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My husband and I are heading up to Mont Tremblant in Quebec next month for a week to celebrate our anniversary and I am wondering if anyone has dined up there, and if so, any suggestions? Also, anywhere within within 30 miles is acceptable, we will have a car so that will be no problem. I realize it is a touristy area, but am hoping to find something romantic and special. The bad part I hear is it is also spring break time for Canada schools so I am kind of deading going up there. I think reservations may be a necessity.

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Here is an all-Canadian, mostly PQ, banquet my group had last year in Montreal. The standouts were the venison and the ice wine. If you're unfamiliar with the latter, check it out on Google. It's extraordinary.

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Napoléon of Anna potatoes, cream of Vodka and green lemon, marinated salmon shaped as a rose.

Cold soup: Cappucino of carrot, ginger and lime

Foie gras poélé, salsa of exotic fruits, glazed with maple

WINE: Pinot Blanc, 2002, family estate, Okanagan Valley, BC

Rack of Boileau Deer, Geniper berries, jelly of green fir sap

WINE: Mission Hill 2001, Merlot, BC

Assortment of Quebec cheeses, (goat, blue, crème de la crème), sprouts of baby “cressonette fontaine”

Déclinaison of L’Ile d’Orléans strawberries

WINE: “Ice Wine”: Konzelmann Estate Winery, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, VQA

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Here is an all-Canadian, mostly PQ, banquet my group had last year in Montreal.  The standouts were the venison and the ice wine. If you're unfamiliar with the latter, check it out on Google.  It's extraordinary.

------------------------

Napoléon of Anna potatoes, cream of Vodka and green lemon, marinated salmon shaped as a rose.

Cold soup:  Cappucino of carrot, ginger and lime

Foie gras poélé, salsa of exotic fruits, glazed with maple

WINE:  Pinot Blanc, 2002, family estate, Okanagan Valley, BC

Rack of Boileau Deer,  Geniper berries, jelly of green fir sap

WINE:  Mission Hill 2001, Merlot, BC

Assortment of Quebec cheeses, (goat, blue, crème de la crème), sprouts of baby “cressonette fontaine”

Déclinaison of L’Ile d’Orléans strawberries

WINE:  “Ice Wine”: Konzelmann Estate Winery, Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, VQA

Funny you should mention the Ice Wine. Hubby and I were up in Montreal last year and we stopped at this fantastic wine store (it was huge) across the street from a Farmers Market in the St Henri section. There was a rep from Domaine Pinnacle doing tastings and we ended up buying 2 bottles. I haven't opened them yet. Saving them for the anniversary next month. Perhaps will pop one open this weekend as we are having a few guests over. Thanks for reminding me!

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To make it easy, here is an excerpt from www.ontariograpes.com:

"To make Icewine, the grapes are left on the vine until after the first frost hits. These grapes are harvested after being frozen in the vineyard and then, while still frozen, they are pressed. They must be picked early - before 10 a.m. During both of these processes the temperature cannot exceed -8 degrees C. At this temperature (-8 degrees C) the berries will freeze as hard as marbles. While the grape is still in its frozen state, it is pressed and the water is driven out as shards of ice. This leaves a highly concentrated juice, very high in acids, sugars and aromatics.

In Ontario and in Germany, icewine is defined as naturally frozen. This means that here (Ont.) as in Germany, no other method of making icewine is allowed other than the natural method. No artificial freezing method constitutes icewine by definition or label."

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I had lunch this afternoon at Equinox on lower Conn Ave.  They are serving an Ontario ice wine for $18 a glass.

I think I mispoke earlier. What I have is ice cider. It is 12.5% alcohol. 12 lbs of apples go into a 375 liter bottle. Domaine Pinnacle website says to serve it as an apéritif , or with pâtés, foie gras, game or poultry, spicy dishes, fine cheeses, particularly blue, goat, aged cheddar and brie, with desserts, including of course, many apple-based classics. Improves with age, can be cellared up to 20 years. I am going back up to Montreal in a few weeks, if you're interested I can bring you back a bottle. I think I paid maybe $25 or $30 (I'm old I can't remember).

