Wednesday Coast Post: New #1 Dessert and Buffet!

Hi everyone! Just came back from the orthodontist, and before that: a circuit class, an hour of spinning (indoor cycling), and an hour and fifteen minutes of hatha yoga. I had a massive breakfast this morning and just ate a huge lunch of avocado toast with two scrambled eggs with cheddar, zucchini, mushrooms, roasted red peppers, and scallions. Delicious!

Moving on – here is the third post in my Sunshine Coast Series! You can read Monday here, and Tuesday here. 🙂 Let’s get started!


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Leftover muffins from The Bakery in Sechelt: lemon poppyseed, blueberry scone, raspberry mango oatmeal muffin, savoury scone, gluten-free apple cinnamon muffin

Mom and I polished off the last of these delicious baked goods for breakfast on Wednesday morning. You can read about what we thought of these muffins here, on my Tuesday Coast Post.

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Dad had leftover chicken wings from Monday with smoked salmon pasta from Tuesday, and Seline got a McDonald’s egg McMuffin with bacon.

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In Powell River, we spotted two famous eateries: the Tree Frog Bistro and Little Hut Curry. I wanted to have Little Hut Curry SO badly – they are the highest-rated restaurant in the Sunshine Coast and serve authentic Indian dishes, but were closed on Canada Day. 😥

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We went to the Coastal Cookery instead! The restaurant was decorated with mirrors, paintings, and unique lights. This place reminded me a lot of Cactus Club.

Pow Town Poutine: Fresh cut fries, porter and beef gravy, fresh cheese curds

My first impression of this dish? WOW, that’s a huge serving. This wasn’t a regular salad-sized, or even dinner-sized plate – it was a full serving plate, heaping with fries, gravy, and cheese. Despite the large serving, my family wasn’t crazy about this poutine. Seline thought the fries were done in an odd way, and didn’t like the fries themselves. Mom declared that overall, the poutine was too salty for her taste. With fries, gravy, and cheese – I’d agree! Even though I didn’t try this 😛

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BBQ Buttermilk Chicken Bites: Buttermilk soaked and seasoned Vancouver Island chicken, homemade BBQ sauce, fresh cucumber, crispy onions

“Pretty good.” That’s all Dad could say about this dish, even though he rated the restaurant, and all the food in general a solid 4.6 out of 5.

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Ling cod: local ling cod, rich lemon buerre blanc, roasted seasonal vegetables, herbed vegetable rice

I ordered this for myself and Mom to share. First of all, the cod was extremely flavourful – but only on top. In fact, the top layer was overly salty, garlicky, and peppery, while the “inside flesh” was underseasoned (which I prefer!). I also thought the fish was a bit too firm – it might’ve been seared for too long, or perhaps cod is naturally a firmer fish. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of veggies here. Roasted season vegetables? My expectations were high until I saw five sad little spears of asparagus. The asparagus was sprinkled with sea salt, making it quite salty, but the overall texture was nice. I really enjoyed the rice, as I always do at restaurants. While the menu read “herbed vegetable rice”, I couldn’t detect a trace of veggies in the pilaf. There were pinches of oregano and thyme (I think!) combined with the rice, but not one vegetable. 😥 The lemon butter, which was probably spiked with white wine, tasted pretty nice with the rice, fish and asparagus. I’d say that my dish was decent, but not super delicious or special at all.

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Buerre Blanc Mac and Cheese: Not your grandma’s Mac and Cheese. Smoked gouda, aged cheddar, white wine butter sauce, crispy pancetta, fried sage

Seline ADORED this lunch. “Really, really good,” she kept telling me between mouthfuls. “It’s the best mac and cheese I’ve ever had.” She hasn’t had much mac and cheese before (other than Kraft Dinner and the time I made mac and cheese from scratch and gave her diarrhea – seriously). But this one, made with two types of cheese, savoury wine and butter sauce, and topped with crunchy Italian bacon, was incredible. I tried a couple of bites, and it was so rich. The fried sage, like Cactus Club (fried sage on butternut mascarpone ravioli), provided a nice contrast to the cheesy goodness of the pasta. This was truly comfort food at it’s finest! I would agree that this is one of the best mac and cheeses I’ve ever had – dare I say better than Whole Foods’s version?!

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Bourbon Pecan Galette: Fresh puff pastry, pecan almond butter, bourbon maple sauce, vanilla bean gelato

Okay, excuse me if I freak out: THIS WAS MY FAVOURITE DESSERT EVER! Definitely, without a doubt, one of the TOP TWO I’VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE! Sorry for all the caps – I’m just so excited about this dessert! And I’m kind of drooling right now.

