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Foodie locations between border and Montreal

For years we've been traveling from Vermont to Montreal in search of good food. We enter Canada from I-89 North. On my recent trip I began wondering if we're not missing something between the border and Montreal? I know this is rather broad, but are there any recommendations for foodie type stops north of the Vermont border and south of Montreal?

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  1. How far off the I-89 and its Quebec equivalent are you willing to travel?

    1. All I can think of is a lovely bakery with world-class donuts called Beignes Dora, in Eastman. Exit 106 off Hwy. 10.


      1. Where are you coming from, what type of restaurants are you looking for? I am an exMontrealer, ex Chicagoan, ex Albertan and have travelled extensively. I live off I91 just the Canadian side of the border and one of the reasons this is the last stop for my wife and I is the food here is about as good as it gets.
        You might start off by looking at The Best of the Eastern Townships blog but in places like Mansonville Quebec, Hardwick, Vermont, Magog Quebec, and Newport Vermont there is no shortage of great food. Whether you want to clog your arteries with the poutine of Wood's in Ayer's Cliff or Compton.Sample the artisanal and local produce of Newport's Tasting Centre food mall. I would suggest a visit to La Station a frommagerie between Ayer's Cliff and Compton which produces world class cheese and you might visit the cows across the road after dining on their patio.
        Our local bakery here in Stanstead is as good as any in Montreal which I remember with tremendous fondness. Although the Cherry cheese Danish at Quality kosher corner Querbes and Beaumont in Montreal are the stuff of foodie dreams.
        The small intimate Tomifobia (great pasta, lamb and rabbit) restaurant in Beebe is seasonal but the food and ambiance is memorable and the French cider may induce you to give up wine as your beverage of choice..
        The town of Magog is a little too busy for me during tourist season but the restaurants are certainly a cut above. La Retenue on rue Laurier opened last November but if you get there soon you may claim to being there when it was unknown.
        Please be more specific as I don't know whether to direct you to the Mexican restaurant in downtown Magog or the American restaurant the Eastside in in Newport Vermont both are excellent representatives of their genre..
        Of course if I was always taking I 89 I would always stop by Witsend in Hemmingford for the fish and chips and pick up some meat and Deli just down the road at Viau and an occasional visit to the Fritz Kaiser Frommagerie..

        1. In general, maybe check out Route de Paysan

          Route du vins

          Depending on season, (winter being kinda low, summer/fall high) theres quite a few chowish places along these routes.

          4 Replies
          1. re: porker

            Hovey Manor is really worth the visit. Go for lunch. It's on the west side of Lake Massawipi near North Hatley.

            1. re: williej

              The internationally acclaimed Hovey Manor being one of the finest restaurants in Canada is definitely a must for the very well heeled. While the food is superb lunch for two at $100 without wine is not for everyone but I am always open for an invite.

              1. re: Moedelestrie

                We went last summer and it definitely didn' t cost that much!

                1. re: williej

                  Menu is posted on line and I guess you are correct but I think 50 per person might be ballpark but that is what I budget for dinner. I don't know about last year they were still recovering from the fire.

          2. On the road to the Border ( Rt 133 ) there is a pretty good fondue resto. Owned by a Swiss German couple.They also have a little shop that showcases all their condiments and jams and jellies.A very good stop right off the road. Restaurant Swiss Pikes River Qc. Enjoy

