I know I may have said something like before in a recent, (Or not so recent post actually) but going where the locals go, is something I strongly believe in. I was recently in Quebec City, Quebec. Which is in Canada for all of you that don’t know. I was staying a little ways outside the downtown core. As soon as I got in I jumped in an Uber and made my way down to the old town. This walled city has this, straight out of Europe feel to it. Its old history has this unique beauty that isn’t something that you can replicate.
Once you get down there and cross through the arch way into the walled city, you’re travelling back in time. The buildings all have this local rustic feel to them, the old 18th century architecture.
Going back to the title of this article, eat where the locals eat. Being dropped into a major city, there is always going to be the major chain eateries. Do you want to eat the same found-in-every-city food when you’re travelling? Not me! I walked around and found this little pub, down a few sets of stairs into the lower part, called Le pub Des Borgia. Walked in, to this amazing Smell. One of the bar keeps was behind the bar, chopping onions and there was something sautéing near by. I took a seat at the bar, there was only one other patron in the bar at that time.
Anyone who knows me knows when I go into a local bar, I usually sit down and use two words to order a drink. “Local, IPA”. IPA for the non-beer drinkers stands for Indian Pale-Ale. A very hoppy style of beer, that chases away the faint at heart beer drinkers. The gentleman behind the bar responds “Ah, okay”. Reaches into the fridge and pulls out two bottles of beer. Opens both, and hands me one. “One for me, and one for you!” he says. We clink bottles, and turns back to chopping onions. Thats amazing to me. He was probably the owner or for sure upper management of this tiny little bar, and I certainly don’t like to drink alone. What I was served was an american style IPA. Moralite from Brasserie Dieu Ciel! Extremely good, and I highly recommend.
I spent a lot of time walking around the streets. Something about the narrow cobblestone streets are extremely inviting, a place I love to get lost in. I was there in mid April, and for those who aren’t familiar with the eastern part of Canada right on the Saint Lawrence River, it can be a but chilly around that time.
I decided on a place for dinner. This can be a bit of a challenge, there were so many amazing options, all of which had their own unique appeal. I settled on a sign. I didn’t look at the menu. Now I certainly have views of the method of which I used to select, but Im not going to get into that. Instead, I’m just going to share what I decided upon. I settled on a place called La Buche. The words “Authentic Quebecois Cuisine” Is what caught my eye at first. When in Quebec..? Thats a saying right?
Maybe it was the time of year, maybe it was the cold and the rain that just started falling, but the place wasn’t that busy. There were a few tables occupied, most of them in the back section by the stairs. I sat at the bar, something I like to do when I’m alone obviously. Ordered my self a pint and perused the menu. Didn’t want anything too too big. Went with the pea soup. Tremendous choice. Pea soup that was topped with Fried (but seemed like roasted) Chic pea’s, bacon, and glazed carrots. To die for. The bartender bought over some fried pork rindes, covered in maple syrup. I had never had anything like this before, but boy was it tremendous. Finished the meal off with a dessert called Poor Man’s pudding. There are a few other names for these things, all in french, I’m not going to try and spell them. The service was incredible, the atmosphere was something unique and will certainly leave a lasting impression.
You know when you go somewhere and while you’re explaining it to someone later you say something that sounds so silly that only someone whose been there can understand? I had one of those moments here. I wandered down into the basement, not just because I wander, but thats where the bathrooms are. Coming down the steps you start to get intrigued by what you see. In the middle of an all wooden room, there is a bath tub, with plumbing hanging above it. This, I later realize is the communal sink. Neat huh? But this isn’t what drew my attention. The wood-lined walls are covered in crayon and marker writing. It looks like they left a box of crayons and a sign that said “go nuts”. There is no blank space, or at least I couldn’t find any. The entire room, and the inside of every stall is covered in writing. Thats the other thing, one unisex bathroom, that has individual unisex stalls on the perimeter of the room. Super neat concept that I’ve only seen executed well in a few places.
La Buche had this rustic, authentic Quebec feeling to it. Paying homage to the history of the town it resides in. Yet found a balance of the urban and new. It cooks the classics with a modern touch, without compromising the fundamental flavours. I will certainly be returning next time, even for just the pea soup
The historical significance to North America as a whole that lies in this city is something that is extremely attractive to me. Crossing from the modern day city, the newer financial-core looking like area, into the walls. It honestly feels like you’ve stepped back a few hundred years in time. The endless old architecture, the maze-like cobblestone streets. Such an amazing feeling.