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First anniversary road-trip: Montreal, Quebec City, Portland, ME, and Boston

Moderators: I hope it's alright that I post this topic in both the Quebec and New England boards as it equally applies to both. If you feel differently feel free to remove one of the two.

Alright so it looks like we've come up with a basic outline for our first anniversary foodie road-trip in late-August 2010. The focal points of this trip will be Montreal and Quebec City but I'll lay it out in more detail and see what you guys think. Here we go:

Friday Night: Leave Abingdon, MD and hopefully make it to Albany, NY.
Food options: Tony Luke's in Philadelphia for dinner.

Saturday: Finish the drive up to Montreal.
Food options: Suggestions welcome.

Sunday: All day in Montreal.
Food options: Juliette et Chocolat. Jean-Talon Market. Suggestions welcome.

Monday: Breakfast in Montreal then drive to Quebec City.
Food options: Suggestions welcome.

Tuesday: All day in Quebec City.
Food options: Suggestions welcome.

**This is when the trip could go two different ways, I will separate our two options with a slash.

Wednesday: 2nd day in Quebec City / Breakfast in Quebec City then drive to Portland, ME.
Food options: Suggestions welcome.

Thursday: Breakfast in Quebec City then drive to Portland, ME. / All day in Portland, ME.
Food options: Lobster Shack at Two Lights. Suggestions welcome.

Friday: Breakfast in Portland, ME then drive to Boston, MA.
Food options: Clam Box in Ipswich, MA. J.T. Farnham's in Essex, MA. Suggestions welcome.

Saturday: Breakfast in Boston, MA then drive home to Abingdon, MD.
Food options: Breakfast at Mike & Patty's in Boston. Lunch at Still River Cafe in Eastford, CT. Lunch at Trackside Brick Oven Pizza in Wallingford, CT. Dinner at White Manna in Hackensack, NJ.

There are a few certainties we've already decided upon. We would like a decent dinner in all four cities including one very nice dinner which will be our anniversary dinner and the best possible lobster dinner along our projected route of travel. Also, Mike & Patty's and White Manna are definite stops as well as a stop for fried whole-belly clams (not sure where yet, suggestions welcome here! I think Clam Box is in the lead).

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  1. Folks, please keep replies on this board to suggestions for the Quebec side of the border. Advice on the New England portion may be added to sixteenbitcon's post on the New England board, here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/694312 Thanks!

    1. If you're going to the Jean-Talon Market, I would recommend stopping at Hamel's cheese shop around lunch time, which is situated in one of the permanent shops surrounding the central market area. They have a tiny cafe-bistro that has an great little cheese plate.

      My recommendations for Montreal are:
      Laloux or l'Express, La Paryse, l'Epicerie, St-Viateur Bagels, Olives et Gourmando, Taj

      -stay away from Toque!, which is just expensive with poorly seasoned food

      1. Montreal: Don't miss Au Petit Extra - but they do not speak much English.

        5 Replies
        1. re: StevensAve

          I'm having a lot of trouble in Montreal. I just made reservations for our first dinner at APDC and but I'm having trouble deciding on a restaurant for our second dinner. It's between Kitchen Galerie, L'Epress, and Garde-Manger. I'm thinking Kitchen Galerie since we were planning on touring the Jean-Talon Market anyway and Garde-Manger as we might need a lighter option after eating at APDC the day before. L'Express just looks really good. I've read both positive and negative reviews for all three. Any recent firsthand experiences/reviews would be very helpful!

          I've got Bistrot La Fabrique pencilled in for Sunday brunch as it's right around the corner from our hotel. Other snacks/options are Schwartz's although I was displeased to find that you have to dine in for a sandwich, Fairmount for bagels, Point G for macarons... I seriously doubt we'll be able to hit all of these places, but it doesn't hurt to have options!

          Jean-Talon Market
          7075 Avenue Casgrain, Montreal, QC H2S, CA

          L'Express Restaurant
          3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

          La Fabrique
          306 Av 4E, Saint-Paul-De-Montminy, QC G0R3Y0, CA

          Kitchen Galerie
          60 Rue Jean-Talon E, Montreal, QC H2R1S5, CA

          1. re: sixteenbiticon

            What do you mean "I was displeased to find that you have to dine in for a sandwich" at Schwartz's? You can do take-out, no problem.

