While their reputation precedes them, I never visited Québec City’s famed Auberge Saint-Antoine and its Panache restaurant. So on a summer business trip to interview the chefs of my new La cuisine de mon enfance cookbook, I used the opportunity to drag my men, not to the Auberge per say, but the Sainte-Pétronille Winery on Île d’Orléans, which the Panache Mobile food truck squats from May to Octobre.
Sainte-Pétronille is that charming village you meet once you “turn right” after the bridge leading to the island. At the end of the road, you will find among others a nice chocolate maker popular for its ice cream and sundaes. By then though, we were too full to face more food and decided instead to drive around the island.
When I announced we were driving all the way to Île d’Orléans to eat supper at a winery, my men looked doubtful and downcast, not to say sarcastic. No doubt they expected another one of those fancy meals they dread with oysters or foie gras starters, almost-raw meats and painfully expensive wine bottles. So when we strolled to the back of the general store, where Panache Mobile has set up its open terrace and food truck, they looked stunned. Even more so when they perused the menu with its lobster rolls, hamburgers and poutines. Food truck classics in the middle of a vineyard, seriously? They obviously thought this foodie girl had fallen on her head.
Panache Mobile is a food truck on a mission: To offer upscale “junk food.” The poutine’s topped with pulled short ribs, the lobster roll’s drizzled with avocado coulis and the hamburger smothered in Québec cheese. Of course you’d also be hard-pressed to find a food truck that offers what amounts to a 3-course meal, with organic sausage platter and cold cucumber soup among the starters. In fact, the short but interesting menu makes it almost irresistible to order all. I almost did.
If you’re used to buying local sausage and cheese, or if you hang out at trendy gelaterias and white-hot bistros regularly, then you will find much to please but not stun at Panache Mobile. It’s generously above par food truck fare to enjoy while admiring the Montmorency Falls in the distance. Hard to imagine a more spectacular view on the falls. In other words, you’ll want to stop here for a quiet lunch on a beautiful summer day. Which is nothing to be sneezed at, especially if you appreciate simple, well-made food.
The verdict? Panache Mobile on the island is definitely an address to remember when you hit the road for your next summer holidays, especially if you’ve got boys in the car…
Don’t forget to stop by the Winery’s general store to test drive a few wines for mere dollars. The Winery produces some fine, well-reviewed vintages. It’s also possible to visit the facilities or just wander off among the vines. Which reminds me that I still have a Late Harvest White I bought as we were leaving, in a kitchen cabinet somewhere (yep, still waiting for that home cellar Monsieur promised). A taste of summer, you say?
Panache Mobile/Sainte-Pétronille Winery: 1 Chemin du Bout-de l’Ile, Sainte-Pétronille, Quebec G0A 4C0
Reservations are not accepted.