Where to Eat in Québec City Right Now!

by Rachel Staggs
( July 20th, 2015 )

where to eat in quebec city

I’ve been to Québec City three times in the past nine months! The only season I have yet to experience is Spring.

Although the city feels more traditional than Montréal, there are inspiring, visionary meals happening just as well.


Legende offers a hyper local menu, only serving items that are in season. They are so committed to serve what is local that they don’t offer olive oil…because olives don’t grow there.

No worries! This is a wonderful point of view and you can taste its genius in the food. The experience brought a new term into my life: boreal (northern) cooking.


We ordered the chef’s seafood platter and it was exciting to try so many different items! Our fruits de mer adventure included smoked salmon, trout, oysters with homemade tabasco, cod with fruit paste, sea snail and pearl onion salad, razor clam salad, mussels, sturgeon in mayonnaise, and fermented roe puree.

le clocher penche

On our way out of town we stopped by Le Clocher Penché to catch lunch. The owner of one of our favorite restaurants in Montréal (Nora Gray) suggested it and they were very welcoming even though we literally squeezed in the minute before lunch was over.

The decor is warm and the attention to detail is inspiring.

le clocher penche

Being from Texas, I was curious to try Québécois gazpacho, which was a special the day we visited. I was not disappointed! The addition of shrimp was a nice touch.

le clocher penche-gazpacho

I followed up with their salmon tartar, which is a very popular dish in the region. It was one of the best I’ve ever had.

I wish we could easily go back to enjoy dinner in this beautiful space. I know it would be stellar.

le clocher penche-salmon tartar

l affaire ketchup

Every chef, sommelier, waiter, and restaurant owner we spoke to in Montréal suggested L’Affaire est Ketchup when we asked where to eat in Québec City.

patente et machin

Unfortunately they were not open until our day of departure. (Closed Sunday and Monday) We attempted to show up for a small bite on our way out of town, even though we had just eaten at Le Clocher Penché a couple of hours earlier.

We had several hours of driving ahead and quite honestly, we didn’t want to leave Québec.

We were an hour early for their first seating and all reservations were booked for the night. They suggested we visit their sister restaurant, just down the street, Patente et Machin.

Patente et Machin

Both L’Affaire est Ketchup and Patente et Machin are casual experiences, even though the cuisine is modern.

The vibe reminds me of Austin or Brooklyn (or Montréal).

patente et machin

Patente et Machin has a bit of a punk rock energy to it and my husband is convinced they have shows in the basement. There are flyers lining the stairwell to the washrooms. I can’t imagine they have room for such things, but it’s fun to think about.

patente et machin

I enjoyed a delicious medley of foraged mushrooms while my husband had a fiddlehead and asparagus salad. Everything was local and super fresh.

June in Québec introduced me to fiddleheads! What a gorgeous vegetable!

toast quebec city

The first restaurant I ever tried in Québec City was Toast! Yes, the exclamation mark is part of the name, like Baie des Ha! Ha! in Saguenay.

Restaurant Toast! has worked with my limited diet each time I’ve had dinner there even though I forgot to give them a call beforehand to let them know what to expect. Gracefully, they work with the ingredients they have on hand and come up with incredible alternatives. If you are vegetarian or have an allergy, be sure to call ahead so they can make something extra special for you!

On my most recent visit in June, the chef whipped up a lobster risotto that I’m still dreaming about.

Sister restaurant SSS is open for lunch and dinner. They offer a beautiful take on salmon tartar with a nice crunch.

le cercle

Le Cercle is not only a restaurant and wine bar, but also a performance space and art gallery.

le cercle

You could easily spend the entire evening without leaving the premesis. Dinner and visual art followed by seeing a live band sounds like a great night to me!

le cercle sardine

If you are looking for more upscale dining options check these places out:

Chez Boulay

Restaurant Initiale


Do you have a favorite Québec City restaurant? If so, share it with me in the comments section below! I can’t imagine it will be too long before I make my way back.

May your journey be your muse,


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Photo Essay: Ice Fishing on Baie des Ha! Ha!

by Rachel Staggs
( June 1st, 2015 )

ice fishing on baie des ha! ha!

The Québecois have created a multitude of ways to enjoy winter. Ice fishing can be as posh or basic as you wish. Although there is no getting around the duty of drilling fishing holes into the fjord.

The lovely lady in the middle of the photo above showed us how to drill the ice fishing holes with a drill the size of a small person. She was tough! I’m certain I wouldn’t be able to drill with such ease.

baie des ha! ha! fishing cabin.1

I enjoyed exploring this particular fishing village with my LC-A+ and cross process 35mm film.

baie des ha! ha! fishing cabin

After drilling, cabins are placed on top of and around the fishing holes.

It truly is a stunning place to get comfortable and wait for the fish to bite.

ice fishing baie des ha! ha!

Some cabins have toilets inside and some have outhouses. Wood burning stoves often keep the cabins warm and convertible sofas are popular decor.

It’s not common to stay the night in these small cabins and there are some rules to follow when ice fishing, but it’s quite easy to join the fun. For more information visit Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

baie des ha! ha! fishing village

Yes, Baie des Ha! Ha! really includes exclamation marks!

May your journey be your muse,

Follow my travels in real time via Instagram or Twitter!

Some or all of this experience was sponsored which may include travel and other costs. All opinions are my own.

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Saguenay, Québec: Snowmobiling with Évasion Sport

by Rachel Staggs
( May 15th, 2015 )

saguenay snowmobile and gear

When planning your winter in Québec, I encourage you to explore snowmobile riding in the Saguenay Lac-Saint-John region. There are over 2,000 miles of trails.

We stayed at Chalets et Spa Lac Saint-Jean in Chambord. The buildings are perfectly designed for families or groups of people, but also quite private. My room had a full kitchen, a full bath (in which I soaked in Epsom salt after the ride), patio, and dining areas both inside and out on the patio.

A sauna and hot tub are also available on the property for those who desire the Nordic spa experience. I was too cold to partake. I just couldn’t imagine being in a bathing suit in -17 F for even a second! My Texas roots run ten generations deep, so I’m not sure my body could handle it without more acclimation.

saguenay chalets et spa lac saint jean

This was the view from my room and just through the trees lies Lac Saint-Jean. We rode snowmobiles out onto the frozen lake!

saguenay lac saint jean

I was sore from holding on tight, but it was exhilarating. We sped through gorgeous aspen trees and sunny, snowy paths during our 2 hour ride.

I’d love to go again at my own pace. I was with a group and knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with my Canadian counterparts, so I rode on the back of our guide’s snowmobile. Denis, from Évasion Sport, had my life in his hands. We got up to speeds of 50 miles per hour in negative zero temeratures! He was a total professional and I felt looked after.

Denis let me take one for a spin on my own after our trail ride. It was so much fun and I was a natural.

saguenay snowmobile

Fair warning: I had a migraine the next day and my medication did not work the way it usually does. I did a bit of googling and it seems sudden changes in temperature can affect the serotonin levels in the brain and cause some people to develop migraines.

May your journey be your muse,

Don’t miss my real time travels…follow me on Twitter and Instagram!


Some or all of this experience was sponsored which may include travel and other costs. All opinions are my own.


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