Tag Archives: french

Chez Vachon (Manchester, NH)

Manchester, NH is a funky little town. New Hampshire’s Queen City, it has a lot of character in some of its neighborhoods. Downtown is located in what used to be the mill district (indeed, most of the Millyard is still there, being converted into various offices, industrial lofts, and the like), and there are even a few ethnic neighborhoods. One of these is the West Side, where two of the larger neighborhoods (Notre Dame and Rimmon Heights) are actually Quebecois in heritage. The area had some tough years, with “urban renewal” between the 1960s and 1980s actually razing two decent neighborhoods and turning them into dismal strip malls, but the area has generally rebounded, diversified a bit, and, well, even gentrified a bit. But in addition to the notable large French Catholic Churches, the neighborhood still has a lot of Quebecois heritage, especially in the food scene. There’s probably no better place for this than Chez Vachon.

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Sandrine’s (Cambridge, MA)

In late June, a friend of mine, Jeff, had come to Boston for an extended weekend of, well, food and beverages. We decided it would be good to drive down and meet up with him for some light tourism (see my previous review on Modern Pastry), some cocktails (at Brick and Mortar, a rather nice speakeasy in Cambridge), and finally dinner. We ended up at Sandrine’s in Cambridge. Located about two blocks from the Harvard Square T station, Sandrine’s is pleasant bistro focusing primarily on French cuisine, but dabbling in a few other European cuisines as well; a good chunk of the menu is Alsatian, giving a nice blend between French and German cooking.

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The Elephant Walk (Cambridge, MA)

One of the places that I’ve often liked going in the Boston area, but also seems to have eluded my attempts to actually write it up, is the Elephant Walk. Opened in 1991, and currently sporting three locations (Boston and Waltham in addition to the Cambridge location we visited), the Elephant Walk serves up a combination of French and Cambodian cuisine (the combination isn’t as unusual as you might think, courtesy of the French colonization of the region, which leaves vestiges of French cooking, such as French-style bread and coffee beverages, to this day), as well as some modern interpretations of these dishes. Oddly enough, I discovered Elephant Walk first through distinctly non-French and non-Cambodian means: several years ago, I attended a Belgian beer festival at the Cyclorama sponsored by Beeradvocate.com, and the two caterers for the event were Waffle Haus of Vermont (who normally sells excellent Belgian Waffles on Vermont ski slops) and The Elephant Walk, who provided sandwiches and Belgian frites. The latter of which they did a particularly good job with, so I decided to try them out at some point, originally doing so circa 2007 when I needed to visit some subcontractors at MIT for work. And since then, I’ve enjoyed it, so when I needed to find a place to dine with several out-of-town friends, The Elephant Walk ended up being our venue of choice.

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Le Hobbit (Quebec, QC)

After two solids days out in the Carnaval de Quebec (including one night trip to see the parade), and since Quebec actually has quite a large number of good restaurants, we thought that it would be nice to go out for a nice dinner on our last night. After checking a few review sites and looking at various restaurant web pages, we settled on Le Hobbit. Located on Rue Saint-Jean in one of the little shopping districts just outside of Vieux Quebec (it’s just up the hill from Place d’Youville), Le Hobbit is basically a nicely decorated slightly upscale French bistro…

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Casse-Crêpe Breton (Quebec, QC)

After a fairly long morning exploring the Carnaval de Quebec, it was time for us to go find some lunch. We headed off into Vieux Quebec to check out the old walled city, and hopefully find a place to eat. However, we found ourselves doing this at the same time as a good fraction of the other Carnaval-goers, so we ended up passing several places that were rather teeming with customers, places that just didn’t appeal to us (I’d rather not go out of my way for Italian food in Quebec, for example), or both. But after a quick jaunt into L’Information Touristique, I managed to score a restaurant directory, and we were on our way to Casse-Crepe Breton for Crepes…

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