Monday, August 06, 2018

Eating OFF the Hill: Days Four, Five and Six in Quebec City

One cannot eat like a culinary King all the time -- at least not on my salary. So the second half of my trip to Quebec City featured less of the fancy meals. But there are still a few meals worth sharing.

I actually had plans to get back on track for lunch on Friday with the tourtiere at La La Cuisine, but after trekking down there I was turned away as apparently they closed at 2:00 PM and I had arrived at 1:40 PM.

Thankfully, there was a random Chinese place a few doors down that also closed at 2:00 PM but was still willing to offer me food in exchange for money.

Reasturant La Petit Dana

Normally I wouldn't cover random Chinese lunch, but customer service points to them after the bad experience at their neighbours. I ordered the lunch special, General Tao chicken with a chicken noodle soup, Chinese style.

It was soup, It was fine. It was hot. There were noodles. Also, another Diet Pepsi. Any time I saw a Diet Coke in Quebec, it was like a moment of wonder.

General Tao chicken. It was fine. It was good. Didn't taste pre-made, though of course it was. Chicken was crispy. There were the expected vegetables Filled me up for the walk down to the Museum of Civilization, aka random stuff from someone's garage.

Dinner that night was Chez Ashton again before going to a baseball game. No picture. Had a cheeseburger with sauteed peppers and onions this time; that was different. And a poutine with ground beef. Was enjoyable.

Saturday was a write-off, culinary-wise. Skipped breakfast, and hopped the bus up to Montmorency Falls -- swarming with tourists. Taller than Niagara Falls I'm told, but not as wide. There was a cool gastro food truck I wanted to try, but they were cash-only and I was cashless. So it was MacDonald's before getting the bus back down to the city and a torrential downpour chased me back to my AirBnB instead of more excursions.

I did order some St. Hubert delivery that evening though. No picture, but it was delicious and meaty. Sugar pie for desert to keep it authentic.

Sunday, and I had a half-day before catching the train home, and I was determined to do my last meal right. Brunch at Bugel Fabrique, recommended from Anthony Bourdain's visit to Quebec.

Bugel Fabrique

It's outside the main touristy district, a block back from Rene Levesque, although some did make the trek, along with many locals. I got there during prime brunching hours, so there was about a 20 minute wait, but when I was done the line had cleared.

It's a small, homey place with a small patio. Menu is very much like Kettleman's in Ottawa, and so are the bagels -- Montreal style. I had read they sweetened the bagels with local honey, but I didn't taste a difference.

I ordered a toasted sesame bagel with goat cheese and a side of fruit -- I ended up with swiss cheese instead. Had to flag them down after it arrived to remind them of the orange juice I'd ordered. As for the cheese, I thought, maybe this is how goat cheese melts? I confirmed that, of course not, when I got the cheque. So service was haphazard. And that was not $2.95 worth of fruit I paid extra for. I understand they've got to maintain their margins, but jeez.

It was a good bagel and a fine brunch spot, but no better than Kettleman's and weak on service, although friendly enough.

Train cold plate

With a 3:00 PM departure from Quebec City -- and the smallest Via business lounge I've seen since Dorval -- they served a cold plate between Quebec and Montreal. Either chicken strips with naan, or a cheese plate. And I was seriously conflicted, as a cheese plate is my usual go-to purchase when in Via economy. but they mentioned pickles and olives as a key part of this particular cheese plate -- and I dislike both of those. So, the chicken it was.

This one was an interesting mix of two cuisines: Greek and Indian.Little naans, Indian. Chicken strips with a curry sauce, Indian. Chick peas in tomato sauce, half-Indian? Diced tomatoes and cucumbers, Greek. Tzatziki sauce, Greek. Fusion, I guess? I added taziki and veggies to my naan before adding the chicken for a little flat bread. It was OK. Was excited when I saw the desert as I thought it was a blondie. But no, banana bread. Which would feel like a cheated desert, but I've made it and know it has a stupid amount of sugar.

Train dinner

With Montreal receding behind us, after some weird maneuvering to get us facing the right way, it was time for dinner. Butternut squash ravioli, Korean beef, or lemon butter cod. My choice was easy -- the cod it was. As I've said before, the fish is always a safe choice on Via.

The cod could have been cooked a smidge less, and while I couldn't make out the lemon, the butter was subtle and added to a tasty fish, with quinoa and roasted veggies. Some brie and Swiss with grapes gave me the cheese I missed out on earlier, and the chocolate pudding was delish. A thoroughly enjoyable train meal.

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