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I think I mispoke earlier. What I have is ice cider. It is 12.5% alcohol.  12 lbs of apples go into a 375 liter bottle.  Domaine Pinnacle website says to serve it as an apéritif , or with pâtés, foie gras, game or poultry, spicy dishes, fine cheeses, particularly blue, goat, aged cheddar and brie, with desserts, including of course, many apple-based classics.    Improves with age, can be cellared up to 20 years. I am going back up to Montreal in a few weeks, if you're interested I can bring you back a bottle. I think I paid maybe $25 or $30 (I'm old I can't remember).

I picked up one of the Ice Ciders at Duty Free last year. Haven't tried it yet. I have several bottles of ice wine that need to be drunk but I can't bring myself to open them...I keep waiting for the right moment....
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I have several bottles of ice wine that need to be drunk but I can't bring myself to open them...I keep waiting for the right moment....

A suggestion: How about one of the dr.com dinners? Of course it would have to be in DC, where corkage is allowed. If you're going to be at Corduroy One, I'd be happy to share the 50 year old Burgundy I'm planning to bring (pending mdt's approval). I believe I offered you a draught at Ray's.

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Change of plans, we've decided to go to Mont Ste Anne skiing instead of Tremblant in 2 weeks. We are staying a brief drive away to Quebec City. Looking for somewhere special to dine to celebrate our 7th anniversary. We are spending the day/evening there so will also be looking for somewhere to eat lunch. Any recommendations appreciated!

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For your Seventh anniversary, consider L'Initiale:

http://www.relaischateaux.com/en/search-bo...urant/initiale/

This is the restaurant's website:

http://www.restaurantinitiale.com/en/00.html

Arguably this is the best restaurant in Quebec City but there is some serious competition. This is one of the "hottest" restaurant towns in North America right now. Also consider (and research) Laurie Raphael, L'Utopie and Panache. Whichever you choose you should make the reservation right now.

For lunch I would suggest going to the "Lower Town" which is the Old Town at the bottom of the hill that the Chateau sits on. Quebec City is known for a really incredible spaghetti that is the stuff of dreams for someone who wants to gain as much weight as possible at one seating: spaghetti with meat sauce and meatballs which is also covered by several layers of mozzarella cheese, put in the oven and it all melts into one gloriously, fattening glop. Several of the places in Lower Town feature this; they're touristy but the dish, when done right, is outrageously and disgustingly edible. Note, I didn't say "good." But throw in some garlic bread and you won't stop eating.

If you haven't been to Quebec City it is fantastic and feels very much like a smaller town in France. Prettier than most for that matter. It's also been my experience that fewer people speak English there than in, say, Paris. Perhaps a point of pride and years of contention with English speaking Canada.

Edited by Joe H
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For your Seventh anniversary, consider L'Initiale:

http://www.relaischateaux.com/en/search-bo...urant/initiale/

This is the restaurant's website:

http://www.restaurantinitiale.com/en/00.html

Arguably this is the best restaurant in Quebec City but there is some serious competition. This is one of the "hottest" restaurant towns in North America right now. Also consider (and research) Laurie Raphael, L'Utopie and Panache. Whichever you choose you should make the reservation right now.

For lunch I would suggest going to the "Lower Town" which is the Old Town at the bottom of the hill that the Chateau sits on. Quebec City is known for a really incredible spaghetti that is the stuff of dreams for someone who wants to gain as much weight as possible at one seating: spaghetti with meat sauce and meatballs which is also covered by several layers of mozzarella cheese, put in the oven and it all melts into one gloriously, fattening glop. Several of the places in Lower Town feature this; they're touristy but the dish, when done right, is outrageously and disgustingly edible. Note, I didn't say "good." But throw in some garlic bread and you won't stop eating.

If you haven't been to Quebec City it is fantastic and feels very much like a smaller town in France. Prettier than most for that matter. It's also been my experience that fewer people speak English there than in, say, Paris. Perhaps a point of pride and years of contention with English speaking Canada.

