For the 17th year in a row, Ed and I, along with 2 other couples, took a break for a long weekend in a new location. This year, the destination was Montreal and Quebec City, Canada. We stayed at wonderful hotels--the luxurious Ritz Carlton in Montreal, which recently underwent a four-year-long remodel, and the Relais and Chateau boutique property Auberge St. Antoine, in Quebec City. So close to home, we were instantly immersed in French culture, and I had fun using my high school French. And the French people in Quebec province are so much more friendly than the French in France. We felt welcomed!
We toured both the old and new parts of Montreal and ate at some great restaurants there, but fell in love with Quebec City. We took a comfortable train ride from Montreal to Quebec--only a little less than 3 hours away--and departed for a picturesque St. Lawrence River harbor cruise shortly after arrival.
One of the most memorable meals we had in Quebec City was at gorgeous Toast Restaurant, where we were surrounded by its stained glass, hanging plants and atmospheric rosy lighting, while eating its great food, like a mushroom crostini with quail egg and mozzarella appetizer. Afterward, we walked over to the waterfront to watch a magnificent fireworks display, called Les Grands Feus Loto-Quebec, which happens only once a year, shown over the river and set to incredible operatic arias. It was the most beautiful fireworks display we'd ever seen, and we were so lucky to be there at the right time.
On our last day, we drove to Ile D'Orleans right outside of town to a maple tasting at Domaine Steinbach, where my favorite sample was maple mustard. I just had to bring some home. So yummy! Afterward, we did a wine tasting but, since we are so spoiled because of our wonderful Napa wines, we weren't that impressed. However, at one of the Quebec restaurants, we drank some non-French wine, a Truchard Vineyards Roussane from Carneros. We were so happy to see it on the wine list!
The terrific, short weekend soon came to a close. Next year it's my turn to plan it. Now where will we go?????