            1. re: kpzoo

              Well, all of the reviews and pictures of sandwiches show people dining in and the take-out menu on their website lists only bulk items, so I just assumed. Please, by all means, correct me if I'm wrong.

              1. re: sixteenbiticon

                OK, consider yourself corrected. ;-)

            2. re: sixteenbiticon

              I would stop by L'Express for breakfast, lunch, or a very late night snack; it's a landmark, but I'm not sure there's much to make it distinctively Montreal. We really enjoyed our dinner at Joe Beef the last time we were there, so much that we went and ate one of their sister restaurants, which was also quite good. The prices were surprisingly expensive, but everything we had was first-rate. Anyway, just another possibility to consider.

              Joe Beef
              2491 Rue Notre-Dame W, Montreal, QC H3J1N6, CA

              L'Express Restaurant
              3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

          2. One of the finest dining pleasures in my life was in Quebec City at Le Saint Amour. We had dinner one night, went out the next night to a different restaurant and disliked it so bad we got up paid our bill and returned to Le Saint Amour for the 2nd time in two nights. Give it a try. Beautiful restaurant with outstanding food and service. Good luck.

            Le Saint Amour @ 48 rue Ste-Ursule, Qu├ębec, QC G1R 4E2, Canada 418 - 694 - 0667.


            We have been to QC twice and both times we had lunch at a great French Cafe directly N of Chateau Frontenac. The front of the restaurant faces the green space N of the hotel. I think it was Cotes A Cotes Resto-Grill but I remember it being on corner directly N of the hotel. It was a small restaurant with outside seating on the corner of Rue Sainte Anne and Rue De Fort. Also a great restaurant is Laurie Raphael down below the Frontenac in Old Town which is a beautiful place to shop and visit. It's directly below the Frontenac.

            Go N of the hotel to the Farmers Market on the waterfront near the old port just to walk around and visit. It's really a beautiful place. Good luck.

            Le Saint Amour
            48 Rue Sainte Ursule Vieux, Quebec, QC G1R, CA

            1. Honestly, I don't understand the fascination with Juliette et Chocolat... to me its average desserts and the fact that its a defacto chain now reflects that. Their crepes are mediocre imo, and the toppings are simple... ie. taking nutella out of the jar and smearing it on a typical crepe is not that incredible to me...also I'm not keen on spending 10 dollars on hot chocolate even if its from tanzania...but that's just my opinion, many people love it.
              I think your right on with PDC, if you're into that kind of food its fantastic.

              As for Garde-Manger, unless you're planning on having the seafood platter (which i think is excellent) I would skip it...since the other options on the (ever-changing chalkboard, granted) menu are not mind-blowing, and following up PDC will be a tough ask.

              L'Express is also skippable imo. Its just basic bistro food done semi-well, and the service is at best average. These places are a dime a dozen in Montreal. I can't comment on Kitchen Galerie since I've never been. I'd suggest something different, maybe along the lines of Ferreira Cafe for Portuguese or even Milos, though they are both pricy. (Then again Garde-Manger isn't cheap).

              Anyhow, just my two cents, happy anniversary and happy travelling.

              L'Express Restaurant
              3927 Rue Saint-Denis, Montreal, QC H2W2M4, CA

              Kitchen Galerie
              60 Rue Jean-Talon E, Montreal, QC H2R1S5, CA

              2 Replies
              1. re: berbatov

                Alrighty then if you could recommend a good place to get pastries/crepes instead of Juliette I'm all ears. We'd love to start our day our with a croissant or pain au chocolat!

                We will be doing a lot of grazing our second day in Montreal, with stops planned at Jean-Talon, Swartz's, and Fairmont Bagels among others. My main concern is finding a lighter option for dinner that isn't going to leave us feeling unfulfilled.

                I will look into Ferreira Cafe and Milos. I'm starting to think outside the box, there's only so much tartare and steak frites one can eat!

                1. re: sixteenbiticon

                  If you want to start your day with a croissant or pain au chocolat, then you could try Mamie Clafoutis in Outremont.
                  Personally, I like Juliette, but I only order the savoury crepes, not the sweet ones. And if you're at Jean Talon market, there is a very good stall that makes crepes there - better than Juliette, and makes for a nice lunch.

