Thursday, August 19, 2010

Le lapin sauté

We go to Quebec every year to visit my in-laws near Montreal, and this year we decided to take a day-trip to Quebec City.I've only been to Old Quebec twice in the past - once in 1993 with a school trip, and once in 1999 with my boyfriend at the time (who is now my husband!) I absolutely love it there, and I was anxious to take our kids there and see if they would love it too. They had a great time climbing on cannons, pointing at horse-drawn carriages, and clapping for street performers riding unicycles and doing magic tricks. No one complained as we walked up steep cobblestone streets, exploring the oldest fortified city in North America. When we had finished looking at the Chateau Frontenac, we got into the cable car that takes you back down to the famous Quartier Petit Champlain where we decided to sit down for supper.

We checked out a couple different places, but I knew right from the start where we would end up eating. When Dominic and I went to Quebec City 11 years ago, we ate at the cutest little French restaurant called Le Lapin Sauté.
I still remember the delicious salmon tartare that Dominic ordered, and the most amazing pitcher of sangria! Most of all I remember how quaint and romantic this little place was. It's a very small restaurant, with a beautiful terrace outside for extra seating in the summer. The first time I was there, we sat in a cozy little corner
but this time we sat out on the terrace so we could enjoy the gorgeous weather and listen to the man playing spanish guitar in the street outside. Now that's how you should eat supper!We started with Salmon gravlax with dill and maple. The salmon melted in your mouth - I could have eaten 3 more plates of it and I still would have asked for more!Next, we had our main dishes. Dominic had Tagliatelle pasta with basil pesto, sundried tomatoes, pine nuts, grilled garlic, and arugula.Dominic's aunt (who came with us that day) had Marinated Salmon cooked on a cedar plank.I opted for a traditional French Croque-Monsieur with Migneron de Charlevoix cheese and leek sauce. This is basically an open-faced ham and cheese sandwich, but it sounds so much better in French! (And it's delicious in any language.) Note the little dish of mayonnaise to accompany my fries - that's very popular in Quebec, but it's a taste I have not yet acquired!The kids had spaghetti and meat sauce, but they had a great selection for appetizers as well - soup, Caesar salad, bacon-wrapped sausages, or veggies with dip. Then for dessert they got a little chocolate fondue with fresh fruit.The real highlight of the meal for the kids was when the grown-ups asked for fresh pepper on their food - the waiter brought out the special pepper grinder:
The lighting isn't great in this picture, but behind the kids is an enormous pepper grinder shaped like a carrot! They thought it was so cool (and so did the grown-ups!)

I wasn't going to order any dessert for myself, but when I saw Maple Crème Brûlée I just couldn't resist!(Have you seen the movie "Amélie"? I always think of her when I crack the top of a crème brûlée! If you haven't seen the movie, you really should.)

We had an excellent waiter who served us in both French and English, made sure the kids got special treats, and basically just did a fantastic job. I'll admit, I'm usually a really bad tipper (I figure a tip is given for excellent service, and I rarely receive excellent service at a restaurant - average at best, but nothing memorable.) This was the first time I was actually happy to give the customary 15% (or more), so thank you to our waiter, the young man with brown hair and glasses who never happened to tell us his name, but chased me down the street after we left because I had forgotten my credit card on the table.

Some other time I will share with you all the other wonderful foods we ate in Quebec this summer, but for now I just hope you'll remember the little restaurant in Old Quebec where you can eat delicacies like Rabbit with maple and raspberry sauce and get freshly ground pepper from a huge carrot. I hope it won't take another 11 years for us to return to Le Lapin Sauté and the beautiful city of Old Quebec.

Kathy & Dominic 1999 (photo taken by our waiter)

Kathy & Dominic 2010 (photo taken by our 7.5 year old daughter)

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1 comment:

Denise :) said...

awwwweee! How sweet... love the pictures of you and Dom!
Your kids are so lucky to have the summer adventures in Quebec!