            1. Sorry for the diversion, I have been travelling the roads of Canada and Quebec for 50 years. Manoir Hovey is a destination not a stop along the way. I am a foodie and on the road a place with a reliable good cup of coffee is a treasure. On the Quebec side of the border relatively close to I-89 I would say these are foodie stops. Witsend in Hemmingford for the best fish and chips in Quebec. The Saganat ciderie in Frelighsburg for ice cider and a conversation about the demands of producing the best ice cider in the universe, know what it means to be an apple. Fromaggerie Fritz Kaiser Doyon is a just the right size cheese producer quality cheese without the artisanal prices or variations. Rubanne Bleu Mercier Quebec artisanal goat cheese, wonderful conversation and an outreach to familiarize the public with artisanal cheese making and community development and a selection of artisanal cheeses from elsewhere in Quebec such as our local Le Station which produces great cheese. Boucherie Viau Hemmingford a butcher shop and deli a destination for Americans live within a hundred mile radius and appreciate top quality meat and deli. Finally I will close with Charcuterie Stephan Frick in Lacolle Quebec a top notch European deli.
              While rural Quebec has always had some superb foods it has never been a truly foodie eating out paradise but it is getting better and better every day. If you can stop by a maple syrup producer see if you can obtain some of the dark tarry syrup he uses at his table instead of the commercial higher grade syrups,. In the summer the vegetables produced in the rich old muck soils around Ste Clothilde are amazing, the spinach comes out of the ground with the taste of walnuts already included. My sister-in-law in Florida looks forward to the day Quebec spinach arrives at her local grocer, it is that good.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Moedelestrie

                In the summer there is a roadstop booth at an intersection near Ormstown where the guy grills bacon. He also sells lamb products. Very good. Sorry cant remember exact location, but someone on here might?

                1. re: Moedelestrie

                  If'n you're gonna travel as far east as Boucherie Viau you might consider stopping into Rockburn Pub - very cool oasis in a country setting.

                  1. re: porker

                    I am happy to see someone makes the same mistakes as I generally do. Hemmingford is west of the hiway and after going further west to Viau continue going west.

                    1. re: Moedelestrie

                      i am idiot...
                      let me rephrase...

                      If'n you're gonna travel as far west as Boucherie Viau you might consider stopping into Rockburn Pub - very cool oasis in a country setting.

                      1. re: porker

                        I have been making the same mistake for close to fifty years. There just seems to be something about the Mercier Bridge or maybe it has to do with the drinking age in New York way back when being lower than Quebec`s.

                  2. re: Moedelestrie

                    Charcuterie Stephan Frick - a perfect place for German products, they produce all their sausages and deliver them to selected stores in Montreal. They also have some German / European noodles, chocolate, pickles, etc.
                    I always stop there when I come back from the states !

                  3. Great info. I did not realize Lacolle has a Charcuterie! Chowhound never fails to amaze me. Sorry I couldn't be more specific in my original post, I was just looking for some broad guidelines and the answers were great.

                    1. Please forgive the musings of an old man but I will share a snippet of one of my m,any long food discussions relevant to this discussion.
                      My belief is that the most significant food feature of the area in question Montreal to US border is the soil. I remember preparing carrots grown in the area and my hands being orange for a week because of the beta carotene. The onions, potatoes, rhutabagas, and garlic are also a cut above. I also recall there was some honey produced some where off Covey Hill Road that was worth the extra few minutes drive. I will again say I always look for Ste Clothilde spinach no need for dressing on a spinach salad because the flavour is there right out of the ground..

                      1. It is March 26th, it has been a long winter, maple syrup season is usually over and this year sap might start to run Friday. I am enjoying this thread immensely and since porker has brought us as far as Huntington I am going to bring us a few minutes west and south and a little ways back in time.
                        IN 1830 a cookbook was published in the area it was called The Cook Not Mad or Rational Cookery. Thankfully a updated version was reprinted in 1975 and is still available.
                        I cannot help but think how much more appropriate the food is to our climate and how much better the dishes taste using the local ingredients instead of trying to eat like Californians twelve months a year.
                        The French Laundry is wonderful but I bet people would come from all over the world to eat at a restaurant on the Quebec/US border that featured the recipes Cook Not Mad and local ice cider and in the middle of March 2014 one would have to beat customers away with a stick.I wholeheartedly recommend the corned beef recipe the half cup of maple syrup makes all the difference in the world.
                        The foods produced in the Champlain and Richelieu valleys are as good as anywhere in the world and we are long overdue to reestablishing that truth. Two hundred years ago there was no place one could eat better foods and I am sure there are graduates of our culinary schools today who could turn the area into Foodie Central. The first paragraphs of the preface of Cook Not Mad are as true now as they were then "A Work of Cookery should be adapted to the meridian in which it is intended to circulate."

