The Joys of Carnaval

February 15, 2017

Even if one chooses not to buy the official effigy of Monsieur Bonhomme, the mascot of Carnaval de Quebec, and enter the official Carnaval sites there is lots to see and do in the city. The snow sculpture competition is free and open to the public.

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The ice sculptures I posted last week were in Le Quartier Petit Champlain in front of various businesses, and the department of tourism had sites throughout the town with fire pits for warming up and selfie spots with interesting views. A lovely young woman who worked for the tourism office was handing out marshmallows on a stick to roast over the fire, and the used sticks then became the quills of a snow porcupine.

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Winter decorations in beautiful window boxes and fanciful storefronts had me oohing and aahing at every turn, as did the lovely old stone buildings with painted murals and fairy lights at night. And an image in the Chateau Frontenac’s historical exhibit showed a pair of skaters at an outdoor ice skating venue being served martinis by a tuxedoed waiter. I realized I’d been born about 50 years too late.

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We had some delicious meals in Quebec. Come to think of it I don’t think I can ever remember a bad one. Some of our favorites were brunch at L’Echaude and Panache, both in walking distance of our digs. And dinner at Bello, a very chic Italian place with a wood burning pizza oven and a very hip clientele was decidedly good. Tagliatelle Funghi with lots of wild mushrooms, truffle oil and Parmesan was outrageous, as were the four guys in matching red plaid suits that came in as part of a bachelor party. The groom had bailed, and I hoped it wasn’t the night before the wedding. Or if the groomsmen were any indication perhaps the bride-to-be had dodged a bullet.

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Our last night in Quebec was Super Bowl Sunday, so we stocked up on wonderful cheese and salami and snacked throughout the game. When I wasn’t leaving the room, certain the Pats would do better if I wasn’t watching. Steve did the same, and sure enough when I came back to the TV they had tied it up. Like we had anything to do with it. But on our long drive home the next day we had to pull over and out of the fast lane for oncoming police vehicles; it was the State Police escorting the Patriots’ busses back to Foxboro from Logan Airport. We honked and cheered.

An exciting way to end a great trip.



Quebec – A Stunning Winter Retreat

February 9, 2017

My preference in the dead of winter is sunny locales and turquoise water rimmed beaches, but I’ll always make an exception for Winter Carnaval in Quebec. Many shops and restaurants celebrate by keeping their holiday decorations up a bit longer, placing ice sculptures outside their entrances and some even erecting ice bars to serve drinks […]

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Milk Street Follow Up – Part 2

February 1, 2017

The second recipe I wanted to try from the new 177 Milk Street magazine was a chocolate-rum-prune cake that the author of the article about Claire Ptak’s Violet bakery in East London raved about. Ptak used whiskey and almond flour in hers but the author felt adjustments were required in order to make it easier […]

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The Girl With The Band

January 25, 2017

Our local newspaper, The Standard Times, has a writer named Lauren Daley who authors columns on the arts, books, and music, and in a recent paper she listed the top 10 albums she listened to as a teenager. She asked her readers to let her know their own, so I sent her a note… Dear Lauren, […]

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Never Forget

January 18, 2017

While we were in New York we made a trip to see the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. Not an easy task, but as my long-time therapist always said to me, “Pain needs a witness.” There are life’s moments when we all knew exactly where we were when they happened. For me it was JFK’s assassination […]

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January 11, 2017

Happy New Year! I’m hoping that the sinus infection that has floored me for the last 11 days isn’t a harbinger of things to come in 2017. But while I’ve been down for the count since the beginning of the year I have to say the last few days of 2016 were good ones. Steve […]

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Milk Street Magazine Follow Up – Part 1

December 27, 2016

I did indeed make the recipes I found intriguing from the charter issue of Milk Street Magazine, and we added them to our Christmas feast. I particularly liked the Rosemary Pine Nut cookie bars. They’re like wonderful cornmeal shortbread with a hint of orange and herbs covered with the exotic flavor of toasted pine nuts […]

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Foodie Wars

December 20, 2016

Do you know this guy? He’s Christopher Kimball. He’s the face of America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) and Cook’s Illustrated Magazine. Well, was the face. He’s started a new venture, Milk Street Magazine, along with a PBS TV show and radio program. The problem is that he began work on the new venture while he was […]

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Rosemary Pine Nut Cookie Bars

December 16, 2016

Rosemary-Pine Nut Bars 1 ½ c. flour ½ c. fine cornmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill corn flour) ½ c. white sugar 1 T. finely chopped fresh rosemary 2 tsp. grated orange zest 16 T. salted butter (2 sticks), softened 1 c. pine nuts 3 T. honey Heat oven to 325 degrees, with the rack […]

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Greasy Luck

December 13, 2016

Say what? There are many terms in everyday speech that are nautical in nature. Some are more common than others: A loose cannon refers to the damage that was done when a cannon became unbolted from it’s spot on a wooden war ship; fits the bill refers to items on a ship’s bill of lading […]

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