15 September 2010

1st Anniversary Road-Trip Day 3

We awoke Sunday morning with still-full bellies so we decided to pack everything up and prepare for our departure. I'd tossed around the idea of scrapping brunch in Montreal and just heading out for Quebec City, but once I started rattling off the few places I had in mind for brunch and what dishes they offered Mrs. Micro stopped me after I uttered the words sweet potato french toast. So apparently we were headed to Madre in Rosemont. This actually worked out well as we decided to walk there to work up an appetite. It would've been a great walk had it not been raining on and off the entire time. I did manage to get one great picture from the walk though:

The best chain ever
You've got to say the name aloud to get the full effect. Say it with me now Coq Express. C.O.Q. Apparently this was a Coq Plus! Express whatever that means. Maybe it's the result of all of that spam email about increasing your Coq size. Wasn't I lucky to happen upon this lovely little establishment? I think so. Anyway, after about an hour walk we finally made it to Madre.

This place had me at hello. It was a cozy little space with minimal decor that had a very laid back feel to it. There were about 30 seats and I really loved the glass double doors in the back allowing patrons to watch the action in the kitchen.

Lovely wife in lovely interior
They only had one person waiting tables and two people working the kitchen and the food came out surprisingly quickly. First up we were brought a complimentary batch of corn muffins and some housemade apple sauce and whipped butter. I was extremely intrigued by the Blue Corn Limonade so I ordered one of those.

Brunch spread

The muffins had a light corn flavor with a thick soft crust and a spongey interior with a small hole structure, but what really blew me away was the apple sauce, which was more like apple butter. Wow. This stuff was smooth and creamy and had a strong anise flavor which I just loved. We ate the entire cup of it before we realized it was supposed to be spread on the muffins.

Oh, this is what you're supposed to do with it
The waiter gladly brought us another dish. Sometimes it's the little things that count and this was one of the most memorable tasty surprises of the trip.

The Blue Corn Limonade was a very pretty drink indeed. Again, it had a very light corn flavor. The foam was sweet with a hint of lime and the beverage itself was light with a faintly detectable corn flavor. It was relatively interesting, but given the chance again I would probably skip it.

English menu
The sole reason for coming to Madre was one dish and one dish only: Sweet Potato French Toast with caramelized bananas and chocolate sauce. I was extremely tempted to order the corn cakes with pork shoulder or the poached eggs and chorizo, but I always try something different whilst letting the wife order the heaping plate of delicious carbs and end up regretting it. So with that we doubled up on the Sweet Potato French Toast. Boy, was I glad I did.

Holy french toast batman!
I knew what to expect from Montreal Breakfast Review's post, but was impressed by the presentation nonetheless. An impressive tower of three thick cut slices of housemade bread, a whole banana, topped with just the right amount of chocolate sauce. The bread had a nice gush to it from soaking up some of the syrup, but still retained a nice outer firmness that stood up to the toppings.

The chocolate sauce wasn't too sweet or too rich, but pleasantly chocolaty. Looking over Madre's menu I'm noticing that this wasn't served with maple syrup but with sugar cane syrup. I don't recall noticing the difference, maybe it was due to the fact that everything else on the plate was just so darn good. the best part of the dish was that you could actually taste the sweet potato! So many dishes claim to be sweet potato this or that and then fail to deliver, this dish definitely delivered. Overnight express.

Towards the end of the meal as the place started to fill up with couples and their children the one waiter was running around like a mad man. Unfortunately on top of waiting tables, he was also responsible for making all of the beverages as well. I made sure to tip the guy well.

Welp, that was our last meal in Montreal. We hailed a cab back to our hotel, checked out, and headed to our next destination: Quebec City.

Since we were in no rush we took Autoroute 40 on the north side of the St. Lawrence river and then exited onto Chemin du Roy for a more scenic drive affording wonderful views of the river and rolling pastures. While the drive was great, we missed an exit and ended up coming in from the North side of QC instead of the West. It all worked out in the end and we circled around to land right in front of our B&B J. A. Moisan.

Luckily when we knocked on the door Clement the host and proprietor was just getting back and as soon as I explained we had reservations and were trying to check in he gladly helped us with our bags and rolled out the red carpet. He asked how long we would be staying and then gave us advice on how we should spend our time. We had planned on spending most of the next day at Ile de Orleans, but he recommended we spend the day seeing Quebec City. We could tell he had a deep passion for his city and the extent of his knowledge really was impressive.  Not to mention he was just an all around nice guy.

Comfy cozy
Yeah, that was our room.  We felt like we were staying in a castle in a Fairy Tale.  And I was Princess Butterfly.  After settling in and freshening up we hit the street. We meandered down Rue Saint-Jean which is one of the main tourist drags into Old Quebec.

