Quebec City – The First Bites

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We arrived in Quebec City around lunchtime.

The first thing I wanted to do was stop at the cafe or bar at the Chateau Frontenac. Alas, it was not open until 4pm. However, I did have a list of recommended restaurants.

I don’t know how it was chosen, but L’Inox was meant to be our first stop. I had notes next to it that said “Brewery? Quick bite.” Don’t ask me where I got these recommendations. I have been collecting links for a couple of years!

I searched for it on Google maps and located it outside the city walls. {Yes, Vieux-Québec was once a fortified city, quite uncommon in North America, hence adding to the European-like charm.} L’Inox was called Bar L’Inox on the map, so that is probably the reason for all the question marks in my notes. Across the road from L’Inox on the map was an establishment called Les 3 Brasseurs (The 3 Brewers). Yes, this definitely sounded like a place we needed to stop! And because we saw it first, that’s where we ended up.

This is where my experience with Québecois French began. When speaking French, I was automatically replied to in English. We pulled a seat up to the bar. Both French and English menus were offered.

Normally, in France, I’d see this as a bad sign. It often means that the restaurant is very touristy and isn’t going to be very good. However, we found that in both Québec City and Montréal, both options were offered almost always.

I ordered the featured beer, the Rhubiscus, made with – you guessed it – rhubarb and hibiscus.

I love the name of this beer. First, look at the photo above with the Rubick’s Cube stamp. Now, if you pronounce Rhubiscus in French, it sounds like ROO-BEES-COOSE, very close! So I thought the stamp was clever. The beer itself was just okay. But I appreciated the effort.

While perusing the menu, we discovered that this was a chain! DOH! We don’t like to do chains when we travel {or ever, really}. However, we liked the story of their inception in France and opted to stay for lunch.

Immediately my eyes went to this:

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Did you see it?! YES! The Grilled Camembert! It was like a dream come true to have this on the menu! {And look at the photo.} Still, the portion size was meant for sharing and there is no way Rob was going to order that with me for lunch.

We opted for something different to split:

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Flamm (as the servers like to call it) originated in Northern France. Since this was their specialty and something I’d never heard of before, we had to get it. {Notice how there is a poutine version? I swear there is a poutine version of nearly everything in Québec!}

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Braised Beef and Brie Blue Flamm

All I remember about this was that it was just okay. I can’t remember exactly why – if it was the flavor, the meat or the crust. This was our first meal of the trip and we had much more memorable bites! They also talked us into the fries. {One of the servers was training and practicing her upsell. We gave in.}

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They were fine. I thought I wouldn’t like the dijon mayonnaise, but was pleasantly surprised! Little did I know that this was only the beginning of All The Fries and I would get very sick of them very soon!

After lunch and full bellies, we decided to finally check out L’Inox. The sign outside reads “L’Inox Maîtres Brasseurs” (Master Brewers), so it truly was a brewery – no question mark about it! We came to learn that it was the first microbrasserie (microbrewery) in Québec City.

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Rob was hoping to find beers other than Belgians {of which he is not a fan and are very common in Québec}. To his surprise, he found a nice IPA. This is also when I learned a few more new vocabulary words! Like houblons, which are hops. One thing I like about Québec is that you can either order a verre (glass) or a pinte (pint). I could just get a small beer when I so desired. {Beer at lunch makes me sleepy!}

I took a look around at the décor and smiled at these prints:

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You’ve got some legends up there… Jimi Hendricks, Paul McCartney and … Jean Leloup.

“Legends? Who is Jean Leloup?” you ask? Well, the only reason I knew was that I read the Québecois book The Girl Who Was Saturday Night before I left for this trip. The book is set in the 90s and at one point, Leloup was mentioned. I had no idea what they were talking about, so I looked him up:

Jean Leloup is a Québécois singer-songwriter and author from Sainte-Foy, Québec, Canada.

He is known for his colourful personality and unique musical style in the francophone rock community.

I immediately looked him up on Pandora and played his and similar artists’ songs! I would say a lot of what I heard was somewhat more folk than rock; but I was also in the midst of reading that book where the father is a (fictional) Québecois folk singer. So maybe that is influencing my memory.

Back to L’Inox.

Although there was no way we could eat another bite, we took a look at their small menu.

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Our bartender recommended the hot-dog. After seeing one delivered to a guy down the bar, we knew we’d be back. And smoked meat? Yeah, that was mentioned in nearly every Québecois book I read. We were saving that for Montréal.

Later, we stumbled upon a wine bar that I learned was also on my list!

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We pulled up a seat to the bar at this classy looking place. This is the type of ambiance I crave in the southern suburbs of Minneapolis/St. Paul! We settled in for a nice glass of red.

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But somehow, ordering some wine meant you got some snacks to accompany it:

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At first we thought it was a mistake, but the bartender explained to us that it was complimentary. Yes, that is burrata in there! The olives were just divine, too.

I decided to peruse the extensive wine menu a bit further to see if I could find any Canadian wines. I knew that they are particularly know for their ice wines, where the grapes are harvested when they are frozen.

Instead, I found this:

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Cidre de Glace – Ice Cider! Yup, I knew what I was having for dessert.

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So good…

Where do you like to start when you arrive in a new city?

Cheers~
Carrie

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6 responses »

  1. Pingback: Quebec City – Exploring | Season It Already!

  2. Pingback: Quebec City – Outside the Walls | Season It Already!

  3. Pingback: Terrasses & Salty Cheese | Season It Already!

  4. Pingback: Château Frontenac | Season It Already!

  5. Pingback: Quebec City: Breweries & Brunch | Season It Already!

  6. Pingback: Quebec City: Observations & Next Time | Season It Already!

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