Slow Food on the Go with Panache Mobile

Slow Food on the Go with Panache Mobile

Article and photos by Sarah Williams

It has all the appearances of fast food; a mobile kitchen, housed in trailer, where meals are served over the counter, take-out style.  But there is more to Panache Mobile than meets the eye.

First, there are the ingredients. For Panache’s owners, one of the motivating factors for embarking on this adventure into the street cuisine market was the surplus of excellent quality produce growing in the restaurant’s organic garden on Ile d’Orleans.  What to do with all the amazing locally grown fruits and veggies that they now had in abundance?  Even the kitchen at the flagship restaurant in the Auberge St-Antoine wasn’t able to make use of it all.  However, not only the fruit and vegetables used in the meals served at Panache Mobile are locally sourced – the goat cheese on the open-faced roasted vegetable sandwich is from the Tournevent cheese factory in St-Damase, the smoked duck pieces mixed into the green asparagus salad are produced in St-Apollinaire by Canard Goulu, and the toasted bun for the lobster “guedille” (a Quebec version of a lobster roll) is especially crafted by the Quebec City bakery, Eric Borderon.

If you are unfamiliar with the Slow Food movement, one of its main objectives is to preserve and promote local food products: so right there, Panache Mobile distinguishes itself as an extremely unorthodox street food vendor; it’s definitely not your typical “fast food”.

The menu of Panache Mobile is a reflection of its namesake restaurant, but a simpler and more laid back version.  There is the aforementioned lobster roll, a Panache-style burger, as well as vegetable dishes, such as that roasted zucchini, red pepper and onion focaccia sandwich with tomato and black olive confit, topped with goat cheese.   It is food with haute-cuisine attributes, but with a more down to earth price tag (meals range from around $7 – $18).

Second, there is the location.  The first Panache Mobile has been up and running for three seasons now, with a spectacular view overlooking the vineyards of the Vignoble Ste-Petronille on Ile d’Orleans, and the Montmorency falls on the mainland.  When it opened, the initial projections were to serve approximately 50 meals per day, but it immediately surpassed all expectations, serving an average of 200- 300 meals on a daily basis.

Besides the amazing surroundings, the choice of setting up shop on Ile d’Orleans was a strategic one.  Being on the island means that they are not subjected to city bylaws restricting street food vendors.   The latest addition to the Panache Mobile family will have its debut on June 22nd, located at the Bassin Brown, overlooking the beautiful St. Lawrence River.  Because it is located in the port, it falls under federal jurisdiction; so again exempt from city regulations.

This new Panache Mobile is just a hop, skip and a pedal away from the extremely popular Samuel de Champlain bike path. Restaurateur, Evan Price, didn’t seem worried about the new mobile’s slightly secluded position, tucked in behind the Bassin Brown interpretation centre.  Even though it can’t be seen from the path itself, Price says that there will be a sign to pique the interest of passersby, “I think the only thing we might have to be worried about is crowd control”.

With the idyllic surroundings, plenty of wooden picnic tables equipped with parasols, and the gourmet quality meals on a dime, Panache Mobile might just have discovered the recipe for success.

Panache Mobile

1st location: Vignoble Ste-Pétronille, 1 Chemin du Bout de l’Île, Ste-Pétronille (Île d’Orléans, QC)

2nd location : Bassin Brown, 615 Boulevard Champlain, (promenade Samuel-De Champlain) Quebec City

Website :  http://www.saint-antoine.com/en/dining/panache-mobile
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About the author:

SARAH WILLIAMS is a mother of three young children, who says she writes just to stay sane.

Sarah had her first experience living in Quebec while earning her bachelor’s degree in Communications at Concordia University (MTL) in the late nineties.

Hailing from Cobourg, Ontario, Sarah moved to Quebec City in January of the year 2000. For her, this city is the perfect balance of the small town feel of her hometown in Ontario and the vibrant francophone culture of Montreal.

Professionally, Sarah has worked a fair bit in the media as a copywriter and researcher; for Global Television, and for a T.V. cooking show (what’s cooking).
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