The walled entrance into Old Quebec
Pedestrians only on Rue Saint-Jean
Since I didn't really feel up for researching a great place to have a drink, I whipped out the Frommer's and found Pub Saint-Alexandre which had an extensive beer selection, right up my alley.

Time to get touristy
As promised, this place had a pretty extensive beer list, and I was in the mood to do some tasting. Even though I was interested in drafts, their wall of bottled beer was impressive nonetheless:

I perused the local draft brews and selected St-Ambroise Apricot, St-Ambroise Cream Ale, Griffon Rousse, and left the last up the bartender so she chose the Blanche de Chambly, which unfortunately was a white beer, which I don't usually care for.

Left to right: Rousse, Apricot, Cream, Blanche
My favorite by far was the Griffon Rousse, but I also liked the Apricot that was very light and smooth and the smell was supremely fruity and sweet. I asked the Mrs. if she would mind if I drank part of it and used the rest for cologne, but alas I was denied. Maybe I should've asked if she would wear it, as I doubt there're many wives out there who want their husband walking around smelling of ripe summer fruits. Hated the Blanche de Chambly as expected. The Mrs. ordered a side of fries and they were standard pub fare, nothing notable.

Uninteresting pub fries
We made our way through the cute little pedestrian streets webbed throughout Old Quebec.

I'm still kicking myself for not buying some of that kickass artwork.  We finally arrived at rue du Petit-Champlain at the end of which lie our dinner destination: Le Lapin Saute.

rue du Petit-Champlain
Rabbit and duck palace
We explained that we were early and desired a table on the terrace and they had no problem accommodating us. The fact that it was a Sunday and it was rainy might have had something to do with that. Trying that on a pleasantly warm Saturday night may have yielded different results. The main attraction of this venue is their spectacular terrace, and I would have to say that even in inclement weather it was quite charming (the heat lamps helped). All throughout the meal I kept raving about the view. See?

Awesome view
Eventually the Mrs. got fed up with hearing about how awesome it was, so she grabbed the camera to show me just how awesome her view was:

Even awesomer view
Yep, my goofy head, a wall, and a potted plant. I crack up every time I look at this picture. Definitely a classic Micro family moment.

We asked our waiter for wine recommendations and after realizing he was a mimbo (a male bimbo for all you non-Seinfeld watchers) ordered a bottle of 2007 Max Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon. It was adequate. The main qualm I had with choosing this place was that I was almost certain it was going to be tourist food due to it's location, and nothing on the menu really jumped out at me. Eventually I just gave up and ordered the Rabbit Duet which featured rabbit prepared with two sauces: a two mustards and a raspberry maple.  The Mrs. went with the Rabbit Lasagna with Camembert sauce. 

Duet of blandness

Sigh. As soon as this plate of food was plunked down in front of me I was already disappointed. Something about it just screamed "tourist food!!" The waiter offered freshly cracked pepper so I immediately took him up on his offer, especially with my mustard sauce. I found it quite comical that immediately following our first bite both myself and the Mrs. reached for the salt shaker. Do tourists really love underseasoned food that much? Both pieces of rabbit were served with little surprise hunks of bone, forcing me to chew cautiously the entire time.

The maple sauce was flat and tasted like watered down maple syrup. I now realize that the menu says a raspberry maple sauce, but I detected no hint of raspberry anywhere on the plate. The mix of vegetables was quite odd: cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, squash, cherry tomatoes, black olives... It just seemed like a very random mix. The mustard sauce was more like a mustard gravy and while still not that great was by far my favorite of the two. The crispy potatoes were good, again after I properly salted them.

There's lasagna under there somewhere...
There it is!
The lasagna was quite an improvement over my lackluster rabbits. I liked the raspberry sauce on top, which actually tasted like raspberry, shocker! The rabbit was very succulent and the pasta was tender. Luckily dessert would save the day.

Three words to ensure you have a pleasant meal at Le Lapin Saute: Maple Creme Brulee. Order that and nothing else matters. So close no matter how far, couldn't be much more from the heart, forever trust in who I am, get the Maple Creme Brulee.

The saving grace at Le Lapin Saute
I've never been impressed with creme brulee, so this dish enlightened me. It tasted like a maple glazed toasted marshmallow. We initially ordered one to split but we annihilated that dish so fast we grabbed the waiter and immediately ordered a second.

Notice the different color dish? Yes, we killed both orders

Dinner was saved. Maple Creme Brulee for Mayor.

Day 3 done. Holy hell I still have so much to write. I need to find a blogging buddy or something. My hands are turning into arthritic claws of doom. Actually, that's pretty sweet. Mr. Micro out.

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theminx said...

When dining out, the lady of the party should get the nice view, not the man. His attention should be her and her alone. :)

Great series of posts - I really want to go to Quebec now.

Mr. Micro said...

The lady did get the view. I am without a doubt the woman in this relationship...

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