Hiking: Mont Chapman (Stokes, Quebec)

The next hike went back to probably one of the most popular areas in Quebec and pretty well-known for its nature and that’s the Eastern Townships. After some research, we landed on finding this location called Mont Chapman. Its one of the farther hiking trails in Eastern Townships as we headed into a smaller country road that lead to a little parking lot in the middle of nowhere, with actually a few cars as the starting point for the hike.

Mont Chapman

The part that we did is the Boucle du Mont Chapman which goes around. We ended up doing the entire loop (and some more…I’ll talk about that later). Its pretty much a loop to the summit and back. With the shorter distance and the height of the summit, the elevation went up fairly quickly and it was almost a constant sloped trek, which is one of the bigger challenges of the path especially going upwards. We took the 4.9 km path upwards and did the 3.3 km downwards.

The path was pretty well maintained. There are a lot of little stones and twigs sticking out of the path through which can be hidden by all the fallen leaves. That is the only issue but its all about being observant. At the same time, there are some efforts to put planks to cross over little streams and some steps were made out of the terrain to help the process. There are some rocky steps as well. If not, in the little streams area, there are little rocks to walk over to stay a little more dry. It has to do with the weather still be cooler and more rainy this spring, I think. There were also some unique things like walking between boulders to get to the other side or on the down path, there’s some boulders to climb down from, as expected as the return trip is shorter distance, making it a steeper downhill trek.

And then, the view at the summit had a few angles, here it is:

Mont Chapman

Its a pretty hard track to be honest and it probably has to do with the fact that we expected it to be milder than it turned out to be. The issue with expectations, right? Either way, it was listed as an intermediary path, I believe but at times it did have some difficult moments. Setting that aside, my biggest issue was that we went the 4.9km path up where you follow the orange and white indicators on the trees, but going down, we had to follow the red and white indicators and man, was that confusing. Why I said that we ended up doing more than the total was because in between, we had to try three paths and each headed back to the fork, taking us over an hour to figure out where to go while walking up some really steep paths up and down to come to the conclusion to go back to the summit and take the path back and realized there was a sign at another angle in the distance that gave you the right path to follow. A lot of issues for my ankles (almost twisted it a few times on the downward jumps or hidden protruding rocks) on this one hike that I had to use some the trusty KT Tape and we had bought recently. That’s one of my complaints about this track, the unclear signage. While a part of the path has some work being done and didn’t have an alternate route so we checked that it was still just muddy but safe so kept going through the area to get to the other side since it was so close to the summit.

On the more positive side, this was the hike that got us ready for some harder trails. While we were both fed up of the trail on the way back and it was a tad painful (for my ankle specifically), there is a good amount of satisfaction to toughing it out and getting through it at the same time, having a good idea that we’ve really improved our preparedness over the years that we still had water left and food to sustain our energy. Not to mention, we had also got some pasta salads in the cooler at the car as a reward.

This was a rough one. 
Can’t say the view was a huge reward since it was also bug-infested. Insect repellant is a must on this trail.
We are hoping to squeeze in one or two more hikes before event season starts up in July. 😉

Advertisements

Wine Recap – May 2019

Welcome to the next Wine Recap! Last month was a bit lighter with one that already showed up in a previous post and one that is a repeat from a previous wine recap. Let’s check it out!

Val Caudalies – Cidre de Glace Reserve 2016

Producer: Val Caudalies Inc.
Alcohol Content: 10%
Location: Quebec, Canada
Taste Tag: Fruity and Extra Sweet

We’re big fans of ice ciders during any season. This one was one that we picked up at the Bonsecours Market (if I remember correctly) after going to an event in the area earlier this year. Its been sitting around for a while but never quite made it with any meals. Fruity and sweet would be how I would describe this one. It has some depth especially since it has this smoky accent to it, which is an element of certain ice ciders that we tend to prefer. Reserve are usually more selected and limited for ice ciders and has a more well-rounded taste and a little sweeter due to the process duration and it appealed to our preferences quite a bit.

