Tag Archives: restaurant review

Fall Foliage Cruise — Lower Town Québec and Lunch at Côtes-à-Côtes

Lower Town Quebec

Way back in June 2014 Ursula and I took a similar cruise to this one, except that cruise was neither a reposition down to Florida, nor was it during fall foliage. During that cruise, we experienced for the first time poutine while we were in Montreal. It was a disaster. Soggy, uninspired, grease-laden fries swimming in an insipid brown gravy.

Basse-Ville Fountain and Statue

After Montreal on that cruise we hit Quebec with no desire to try poutine again. But after a long trek around Upper Town and then Lower Town, we were rather parched. So we found a café with an outdoor seating area and ordered some drinks.

Lower Town Quebec

It was while sitting here, waiting for our drinks, that we saw at a nearby table an entirely different take on poutine, one that was topped with pulled pork. The establishment was Côtes-à-Côtes Resto Grill, and you can read about our first visit at Québec Part 4 — Lower Town for a Poutine Break.

Côtes-à-Côtes Resto Grill

We placed an order despite our first lackluster experience in Montreal, and were pleasantly surprised. The fries were crisp, the gravy flavorful, the cheese curds al dente and tasty, and the pulled pork was an exquisite touch. here’s what that order looked like back in 2014:

Poutine Delight

Because this experience so changed our mind, we looked forward to hitting once again Côtes-à-Côtes for a repeat. Unfortunately, the outdoor seating area was closed, and the interior was packed with the lunch crowd.


Ursula perusing the Côtes-à-Côtes menu

Looking over the menu I decided to begin with a local beer. This one came from a brewpub just up the road in Montreal, La Blanche Cheval Blanc, a Belgian-style wheat. So far, so good.

Cheval Blanc at Côtes-à-Côtes Resto Grill

Alas, the poutine description varied from our previous visit. Rather than pulled pork, the latest poutine offering was topped with duck. Not a bad thing, necessarily, but I’m a sucker for a good pulled pork. Nevertheless, we placed a couple of orders. I probably should have taken a clue from the crowd, but more on that in a moment.

Lunch crowd at Côtes-à-Côtes Resto Grill

What I’m hinting at is that we should have prepared for disappointment. Today’s poutine was bad, per se. It just wasn’t a good as our first time here. The fries were far from piping hot fresh from the oil, and the duck paled in comparison to the pulled pork of five years earlier. The cheese curds were still quite good, but the gravy seemed lacking in comparison to our previous visit. On reflection, I’m going to give Côtes-à-Côtes the benefit of the doubt and chalk up this latest experience to an overworked kitchen and stressed staff that may have let the poutine sit just a tad longer than it should before delivery to our table.

Côtes-à-Côtes poutine with duck

Back onto the streets for one last look around and two final photos before we finish up with Quebec during this week’s Fun Photo Friday of Quebec favorites:

Lower Town Quebec

A Lower Town Quebec outdoor café

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Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, Restaurant Review, travel, vacation

54 Days at Sea — New York City’s famous Katz’s Delicatessen

Looking north on Bowery at Bleecker

There is one place in New York that Ursula and I consistently hit at least once each and every time. That is the incomparable Katz’s Delicatessen and their indescribably delicious pastrami sandwiches. Those sandwiches are piled so high that, if you take one along with a side of their marvelous fries, you better be prepared to share. Indeed, I doubt I could finish one on my own even without the fries. Look in the lower left corner of the photo below to see what I mean:

Katz’s Delicatessen

Katz’s is always busy every time we go there. But if there’s a wait, it’s definitely worth it.

Katz’s Delicatessen

Here’s a shot of Ursula waiting patiently for our shared pastrami on rye with a side of fries:

Katz’s Delicatessen

While Katz’s is world famous, I mentioned in Monday’s article that a rather suggestive, uproariously hilarious movie scene only further added to the mystique of this New York landmark. Yes, this was filmed in Katz’s Deli, and the last time I was there a sign hovered over the table that hosted Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal:

I doubt anyone can truly duplicate the wonderful flavor of Katz’s pastrami, but this week look for a special edition of Fun Food Friday as I come up with a really close impersonation. Until then, enjoy these New York City scenes:

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Filed under Photography, R. Doug Wicker, travel, vacation, Wine & Food

Fun Food Friday — Fatigas del Querer

Fatigas del Querer

One can develop quite the appetite walking around Madrid all day. For one thing, your constantly bombarded along the streets with views of delectable sandwiches:

Madrid sandwich shop

And delightfully decadent jamón serrano: and jamón ibérico:


Jamón serrano

Our travel companions Earl and Dolores were in need of a rest, so Ursula and I headed out on our own for dinner. We asked some of the locals where to go for tapas, and many of them pointed us in the direction of Fatigas del Querer (see this article: Hidden gem in Madrid: reader’s travel tips and their Facebook page). We were not disappointed. When you first enter you pass by the bar:

Fatigas del Querer

This restaurant may look small on the outside, but it’s deep:

Fatigas del Querer

And there’s even more seating in the back:

Fatigas del Querer

Fatigas del Querer

Ask your waiter for assistance. The food portions are generous, which means your waiter can best advise you on how much to order and what plates are best for sampling among your party. Our order consisted of garlic shrimp, which was perfectly cooked and loaded with garlic flavor:

Shrimp in garlic butter

Ursula, being European, loves air-dried meats, hams, and sausages of every type, so of course you know what made up one platter. This platter was quite a load of food for the two of us, and the samplings were exquisite:

Assorted cured meats, blood sausage, and cheese

The sausages and bread sticks were also quite delectable:

Sausages and bread sticks

Fatigas del Querer is Spanish for “Toils of Love”, and love of tapas were evident in every tasty bite of every tasty morsel. The restaurant is well worth finding, but it’s not easy to locate. The address is Calle de La Cruz 17, and Calle de la Cruz is a very small street southwest of Plaza de la Canalejas. If you can locate the plaza, which is fairly easy, then you’re only about 500 feet/150 meters from the restaurant.


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Filed under Fun Food Friday, Photography, R. Doug Wicker, Restaurant Review, travel, vacation