Lake House

I’m a looky-loo. I real estate dream shop online, a lot!!!! Late one night when my husband was safely sleeping,  I forwarded a photo of a house on a lake I had found and the subject said, “Lets buy this instead of doing an addition to our house.  It’s MUCH cheaper.”

So, instead of doing construction , we bought a house online in Quebec.  Doesn’t everyone in L.A. do that?  Come on.  You know you do.

Well, we did.

So, there we were that first week, enjoying our pristine lake when we got our first and possibly only visitor.  It was our neighbor, the retired judge who lives up the road on our quiet lake.

He was there to inform us about ecology and keeping the lake from getting that nasty blue algae that was killing a lot of the other lakes.  First we heard of that.  Perhaps we didn’t research enough.   Pollution was the culprit.  He told us about phosphates and to use phosphate- free soaps and detergents.  We were in.  He told us to let our grass grow wild right at the lake’s edge.  We were reluctantly in.  The former owners had loud parties and cut the grass long after they were told it wasn’t safe for our lake.  We would be the good citizens and stay on top of all that we could.  Have good lake etiquette.  And we did.  And we do.

As the elegant judge struggled with his translation from French to English, we were pretty much understanding him.  Great thing about Quebec, they really try when they can to speak English when they realize you don’t know the language.  So there he was making a real effort and answering all my questions about hunting.  That was my big concern.  I kept asking about it to the former owners who seemed to not-really-know.  Is there some sort of hunting season? I’m afraid of getting shot accidentally.  I am also such a huge lover of all animals that I just didn’t want to know that right in my new backyard, the hunters would be out killing Bambi, thank you very much.

His reply– or what I heard or understood was that he had caught some beavers in a trap.  Okay, then what? I needed to know and I asked.  All I heard was that he ate them. He ate the beavers?   I don’t think I inquired as to how they died after they were trapped because by then I was in shock.   So then I said, “Oh my God, so you eat beaver!!! Get it?”  I kept repeating it thinking he was my audience…my audience of friends who….get my humor.  Often raunchy humor, I might add.  Not subtle at all, I should also add.  He stayed quite straight- faced, as this was not translating well at all in English or maybe even in any language to this older civilized retired judge from Montreal.   Yet, in all my faux pas tackiness….I kept on.  “Get it, you EAT BEAVER, hahahahahahahaha!!!!” I kept up my laughing maniacally and repeating, “get it, you eat beaver”. I’m thinking, why is he not getting this? This is some hilarious shit!

When this dignified gentleman finally left sort of dazed, my husband looked at me and said, “ Great first impression Beavis.”

Welcome to the neighborhood, ugly Americans.   Well, at least me, I guess.



St-Sauveur Food

First place we hit when we arrive in the village of St-Sauveur is Le Chrysantheme for quite good Chinese food.  I order the Peking Duck appetizer and have to get the fried spinach which is exactly the thing I love at Mr. Chows that we call seaweed. My husband orders the basket of steamed vegetables and the basket is made of fried wanton. And the kid in me just loves that the fortune cookies have English on one side and French on the other.  Here was my recent fortune.  “You are one in a million” or “Vous êtes l’un sur un million.


Next restaurant stop is usually Lezvos for Greek food.  This is my absolute favorite place to eat.  We share a Mediterranean sea bass, grilled to perfection.  I really could eat here every night.  I order the half and half fried eggplant and zucchini served with Tzatziki, a yogurt sauce.  We have a favorite waiter here,  Philipo, and honestly anything he suggests is going to be great.


Tonkinoise is a family- owned restaurant with the freshest food around.  It’s both Vietnamese and Thai.  The daughters and sons and who knows, maybe cousins, of the owner are your waiters.  Food is amazing and we have never had a bad meal here.


Gibby’s Restaurant is a staple.  Very old school, almost like Lawry’s.  The salad is served family- style and in chilled bowls.  Steaks served with baked potatoes are their specialty.


For a true Quebecois experience, you will need to drive to a nearby village, Val-David.  Au Petit Poucet is a famous breakfast destination.  Always a bit of a wait and only open until 4:00.   The restaurant looks like an old log cabin.  They have a store, so you can take home things like Maple-smoked ham, Meat pie, Pig’s knuckles, Maple syrup pie (a local favorite) and many more unusual food items.


For the most gourmand experience, drive to the next village, Sainte-Adele.  Restaurant L’Eau a la Bouche has a Relais and Chateaux rating.  This restaurant is cave-like and charming.   Feels like being in someone’s home in the French countryside, gourmet French food and all.

me at the Greek Restaurant

Bambi on our property

Quintessenital Quebecois Restaurant

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16 Responses to “Lake House”

  1. Sounds to me like your life has been one very interesting adventure and that lake house looks like the dream house in my head.

  2. Alan Duke says:

    How can you NOT buy a house on a lake called Lac du Chat (Lake of the Cat)? It’s really gorgeous.

  3. pauli moss says:

    Well, now I can’t stop wondering if the judge really did eat those beavers and how they were prepared. Great house and wonderfully engaging prose. Thanks for sharing!

  4. David Miller-Engel says:

    Tres bon Fredde !!!!

  5. TMiller says:

    Oh Fredde… only you could manage to insert another meaning for “beaver” into an elegant conversation with a judge. He doesn’t know how lucky he is that you kept your very favorite word to yourself!!!! (haha) Love you…T

  6. Marc Andrew says:

    Fredde! You’re hilarious. I love this story.
    My family actually had a place right near yours. (Morin Heights)
    I had a complete visual of some retired French Canadian man scratching his head and muttering broken english on your lawn. Too funny!
    Stunning house by the way. Nice buy!. Hope you’re enjoying it!

  7. Augie Duke says:

    you are to much, remember Box??

  8. Mitch says:

    Fredde —

    Enjoyed the beaver story. I’m glad to hear that even old retired guys in Quebec are game for a little wildlife action.

  9. david says:

    You should have said, “vous mangez la chatte?!?!”

  10. Doreen says:

    I get it Beavis….and it is even funnier that he didn’t. omg.

  11. franklyn says:

    for desert, beaver pie?xxx

  12. JF says:

    Hi Fredde, Amiee’s Quebecois JF here 🙂 I think that they trap beaver for their fur. With the last pie comment I feel a new wave of jokes coming…

  13. Christel Chesney says:

    Love your lake house.

  14. Debbie Schellenberg says:

    I think you should avoid watching “House Hunters International”, aka my favorite TV show. I have this eternal fantasy about spending 6 months a year virtually ANYWHERE in the world (strange, for two girls from BH, but whatever). Quebec sounds fantastic, and I speak French (fairly fluently, go figure). It looks fabulous…..great idea Fredde!
    When is lunch????

  15. Roger says:

    So, now you’ve pissed off a judge. Real smooth Cliff! Your only act of redemption is to invite him over for….beaver. You’re a good cook. Besides, better to eat a beaver than live next door to an angry judge.

  16. Linda says:

    Fabulous … and I certainly spent lots of time online “window shopping” for houses. Do you still own it? It looks lovely …

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