A Semi-Foodie Adventure to Quebec City

So this one time NES and I went on vacation and I kinda fell off the face of the blogging world.  Oops.  But the good news is that we did all the research on all of the poutine!

Anyhow, we started our vacation (technically) with a trip to Mom and Dad S's house for 4th of July barbecue and fireworks!  We also spent the day (impatiently) waiting for news of baby B!
Baby B is one patriotic baby, and we were rewarded with news he was here!  More on that later!
We stopped for lunch and ice cream on the way up!  It's always fun to go back to the places we went growing up! 

We headed the next day up to Derby Line, Vermont and got an Austrian breakfast the next morning!  I had eggs, potatoes with cheese, and a sausage!  It was really yummy.  NES got a Belgian waffle.
One of our innkeepers was actually from Austria, and and cooked on cruise ships, and he gave the best explanation of Quebec City I've ever heard (my summary):
It's like people from Europe came to the new world, and when they realized they were going to be staying, they built their city using  memories of their childhood in Europe.  

We drove up to Quebec City the next morning, and arrived around lunch time!  It was a hot and humid day, so we didn't have much energy (especially after driving all morning), so we made our way up to the Grand Allee for lunch!  I got a salad with goat cheese on crostini and crazy beet spirals on top!  NES got some sort of burger.  Our innkeeper in Derby Line had suggested we make sure to eat outside on the Grand Allee, so we checked that off our list right away!

We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring near our B&B and sitting in the shade in a park near the library.  It was hot and humid, as I said, and we were tired.

After we settled in, we headed to a bakery listed in the travel guide we had.  It was cafeteria-style, and they also had gelato!  We didn't get any.  Actually, we didn't get any gelato in Quebec City, even though it was everywhere. That is kind of surprising to me!

I had a lovely chocolate brioche (yum) and NES found bread with cheese and bacon, kind of like a calzone.  I'm still not entirely sure what they were called in French.  Plus, we got vanilla macaroons!  This bakery experience led us to basically get at least one similar meal for the rest of our days in the city!

We stayed in a cute little B&B between the Grand Allee and Rue St. Jean.  Every morning, our breakfast started with tea and homemade yogurt.  It was served every morning with some tropical fruit, granola and maple syrup, and was garnished with some sort of seasonal fruit.  Yum!

The first morning, breakfast was a waffle served with whipped cream and chocolate chips!  Mmmmm.

Also, we had this pretty little view from our room!  After the first couple days (when it was no longer 95+ degrees), it was a very pretty little place to sit and relax!

We found this nearby!

The second day was also hot and humid, but for some reason we immediately decided to go to La Citadelle for the changing of the guard.  And although I'm not usually a Starbucks person, it was the easiest coffee place to find near La Citadelle, and I tried a s'mores frappuccino with a cookie straw.  Besides the fact that the straw was broken, and the top of the frappuccino was a bit watery, it was quite yummy.  And I mean, getting to eat the cookie straw that's lined with chocolate was a definite plus.

La Citadelle is the fort that protected Quebec City during the British rule, and although it was never really needed, it still holds the only French-speaking regiment in the Canadian army.  We watched the changing of the guard in the morning, complete with the regiment's goat mascot.  He's the descendant of a goat given to the regiment by Queen Victoria.  And he's totally why I knew I wanted to go back to see the changing of the guard again.

Afterwards, we toured La Citadelle itself and the Governor General's second home, which is within the military base.  He gets quite the view!

We found another bakery called La Maison Smith in a cute square down in the lower old city.  I think it's my favorite little square in the city, period.  It's right in front of the Notre Dame des Victoires church, and we sat out in the square eating our chocolate pastry and cheese and bacon bread.  I also had some grapes and cheese to round out the French lunch experience.  This might be my favorite meal (based solely on food and environment) of the week!
We got maple soft serve at what I thought was the place that BMM and I had gotten it 4 years ago.  It wasn't.  It was ok, but not as good as the stuff I remembered.
For dinner, we did our first round of poutine sampling!  We looked up lists of the best poutine places in the city, and ended up at Chic Shack!  This was NES's favorite food place we went to all week!  I thought it was pretty awesome from the start, because they had math formulas on the ceiling! 

We split a bowl of poutine: potatoes with herb gravy and cheese curds!  Despite my uncertainty about cheese curds, boy was it good!  The cheese curds make it much lighter than the poutine we've had in the US.  We both enjoyed it, and NES adored his vanilla milkshake with maple whiskey!  I had a house-made mango soda, and it was pretty good.

The next morning at the B&B we had yogurt again, and crepes!  I had mine with blueberry jam.  We had some very interesting discussions with the other guests at breakfast -- they were from as near as Montreal to as far as Australia!  They were all very interesting people to meet!

