poutine is so wrong! HA! I agree.
    LL
    Lori Lynn recently posted..A Lesson in Butchery and CookingMy Profile

  5. I’m sorry to hear that the tortiere wasn’t that good (I have friends who swoon over it) and am not surprised at the poutine, but wow–both the foie gras and the salmon made up for them! Beautiful. Looks like a delightful trip except for the travel part, which you are allowed to whine over.
    Flavors of the Sun recently posted..The Mysterious FruitMy Profile

  6. Beautiful Joan – Quebec is on my list and I know we’ll be going soon – the kids chose the beach instead for this year – ugh!

    I LOVED reading your comments about the Poutine – good to know! Some of the other eats look delightful :)

    chow :) DEVAKI @ weavethousandflavors
    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors recently posted..Goan Style Chicken Cafrael ~ A Delicious Herb Chicken that’s Goa’s answer to North Indian TandooriMy Profile

  7. Well, Joan, as in any country as vast as Canada, there are many Canadian Foods – just like in the US. Too bad your experiences were so unfortunate. That has happened to me in Italy, too – and no one would question the cuisine of Italy. Canadian food is second to none, but it IS also multi-cultural food. We are a multi-cultural nation and pride ourselves in that. It has been that way officially since 1981 and unofficially since 1969. Thus, our cuisine has evolved. We were founded at the same time as the US and the 13 colonies were part of our history, too… French and British cuisines dominate our culture, but with the Canadian translation. Like other countries, our food is based upon what is growing. Salmon is definitely Canadian food… we pride ourselves in both the west coast and East coast Salmons… and in the amazingly delicious preparations of West Coast Salmon by the First Nations and Aboriginal People. So many specialties to share with you! Saskatoon Berry Pie, Great Northern Bison, Tamworth Pork, High Bush Cranberry Jelly – wild game: elk, moose, etc… beautiful sustainable fish and shell fish and then the grains of the prairies and the produce! I would love for you to visit. We have so much to share!
    :)
    Valerie
    A Canadian Foodie recently posted..Fresh Raspberry TartMy Profile

    • Joan says:

      Thank you for taking the time to write such a thoughtful comment. I guess because it is a ‘different’ country I was expecting a traditional cuisine, not taking into account the multi-cultural aspect (like in the U.S.). My bad. I was only there for a few days and did enjoy the food, except for the 2 items noted. I definitely look forward to traveling in Canada again, especially exploring the west coast where I’ve never been.

  8. Wendy says:

    Thanks for the food info… We head to Qeubec (driving from Maine so no airline tales from me!) on Saturday… Busy packing and planning things to do!

  9. The post brings back some nice memories of this quaint city. Enjoyed the food and it looks like it continues to be creative and delicious. So glad you finally enjoyed the experience.
    Patricia Durr recently posted..Just Weeds and Water LilliesMy Profile

  10. Robin Sue says:

    Your photos are so vibrant and colorful Joan. I have not been there in years and would love to go back some day. Too bad about all the flight issues that put such a damper on your travels, but it looks like you always turn a bad thing into something fun and delicious!
    Robin Sue recently posted..SummertimeMy Profile

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