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ella

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  1. Here's a rapturous post about this little Quebec City restaurant: While in the city for a holiday weekend, my partner and I escaped the tourist-induced haze of the old town for the St. Roch neighborhood to eat Sunday brunch. I'd read recommendations of this little bistro on Rue St. Joseph-Est, and so we made that our destination. Despite having no reservations, we were greeted warmly by a waiter, who patiently listened to my poor French, and sat us immediately. The menu explicitly lists the farms and local producers of much of the restaurants ingredients, and our meal was delightfully fresh, thoughtfully blending local delicacies with brunch favorites (eggs, waffles, toast). Our meal began with an amuse bouche (even at brunch!) of a miniature parfait: a layering a rubarb compote, tangy fresh yogurt, strawberry coulis and a little sprinkling of crunchy granola. Then my partner had a local incarnation of eggs benedict: sun-dried tomato toast, sauteed spinach, smoked local whiting, poached eggs and a hollandaise sauce, made fresh for each order. I choose the other special of the day: a frittata of lardons, broccoli, and comte cheese, which was a lovely blend of moist, salty and creamy. Herb-dusted roasted potatoes accompanied both dishes... I also had a lightly-toasted baguette, served with fresh butter and homemade apricot jam. A lovely brunch... The highlight of my weekend in Quebec City.
  2. Hi all: My partner and I will be spending one Friday night in Magog on our way up to Quebec City in a couple of weeks... I know almost nothing about the town, other than it seems quite beautiful and was on our route.... Does anyone have a recommendation for a late dinner? Something not overly expensive? Thank you!
  3. Chez Albert is lovely... Simple, mostly French food, local vegetables... Bistro-ish atmosphere. In Northampton, I'd also recommend Sierra Grill, on Strong Ave. It was new as of a year ago; wonderful selection of beers and the best Belgian-style fries I've found in the Valley (get them with the DUCK GRAVY!)... Sadly, one of my favorite restaurants in Hatfield burned down last month... RIP "Holy Smokes," a great BBQ joint that was housed in a historic church...
  4. ella

    Shortbread

    Thanks for the input... I am ALWAYS anxious that I haven't counted correctly, so I'm afraid you might be right about the amount of flour... If that IS my problem (and I don't know how I'd figure it out), what would you do? Add more butter? Start anew? This is part of what keeps me away from baking experiments-- I'm more of the "add a little pinch of something here, and a fistful of something there" sort of girl. This requires more accuracy than I'm used to! Thanks again... ella
  5. ella

    Shortbread

    Hi all- I'm attempting to make the Lemon Confit Shortbread Tart that was in the January 31st Dining Section of the New York Times ("When Life Hands You Lemons, Make Pasta and Confit")... And my shortbread crust is so crumbly that it won't meld into a ball to be refridgerated for the prescribed amount of time. They DO warn that it might seem "very dry at first," but we're way beyond "at first" at this point. Not being a particularly confident baker, I'm not sure how to remedy the situation... Any quick fixes? Add another egg? I consulted another shortbread recipe I have (one that's NOT intended to be a tart crust, however) and saw that their ratio of flour to butter is considerably smaller. The NY Times recipe calls for 3 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 2 sticks butter, 1 egg, 1/4 tsp of almond extract and 2 tblsp lemon juice. Does that sound like a reasonable amount to any of you? Thanks for listening to the anxious rantings of an inexperienced baker... And thanks for any advice!
  6. I'm heading to TJ Buckley's in Brattleboro for my birthday dinner this weekend and will post a review of it, afterwards... But I just wanted to say (if I haven't mentioned it on this thread already): the WOODSTAR CAFE on Masonic St. in Northampton. Fabulous homemade breads and great sandwiches (try the roast beef!); good coffee... I have made a Sunday morning ritual of their Cinnamon Raisin toast.
  7. I second the recommendation for Up For Breakfast-- usually packed, but worth the wait. Amazing breakfast meats, including some unusual (and DELICIOUS) sausages: buffalo sausage, pheasant sausage... All good. For lunch (or for a rainy day to hang out, or check your email, if you've got a laptop that's wireless capable), check out the Sprial Press Cafe at the Northshire Bookstore. Huge book selection, comfortable seating area in the cafe, with lots of nice couches. Good panini sandwiches, soups and salads... Make sure you take a walk up the hill behind the Equinox; there's a lake up there that's actually Equinox-owned and it's very beautiful, up in the woods... Have a great trip!
  8. I will be in Firenze for Easter Weekend (Saturday night through Easter Monday) and I'm wondering whether it will be difficult to find open restaurants on Easter itself and the Monday after... I've been trying to track down any friends in the area to crash their Easter lunch, but, alas, have had no luck thus far. Any suggestions? I've also heard of a Florentine Easter tradition that takes place after noon mass in the center of the city involving fireworks, two white oxen and a mechanical dove... Any truth to that?
  9. Thanks for the farmer's market review, all. I went to sleep last night with visions of meyer lemons and blood oranges in my head... I'll be staying with a friend, so I will have a full kitchen at my disposal. Can't wait to hit the market!
  10. I'll be traveling to SF in a week and always love to spend my vacation cooking from local farmer's markets... I'd love to know (being from Maine where almost nothing is in season at the moment) what people have been seeing for sale at the SF Farmer's Mkt (the Tuesday one as well as the Saturday). I'm trying to get some sense of what I should plan, menu-wise. What's out there that's in season in CA?
  11. This morning was steel-cut oatmeal with raisins, toasted walnuts and maple syrup... And I always sprinkle some cinnamon on top and a little bit of cream at the end...
  12. Thanks for the advice, everyone... All this talk of cornetti has me hungry already (especially the cornetto con marmelata di albicocca... apricot filling. oh...)! And Divina, yes, I will be Florence, for Easter weekend.
  13. I don't remember if it's actually in Beacon Hill, but on Charles St., just a couple of blocks from the Public Gardens is one of my favorite places for pizza in Boston, called Figs. The Pizza Bianco (I think that's what it's called) is phenomenal: the restuarant's thin crust pizza with balsamic caramelized onions, a little mozzerella and then a salad of fresh arugula and tomatoes on top, lightly dressed in olive oil. Oh, makes me hungry just thinking about it.
  14. I'll actually be staying mostly in monastery/convent guesthouses (having heard from a friend they were both relatively inexpensive and peaceful, as I'm traveling by myself)... I'm not sure if they'd provide a morning meal; though I suppose I could find that out from them... I love the idea of starting the day in a local bar... And saving my appetite for a big midday meal! And speaking of lunch... do you see Italians dining alone at these marathon eating sessions? Or is the "company" the whole reason they are as extensive as they are?
  15. I was musing about breakfast earlier today (over a bowl of steelcut oatmeal with raisins, walnuts and maple syrup) and also musing about my oncoming trip to Italy. And I realized... I have absolutely no idea what "breakfast" constitutes a Italia. What do people eat? (I'm sure the American romance with pancakes and waffles does not translate...) Is there ever an occasion of a huge morning meal a la the American "brunch," or are the big meals usually saved for lunch (and/or supper)?
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