Travel Tips: Quebec City

Quebec City is great; like a smaller Paris.  Husband and I really enjoyed our brief sojourn.  Quebec is very walkable and compact with a surprising amount of attractions and distractions.  The noticeable lack of chain shops and restaurants was refreshing.

Before we headed up North, I found a very informative posting on Quebec City on Gluten-Free Globe.  Sadly, somewhere along the way on the trip, I lost the print out.  This left me wandering around Quebec City rather hungry and annoyed with myself.

I do not have a smart phone.  So googling again on the fly was not really an option.  Based on the foregoing paragraph, you may have deduced that I do not speak French.  I had forgotten my gluten-free traveler cards and was wondering what to do.

Luckily, we found ourselves near an information center.  I did indeed receive the blank stare I was expecting when I asked about gluten-free options. However, the desk clerk told me to hold on a minute. After several minutes and a very animated conversation with someone in the back, she returned with a list of restaurants some of which had gluten-free menus and/or will accommodate gluten allergies.

Here is a copy of the list:

Commensal (Vegetarian / Vegan as well, so bummed we didn’t get to try it)

L’Entrecôte Saint Jean

Le 47ième Parrallèle

Le Cosmos Café

Le Lapin Sauté

Le Saint-Amour

Leche Babine

Voodoo Grill

Since it was Alan’s birthday and there is nothing he likes more than steak and profiteroles, we headed to L’Entrecôte Saint Jean, which is famous for both.  We sat at the bar, which was not very romantic, but still pleasant.  The restaurant had the ambiance of a bistro in Paris.  It was really busy and loud, but not annoyingly so.

Our meals started with a salad. The salad was straightforward: Boston lettuce, toasted walnuts and Dijon vinaigrette. It was flavorful and light.

Husband had steak and fries.  He said it was great.  I snuck a few of his fries.  They were crispy and perfectly seasoned.  I had a mustard crusted salmon with steamed veggies and rice: a simple, well-seasoned dish.

We could see into the kitchen, which was captivating.  Everything was done with mechanical precision and speed.  There was one chef just tending the steaks and another just cutting and frying potatoes

There were several gluten-free desserts, including chocolate mousse and crème caramel.  I went for crème caramel, which was good, but found the caramel pooled at the edges to be a little watery. Alan enjoyed the profiteroles, but obviously those are not gluten-free.  He said he was surprised that they were filled with ice cream instead of cream, which made the pastry a little gummy.

The next morning, before embarking on a walk through the Plains of Abraham (so beautiful), we went to Château Frontenac, which happily was able to accommodate us. The waitress was really nice and completely shocked by my allergy. She was genuinely very concerned; asking what I could eat if I couldn’t eat bread.

I had eggs benedict (over potatoes instead of English muffins) served with asparagus and fresh tomatoes.  Husband had bacon and eggs, which came with a basket of little Danishes, which looked, and by Husband’s account, tasted amazing.

I did sample the jams along side and did not miss the bread much at all.  They were clearly fresh and changed my mind about marmalade.  Normally, I dislike the overwhelming bitterness of the orange rind, but this marmalade balanced the bitterness with honey.  I wanted to eat it all day.

It was expensive for breakfast, but it kept us full until dinner.

As a random side note: one of the things I find really intriguing about Canadian cuisine is that un-pasteurized diary products are legal.  I hunted down some un-pasteurized cheese and snuck it across the border.  Ironically, just as I was sitting down to enjoy it, I turned on the DVR and saw this Colbert Report on the Rawsome Foods raid.   Sadly, my little crime did not pay.  The cheese was really sharp and bitter.

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