As a combined birthday/anniversary gift Rick’s parents bought us a voucher for a night at an auberge just outside of Quebec city. The voucher also included a gourmet five course meal, which had us foodies very excited. Rick’s mom even lent us her car for the weekend, since we don’t have one ourselves (one of the perks of living in the city).
We opted to take things easy and left around noon on Saturday, stopping around 2pm for a diner lunch by the side of the highway. Probably our favourite part of the trip was the trip itself. We took turns trying to find the funniest town names (St-Cyrille-de-Wendover and Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Conseil (Our Lady of Good Advice) were top contenders). We also failed terribly at trying to harmonize while singing-along to Queen’s “We Are the Champions”, which had me in stitches for about five straight minutes.
We had a little time to kill before checking into the auberge, so we stopped in Quebec city to see the Musée de la civilisation for the Samouraï exhibit. We got there an hour before closing time, but since that was the only exhibit we were really interested in, we decided that we would have enough time, which we did. However, the guy at the admissions counter took pity on us and gave us 50% off! The exhibit was very beautiful and helped fuel our desire to make our honeymoon to Japan happen next year.
On exiting the museum we took a quick jaunt through the gift shop where I caught Rick loitering in the jewelry section. Apparently he’d been trying to buy me a locket on etsy for our anniversary, but every time he tried there was some sort of technical error, so he’d decided he wanted to get me something in Quebec instead. I noticed he was eyeing the same pendant I had gravitated towards, and it was also 50% off, so I ended up with some lovely and surprising new jewelry to wear to dinner.
The Auberge itself actually turned out to be more of a hotel than we had expected, with dozens of rooms and a house full of tourists. The room we had was big, essentially a small suite with a little fireplace (not that useful this trip) and a nice big soaker tub. There was also a gorgeous view out the back which we had just enough time to enjoy after checking in and changing before our dinner reservation.
When making the original reservations we had assumed that the auberge was more like a tiny bed and breakfast that just happened to have a four star chef on staff on the weekends, but we were instead confronted by a full service restaurant and a teenaged “sommelier”. To make sure we were both able to enjoy our anniversary meal, Rick went the extra step of emailing ahead with a list of my food allergies. He was informed that there would be no problem and that the chef would be made aware of my limitations. Granted, my list is long and complicated, but I always manage to put together delicious meals at home, so we assumed it would be a small task for someone with years of chef’s school and menu planning experience.
To his/her credit, the chef did an amazing job of whipping up Meeko friendly food, as it had been left up to our waiter/sommelier to inform the chef of my allergies. The waiter, on the other hand, lacked politeness and tact, putting me on the spot and huffing about like I had just ruined his day. We decided to ignore his rudeness, considering the wonderful job the chef did with my meal, but when Rick went to pay the bill and asked Jr. to give our complements to the chef he replied “well, these things happen.” Rick tried to explain that my allergies weren’t a choice, that they’re something I live with every day, but the comment still left a bad taste in his mouth. However, the joke was on hot to trot sommelier-boy as the next morning we saw him busing tables at breakfast.
Slowed slightly by our overpriced wine selection from the night before, we still managed to get to Quebec city around noon on Sunday and parked by the museum at the bottom of the cliff so we could set about climbing through Old Quebec to get to the Citadel and the Plains of Abraham. Rick had to make peace with how out of shape he is but we made good time and still got to walk the length of the Promenade des gouverners.
Even though it was a short trip, it was exactly the sort of break we needed. We even stopped for some birthday cupcakes on the way back.