REVIEW: A FoodieQC review of 2013

Recognizing Quebec City talents

Diamonds are Quebec City’s best friends! In 2013, two restaurants were added to the prestigious list of five-diamond rated establishments by the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) and American Automobile Association (AAA): Le Patriarche and La Tanière. There are only 53 restaurants in North America with five diamonds. Six of them are located in Canada, now three of them in Quebec City—l’Initiale was the first in 2012. What more do you need for Quebec City to be on your travels’ list for 2014?

In 2013, Air Canada’s En Route magazine also told us why Quebec City is a must for food. It listed Saint-Sauveur’s Le Bouchon du Pied Bleu as one of the best new restaurants in Canada. Owners Thania Goyette and Louis Bouchard-Trudeau deserve every second of the attention they are getting worldwide. And YOU, should be sitting at their table right now. Blood sausage, offal and pig delicatessen are their specialty.

Limoilou’s La Planque also made En Route’s long list of best new restaurants in Canada.

Renowned American chef Anthony Bourdain dropped by the city this year for his CNN show Parts Unkown. He stopped by the Continental for an authentic French cuisine experience. Have a peek.

End of an era

The city’s most renowned chef retired this year. After 20 years at the reigns of the Château Frontenac’s kitchen, Jean Soulard has decided to call it quits. Which explains why Le Champlain is currently under major renovations. Two chefs will lead the kitchens of the Château Frontenac restaurants in this new year: Executive Chef Baptiste Peupion and Chef des restaurants Stéphane Modat. The re-opening is scheduled for spring. Did you know that the Château Frontenac is the world’s most photographed hotel? I know!

L’Astral restaurant closed its doors. It’s a definite sign of the uncertain future of the Loews Le Concorde Hotel, a pillar of Quebec City’s landscape. L’Astral was one of the last rotating restaurants in North America and offered a 360-degree view of our 400-year-old city.  But, we don’t know yet what the future holds for the building in which it stands since Loews is looking to sell. Who knows, it might be the revival of Quebec City’s rotating restaurant.

2014 year of the grilled-cheese hot chicken sandwich served with tea

The Crobeign, Paillard's version of the Cronut
The Crobeign, Paillard’s version of the Cronut

Food trends come and go, and often arrive in Quebec City a little later than elsewhere. In 2013, Paillard and the Chateau Frontenac stepped onto the Cronut bandwagon and respectively created the Crobeign and the Crognet. Just like any fashion faux pas, everyone wanted to be part of the cronut fame in 2013. Thankfully the duffin wave never came to town.

But we didn’t escape the #foodstagram wave. Tourists from all over the world were seen snapping away at their lunch with and hashtagging #QC. I actually made it my mission to find out what chefs thought of the idea.

Do you take pictures of your food?

2013’s wonderous discovery GinPigerHenricus-2

The most exciting product to have come out of the province this year is the Piger Henricus gin. This parsnip flavoured microdistilled gin is created in a German-imported still. And yes, you can find the final product at the SAQ. The creators, Les Distillateurs Subversif, are currently working on a mushroom flavoured gin that I had a chance to taste earlier in November. The product is to be bottled in 2014. Along with the Ungava gin from the Eastern Township’s Domaine Pinnacle, Quebec is proving once again to be a leader in alcoholic concoctions.

2014 trends

The grilled cheese sandwich is 2013 trend that will survive into 2014 in Quebec City. La Luncheonette already offers a tasteful, local version of the delicacy with custom-made bread from the Borderon bakery. The Café Crack Grill-Cheese on the other had, serves a Limoilou-style version of the sandwich with pimped up extras like macaroni, pulled pork and/or sausage from Fou du Cochon et Scie—a perfect menu for a food truck. And newbie is stepping into the game, Macfly. The pinball wizard of the grilled-cheese sandwich has yet to open its doors. #foodieQC will have a taste soon!

And then there was the hot chicken sandwich. It’s prediction, not a certain trend. But, with the rise of molecular comfort food finding its way onto menus, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the deconstructed hot chicken sandwich as the fashionable meal to eat in 2014.

What do you think is the food trend of 2014?

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