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The buttery and flaky pastry shattered in my mouth, and there was a thick layer of almond paste (like the creamy sweet stuff in my favourite almond croissants). The almond paste was topped with the best crunchy candied pecans, which was adorned with a big scoop of vanilla bean gelato and drizzled with maple sauce. Every ingredient paired well with another, and we couldn’t keep our forks away. I was thistles to licking the bowl. Seline enjoyed the ice cream, Dad loved the maple sauce, Mom was a huge fan of the pastry, and I… basically just savoured every part of this dessert (okay, especially the almond paste). AMAZING!

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I saw the sign for a Farmer’s Market, but it was already 2:00 by then. 😥 Probably a good thing, too, because I could shop at farmer’s markets for HOURS, while my dad and sister despise them. Instead, we visited the Larry Gouthro Park for a Canada Day Celebration. Safeway provided a massive cake for all the participants!

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There was also freshly-made pizza. Some people made the dough right there and then, and others fired up the wood grill. Some people were in charge of scattering the toppings, and one person made change. 🙂 These looked so fresh and yummy – to bad we’d just had lunch!

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In the afternoon, Mom and I took a short walk to the Pacific Point Market. It was an 8-minute walk from our resort. What a nice organic market! It was spacious and newly-renovated, too. I saw a big spice rack that I fell in love with!

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For dinner, we drove 40 minutes to the Laughing Oyster, by the town of Lund. The Laughing Oyster is famous for their big buffets (only served on Wednesdays), live music, and incredible, fresh seafood. We were surprised to find this restaurant, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere! There wasn’t a single car near us as we drove the winding, rural road up to Lund. When we arrived, we drove through a forest (yes, we literally drove on a trail in the woods!) to get to this beautiful seaside restaurant.

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We were so glad we made a reservation – the place was quite busy, with lots of people in line for the buffet. We were lucky enough to score a patio spot (though we didn’t get the full ocean view 😥 ). There was an older gentleman on the other patio, singing and playing his guitar and filling the entire restaurant with lovely music.

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Seriously amazing, right? Counterclockwise from the top right, we have:

Salad with balsamic dressing, blue cheese and pecan spinach salad, sautéed cabbage, roasted cauliflower, zucchini, and peppers, roasted and glazed carrot sticks, saffron and turmeric spiced rice, seafood linguine with salmon and mussels, lemon wedge for oyster, fried oyster with aioli and tzatziki

Middle: roasted salmon with wasabi and balsamic reduction drizzle, salmon and Monterey Jack burrito with spicy creme

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The pan-fried oysters, with the remoulade (French condiment, like aioli), were a highlight of my dinner. I didn’t even know I liked oysters! I also loved the roasted carrots and spiced rice. I found the salad somewhat overdressed, however, and the cabbage nothing special. Their roasted vegetables were a bit on the oily side.

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Everyone in my family raved about this dinner!

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All of our plates looked different. Mom, Dad, and Seline adored the linguini and encouraged me to get some for myself during the second round. My second plate is on the right in the photo above – I couldn’t resist getting another pan-fried oyster, some more rice and carrots, and more of the amazing roasted salmon. The two drizzles are a mayonnaise and wasabi mixture and a balsamic reduction. Oh – and the blob on top? Crispy fried cod!

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Their version of fish and chips, this cod was the freshest I’ve ever had. It had a flavourful tempura-style batter around it, and was so incredible. I wanted more!

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For dessert, I was dying to order the Pate Brisse Cheesecake Terrine with rolled short bread crust and wild blackberry sauce. Unfortunately, Dad didn’t want cheesecake (he thought it wasn’t special…?) and Seline hates berry compotes. Instead, as recommended by our waitress, we ordered the Chocolate Chocolate Crazy Crazy. It was a chocolate mousse cake with a layer of chocolate ganache and chocolate drizzle, with whipped cream and dulce de leche on top.

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Strangely, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this dessert. I think it’s because I prefer my chocolate desserts to be thick, rich, and dense (like black bean brownies!) rather than airy, like mousse. The ganache layer, which is covered by the drizzle, caramel and whip cream, was my favourite part. Still, this dessert was quite far from being memorable. Either way, it was demolished and Seline wanted to lick the plate!