Petale de Rose 2017

Petale de Rose

Producer: Régine Sumeire
Alcohol Content: 13.5%
Location: Provence, France
Taste Tag: Fruity and Light

You can see the full Battle of Ingredients post HERE.

Petale de Rose is a more dry rosé wine which has be baffled why it would be considered light. Although, it can’t be said to be too intense either. It does have those fruity elements. I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of this one in terms of rosé wines however, it had some pretty decent ending notes. Rosé wines are always a bit hard to find a perfect one and the shift from one year to the next sometimes makes quite some change as well in its taste.

Batch: 1904 Cider

Batch: 1904

Producer: Brickworks Ciderhouse
Alcohol Content: 5%
Location: Ontario, Canada
Taste Tag: Dry & Aromatic

Brickworks Ciderhouse Batch: 1904 is a return selection here. I personally like their Queen Street one (forgot the actual name of it) but this one is pretty decent. Its a bit drier than the ciders I usually drink but this time around, it seems more to my taste as well. These ones are fairly light and perfect for the busy times and also just getting a taste rather than some a lot heavier. Plus, ciders are really great as the weather warms up. Anyways, this one actually worked out better than the last time I had it HERE (a year ago, it would seem).

That’s it for this Wine Recap!
Have you tried anything new lately? 

Restaurant: Brasserie T! (Brossard, Canada)

Its been a crazy restaurant phase lately. Unexpected to say the very least! Next up is a relatively new restaurant in Quartier Dix30 in Brossard, which is in the south shore of Montreal. Its an outdoor complex with a wide selection of many different types of stores, restaurants and entertainment.

Brasserie T! has its first restaurant in the Quartier des Spectacles area which is right next to Place des Arts in downtown Montreal. I’ve never been to that location before which is something on my to do list however, I had heard that the Brasserie T! at Quartier Dix30 was open and that it was pretty good that I decided to go there to check it out.

While my post here is going to be fairly short with only the little bit that I tried out, you can find the menu on their website HERE.

Brasserie T! Quartier Dix30

Brasserie T! Quartier Dix30 is location in the Hotel Alt! in the Square Dix30 area. Its location is pretty nice with underground parking and side lots all around it. The interior decor is classy and nice but still has the casual feeling of a brasserie. The waitress that we got was also very friendly and accommodating. She jot down my allergies and made sure to double check on the questions I had related to make sure that I could have which food with no issues. When we asked about wines, she also made her suggestions but also went to ask the more experienced staff to make sure it was a good selection.

I went with someone who had been to the Brasserie T before and therefore, we were aware to ask for the specials which were not written on the menu. If you do go, that is very important to ask because the special menu is done with the vegetables and meats that they have fresh that week (or whichever duration the special lasts because I’m not sure and didn’t ask). There are usually some entree item and then one or two main meals, I believe.

Main Meal

brasserie t

Crab Roll

If you like seafood, rolls are a really refreshing summer meal. Usually we see these in lobster variety. Its nice that Brasserie T! swapped it up and used crab as the star of their roll. This roll was very refreshing mostly because there was a good amount of crab and a very nice crunchy coleslaw to go with it. It was also done well because it had a good balance of mayonnaise as well.

DESSERT

BRASSERIE T QUARTIER DIX30

For dessert, they have a pretty nice selection. However, as usual, there wasn’t anything else that I could have so I chose to have a sorbet. You could choose to have one or two scoops. Their flavor also changes to what they have available. The one that we got was for strawberry sorbet. I’ve never had strawberry sorbet (usually its more raspberry and such) so its a really nice one to try out.

OVERALL, Brasserie T Quartier Dix30 is pretty nice. The ambiance is nice. The interior decor is very elegant. The service was also really good and knowledgeable. The food was pretty decent as well. I’d be interested to go back and try out some of the stuff on their normal menu as well as see what else they come up for specials as the season as warmer and the produce changes.

