Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Old Quebec City - Gluten Free

My husband, I call him Navy Boy here, surprised me with a short trip for our anniversary this past spring. We had never taken a trip just to go somewhere without the children since we had them. (My oldest is 6.) We went away once for a wedding, and that was this past fall.

Navy Boy was planning on telling me the day we were leaving, but a bizarre convergence of events made him spill the beans reluctantly a couple of days prior to our departure. I was glad. It gave me an opportunity to get the house ready and things in line for the children's care before we left.

This was my first trip going gluten free. I didn't do any research. Since my husband was planning it, he researched and contacted people and got a list of restaurants. When he handed me that list in the car, I felt so loved.

We are close enough that we can drive there, and one thing my dear husband did not think about was lunch on the way up. I had time to think about it, and had food in the freezer, and I had my Mr. Bento that I purchased to take my food wherever I needed to. (Mr. Bento is a food storage system from Japan that has separate little containers for food - and it keeps the food hot, cold warm or room temperature. I adore it.) I was able to pack us each some lasagna and two salads and cheese and crackers for our lunch picnic that we had after a couple of hours of driving. I love my Mr. Bento.

We arrived and checked into our adorable inn, then ran outside the door to children, just us and two full days to play. And then...

I stopped. I stood in the square in front of the Frontenac, and froze. I realized at that moment, travel would be different for me, forever. I couldn't travel the way I had. It was in between mealtimes and normally, we would have walked across the square to an outdoor cafe, gotten a coffee and a croissant..maybe a ham and cheese one and a chocolate one to split, watch the people go by and plan out our evening together.

I couldn't do that anymore.

Poor Navy Boy. I was just standing there, literally. For about 10 minutes, frozen to the spot, processing. Ten minutes doesn't seem very long, until like Navy Boy, you just stand there and have to wait to see what happens.

What did happen?

I woke up. I made a plan, and walked away from that spot knowing that I was different, would have to be, and would always be. I said good-bye to something, a freedom, and walked back to the room with my husband.

We opened a bottle of wine and ate the nuts and leftover cheese we had brought with us. We walked all around with the list, in the upper part of Old Quebec, saving the lower city for the next day, trying to find a restaurant. We couldn't find one, but had fun exploring. We ended up eating at our hotel's restaurant, we were the only ones there for a bit, and got great attention, a fabulous meal and I did not get glutened.

But I have to tell you about a great restaurant. Great in the fact that it was unique in Old Quebec, and it was fancy Canadian food. Why was it unique?

When we asked if they could accommodate gluten free, they came out with a PRINTED GLUTEN FREE MENU. Printed. Telling what I could have safely. This cute, adorable, local, and might I say absolutely packed restaurant on an off season weekday night, had a menu for me.

When the waiter handed us this menu, we didn't even look at it and said, "We're in."

We sat on the outdoor patio, with heaters above us and warm plaid fleece blankets around us, after all it was a cool May evening. We drank wine, and chatted and breathed in the atmosphere, the delightfully adult atmosphere.

This amazing place? Lapin Saute.

If you go up there, go there. It was beautiful.


Carrie said...

What a beautiful post SM! I love it! That's wonderful that they actually had a printed menu for you. That really is incredible! If I ever get to visit Canada, I will have to go to Old Quebec! Thank you for sharing those deep and lovely thoughts!

Kate said...

OH. I so remember that poignant moment in my life too. I think you handled it more gracefully than I. I did make a plan when we traveled to accommodate but also felt a bit of a pang of loss. We would get up earlier and head to local farmer's markets, bying fruit and whatnot for our backpack for the day of walking/exploring.

Your post is beautiful.
Thank you so much for sharing!

Natalie said...

This post was my first as an official subscriber to your blog! yay! What a special trip. I haven't been away from either one of my boys on a trip yet either. It will be awhile, but I love thinking about where I will go.

Sheltie Girl said...

Mrs. GF - I love my Mr. Bento too. Originally, we bought one for me, so I'd have something to eat when we traveled. Then the rest of my family decided they wanted a Mr. Bento, because my meals were much nicer than what we could find at restaurants off the road. Every time we take a trip, I do menu planning, shopping and cooking. Then I load up the Mr. Bentos. I even take soap along so I can wash them out in our hotel room.

My dream wish would be a Mr. Bento style cooler that could plug into your car cigarette lighter. It would keep the food cool and you'd have good food for the entire trip.

Thanks for sharing about your trip and how wonderful your husband was to you.

Sheltie Girl @ Gluten A Go Go

CeliacChick said...

oooh! someone finally explored gluten-free Quebec and reported about it. yay!

Slacker Mom (aka Mrs. GF) said...

Carrie - Thank you. I had been to old Quebec when I was young, around 3, but didn't remember it. It was beautiful, like being in Europe. I recommend it highly.

Kate - Thanks. It's so great to know I am not alone. It's a weird club we belong to, but it's awesome to know other people feel the same way. :)

Natalie - Thank you, subscriber girl!! It was great waiting, knowing that when it came it would feel so special. I know one of my friends would even take a night away somewhere local. I think that would be cool too.

Sheltiegirl - I want to get more too, I especially want the hello kitty one for my daughter, have you seen that one? It is so cute.

CeliacChick - They were great up there, just walking in places, all except one, the service was fabulous and accommodating. :)

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