One of my biggest challenges of plant-based living is going out to dinner. We don’t live in a particularly herbivore-friendly area, so we don’t go out as much as we used to. Suffice it to say, I was a little concerned about what we would encounter on our trip to Quebec City. Not only were we travelling to a region where there’s a heavy French influence in their cuisine (butter, cream, duck, lobster, etc.), but there’s also a lot of French spoken there. I wondered how that would translate into vacation-worthy, yet healthy meals. Quebec City has an “old-world” atmosphere that makes you want to take it all in at a relaxed pace. Most of the restaurants display their menus on the sidewalk as a way to beguile you into coming back later in the day. And it works! It was a good way to find what we were hungry for and gave us a chance to talk to the restaurant staff about how their meals are prepared. Here are some of our favorite places in Quebec City:
Korrigane Brew Pub. This Irish pub located outside the walls of Quebec City has a cozy feel, tasty beers and a killer veggie burger that you can order with a side of fries or a salad. (Of course, I had the fries.) They also have a vegetable chili on the menu that we just weren’t able to get back for. Sitting at a table near the window I imagined how comforting it must be to be sitting in this warm and charming pub during the winter months.
Chez Jules . This is a French Brasserie located in the heart of Quebec City. We had the Ratatouille with Tagiatelle, a dish of tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers served over tagiatelle. Superb! (You can use my recipe for Ratatouille and serve it over your favorite pasta. We had it with spinach tagiatelle.)
Wong’s Chinese Restaurant . You can always count on a Chinese restaurant for steamed vegetables and rice. Since we were on vacation (and there was something lost in translation), Bruce ended up with stir-fried vegetables and rice. I enjoyed Vegetable Singapore Mei Fun and washed it down with a Sake-tini.
Bello Restaurant. This pretty Italian restaurant had typical Italian dishes on the menu. We started out with a fresh arugula salad and some tasty bread. I had the Tagiatelle Funghi, which reminded me of my Pasta with Creamy Leek-Mushroom Sauce. Bruce ordered the Spaghetti Pomodoro. Delicious!
Le Monestere du Augustines. This restaurant is part of the spa-hotel that is located in a section of the Monestary of the Augustine Nuns. It has a holistic environment that’s centered on mindfulness. Not only can you partake in healing massages, reflexology, yoga and meditation, but their restaurant has the healthiest menu in Quebec City. Our dinner started with an abundant salad bar (kale, wild rice, couscous, micro greens) and minestrone soup. You get to choose from a meat, fish and vegetarian entrees, which change daily. We had a grilled eggplant dish similar to parmigiana. I worked up my own wild rice salad recipe which I’ll gladly share in an upcoming post.
Le Saint Amour. We saved the BEST for our last night in Quebec City and I’m saving the BEST for last on my list of favorites. I don’t even know where to begin with this gem. The decor of the restaurant is romantic, artistic and stunning. And the food is delicious, gorgeous and sensational. We ordered the Organic Vegetable Market Abundance. The name of this dish does not do it justice. If my memory serves me right (and my memory of a memorable meal is usually pretty accurate), I counted 19 different components that went into this dish. Some vegetables were steamed, others sauteed, others pureed, and sauces made. Yes, there was some butter, cream and cheese , but it was with a delicate hand. The plate was like an artist’s palette made of herbed gnocchi; fried polenta cake; plum tomato stuffed with goat cheese atop an olive crisp; patty pan squash, baby corn, baby bok choy, carrots, mushrooms, champignons, baby beets, asparagus, garlic scapes, micro greens, cheese sauce, carrot puree, tomato puree, beet puree and an edible flower. Imagine all the work that went into preparing that meal. You might say it is a labor of love, but when someone prepares something so beautiful, it’s just love.
Well, that’s all I’ve got until our next adventure. Wherever the road takes you, do not let food get in the way of experiencing life and what the world has to offer. Do your best to find restaurants that have one dish that is mostly plant-based and don’t fret if your vacation is not 100% compliant with your program. Happy trails to you and thanks for being Vegi-curious.
30 Aug 2016