Hiking: Gatineau Park -Sugarbush Trail/Waterfall Trail (Gatineau, Canada)

Hiking season has officially started for us! At the point that this post is going out, most national parks and provincial parks around us should be open. It wasn’t quite the case the previous week when we went to Gatineau Park as they were in a transition phase and only certain trails were open.

The first stop we made was at the information center at Gatineau Park. In that area, the only path open was the Sugarbush Trail. We ended up doing that one as a warm-up since we were already there before heading to the next area.

Sugarbush Trail

Sugarbush Trail

The Sugarbush Trail is one of the winter hiking trails at Gatineau Park. It runs for 1.9 km all around. Its a fairly flat trail with just the normal nature scenery like a mild walk in the forest. Its a good place to warm-up especially since its our first hike just to warm up the legs. There are a few little things to see but it also is quite packed with people. We weren’t sure if its because its an easy trail or the fact that it was the one at the Visitor Centre and people just went because they were already there. Whatever the reason, good warm-up but not really something challenging either.

Moving on to the next trail..this time at P6 of Gatineau Park running through Mackenzie King Estate is the Waterfall Trail.

Window to the Forest

P6 is the parking at the Mackenzie King Estate which we also haven’t been to before so it was an adventure to also see the parts of it that were open. I didn’t really take any pictures of it other than this Window To the Forest one.

We had to cut through the Gardens to reach the Waterfall Trail.  Here’s a few pictures of the the constant running creeks along the way, which is exactly the type of hiking trail that I like because water sounds are about the most soothing in the entire world (at least to me). There is a little bit of elevation here as well but it is fairly gradual.

Waterfall Trail Gatineau Park

The trail starts in its first part with a creek running alongside. As we we walk further on, its a fairly tame experience. The forest is calm and quiet.

As we head into the second part crossing towards the waterfalls area, we need to traverse through a tunnel which is pretty much a giant pipe. Cue in all the horror films that I’ve seen before where it was in some dark passageway. This one is done pretty well however because it has a nice wooden pathway inside.

Gatineau Park

Waterfall Trail Gatineau Park

On the other side of the tunnel, the ground elevation still is fairly gradual in change but there are more of the little drops in water throughout. Its one of those parts that are particularly  nice to see. The water is still more of a creek winding to the waterfall, which marks the end of the trail. You can see it below.

Waterfall Trail Gatineau Park

Waterfalls are a my thing for sure. Its one of the reasons a lot of the times, our trails have some kind of waterfall for my likes or some peak of the mountain view. The waterfall isn’t exactly the biggest we’ve seen but then its also quite surprising that hidden in the woods behind the Mackenzie King Estate is this beautiful walk in the park. You can’t say that Mackenzie King didn’t know how to enjoy life back in the days, right?

That’s it for our first official hike recap at Gatineau Park. 
My guess is that we’ll go back to Gatineau Park later in the summer to check out another trail.
Or at least until the summer trails officially kick in because when we went it was still the winter trails which were quite limited. 

Parc de la Chute-Montmorency (Quebec, Canada)

To celebrate the end of a crazy work phase for myself, we decided to head out of town. Its about two weeks earlier than our normal start of travelling/hiking destinations as most national parks or hiking trails aren’t open yet or doesn’t quite open until Victoria Day. After much debate, I found out that Parc de la Chute-Montmorency had opened in early May which worked perfectly, plus, I hadn’t gone since at least 20 years ago (or more) and my husband had actually never been before and I felt he should go to see it at least once in his life.

Parc de la Chute-Montmorency

Located in the outskirts of Quebec City, Parc de la Chute-Montmorency is a completely different experience outside of going on a tour, which is how I went the first time years ago. Going by ourselves, there are still things still not quite completely open yet like paths and such due to the early season but there are a lot of places to still go. You can choose to take the cable car down to the lower level and there the boardwalk is open to a certain degree until the long wooden staircase, where that is closed access to a part because of the unmelted snow probably. However, you can choose to not take the cable car (like ourselves), and walk the upper path through the overhead suspension bridge over the waterfalls and then to the other side which had a small trail into the forest, various observation points and the long winding 487 steps staircase to get a better angle on the Montmorency Falls, as well as a large field with an orchard to relax.

