My Sister's Birthday - Need Contributions
I need your help. My sister and her beau are going to be visiting your fair city the first week in September. Neither of them have ever been there before and my one visit was a one day trip to a Winter Carnival in 1966 when I was in the USAF. I remember very little of that adventure, but my friends told me I seemed to be enjoying myself.
They will be staying at the Frontenac, will have a car, like taking walks, seeing beautiful sights, shopping, and (of course) good food. Folks say that 70 is the new 50 and that definitely holds true for these two.
This "event" coincides with Sister's birthday and, along with a copy of Fodor's Quebec and an envelope of cash, I'd like to include a printout of this thread that (hopefully) will be chock full of tips and info that may not be in the book. Whether you're a native or a many-time visitor, I know you can come up with enough suggestions to keep them busy for a good part of their stay.
Since this is ChowHound, dining is the focal point and it doesn't need to be fancy. A great bakery, a wonderful coffee house, or a place where some local speciality can be found. It's all good. Shopping is, at least for my sister, equally important. Clothes, jewelry, or a special place to find unique, quality gifts for her to bring home to family.....these would be most welcome. I suppose most of the "sights" will be in Fodor's, but here too something unusual would be very cool.
I'll have to get this in the mail early next week so there are a few days to get it done. I'll put the printout with a special card and sign all your names to it. She should get a real kick out of that! Thank you in advance and, if there are any questions, I'll be checking in often.
What a wonderful gift idea. I would highly recommend a day trip, or even a half day, visit to Ile D'Orleans. It is a small, very fertile island, that is a bit north of Quebec City. Very easy drive to access. They can do the gastro tour of the island. We had a very interesting, entertaining dinner at Au gout d'autrefois http://tourisme.iledorleans.com/en/membre/table-champ%C3%AAtre-ferme-au-go%C3%BBt-dautrefois-restaurant/
If you are looking for unusual this would be it. A true farm to table experience with a 6 course meal centered around different ways of preparing duck. The dining room is in a rustic old farmhouse. The chef/farmer has native Indian roots and uses his ancestral cooking methods of slow (days) of cooking over very low heat. He is incredibly passionate about food and farming and introduces each course to the diners (we all get the same meal served at the same time) with a lengthy description of ingredients and cooking technique and health benefits) Yes, both in French and in a very charming broken English. Beware, the meal was close to 4 hours. The restaurant website is scant and doesn't give a good overview of the experience. Reservations are essential and there is only one sitting. Another suggestion if they have time to drive...head up to Baie St PAul and check out La Ferme. We like the bar scene there, coffee shop wasn't open yet when we went. They can check out some great locally brewed beers. Or...there is a train that runs along the water's edge up to Baie St Paul and it is supposed to be incredibly scenic. Or have a gourmet dinner on the train: http://www.lemassif.com/en/train/hive...
Finally, for a blow out meal in Quebec City : Panache.
I'd definitely suggest the rail trip - it isn't very expensive for what it includes, and they don't have to worry about having a bit to drink. I've never done that trip by train, but I'd certainly want to, as the scenery is magnificent.
L'Ile d'Orleans is definitely worth a day trip, whether you opt for such a long meal or not. That will be one of the main benefits of having a car. Vieux Québec, the old walled city is very small and walkable and it isn't worth trying to use a car there, though you may well want to drive down the hill and back if you want to try one of the newer restaurants in St-Roch (an old neighbourhood outside the walls). Also outside the walls but in another old neighbourhood, St-Jean-Baptiste, is the crêperie Le Billig. http://www.bonjourquebec.com/qc-en/to... It is a charming little restaurant, and was very good when I ate there, but that was a few years ago. The current write-ups look good (most are in French, of course, I've perused them but don't really have time to translate them).
It is much better than the more touristy crêperies within the walls, and it is not far at all if you prefer to walk. Look at google and other maps, and keep in mind how compact the city centre is (le Vieux-Québec and its old former suburbs). However, parking is somewhat easier once outside the walls.
Rooisbus' post is great, dont get put off if you don't receive too many tips because most people in this forum live in or near Montreal, not Quebec city; and for that reason most posts on this forum are about restaurants in Montreal. There is a restaurant that Bourdain visited in 'the layover' that has the word 'ketchup' in it that is apparently very good and popular in Quebec city right now. If you search chowhound you will find a couple threads about restaurants in QC that are repeatedly mentioned... bare in mind that the city is fairly small too. I dont go there (to quebec city) very often but I recommend a picnic to the nearby Montmorency waterfalls (50% higher than niagara apparently) if your sister isnt afraid of a couple (hundred) stairs. Oh, I forgot about the cable car you can pay to take you up if you dont do the stairs. http://www.tripadvisor.ca/Attraction_...
There are some threads, if you do a search, on Quebec City and restaurants, which you can cut and paste and print out. They will contain plenty of useful information. The Fodor's, while it may be useful for describing the city and the sights, should be avoided for restaurant recommendations at all costs, unless they want to eat in one of the many ordinary and overpriced tourist traps listed there - they will be far better off using this list as their guide.