Joe thank you so much for your recommendations. I will check them all out. As far as the spaghetti, I think it would be good to stock up on the carbs to burn for the skiing. But perhaps after eating it, all I'll want to do is nap!

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Joe thank you so much for your recommendations. I will check them all out. As far as the spaghetti, I think it would be good to stock up on the carbs to burn for the skiing. But perhaps after eating it, all I'll want to do is nap!

Any recommendations for Quebec City or Shawinigan, Quebec?

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Any recommendations for Quebec City or Shawinigan, Quebec?

My wife and I stayed in the old/lower part of Quebec City at the Auberge St. Antoine last Labor Day. There is a very expensive restaurant in the hotel called Panache, which gets raves, but which I thought was overpriced and understaffed. Our favorite meal of the trip was at L'Echaude. It was a boisterous french bistro-type place in the old town. Also good was Le Lapin Saute, though a bit touristy.

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Quebec has some really fine dining. Fortunately it also has some really good food.

Two hundred dollars (Canadian, post tax) will get you a glass of wine, asparagus with hollandaise and a poached egg, wild sea bass tartare, scallops on barley risotto, a not-big-enough bowl of morels, two desserts that I can't recall (anyone who knows me knows that's saying something), and a cup of very good coffee, all in a beautiful converted warehouse space that had the unfortunate ambiance of a "hushed temple of gastronomy" (as Waitman, I think it was, once wrote; wonderful phrase) that goes by the name Panache, at the swank Auberge St. Antoine in the unbelievably touristy Lower Town part of the city. It's possible (likely) that at this point in my life I am done with Fine Dining, and prefer Good Food (anywhere it can be found), so the Panache experience was wasted on me. But if you're looking for a special occasion meal, Panache would be a fine choice. There was absolutely nothing wrong with anything we ate other than it was awfully expensive.

A night later we had twice the fun at half the price, in a not-touristy part of town. Le Clocher Penché has a single large dining room, white tablecloths but bare floors, light wood wainscoting and warm yellow walls going way up to really nifty ceiling fans, and really large casement windows. The night we were there those windows were wide open, and the noise of several large parties of casually dressed people, including well-behaved children, spilled into the street, giving it the feel of a come-as-you-are neighborhood joint. And, it had outstanding food. We ate fried piglet croquettes, super crispy and served with a lemon tarragon potato salad, and a fresh cheese (rather labneh-like) with thinly sliced smoked duck and radishes. We got the special "for two" main course: a big hot casserole of vegetables in saffron broth with chorizo, mussels, scallops, shrimp, and arctic char layered atop. Dessert was a maple puff pastry with frangipane, candied almonds, and apple, and pineapple carpaccio with orange cake and yogurt. And another cup of really good coffee.

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There was a lot of good coffee all around town. For a morning or afternoon cup, my favorites ended up being Brûlerie St Jean and La Brûlerie de Café, both on rue St Jean "outside the wall", as they say. One of the baristas from the former place will be competing in the World Barista Championship in a few weeks, and I wish her the best of luck, because she pulled an awesome shot and the latte art wasn't bad, either.

On our third night we went to the highly regarded Le Patriarche and sadly fell victim to Fine Dining once again. And once again I'll state that, like Panache, there was absolutely nothing wrong with the experience other than it felt like highway robbery. Our meal took about two hours, and that's after we told the waiter we were in a bit of a hurry. It's the kind of place where you don't even get the menu until you've been sitting for ten minutes (not just us - I watched as later parties were seated).

Patriarche, like so many other places in Quebec, has the interesting aesthetic of modern and/or sparse furnishings in an ancient building, a lovely juxtaposition. The conceit concept is that every dish is a trilogy: three different preparations of the featured ingredient. Two hundred bucks this time got us for starters a subtle and refreshing carrot celery velouté and tomatoes with mozzarella and basil espuma, with microgreens, and something else. For mains Steve had scallop on saffron minestrone, salmon with corn, cilantro, and mango, and walleye with braised endive in a licorice sauce. I chose the vegetarian plate, composed of braised endive with celery root puree, miniature onion tart with saffron minestrone, and mushroom risotto with a Parmesan tuile.