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As we waddled back to the car, Dad found some berry bushes! Not sure if these are blackberries or unripe blackberries, or what. I’m always nervous around wild berries and mushrooms because I think they’ll be poison 😉


l have a driving lesson in half an hour (Canada’s Worst Driver here, guys!), then Mom and I will be cooking a Skinny Broccoli-Cheddar Chicken casserole for dinner with friends tonight. If it’s a success, I’d love to share the recipe with you guys. Yesterday, we bought some Goddess dressing and Roasted Red Pepper dressing on discount yesterday (both organic, 2 for $6!), so we’ll probably incorporate a yummy salad into our dinner as well. Will update you on that soon!


EDIT: the casserole was a huge hit! Six of us, all GIRLS, devoured casserole dish meant for EIGHT people. We also enjoyed a lovely salad made with Goddess dressing (lemon, garlic, herbs, sesame), smoked salmon, and cashews on mixed greens. It was sooo tasty and I couldn’t stop! Thankfully it was salad. 😉

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The casserole, on the other hand, was equally addictive! Creamy, cheesy, flavoured with mushrooms and scallions, this dish was amazing. With brown rice and an entire head of broccoli for the eight of us, it’s hard to believe this is full of filling fibre (and lean protein from the chicken). I loved it – especially the crusty cheese bites with broccoli. Hope you give this a try! Here’s the recipe, which I adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

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Skinny Cheesy Broccoli, Chicken, and Rice Casserole

Serves 4 (I halved the recipe for the blog)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup long grain brown rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 head broccoli
  • 4 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chicken breast, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp + 1 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, divided
  • 40 mL light sour cream
  • 4 oz shredded cheddar cheese, divided
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

 Directions

  1. Boil broccoli in lightly-salted water for 2.5 minutes. Rinse under cold water to blanch.
  2. Season chicken breast pieces with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Heat olive oil over high heat and saute until no longer pink. Remove to a plate.
  3. Use medium heat now. Add butter to skillet and cook green onions. Add mushrooms.
  4. Stir flour into 1/4 cup milk. Pour mixture into skillet when mushrooms and scallions are golden brown. Add remaining 3/4 cup milk. Cook mixture and stir constantly until thickened, about 8 minutes. Add chicken and allow the mixture to boil (medium heat). Remove skillet from heat.
  5. Add 3/4 of shredded cheese, sour cream, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Stir until smooth.
  6. Add broccoli and rice. Stir until everything is combined.
  7. Scoop mixture into a greased ovenproof casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese. Broil until cheese is melted and golden brown.
  8. Let casserole rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Have an awesome week guys! My sister and I are going to a cafe downtown tomorrow for lunch as “practice” for our trip to Paris in three weeks – wish me luck 😛

Thumbs Up! (Quebec #6)

I hope you’re not getting sick of my Quebec posts – but I promise this is the last one! On a side note, I am getting so excited for Christmas, which is in just a few days. 🙂 I love the holiday Christmassy spirit, but I do believe that the anticipation is better than the actual thing. What do you think?

This is a big bowl of pasta that my Mom had at Fellini, a lovely restaurant near our house in St-Eustache. It had spinach, shrimp, sundried tomatoes, and parmesan. She loved it, and so did I! On the right is an omelet with roasted potatoes that I had in St-Anne de Bellevue. We hated the service, and the food was not much better. I was hungry though!

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First day barbeque potluck! Lots of fruit, veggies and dip, cheese and crackers. Plus three different homemade desserts by Brigitte – my friend’s host mom. Apparently she baked them at two AM!

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Lebanese food court food. I had a chicken wrap, which was super garlicky, and two sides: lentils and vinegary mashed potatoes. This was not my favourite lunch, but it was interesting to try Lebanese cuisine. 🙂 A much better lunch on the right: leftover rice, maple salmon, and steamed broccoli that I heated up in the microwave.

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Two slices of peanut butter toast, cherries, and blueberries. Plus a list of food that my parents asked me to write on the first day. They wanted to know my favourite foods – and my least favourite – so I tried to list them all. Obviously my favourite foods aren’t difficult to list because there are so many. 🙂

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A slice of mixed berry pie, and two more slices of toast – jam and peanut butter – plus cherries.

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Maple salmon for another lunch, with rice. Plus some yogurt and two quinoa cookies! And whoa… check out my friend’s shoes. She drew them on by herself! 😀 Wish I was that talented.

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Homemade pizza with salad on a rushed dinner day. I had seconds of this delicious, cheesy and rich pizza. 🙂 Then the YMCA group went to the Montreal Jazz Festival, where some of us had…

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Poutine! It wasn’t really my thing, and since I was wearing my elastics, I opted out. But the next morning, I had a delicious, delicious bowl of quick oats with blueberries, maple syrup, and peanut butter. A variation of that oatmeal on the very right: topped with a big scoop of raspberry jam!

