Monday, March 01, 2004


We got away from our tiny little apartment. We got away with not doing housework and groceries for a few more days. We got away from the cats endlessly whining for more food and something about spring being in the air. We got away from baby.

Helena didn't much care. But she was rather huggy on our return.

It turns out that the discharge from her eye warranted a trip to the clinic after all (well, according to my mother-in-law), where she was diagnosed with a very mild case of pinkeye, for which she was prescribed both drops and ointment as precautionary measures. Apparently when Helena woke up Friday morning her right eye was entirely encrusted with dried-up pus, and going to the clinic in the evening was deemed a good idea (sans carseat I might add). I'm not going to think too much about the fact that Friday morning my mother-in-law had told us everything was just fine. Regardless, Helena is at present her usual healthy self, and you'd never know there'd been anything the least bit bacterial, or viral, about her to look at her.

My mother-in-law certainly had her hands full this weekend. Her partner's granddaughter was also staying over. Nimiké is little more than a year older than Helena and took it upon herself to guide my baby into toddlerhood: "Pour marcher, tu fais comme ça." I would've liked to see that.

Quebec City was lovely. The weather was sunny and mild (though not nearly so mild as everywhere else in the world this weekend it seems). We did nothing.

We strolled. We drank. We relaxed. We ate. We drank more. We slept late. We wandered about aimlessly. We ate. We drank. We bought magazines. We napped. We drank. Well, you get the idea.

We chose our hotel for its location. It's the oldest hotel with the oldest restaurant on the continent, I'd read. As much as we enjoyed our stay, I'd try someplace else rather than stay there again.

We did treat ourselves to a fancy meal in the Charles Baillairgé dining room. For an appetizer I had a (very rich) terrine of boar and pistachio, served with berries and horseradish. The house salad was excellent — too many chefs think they can throw some bitter greens together and charge you a fortune for it, but these greens were well chosen (including endives) and extremely well dressed (I'm guessing it was capers that contributed the salt, but it was balanced with sweetened citrus juices). My main course was pork medallions (a bit dry) in a caramel raspberry sauce served with soya shrimps. The presentation was exquisite, but the flavours were a bit complicated for my taste. (J-F had a fillet mignon capped with blue cheese — he claims it was nothing to write home about.) Dessert followed this pattern: a paisley-shaped white chocolate and strawberry mousse served with a small cup of almond-flavoured ice, garnished with various fruit slices (including starfruit) in a puddle of blueberry coulis with chocolate liqueur syrup around the perimeter. As I said, complicated.

And we drank.

The couple next door provided some entertainment. I heard them having sex before dinner, and later that evening they entertained the whole floor with quite the fight. Doors slamming. Much swearing. Something about him being Italian. I don't know where they found all those doors to slam.

I hope they made up.

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