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: Moedelestrie

                          "...since porker has brought us as far as Huntington..."
                          The fine folks in Hinchinbrooke are ready to take up arms over that comment....they're incensed, furious, and livid.

                          A little off-topic Moedelestre... I know a few guys who call themselves Durham County Poets. They reign from this part of the country (Ormstownish) and I think its reflected in their style and sound. You can hear some songs here

                          1. re: porker

                            Sorry for more off topic,
                            Thank you, Porker
                            Really and truly enjoyed the songs. I lived across the street from the Yellow Door in Montreal and when my wife and I looked to retirement we started with Hemmingford where her ancestors had lived. We chose instead the valley between the Green and White mountains and love it here. I don't know if the Durham County Poets would have changed our decision but I sure enjoy their music and probably would have enjoyed the conversation.
                            Please extend my apology to the good folk of Hinchinbrooke and I am looking forward to a visit to Rockburn Pub. I understand the pain from watching my neighbours cross the border and responding to the question where do you live. The answer is Stanstead even if you live between Rock Island and Beebe.
                            Anyhow I come by being a foodie quite honestly my earliest memories are of being in a stroller at the Jean Talon Market over 60 years ago and having traveled extensively sometimes you find what.you have searched for right where you began.

                            1. re: Moedelestrie

                              Funny thing: I believe my mother was born in Stanstead. I remember stopping at Aux Trois Marmites (which, if I remember correctly, is not a foodie restaurant in any way) in Magog to eat crepes on the way to visit my grandmother.

                              1. re: CaptCrunch

                                Trois Marmite is now a Pizza Restaurant on rue Principale in Magog. It is however in the middle of foodie central. Magog in summer is a Mecca for tourists from NYC and rue Principale is absolutely packed.The food is marvelous and it is amazing the food selection available in this small town no one has ever heard of. The Orford Classical Music Festival brings in people from all over Europe. The beaches and marinas are packed and traffic is big city.
                                I remember when we started looking at where to retire and my encounter with really good upscale Thai on Rue Principale. Keep in mind that once you leave the beaches or downtown Magog much of the food is rather pedestrian in other words if you want great Chinese or East Indian Toronto is a long way away.
                                Spring is just arriving here and the promse of fiddleheads, ramps, new garlic and fresh horseradish is in the air. I am hoping I have some nice fresh sorrel to go with the fresh perch and maple syrup next week. A new Caribbean Restaurant is opening today in Rock Island,Stanstead
                                If you make it again to Magog stand in front of Trois Marmite and look around it is a very good place to be a foodie. Downtown Magog is a wonderful place to start looking for the great eateries we do have remembering that most people like Mcdonalds because it offers no surprises.
                                PS The Tomifobia Restaurant in Beebe Stanstead is run by a couple from Brittany and crepes done well are definitely foodie.throw in the rural ambiance and the best in jazz and you have good times and great memories.

                              2. re: Moedelestrie

                                There was a young man, Dawson, who played bass with the boys who sadly passed away some years ago.
                                As a tribute, some musicians started "Daws Fest" in Riverfield.
                                Bunch of folk/blues musicians, some individuals, some bands, get together every summer, write "<------ Daws Fest" on a cardboard sign and put it out on the road near Jim Preimels place.
                                Its a festive atmosphere inside a barn cum work shop. $5 will get you in and goes to charity (you can come and go as you please, sit inside or chat with folks outside, whatever).
                                Some acts are great (Durham County Poets are kind of the "headliners") some, ahhhh mediocre, but its very laid back, very country-style, all-day affair.
                                Its just off the 203 (Range de Joachim) in Riverfield. How it got the name "Riverfield" with no apparent town is beyond me, but Jim's place is across from the cemetary.

                                    1. re: porker

                                      it *was* june 16 last summer.
                                      not sure of date this year, likely on weekend around the same time.

                                    2. re: williej

                                      FYI, Daws Fest Saturday June 14, 3:00pm.