Gastronomic Journey with White on Rice Couple
To explore destinations from particular points of view, Fairmont Hotels and Resorts has partnered with social media influencers Todd and Diane, creators of the popular lifestyle blog White on Rice Couple. Active on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Twitter, and Pinterest, the husband-and-wife team uses photography and personal stories to celebrate good food, cooking, travel, adventure and friendship. Using the Fairmont Choose Your Moment service, Todd and Diane were treated to unique experiences and world-class dining, curated by the Fairmont staff in each of their destinations – Quebec City, Canada and Riviera Maya, Mexico.
Quebec is a gorgeous city celebrated for its warmth and beauty, with a vibrant food scene adding yet another dimension to its air of hospitality. Fairmont Le Château Frontenac, located in the picturesque Vieux-Québec neighborhood, overlooks St. Lawrence River. Todd and Diane’s gastronomic journey began at this historic hotel with a cup of comforting, hand-roasted artisanal coffee at the Fairmont Gold Lounge.
Le Château Frontenac embraces Quebec culture, its local cuisine and products. The hotel even maintains its own beehives on the roof and uses the honey produced by its bees for signature dishes and cocktails. Assistant Chef Alexi Jegou from Restaurant Champlain took the couple to explore the well-stocked Quebec farmers’ market, and then helped them prepare some incredible dishes inspired by his French heritage. Expert mixologist Jean-Felix guided Todd and Diane through a cocktail class at 1608 – Wine & Cheese Bar and made them a unique carbonated Negroni.
Poutine is Quebec’s signature dish. A decadent combination of French fries topped with gravy and cheese, variations of poutine can be found throughout the city. Trying several varieties of the dish, from classic to innovative, can help diners truly appreciate its different combinations of flavor. According to Todd and Diane, the most memorable poutine of the trip was found at Bistro Le Sam. The tempting images in their video prove that sometimes, classic is best: There's little room for improvement in a dish comprised solely of French fries, gravy, pulled pork and cheese curds.
The White on Rice Couple also visited some of Quebec’s landmarks, shopping for gifts at the German Christmas Market and sampling an ice cream cone dipped in chocolate fondue at Chocolats Favoris. Later, the cold weather called for a perfect cappuccino at Cantook, followed by a visit to Rue St. Jean Baptiste, just outside Old Quebec. Taking Todd and Diane's love of regional cuisine to heart, the Fairmont staff directed the couple to Rue St. Jean Baptiste's myriad specialty food stores, restaurants and coffee shops. The couple tried the apple pie dessert at La Planque along with classic Canadian eats at Le Buffet de l’Antiquaire. They had also an extraordinary meal at iX Pour Bistro, a small restaurant run by only two people, and sampled the smooth and savory parsnip soup at Le Clocher Penché.
After bidding a fond farewell to Canada, Todd and Diane's food journey took them all the way to Mexico and the Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya near Playa del Carmen. Surrounded by a lush tropical forest, the resort provided a perfect home base as they experienced the Caribbean. The couple tried popular local activities recommended by the hotel staff, and you watch their adventures as they went trekking through the Mayan jungle, kayaking alongside crocodiles, zip-lining in the forest, and snorkeling in cenotes, natural sinkholes that exposed ground water. The couple recovered from their adventures with a host of relaxing and restorative spa treatments and healthy, gourmet Bento box meals at Willow Stream Spa.
Chef and restaurateur Richard Sandoval treated Todd and Diane to a behind-the-scenes tour of the resort's redesigned Las Brisas and the AAA-4 Diamond award-winning El Puerto restaurants, where they sampled empanadas, asparagus tempura tacos, and grilled avocado salad with corn pico de gallo. Executive Chef Eric de Maeyer works with local farmers to showcase fresh ingredients that highlight native cuisine while celebrating international influences. Todd and Diane paired their meals with selections from a revitalized cocktail menu, featuring exotic concoctions such as the Asian mango cocktail with Sriracha alongside classics like Mexican craft beer and Bloody Marys in La Laguna Lounge.
The staff at Fairmont suggested the couple explore the city's vibrant 5th Avenue, a pedestrian street known for its interesting shops with wares from all parts of Mexico, colorful cafés and local fare. Knowing that Todd and Diane would be up for a completely unique dining experience in Playa del Carmen, the concierges at the Fairmont made them dinner reservations at Alux Restaurante. The venue is underground in a cenote, with tables set in the cave’s openings and locally inspired cuisine sharing the spotlight.
Follow the steps of the White on Rice Couple or create your own vacation. Countless exciting destinations are waiting for you.
Adela Aguilar is a freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. All her articles draw from her own experiences traveling around the world and reflect her passion for visual and performing arts, and food and wine.