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More lunches! I honestly loved every single lunch I had in Quebec. On the left: leftover pizza, quinoa salad with lentils (from Costco), a quinoa cookie, Activia yogurt, and grapes. On the right: stir-fried teriyaki chicken with peppers and mushrooms. Both were super yummy!

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On my first Friday at work, I was told that we get HALF of Fridays off! They let us go at 12:00. 😀 I didn’t need to eat at work, so I brought it home, plated it, and heated it up – then enjoyed it on the porch with my laptop. What to do for the other half of Friday? I didn’t have any plans, so I…

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… I walked to Tim Hortons and enjoyed an apple cinnamon doughnut and a chocolate chip muffin while working on my story. 😛 I got lost on the way (missed a turn) and ended up walking for over half an hour – the Tim Hortons is only four minutes away!

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That’s it for now, guys! You can find all of my Quebec posts here.

Not so busy now because school’s out, but it’s gonna be starting really soon and I’m going to miss these free, relaxing days. Stay tuned for the next post because I have lots of creative new recipes in the making. 🙂

Summer in Quebec (PART III)

Bon matin everyone! How are you? Today was a bit of a crazy day – I was up at 5:00 for a super-early morning skate at 5:45. I had a bit of chocolate banana bread + peanut butter and a glass of milk before I went. After practice I devoured a sludgy green/brown spinach and berry smoothie, a slice of toast with Earth Balance, 2 scrambled eggs with vegetables and cheese, AND lemon pound cake with yogurt. All of that, and I could STILL eat more. Whew!

Moving on! Here are some more meals that I had in Quebec. See Part I here, and click here for Part II.

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Raspberry lemonade from Olive and Gourmando. I TOLD you this was my favourite place in Part I of my Quebec trip! This lemonade was so REAL – it wasn’t artificial at all, and I loved how the sweet/tart flavours were balanced. On the right is probably the best brownie I’ve ever eaten. Cakey but still dense, fudgy, and so, so rich. They use real Verona chocolate and the difference is insane! You can definitely tell that the quality is 10x better. It was loaded with dark chocolate chunks and the crusty top was cracklin’. LOVED this dessert.

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More from the Old-Montreal cafe! The “Poached Eggs on Your Face” sandwich, loaded with, uh, poached eggs, proscuitto (Italian bacon), sriracha, and incredible cheese. Plus an almond croissant and a hot chocolate. The hot chocolate was basically a liquid brownie – definitely the best hot chocolate I’ve ever had. It was a tiny cup but oh-so-rich. The croissant was just OK. I think Matchsticks (Vancouver) and Thomas Haas (Vancouver) make better almond croissants. The spicy sandwich was yummy though. I should’ve just had half!

The other photo is the chocolate and banana brioche that I bought for nibbling on the road. Imagine a flaky croissant-like pastry in a cinnamon bun shape, loaded with banana flavour and bursting with creamy chocolate chips. That’s what this was! It was insanely good but I was so full from my breakfast (… see left) and I brought it with me. Smuggled it into La Ronde, too!

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Had a crepe at this amusement park. I felt sick the whole day! I can go on the “scary” rides, but I don’t like how they make me feel after. I still went on all of them – including a backwards roller coaster and a STANDING roller coaster! This crepe was pretty bad quality and filled with gloopy mayo, canned mushrooms, and processed cheese. The crepe itself was crummy too. Didn’t like this lunch at all!

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My lovely Quebec parents took me out to St-Joseph du Lac, a city near Oka. It is a famous “apple town” where I had a vegetable omelet with cheese, roasted potatoes, and two slices of toast with peanut butter and strawberry jam. This omelet, LOADED with peppers and olives, was fantastic. The potatoes were some of the best I’ve had – so tender.

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POUTINE! This was at La Banquise, a traditional Quebec restaurant that’s open 24/7. People usually get their fries at 2:00 AM as a hangover helper, but we went at 5:00 PM for a nice dinner. 🙂 Originally I didn’t want to eat here and planned to go home, but I wasn’t allowed – YMCA rule. So I sucked it up and decided to eat the fries… when in Rome, right? I was stuffed from the manicotti from lunch but still ordered a large Taquise poutine (Mexican-style) with guacamole, tomato, sour cream, and feta cheese. Because I don’t like cheese curds, I swapped ’em for feta. I also ordered a chevre burger. This had a layer of caramelized onions and apples – delicious. It was a fantastic dinner but I felt greasy after. We watched the Montreal Impact soccer game after this dinner and the burger/fries kept me full all night.

