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Eating out: Quebec versus American Style

August 20, 2010

We just got back from vacation in California with all the restaurant food that this involves. Always discussions about where to eat; similar to the at home discussion about what’s for supper. Luckily, the family (myself included), are so over fast food, which we did have to use for quick lunches. But my husband was always looking for the restaurant Quebec-style with a Table d’hôte. But this does not exist in current American restaurants. Although it used to, as I googled it looking for an image, I came up with old menus (source).

Table d’hôte is French style set menu with:

  • a small starter, usually soup or salad or tomato juice
  • an entree (another weird one, because in French entrée means starter, I always had to watch out that the others were in fact ordering a main dish and not an appetizer)
  • small desert
  • coffee, tea or milk

All of the respective portions are small: the soup would about max one cup, the desert about the size of a deck of cards. The meal with its different taste and nutrition groups provides lasting nourishment. The whole thing for lunch would be in the order of 15$ or for supper 25$.

But in California, all we were finding were large starters, which either killed your appetite for the main course or were meant to be shared.  But sharing doesn’t go over well with these kids. The entrees are generally big. And the deserts were too much at the end of these huge entrees. I am not the only one in my family who has trouble with large leftovers and waste of food. I also noted that in America, doggy bags are common, not used to this trend myself,  but traveling the leftovers have no place.

My (skinny) husband always found himself hungry not long after one of these huge meals. Probably, I think, from lack of variety, and sufficient nourishment, also, in his mind because the little sweet ending was missing.

But as they say: when in Rome…

So we ate sometimes in buffets, something I hate. We end up overeating and questioning the freshness.

And we shut up. Restaurant food is much more inexpensive in America compared to Canada.

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