The Divas decided they needed to get out of the city for a weekend and Quebec City seemed like the ideal option with the winter Carnival taking place and great food waiting to be found. When the Divas go on a trip, regardless of the length, we like to think we’re prepared. However, we did learn a valuable lesson on our trip to Quebec City. Stylish Divas make for frozen Divas, roaming around Vieux Quebec in our cute wool coats, stylish boots and little outfits as everyone swished by us in their ski pants, undoubtedly, warmer than us. We quickly learned that we are more well-suited to the beach and mojitos.
Never easily deterred (some might call us stubborn), we ducked into La Brûlerie de Café de Québec to grab a cup of coffee to keep us warm on our walk. The aroma of the international coffees hit us as we stepped inside. Exquisite vintage espresso machines, cups, a variety of teas and a giant coffee grinder were all around the café. We ordered our coffees, complete with coffee art designs, and were ready to start sightseeing. Diva #1 can become violent if she doesn’t get a cappuccino, and what a flavourful cappuccino, it seemed to have hints of chicory.
Sipping our smooth coffees, we made our way through Vieux-Quebec, taking in the various sites like the Plains of Abraham, the walls surrounding the Citadel, and of course, Chateau Frontenac. After a quick tour of the Chateau, our stomachs informed us that it was time to eat, so we made our way to Saint-Jean, to a bakery that Diva #2 had read about.
Paillard Cafe-Boulangerie opened in June of 2006 and has been experiencing success ever since. And with good reason! Serving both hot and cold sandwiches, soups and tons of homemade pastries and breads, we had a very hard time choosing what to eat.
We decided to go with the soup/sandwich combo and, to be honest, neither of us are big fans of soup but on a cold day, it seemed like the best option.
Seated side by side at one of their long common tables, we shared our soup and sandwiches. We had ordered the chicken chipotle sandwich with the cream of mushroom soup. The sandwich was great, tasty, the bread crunchy but we would have liked a little something extra in it, nothing stood out. The soup was surprising, for once we had a mushroom soup that was obviously made with a variety of mushroom because it was brown instead of the usual white. This was a splendid flavourful soup and we were soon warmed up.
In the middle of our meal, a man started playing the accordion and, fittingly, we were soon enjoying our meal with “La Vie en Rose” in the background! The Beef Bistro was the better of the two sandwiches. The beef was tender and the blue cheese was delicious and not overpowering, definitely something to order again. Meanwhile, the broccoli and cheddar soup was also really good. The cheddar was tasty and the soup itself was nice and thick. It definitely hit the spot.
We couldn’t possibly walk out without some dessert, especially knowing that Paillard won best croissant in Quebec City in 2010. They had beautiful counters of palmiers, turnovers, croissants, pastries, and other confections, including wonderful macarons. It was hard to decide what to order because we wanted to try them all but we settled and chose a pastry and a macaron to share.
The only way to truly know if a bakery makes a good macaron is to taste their vanilla macaron, the simplest of all the macarons. And it was divine – light and crunchy. They also had a variety of macarons specials for the month. We also opted for the bombe marron au caramel fondant. Not big fans of white chocolate or things that are overly sweet, this ended up being a unique mixture of ingredients! The white chocolate shell was crunchy with bits of hard caramel, it was perfectly balanced with the moist cake base and the luscious creamy caramel center.
Thoroughly satisfied, we headed back out on our adventure, ready to hit some of the outdoor bars and some hot Caribou (a Quebec City alcoholic speciality) to keep us warm. It is too bad that we did not run into the mascot of Quebec City’s carnival Monsieur Bonhomme because Diva #1 wanted to tackle him while Diva #2 took an unforgettable photograph…maybe next time!
The Divas had plans to go to Le Croquembouche Bakery on their second day in Quebec but when the Divas woke up, Diva #1 was craving eggs benedict. Diva#2 had heard of Le Lapin Sauté from a friend and we were soon driving off in search of the little restaurant in the Petit-Champlain district of Vieux Quebec. One of the Divas’ rules is that we always indulge in a craving! We luckily found parking nearby, though everyone kept telling us that it was impossible to find parking in Quebec City but the Divas are not easily deterred. We arrived there without a reservation on a Sunday morning (what were we thinking?) and were told that it would be a thirty minute wait. The restaurant seats maybe thirty people, but in the summer a terrace on the side adds a substantial amount of seats.