La Promenade de la Falaise

Promenade de la Falaise

Walking from the manor, you first go through the boardwalk trail to the suspension bridge. There this beautiful easy walking spot which has some stairs and leads to the first observation deck which is a highlight spotm Le Belvedere de la Baronne. 

La Belvedere de la baronne

Suspension Bridge

Chute Montmorency

Walking across the suspension bridge, its quite the experience to look out into the beautiful scenery around it. One looking down the 83 meter waterfall and then to the other side with some nice view on the water coming down to the falls as well as a good look at the long panaromic staircase we were about to tackle from afar.

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

The other side of the Park

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

Once you cross the bridge, there’s an area in the back to look back. Its nice to see the bridge in full as well as the starting point of where the falls start.

From the Panoramic Staircase

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

While 487 stairs is a pretty big task to take on as a starting location, we still decided to take it one flight of stairs at a time. Its not so bad to descend as expected especially because each observation point or open deck really gave such a different angle to the falls. Its a majestic scene to take in to the say the absolute least. Of course, if you were in the season where the stairs can access the boardwalk below, this is what the boardwalk looks like. There were people on it so I can only guess that it was open from the other side if you took the cable car down. Of course, perhaps at this point, it might be open on both sides as the weather gets better.

Parc de la Chute Montmorency

Its been decades since I’ve been back and for a returning trip, it was definitely worth it because this is one of Quebec’s landmarks. Its a beautiful natural beauty and in the park behind, there are also some historical elements as well to look at. We didn’t manage to check out the actual hiking trails which should be 2 other ones, one that is open now called Le Sentier des Resurgences (2.5km round-trip) and also one that opens in July 31st (I would expect) as its called Le Sentier du 31 juillet (1km round-trip). Of course, for the more adventurous types, the season also opens later on for Via Ferrata and Ziplining which should be really cool to do across and around the waterfalls.

That’s it for this trip recap for Parc de la Chute Montmorency!

Have you been here before?

Restaurant: Cochon Dingue (Quebec City, Canada)

Spring is here and the weather is doing very nice. With the warmer weather coming in, we’re heading out more for hiking and visiting different places. Due to later vacation plans in the making, we’re taking it easy on the closer places while also getting our hiking body back into shape. While I’m working through the first location’s post, we went to Quebec city and I took my husband to try out a restaurant that I had gone with my girl friends’ a few years ago (but unfortunately, didn’t write about) and thats Cochon Dingue. At the same time, I wanted to see the change there.

There are various locations in the Quebec area. This is the one that we went to.

Lunch

cochon dingue

Let’s first start with my husband’s choice for our late lunch. We had the regular menu and he decided to choose the Tartine Croque Monsieur which has pulled ham, tomato and Bechamel sauce, melted Swiss cheese on country bread and fries and coleslaw. He hadn’t eaten this in a long while however, this was very delicious. There was a lot of cheese which made it really nice. The pulled ham was done really good also. Everything was done worked well together.

cochon dingue

As for myself, I took the Crispy Chicken Burger with curry mayo, lettuce and tomato. I’m usually not much for beef burgers so this naturally became my choice. The crispy chicken is done really nice. There’s a good crunch to it. Its a fairly big piece of chicken so I had to eat some parts of just the chicken itself. Together, the burger works pretty good because of everything adding in to the different textures and flavors. However, alone, the chicken could be leaning on the blander side. The fries here is also done pretty good as well as well as the coleslaw.

