Re:Joyeux Jour d'Action de grace
Our first meal in Quebec Province was a heaping plate of Poutine Italiano, a hearty variation on the original dish replacing the brown gravy with an Italian meat sauce. We were driving northeast along the St. Lawrence coast from the Quebec Airport to the town of Riviere du Loup, and stopped at a little roadside cafe/gas station. We knew we needed to eat something, and wanted a taste of a local dish. We'd never heard of poutine before and figured we'd give it a try. The brown gravy sounded okay, but we wanted something with a little more protein, above and beyond the cheese curds. Our waitress suggested the Italiano option and we went for that. It wasn't bad, but it was obvious that the meat sauce had been sitting in the steam table a tad too long. It had a very strong flavor, almost bitter, the way meat sauce gets if its been reheated one too many times.
Our waitress was a hoot and a half. At first, she approached us quietly, speaking fluent French until we politely asked, "Parlez-vous Anglais, s'il vous plait?" She then burst open with a big smile, a bigger personality, and a Boston accent that made you wonder where she'd pahked her cah in the Havahd yahd.
We had several memorable dining experiences in Quebec, including breakfasts at our hotel which included real, locally tapped maple syrup with my French toast (oddly enough they call it French toast. You'd think in Quebec they'd just call it "toast" or even "toast ala us"). One interesting note; almost everywhere we went, from the tiny mom & pop cafes to the high end dining establishments, spaghetti and meatballs held a prominent place on the menu. We never got a reasonable explanation for this fixation. It puzzles me to this day.