The decor is very country-like, it feels cozy and homey and we were soon enamoured with a restaurant that specializes in rabbit confit with breakfast! We wandered around the Petit-Champlain district waiting the longest thirty minutes of our lives to sit down and appropriately caffeinate Diva #1 who was murderous without her espresso.
Within twenty minutes we were back in Le Lapin Sauté, freezing from roaming around (still inappropriately dressed but beautiful). They must have seen the look in Diva #1’s eye because they sat us down promptly and we were soon looking through the menu. Everyone around us was drinking bowls of café au lait and we noticed homemade hot chocolate on the menu. Diva#1 ordered a bowl of café au lait to replace her usual cappuccino and was happy to have satisfied her craving for caffeine. Diva #2 ordered a regular cup of café au lait.
As a treat, Le Lapin Sauté offers unlimited café allongé, espresso or filtered coffee with their breakfast dishes, except their à la carte items. Both of our dishes came with grilled baguette, as opposed to toast, and a homemade raspberry jam with whole berries in it. The jam was amazing and a perfect mix of sweet and tart. Both of our dishes also came with a tiny mason jar of fresh fruit.
Diva #2 ordered scrambled eggs with rabbit, bacon, potatoes and an onion confit with hollandaise sauce au gratin. Rich and wonderful, the onion confit was sweet and savory and the whole plate was not drowned in hollandaise sauce. There was a generous amount of rabbit and crisp pieces of bacon, a lovely combination that neither of us had tried before.
Diva #1 satisfied her craving for eggs benedict by ordering their signature benedict dish with rabbit confit, although ham was an option too. The eggs were poached perfectly, runny and mixed well with the hollandaise that was rich and creamy tasty. The potatoes were thinly cut like potato chips which were not greasy and mixed well with the carrots (which at first seemed random) that came with it. Even though the dish came with the traditional English muffin, Le Lapin Sauté also provided some baguette to enjoy with their homemade jam.
If we were not full enough, and we really were, we noticed a sweet little side dish on the menu, a crêpe served with maple cream. This was an original concept and the perfect little dessert for our salty breakfast. We were very pleased with this addition to our meal. Le Lapin Sauté is associated with Le Cochon Dingue, in the same district, that also sounds heavenly and we would love to return to.
We left Le Lapin Sauté and Vieux Quebec to go to the Ice Hotel before heading home. It was the perfect hearty breakfast to start a very cold day in Quebec City. As we made our way back to the car, cold and full, we passed by one of the loveliest attractions in Quebec City that we do not understand why it does not exist in Old Montreal…tire sur la neige. The Divas noticed at least two restaurants that had troughs at their door with snow and nice little men dressed as lumberjacks with maple taffy buckets that they poured onto the snow. For only 2$ (Diva #2 quickly ran out of toonies!) you could buy one of these little sticks of fresh “tire” (maple taffy) that is usually only available at la cabane à sucre.
Diva#1 was willing to wait for hours for the petit Monsieur to clean up the snow and bring out more maple taffy. Unfortunately, eating maple taffy while walking in the wind with long hair did lead to sticky gloves and hair. Even worse, on our way to the Ice Hotel, we realized that the gear shifter in the car was also sticky… but it was so worth it. The Divas are currently drafting a petition in support of tire sur la neige in Old Montreal.
Hopefully our next trip will include skimpy bikinis with mojitos on a beach and a cabana boy rubbing sun screen on our backs while we plan where we will go for dinner. We have the right to dream!
Paillard Rating: Splendid
Le Lapin Sauté Rating: Always on Thursdays
Tagged: Always on Thursdays, bakery, Boulangerie, Breakfast, Brunch, Café, Café au Lait, Cakes, Cheddar, Coffee, Cream of Mushroom, Crème à L’érable, Crêpes, Croissants, Déjeuner, Eggs, Eggs Benedict, Espresso, French, Ham, Hollandaise, Homemade Hot Chocolate, Homemade Raspberry Jam, La Brûlerie de Café de Québec, Lapin, Le Cochon Dingue, Le Lapin Sauté, Lunch, Macarons, Maple Taffy, Oignons Confit, Old Quebec, Onions Confit, Paillard, Palmier, Paninis, Pastries, Pattiserie, Petit-Champlain, Quebec, Quebec City, Rabbit, Rabbit Rillettes, Rillettes, Rillettes de lapin, Rustic Bread, Saint-Jean, Salads, Sandwiches, Soup, Splendid, terrace, Tire sur la Neige, Vieux Quebec