Overall, we didn’t really try out a ton of food here and we didn’t come for the breakfast or dinner menus which is one of the things I like about this restaurant that it doesn’t peg itself into one category, therefore limiting its opening and service times. Another very good aspect is the atmosphere which feels very casual but also very creative because of the little decorations from the lights having little whisks around them. Aside from that, the service is fairly decent as well. I think the only thing that left me a little uncomfortable was when we first got in, the hostess was a bit rude and felt like we were bothersome rather than welcomed. Its something that bothered us when we first sat down but the satisfying food here did make up for a good part of that.

Wine Recap – December 2018

Wine Recap

Welcome to the wrap-up for 2018’s December wine recap. Its one of the final wrap-ups of this year. I’ll do a little wrap-up at the bottom for my fave wine of the year and the one that was disappointing for us (as it should stand-out). Without further ado, December is a gathering month and holidays and our health is slowing climbing back to par so we had a few other drinks to relax and enjoy.

Here it is!

Petit & Fils Sparkling Rosé Cider

Petit & Fils Sparkling Wine

Producer: Petit & Fils Cidrerie
Alcohol Content: 6.5%
Location: Quebec

If I remember correctly, we picked this one up at Costco. Its pretty light and more on the semi-dry area in taste. We liked it okay. I can’t say that it left a very memorable sort of feeling. It wasn’t quite on our palette but it also wasn’t a hard one to drink. Plus, if it remember correctly, the price was fairly reasonable.

Note to self: Should really make a note of the price and where I bought it for 2019 recaps.

Bulles de Nuit Sparkling Pinot Grigio

bulles de nuit

Producer: Bulles de Nuit
Alcohol Content: 6.9%
Location: Quebec

I’ve been a big fan of these Bulles de Nuit collection of sparkling wines. I like the Rose a lot and enjoy the normal one but surprisingly, this pinot grigio one is quite fantastic. I’m not usually a fan of pinot grigio because it tends to be on the sour and dry side of the spectrum but this one is really good. I would consider this one almost better than their Rosé one and I like that one a ton.

Bow & Arrow Cider

Bow & Arrow Cider

Producer: Groupe Geloso
Alcohol Content: 4.5%
Location: Quebec

I’m a big fan of these type of ciders. This one is made in Quebec. I got it for its cute can. I won’t lie about it. However, this was super delicious. Its light and fruity. The way I like my ciders. It doesn’t feel dry and is very pleasant overall experience. I’d definitely get this one again.

Blanche Jasmine Ginseng De-Glutenized Beer

Gluten-Free Beer

Producer: Brasseurs du Monde
Alcohol Content: 4.9%
Location: Quebec

I’ve pretty much given up beer since 10 years ago mostly because when it comes to gluten-sensitivity, nothing hits me as hard as beer does. Its not a huge loss since I was never a big fan of beer anyways. The taste just never quite worked for me. We’ve been trying to lower gluten in our diet a little bit and since my husband liked the deglutenized beers that we had bought before but I never covered here, we’ve been giving that a go until they don’t sell it anymore, I guess. If you think my wine terminology is bad, wait until you see my beer terminology. This White Jasmine Ginseng Beer actually is pretty tasty for a beer. I have to say that it does quite please my palette. I’ve only taken sips of the other 3 flavors so I will share that when I actually have a glass of it.

Albert Bichot 2016 Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes

Alex Bichot Chardonnay

Producer: Alex Bichot
Alcohol Content: 12.5%
Location: Bourgogne, France
Taste Tag: Aromatic & Mellow

An actual wine, everyone! We had this at my friend’s place for the holiday gathering. I have to admit that French wines are usually a hit and miss for myself. I think it depends on the region and the variety. This one was a bit too dry for my taste. It had a very sour finish and was pretty tough to drink overall.

Moving on to the picks of this year…

My Picks of 2018

Banrock Moscato 2016
Queen Street 501 Cider
Frisky Beaver VQA 2015
Somersby Red Rhubarb Cider
J.P. Chenet Ice Edition

Surprise: Rodney Strong Chardonnay

This wraps up the December 2018 Wine Recap as well as my picks of the year!
Did you try any new wines (or alcoholic beverages) lately? What was your fave of the year?