              2. Without a doubt, Laurie Raphael in Quebec was sublime!!!

                1. I'll keep this reply short and succinct as I'll be posting in much more detail on my blog (http://microcosmk.blogspot.com)


                  The shining star of our experience in Montreal was Kazu. Grilled Salmon Belly will forever have a place in my heart. Ingredients this fresh, portions this big, prices this low will not last. GET THERE FAST.

                  Au Pied de Cochon was hit or miss. Loved the Foie Gras Cromesquis and the Tarragon Bison Tongue. The Plogue a Champlain was good, but you couldn't really taste anything past maple reduction and bacon. The Duck in a Can was without a doubt the toughest/fattiest piece of duck I've ever had. I had to saw through the duck with the steak knife and shook the entire table doing it. Skipped dessert as we didn't want to die on the first night of our trip.

                  The Jean-Talon Market was wonderful, I feel like we could've spent days there. Highlights were the pear cider ice cream and the dulce de leche ice cream at Havre-aux-glaces, the slice of plum I got from a random produce vendor that was the best plum I've ever had, the $1 lamb merguez on a stick, and the prune beignet from Wawel.

                  The most disappointing meal by far was DNA. Awesome atmosphere and started out amazing, but as our waitress turned sour when she realized we weren't ordering 10 courses and the mediocre at best pasta we had made this meal the worst of the trip.

                  Brunch at Madre was great. Mindblowing housemade applesauce. Great sweet potato french toast that was surprisingly not too sweet and you could actually taste the sweet potato. Tried the blue corn lemonade and it didn't really do much for me. Loved that you could see the action in the kitchen through the glass doors in the back.

                  QUEBEC CITY:

                  First night was Le Lapin Saute. As expected the food was mediocre and unseasoned. The terrace was bustling even in rainy weather. The maple creme brulee was so good that after devouring one to share we immediately ordered a second. Tasted like maple covered toasted marshmallows.

                  Choco-musee Erico turned out to be the great surprise of the trip as I had no idea they served such a dizzying array of ice cream. I had the black currant raspberry tofu ice cream with bitter sweet chocolate. Amazing. My wife was smitten with the super cookies and kicked herself for not getting a box of them to take home with us.

                  Dinner at Le Pain Beni was wonderful (thanks Phyero!!). The decor was kind of cheesy but the food was the best of the trip (but this wasn't our favorite restaurant of the trip... that's next!) My lobster risotto was my favorite entree of the entire trip and the coconut milk risotto with stewed mangoes/cashews/wasabi peas/etc. was my favorite dessert of the trip. It paired magnificently with the complimentary ice cider wine our waiter gave us. The wine tasted of apples, honey, and inexplicably, peanuts. Delicious.

                  We hit up La Barberie for some beer sampling and I really loved the setting here. I could've spent hours tasting beer on their laid back terrasse. My notes are at home so I can't recall what my favorites were but check my blog, I'll be sure to list them there.

                  Dinner at Cafe du Clocher Penche was our favorite meal of the trip. Goat cheese stuffed fried zucchini flower was my favorite appetizer, and the salmon tartare was wonderful as well. Tried blood sausage for the first time and loved it. My wife swooned over her pasta with salmon, shrimp, spinach, and basil. We both loved the lemon dessert with toasted marshmallow.

                  I kept trying to squeeze lunch at Le Billig into our schedule, but we just didn't have the stomach space. That's on the list for next time.

                  We loved Q.C. and I will most certainly be back!

                  Jean-Talon Market
                  7075 Avenue Casgrain, Montreal, QC H2S, CA

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sixteenbiticon

                    I saw your post too late to reply, but I hope you will go back to QC; I visit every year, myself! For your return visit, try Le Saint-Amour...I had a blueberry creme brulee there this past summer that was the best dessert I have ever eaten and trust me, I have eaten plenty of desserts! We also enjoyed Le Patriarche, each course prepared three ways...fun concept! For a snack, give poutine a try at Chez Ashton..I am a convert and would never leave QC without stopping there! If you get a chance to go a little further north next time, we had a wonderful visit in the Charlevoix region...Le Mouton Noir in Baie St Paul was fun and an unexpected treat!

                    Mouton Noir
                    43 Rue Sainte-Anne, Baie-Saint-Paul, QC G3Z0C8, CA