Saturday, January 10, 2009

grand-mere's cure

The Vieux Port is quiet as the snow falls. We arrive easily to the hotel: Hotel Dominion 1912 where we are offered a beautiful corner penthouse room secured by a friend who has a friend at the hotel. After checking in what was once a bank building down here in the port of Quebec City, we reconvene in front of the roaring fire on the couch in the cozy, intimate lobby with aperitifs and a handful of menus for recommended restaurants all within a block of where we are staying.

With reservations at L'Echaude secured (the name alone could have sold us on this bitter wintery night suggesting the notion of warmth in French), the menu pulled us in equally. We dress for dinner and walk huddled in our coats against the wind to the warm interior of the bistrot.

Caleb has been fighting a cold, so when the maitre d’ asks what we would like to drink, Caleb thinks to pass on wine with dinner while I order a hearty glass from the Languedoc. Maybe he will have a beer? I suggest a cocktail. The Maitre suggests his grandmother’s recipe, if Monsieur will try? Without knowing what his grandmother might have been up to, Caleb agrees and within minutes the Maitre arrives with a tall steaming glass wrapped elegantly in a white linen napkin. Inside is hot water, honey, a sprig of very fragrant fresh thyme, and gin. With a wink, he tells us the proportions should be how you like, to taste, but that sometimes it is important that the gin be, well, primary. That Grand-mere…….


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