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My family loves to eat and we almost always plan our vacations around food. I'm thinking of Montreal (and possibly adding in a few days in Quebec City) when my kids have a week off in late September. Thus, I'd love to get advice on planning a "food destination vacation" where the goal is to eat Quebecois/local food.
Our daughters are 8 and 11 and adventurous eaters, but the 8 year old has peanut, sesame, and fish allergies. We are cautious when going to any restaurant that uses peanuts (e.g., Thai or Vietnamese) due to cross-contamination concerns. I'm less concerned about restaurants that serve fish, so we regularly eat at sushi and seafood restaurants. We have taken them right at opening (like 5:30!) to "nice" restaurants (meaning real tablecloths and mid-range price points) but otherwise we focus on restaurants offering really delicious food rather than ambiance when we're planning family meals.
We live in the SF Bay Area so we often take the girls to casual ethnic restaurants (Afghan, Burmese, Korean, Mexican, Japanese, seafood, etc.). They rarely order off kids' menus as they prefer variety. My husband and I love all kinds of food. Our kids-free NYC trips were all high-end 2-3 Michelin star restaurants while our kids-free New Orleans trip was focused on amazing Cajun food and seafood (many of them "hole-in-the-wall" joints).
We also enjoy "destination" adventures like snacking at the Ferry Building in SF with oysters and clam chowder from Hog Island, bread from Acme, more cheese from Cowgirl Creamery, charcuterie from Boccalone, etc. Thus, Montreal's Jean-Talon Market sounds like a similar fun food playground!
Other places that have caught my eye in my preliminary research so far:
- Both Saint Viateur and Fairmount bagels
- Schwartz's smoked meat
- Poutine (but from where? There are so many opinions on this!)
- Trying as many patisseries as possible (Maison Christian Faure is on my list!)
If we make it to Quebec City, L'Affaire est Ketchup is on the list. Everything I've read about them sounds right up our alley! I just don't know if it is too much hassle to rent a car and switch vacation rentals to go to Quebec City. What say you, Chowhounds? Does Quebec City offer amazing food unavailable in Montreal or SF? I really don't care about the historical aspects of either city. Food is the priority for us as we typically rent a place with a kitchen (DH loves to cook, even while we're on vacation) and eat breakfast there. Then the remainder of the day is spent planned around restaurants or food markets to explore. When not eating, we spend a lot of time relaxing at the rental (reading books, playing board games, watching TV, surfing the net, playing in the pool) and exploring the outdoors (beach, mountain, etc.). We are loungers, not go-go-go vacationers who want to see all the sights. We never go to historical sites where you have to stand in line (like an old mission), museums, etc. while on vacation.
We'd rather just be like the locals and eat and relax while on vacation. Our best souvenirs/experiences are often food-related (e.g., a cooking class on Taiwanese street foods when we recently went to Taiwan, ziplining on a plantation before lunch at the Mill House in Maui, spearfishing and then eating seafood, etc.).
Thanks for any tips or feedback!