The predominant feature of Old Town simply has to be the impressive, towering Fairmont de Château Frontenac jutting proudly above the Québec City skyline. It dominates the entire view of Québec regardless of the photographer’s vantage point. Indeed, it was the most striking edifice greeting Ursula and me when we first saw Québec from the decks of Holland America’s MS Maasdam early the morning of our arrival.
That’s not to say that the Lower Town is devoid of things to see and do. Quite the contrary. Indeed we wound up visiting several stores in this area whereas we made no such stops in Upper Town. But first we would have to descend from Upper Town to Lower, and as we had taken the Old Québec funicular going up we decided to take a leisurely stroll back down.
Now a word about poutine. We tried this concoction back in Montreal and were decidedly unimpressed by this combination of gravy-drenched fries littered with cheese curds. The fries were a greasy mess and the gravy tasted as though it came from a mix or a can. It was, in short, disgusting. The only redeeming feature was the cheese curds, which we wound up picking out of the grease and gravy. Before you say that Ursula and I visited the wrong Montreal establishment, this was at a place recommended by the locals because of their fresh, hand-cut fries.
And so it was with great trepidation that we decided to try poutine again in Québec City, but not immediately. Ursula and I were seeking refreshment after our long day trekking through the streets of Old Québec’s Upper and Lower Towns, so we stopped at a local establishment named Côtes-à-Côtes Resto-Grill. I ordered an ale, Ursula a soft drink, and we eyed some great looking fries at the next table, so we ordered a helping of that as well. The fries were great — firm, light, crisp, golden, and not a hint of greasiness. Definitely an improvement over the limp example in Montreal.
We were so impressed with the fries that we inquired about Côtes-à-Côtes’ poutine. Our ever helpful and friendly waitress informed us that theirs was a local award winner, particularly the poutine topped with pulled pork. How was it? In two words, simply amazing. In pictures, it was:
Our hunger abated and our thirst quenched we set back out on foot for our journey through Lower Town back to the MS Maasdam. Click on any image below to bring up today’s slide show: