Two years is a long time between visits. Yet somehow when my BFF and I get together, it's as though time kindly waited for us to take a break in our crazy-busy lives. And then we pick up right where we left off.
Part of this most recent mini-vacation to Québec was spent at La Girolle, a small-ish, crowded French bistro on Chemin Ste-Foy (pronounced FWAH, if you please.) The noise is deafening, the proximity to other patrons' elbows a little too close for comfort ... but the food more than makes up for it.
Our waitress rolled the chalkboard menu over to our table and then rhymed off each of the items in fuller detail. Clearly she'd been studying this for days, as her delivery was flawless and she had answers for even the most obscure questions.
I was sold on the Foie Gras Two Ways: pan-seared and crème brûlée. Yeah, you read that right. CRÈME BRÛLÉE FOIE GRAS. Also? An enormous puck of beef tartare coupled with crispy Belgian-style frites. French bistro dining at its finest.
This was also my first experience with BringYourOwnWine, which is a long-standing tradition in many of the city's restaurants. There's no big fuss about corkage or anything like that, and it's interesting to see what people bring in, tucked under their arms or in deep purses. (One guy even brought his own glassware; I didn't get a glimpse at the bottle, but it must have been something extravagant to go that far. Or maybe he was just a little obsessive ... no judging.)
Since bubbles go with everything, I brought a 13th Street 2008 Premiere Cuvée, rich with brioche and slightly sweet toasted notes, a fine mousse and a tangy, brisk finish. My bestie and I toasted friendship, the kind that never fades, and enjoyed our feast to the fullest.
(The end of that weekend saw me dragging home my WineCheck filled with Quebec treasures: Riviere du Chêne's William, Carone Vineyard's Bin 33, and Isle de Bacchus 2013 "Le 1535", a blend of Vandal-Cliche, Acadie Blanc and Eona. Oh, and half a case of Birichino Malvasia Blanca, that exquisite, perfumed liquid from California that I thought I would have to special-order. Insert happy dance here.)