Recently, my husband and I went back to Quebec to visit my family and friends. We spent two weeks there, and unlike other times I went, I made almost no plans. I just wanted to enjoy my time there, see my loved ones and take the trip day by day.
As this is how I tend to do things, this trip was very food-heavy. Therefore, I decided to publish my adventures into five different posts:
- This one! Food I saw and tried, a general journal of our trip.
- Quebec Cooking: Some of the dishes I prepared during the trip.
- Visiting Montreal: The places we ate and my general impressions of the city.
- Trying Weird Food: I brought some weird food from the international market and asked my parents and brother for their comments on each of them.
- Quebec Haul: Everything I brought back from my trip.
So look for these posts in the upcoming weeks! And for now, here’s how my trip went.
As always, the first stop of the trip had to be for poutine. Since I first moved to the U.S. in 2006, my first meal when coming back home as always been poutine. While most poutines in Quebec would be satisfying, I was really craving one from a small old-school snack bar in my hometown, Casse-Croûte Chez Auger. I enjoyed a poutine that was just as perfect while Jeff tried some smoked meat…with a side of cheese curds. 🙂
On our first full day in town, I forced my husband and my brother to go to the flea market with me. I used to go all the time with my dad when I was younger, but since he was recovering from knee surgery, he wasn’t able to join me on this adventure. How I wish I had a suitcase large than a carry-on to bring back all the vintage Pyrex dishes!
Next is a look at random items I noticed while grocery shopping. I was particularly taken by the wide variety of selection for certain items (keeping in ming that none of the grocery stores we visited were bigger or fancier than a Kroger). So much pâtés, so much cretons (breakfast meat spread, see my recipe here), such a wide variety of sprouts…at some point I just had to stop myself from taking pictures of everything.
On Quebec National Day, I indulged in some Quebec-themed M&M’s before getting ready for the big celebration. As I did as a child, I took my husband to his first real St-Jean-Baptiste, in a big park located in my hometown. Of course, we found the food first, and I was overjoyed to find ketchup powdered seasoning for the wiggle chips. Later on, we enjoyed the large bonfire and the 30 minutes of fireworks. I always tried to explain to Jeff how our fireworks are better than most types you’ll see in the U.S. and he finally understood. the variety of colors and firework styles was impressive. And if we had been a bit closer to the speakers, we would have also noticed how the fireworks were synchronized to music! For my first Quebec National Day back home since 2006, this was perfect.
Lunch date at Au Coin Du Rocher with dad after running some errands. Of course, we share an all-dressed pizza (with pepperoni, bell peppers and mushroom) and gravy fries, because why not?
Meanwhile, running errands with my mom meant stopping by the le Marché Public (indoor farmer’s market) for fresh meat, cheese and coffee beans.
Another thing I particularly enjoyed on this trip was being able to compare Quebec and American products. While my husband and I both thought we hated gin, we quickly realized that Quebec gin is produced differently and tastes so good. Now I get why everyone’s into gin tonic there!
The cheese selection is also pretty incredible. We used every possible occasion to try all the cheese we could. And talking of cheese, nothing beats fresh cheese curds from the cheese store. They squeak in your mouth and I have never found cheese curds quite that fresh in the U.S.
The produce were also quite spectacular. The fruits were overall smaller than the ones you would purchase at an American grocery store but they were so much more flavorful. I noticed that Quebec people are proud of their fresh produce and make a more conscious effort to buy local, rather than fruits and vegetables from the U.S., Mexico, or overseas. On many street corners, you would find produce stands, offering whatever had just been picked at a nearby farm.
To keep the tradition, my dad and I love to enjoy a meal at our local Chinese restaurant, Café Hong Kong. Since he was recovering from knee surgery, I made the food come to him, rather than going to the restaurant. We shared generous portions of dry spare ribs, pineapple chicken, wonton soup, egg rolls, chicken wings, chicken fried rice and chicken chow mein.
It was so nice to be home to enjoy a relaxing time with our loved ones, without the pressure to go everywhere like our last trip during the Christmas break in 2016. We didn’t feel rushed at any point. I even managed to be reasonable and active enough to get to eat all the food I was craving while not gaining an excessive amount of weight, which is always a problem when I go back home.
On this note, keep your eye out for my next post, all about the food I cooked during the trip.