It was finally nicer the third day, so we walked EVERYWHERE!  We did walking tours of both the upper and lower old city, and it was a perfect day for it.  We walked over 15 miles!  It was gorgeous.

As a mid-morning snack, we got the right maple soft serve.  It was totally worth having it two days in a row.

We also returned to a favorite chocolate shop from when BMM and I had been there and I got this adorable hedgehog fudge pop.  Isn't he the cutest?!

They also had lady bugs and bumble bees.

We also walked through a really neat indoor market area (think semi-permanent farmer's market) and saw all the beautiful food.

Plus cones of maple syrup.  Because Canada.

We also found a Campbell's soup statue outside the market.  Cool, I guess?

For lunch (after both walking tours!) we ate at another cute cafe with a view of the river.  We both got sandwiches, but they were open-faced sandwiches, so really they were almost like French bread pizzas.  Mine especially so, since it was tomatoes, cheese and pesto.

In the afternoon, we wandered a little more, then sat and read in the Plains of Abraham. I should mention that Le Festival d'ete de Quebec (a giant music festival!) started the following day, so we also spent some of the time watching them put up the giant main stage.  I'm glad we didn't spend more days in the city than we did, since once the festival started, the whole aura of the city changed.  There were people EVERYWHERE.

In the evening, we continued our program of sampling poutine, and this time checked out the restaurant we found rated first for poutine in several places!  It was actually the fast food place directly next door to the first restaurant we had eaten at, so that was a little bizarre.  We decided that although the potatoes in this poutine were actual French fries (which was more what we expected), the little bit of extra flavor that the Chic Shack gravy had made the difference for us.  Chic Shack won over our hearts!

The next morning was more yogurt and waffles!  Yum.

We spent the last full day we had in the city at museums.  The first, the Musee de la Civilisation, was interesting: the exhibits varied from the history of Quebec (a very interesting topic, if I say so myself), Canadian animation (very interesting, and including some old animated films NES and I had just recently seen), Egyptian magic, and carriages.   We actually spent most of the morning, and a few hours of the afternoon, here, most of it surrounded by not less than 5 different groups of small children.  It was still enjoyable though.

We ate croissants (because we needed to have some eventually!) for a snack, and had to try some hickory smoked bacon potato sticks!

Then we stopped back in my favorite little plaza for some Italian food.  I had homemade pasta with sauce, and NES had a pizza.  It hit the spot, and I got to eat in my plaza again!

After (mid-afternoon) lunch, we headed up to the art museum, Musee National des Beaux-Arts du Quebec.  We were interested in their exhibit about the influence of Japanese art on the impressionists and Art Nouveau.   Ends up most of the art was from the Boston MFA, which is a museum NES and I have both been to multiple times.  But hey, we were in Quebec and so was it.  So there.

In the evening, we had our most exciting and French meal of the trip!  We headed to Ciel! Bistro-Bar on top of one of the City's tallest buildings!  It is a rotating restaurant, and we attempted to catch the sunset and a full 360 degree view of the City.  We accomplished the later, but it was cloudy, so no sunset for us.

As this was around the time the festival began, we had escaped the crowds on the ground, and it was pretty impressive to see all the people from up there!

We got split pea soup to start.  I was excited about it, but NES was a little concerned.  We had decided on appetizers, since that'd help us stay up there for the full 1 1/2 rotation.  However, the pea soup was amazing.  It was garnished with bacon, and the whole thing tasted smokey and lovely.  It was so good.

Then came the main courses.  I had a barley risotto with cheese and some veggies.  It was really yummy, but extremely filling!  NES had steak with carrot purree.  His steak was cooked perfectly and melted in your mouth.  Yum.

Then, came dessert!  We tried to save room (somewhat unsuccessfully), but managed to finish and see the rest of the view!  I had a mint meringue with mint whipped cream and berries, and NES had a chocolate and caramel brownie.

It was quite the evening!   And it was a perfect way to celebrate our anniversary a few days early!  (On our actual anniversary we may have had pizza and wine and settled in to watch a movie.)

The next morning, we had yogurt at the B&B and then a sweet potato dish.  I'm not 100% sure what it is called, but it was similar in texture to a savory sweet potato pie.  I liked it, but would probably have preferred it for a meal besides breakfast.

Then we said goodbye and packed up!  The heat was coming back, so we weren't sad to be leaving that, but we were a little sad to leave the city.

On the way back to the US, we stopped in a small town near the border where NES's relatives had lived a long time ago.  It was a really pretty area!

But now I think it's time to call our semi-foodie adventure to Quebec complete and wait to post our adventures in Vermont and after we got home (we had a few days for day trips!) in a separate post.  Thanks, if you made it through all of that!


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