Tourtiere for breakfast — vive la difference

After a dis­ap­point­ing din­ner at much-touted and chi-chi restau­rant Toast! in Que­bec City (pricey and, except for the Lob­ster Risotto, under­whelm­ing), it was won­der­ful to wind up hav­ing break­fast seated on a stool at the counter of Buf­fet de L’Antiquaire : a charm­ing, authen­tic diner on the edge of the old city close to the river.

Bought a few years ago by short-order cook Gilles Boulet, this 40-year-old estab­lish­ment was bustling when we arrived just before noon. Ruddy-faced Boulet was multi-tasking as he jug­gled eggs, bacon, sausages, ham, burg­ers and fish on the open grill while adorable Flo­rence Feugere, age 80 and a long­time cook here, niftily gar­nished each plate with salad and other fixin’s.

Gilles Boulet: Sunny side up

Gilles Boulet: Sunny side up

I was in need of tourtiere that day and chowed down on a side order before my eggs and bacon arrived. The fill­ing was per­fect: chopped cooked pork aro­mat­i­cally sea­soned and mixed with creamy mashed pota­toes. The pas­try was crisp and excel­lent once it revived after what I sus­pect was a stint in the microwave — the only flaw in our entire meal.

Eggs, bacon, home fries and toast were all com­mend­able but the piece de resis­tance was lus­cious not-too-sweet home­made straw­berry jam that tasted of pure berries.

This won­der­ful place is a must for break­fast in Que­bec City and would prob­a­bly be ter­rific for lunch or an early din­ner. The warm wel­come by friendly staff is a bonus.

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