Now don't get me wrong - I love to eat vegetarian in a fine dining restaurant. I love to see a chef treat vegetables with love and respect. But I couldn't help but feel that this exquisitely prepared sampling of Quebec's finest produce couldn't have contained more than about five dollars' worth of vegetables... and at $28 dollars it was by far the least expensive main course on the menu.

I forgot to take notes about dessert. Again, excellent ingredients, delightful concepts, wonderfully prepared. Beautiful setting, formal service. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Le Patriarche to someone looking for a special occasion place, except... ouch.

more reports to come.

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Our last dinner in Quebec was in a boisterous little wine bar called Le Moine Échanson. The menu changes often to highlight the featured wines. I started with a salad of fennel, spinach, orange, capers, and I think currants; the dressing tasted like an agrodolce. Steve had cod beignets with saffron mayonnaise, incredibly light textured and delicious, and served in a newspaper cone on a wooden board, which gives some idea of the ambiance. It's a newspaper and bare wood kind of place. My main course was cod en papillote, with a potato cake and spinach on the side; his was veal saltimbocca with prosciutto and eggplant risotto. This, two desserts, one glass of wine, one cup of coffee was about one hundred dollars.

Don't know if it's a trend or what, but it seemed every menu had saffron, chorizo, and cod on it.

For breakfast and lunch we mostly snacked around. It was easy enough to pick up a pastry or loaf of bread and something good to smear on it. We had one lunch at L'Echaude, but I can't recall the details other than the main course price includes an appetizer and dessert.

The Marche du Vieux Port was a little disappointing: only one cheese seller, one charcuterie place (but with excellent products: Les Cochons Tout Rond), a few trinket-selling vendors, a few honey and other bottled local products vendors, and about a gazillion produce vendors who sold nothing but strawberries. (That's an exaggeration - I think two also had root vegetables.)

If you want to get out of town for a bit, a drive round Île d'Orléans makes for a nice food-oriented afternoon. There's a chocolaterie, a fromagerie (rather touristy), at least one érablière (aka sugar shack), a large handful of wineries, some meat producers, and more strawberries than you can shake a stick at. We found the sugar shack particularly interesting, and purchased some maple products of a type and/or quality that I've never seen before. We also loaded up on things like ice cider, locally made rillettes and pates (duck, goose), lots of chocolate, and I don't remember what else. Fun afternoon.

Scattered about the entire province are dozens of cheese producers. Before leaving the city we got a loaf from a boulangerie (Le Paingruel, on rue St. Jean) and some olives from the market, and for lunch we picked up some cheese from one of these fromageries and sat in a little riverside city park.

I really like Quebec.

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Only ever here once, maybe 20 years ago. Had dinner once at Le Chateau Frontenac. Had a really, really good caesar salad there, made table side by a guy that really knew how to do it right. And a caribou entree that was so tender. mmmmm-MM.

Also had a late lunch at Bonaparte where I had some really incredible coffee.

It is funny how food memories can so stick with you and tie to you a place and time, isn't it?

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On 7/19/2011 at 8:21 PM, porcupine said:

Our last dinner in Quebec was in a boisterous little wine bar called Le Moine Échanson. The menu changes often to highlight the featured wines. I started with a salad of fennel, spinach, orange, capers, and I think currants; the dressing tasted like an agrodolce. Steve had cod beignets with saffron mayonnaise, incredibly light textured and delicious, and served in a newspaper cone on a wooden board, which gives some idea of the ambiance. It's a newspaper and bare wood kind of place. My main course was cod en papillote, with a potato cake and spinach on the side; his was veal saltimbocca with prosciutto and eggplant risotto. This, two desserts, one glass of wine, one cup of coffee was about one hundred dollars.

So, 8+ years later, when I'm finally going to spend several nights in QC, this place closes 2 months ago.  Oh well.  Anyone got any other wine bar ideas?  Or restaurants (already interested in going to Le Pied Bleu, L'Affaire Est Ketchup (really) & Le Continental).  Thanks.

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