During my visit to Quebec last month I had the most wonderful time at the falls and a quaintly delightful restaurant called L’ Affaire est Ketchup. At first glance you would think this restaurant is all about ketchup. No, the restaurant is named after a Quebec saying that means “everything is good”. Our waitress explained the meaning of the name, she told us her grandmother would pack them in the car for vacation and before they leave she tells them, let’s have a good time and if we forget something – l’ affaire est ketchup. Meaning it will be all good. Stay with me for more about the restaurant later.
We started off the day with a plan to have a leisurely time at the falls, eat lunch, get back to the hotel and rest before our dinner. On the drive to the island the day before I saw a view of the Montmorency falls from the Ile d’ Orleans bridge. I took some pictures from the car but it did not give justice to the natural beauty of the falls. The day was perfect for a nature visit, sunny with a just a few clouds in the sky. We arrived early, there was lots of space for paid parking and we set off to explore the area. There are two ways to see the falls, you can walk across the suspension bridge through the park area and down steep stairs to get to the bottom of the falls. The other way is to use the cable cars to get a panoramic view of the falls from above.
We chose the walking option to get to the bottom of the falls and the cable car for the full experience on the way back to the top. The view from the suspension bridge was majestic, typically I am afraid of heights, I would not venture across such a bridge. When I walked on the bridge it seemed just like an extension of the pathway we were on, very sturdy and secure. The bridge provided a 360 degree view of the falls below, rushing waters, sharp rocks and lush vegetation was all around us. In the distance I could see the steps leading to the base of the falls, they looked really steep from so far away. Further along past the bridge there is a huge picnic area with lots of shade trees and play area for children to run free.
We eventually got to the base using the stairs, great exercise by the way, some locals were using the stairs for cardio running up and down in the hot sun! The cable car ride to the top was fun, we had a lively group of tourists whose chatter and filming was hilarious. After all that exercise on the stairs it was time for lunch and a nap before dinner.
Lunch was at a pub in downtown Quebec called Le Bureau de Poste, the food was very reasonable. The cost was $5.95 for almost anything on the lunch menu. The waitress suggested a bulldog for drinks, this was a margarita with bottle of Corona and lime overturned in the glass. We were on vacation so imbibing at 12:30 was fine with me.
It was time for dinner, the long awaited trip to L’ Affaire est Ketchup was here, we heard so much about the diner, one of my husband’s friend suggested we visit. It was a favourite of Anthony Bourdain when he visited Quebec for his TV show Parts Unknown. The restaurant is very small only eight tables, we made our reservation a month in advance and chose late dining so we could stay longer. The food was excellent, gourmet food in a homey establishment, The staff was great, they laughed and had fun while serving or preparing the food. I recommend the sweetbread, it is the only thing on the menu that does not change, it was delicious. They experiment with flavours and textures combining local produce and meats to create a gastronomical delight. Considering they only use one regular gas stove to prepare all the meals it is genius the way they get it right all the time.
We told our server we were celebrating 25 years together, she suggested shots and brought over the owner to give us a toast! We all drank shots, they have no policy against the staff drinking on the job it is actually encouraged! It’s part of the charm and vibe of the restaurant, she said that was the best part of her job. We had a wonderful time, great food, great company and a short walk back to the hotel culminated a wonderful mini vacation. There was so much we did not see, that just means we will be going back another time. Walk good.