We recently did a quick 9 day swing up the CT River Valley into NE Vermont and then across into the Eastern Provinces. This was mainly a camping trip - our visit to QC was curtailed and we did not get all the way to Quebec City as planned due to rain which drove us back south, a pity.
We had a fairly small number of restaurant experiences since we were mostly staying in remote areas and like to cook while camping (with whatever local products we can find) but we had several noteworthy stops.
Hanover NH - BASE CAMP, a nepalese restaurant. We were camping in Queechee Gorge VT (highly recommended) but dropped over to Hanover for old times sake and also becaue we needed a new tent. Base Camp is a relatively new place, located on the lower level in a building on Lebanon Street and the food while not cheap was very tasty. Actually the best dish we had was a simple and very savory dish of kale sauteed with cumin pepper and garlic. They take their chile levels seriously! Its a two page menu with stuff like momo and dal on the front page, and two sets of curry on the back page. We had a paneer and veg curry and a goat dish the goat was suitably funky, the veg curry was well cooked with lots of peppers and eggplant. and excellent paneer which they make in house Both had a load of vegetables and the rice was well cooked, but the spicing profile of the curries seemed to be mainly the red chiles - not too many other of the curry spices were prominent. We had a whole meal worth of leftovers. I think I would focus on the front page of the menu. when we return Hanover is a bit of a wasteland for asian this was very good. Good beer selection o tap (Jim had a Shed's ale)
Sherbrooke QC, this is a fine small city which is interesting to visit and offers much to food lovers. there is quite a range of restaurants of which we had time to sample only one, see below, but enjoyed visits to
*BIERES DEPOT AU VENT DO NORD, 338 Rue Belvedere Nord, terrific selection particularly of brews from the province, tasting assortments available, not a lot of english is a slight drawback to these shy anglophone americans but we met a friendly guy outside after asking had we come for the best beer in quebec?
*BOULANGERIE DUFEU, 17 Rue Bowen N, huge selection of organic breads and a few breakfast pastries, interesting range of grains, friendly baker!
*PATISSERIE LIEGEOISE - 2291 Rue King Ouest, recommended by our waitress at le Table du Chef - these folks had a lovely assortment of classic pastry, - the tart we took away was great, plenty of butter in the crustand a real pleasure. We were sad when it was gone Also offer breads, some charcuterie (mostly pate) and a fine selection of cheeses along with other fine foods
***Restaurant LA TABLE DU CHEF - 11 Rue Victoria. This visit was partly an exercise in nostalgia since many years ago we had enjoyed chef Alain Labrie's fine cuisine at Auberge Hatley in North Hatley - it was wonderful to find his 9 year old Sherbrooke restaurant, not perhaps quite as posh but still pleasant and enjoyable and successful. serving his refined classic cuisine The food at lunch was first rate and a relative bargain - It would have been hard to enjoy a meal more with the very sensitive service wide and deep wine list (prices were way better than NY for example) and most of all the delicious food served in a stylish room with no rush whatsoever. All the elements were there for a first rate meal which tasted as good as it looked on the plate - our firsts were interpretations of mini sandwiches, Jim's including cured pork, mine with tiny Matane shrimp. These were followed by his confit of guinea hen and my calves liver, both perfectly cooked, though I could have asked for a bit rarer on the liver, and we ended with a ginger creme brulee and fine coffee. A lovely french meal at a moderate price. I wish we lived closer and could experience these pleasures, and the others in this region more often.
Our next stop was Parc National de Frontenac s of Thetford Mines but we were rained out and had to head back to the border area and Vermont where better weather prevailed.
In Stanstead, we visited a very nice patisserie/boulangerie, LES VRAIES RICHESSES, just a brief hop from the border, which offered a great range of breads, pastries quiches and such as well as sandwiches and coffee.
Crossing the border we were lucky enough to spend the night at the lovely VILLAGE INN in Derby Line VT. In addition to very nice, comfy rooms the Inn offers ample servings of tasty Austrian and American cooking by Fritz its energetic Austrian chef /hoar. We enjoyed wiener schnitzel and jaeger schnitzel as well as a very tasty germanic pizza/ flat bread with very good cheese and sausage toppings and a large complementary serving of several different salads Wines tend to the white side. We were too full to even consider dessert! Breakfast was in two courses, a clafouti with fruit for the first and eggs and austrian sausage for the second. We were definitely fortified after this for our onward travels, and we very much enjoyed the hospitality of Fritz and his wife Paula!
After 3 nights in Groton State Forest in the lovely Ricker Pond campground, we headed back south - our main stop in Brattleboro where we visited the GRAFTON CHEESE COMPANY (recommended) and purchase some of their clothbound cheddar and other fine cheeses and had a good sandwich lunch at the Whetstone Station Restaurant nd brewpub. Brattleboro is a great town, and Grafton Cheese Co was exactly what we were looking for, with a super assortment of artisanal VT cheeses after tasting through a couple of less impressive displays farther north at one of the Cabot outlets and in Plymouth.
We look forward to returning to Quebec and the Northeast Kingdom!