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The BEST chicken stir-fry ever. It was coated in a sweet and spicy sauce and packed with soft vegetables. Served with minute rice, green onions and sesame seeds, this dinner was unforgettable! I recreated it at home and it tasted pretty much the same. Loved this! I can post the recipe if you’re interested – let me know in the comments. 🙂

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This is Cafe Vasco da Gama. I read about the reviews for this duck + fig confit panini and knew that I HAD to go. So after work one day, I took the bus and then the subway to find this gem in downtown Montreal. Unfortunately I fell asleep on the train and missed my stop by twelve stations – I had taken it all the way to the end! I was so angry/scared/disappointed but then found the right train and finally found this restaurant. I got out of work at 5:00 and didn’t see the restaurant until 7:30… too much effort for a sandwich?

NOPE! This was SO flavourful and I loved the crusty-ish bread. The fig was sweet and paired perfectly with the tender duck. I also had a cup of mushroom soup, which I totally want to try making. It was completely smooth and so mushroomy. I loved it! Another hour and a half home… I was whipped!

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At the end of Family Weekend, my family took me to L’Academie, a beautiful Italian restaurant in the Sherbrooke area of Montreal. I had a lasagna with rose sauce and a nibble of my Mom’s seafood potato broil. The lasagna on the menu intrigued me – it had a layer of hard-boiled eggs! The waitress claimed it was super delish and that I wouldn’t taste the egginess. She was right! I think the eggs made it even more delicious. I loved the cheesiness and the slightly sweet tomato sauce.

Also had “pate chinois”, a traditional Quebecois dish like Shephard’s Pie. We ate this dinner with my sister and my twin student’s friend. We spent the afternoon in the pool/hot tub and then came back to have this supper + watch Youtube videos. This was made with a layer of ground beef, corn, onions, and then topped with mashed potatoes + paprika and baked. Topped with ketchup and eaten with a veggie salad. My parents put SO much effort into making/buying what I wanted to eat. ❤

The last photo is pecan pie with vanilla ice cream. I stole nibbles of this all night. It was basically a sugar pie topped with toasted pecans. After popping it into the microwave, this pie was so warm and incredible with vanilla ice cream. One of my new favourite desserts!

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Nice dinner with my friends and the coordinator at Madison’s Grill. We ate there with some mentally handicapped people and it was pretty fun. Didn’t actually feel like volunteering because we sat at different tables – weird! I had salmon with garlic mashed potatoes and pineapple salsa. The dipping sauce was good and I had it with everything!

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Dad made French toast for us all! Topped with maple syrup, banana slices, and berries.

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One day after work, I ate alone at Crabhouse Serafim, an organic place in Old-Montreal. You could choose 3 courses and I had the seafood chowder, some bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar (unpictured), a tagine with zucchini “pie”, covered with cheese, and a coconut chocolate date cake. It all sounds delicious but it was only okay… pretty diasppointing! 😦

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But THIS was good! A passionfruit tart from Maison Christian Faure in Old-Montreal. It’s a beautifully modern pastry school and I had this fruity, creamy tart with a big hot chocolate. I was so full after eating at Olive and Gourmando though (see above) that I could hardly finish! … but of course I did.

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The Brulerie du Vieux St-Eustache was one of my favourite places. As you might have already seen in my other Quebec posts, I had lots of sweets… and most of the goodies were from this bakery near the bus transfer place. Needless to say, I’ve sampled all of their muffins!

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And… onto the train we go! Breakfast, for FIVE DAYS, was a toasted English muffin (I added peanut butter), scrambled eggs with ketchup, bacon (gave to friends) and hashbrowns. I usually had orange juice or water.

Lunch was usually a salad with hard boiled eggs or cheese and garlic bread. Mashed potatoes on the side – not very yummy. But we also got a white chocolate cheesecake with a brownie crust and raspberry syrup! This was delicious.

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Dessert and dinner: vegetarian chili with beans and mashed potatoes, strawberry shortcake. 🙂

 

Quebec was, without a doubt, one of the BEST TRIPS EVER. I’d love to know about your vacations – what was YOUR favourite trip? What did you eat there?

CLICK HERE to see the first part of my trip, or CLICK HERE to see the second!

That’s it for today! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next post. 🙂