I think Monday night sufficiently put an end to my vegetarian diet of late. In fact, last week I was practically a vegan as I had run out of all butter (quelle horreur!), yoghurt, milk, egg, anything vaguely diary or animal related and in my attempt to conserve my money I didn’t buy anymore. A week is my limit for living the Vegan life… I need butter.
Anyway, back to Monday night. I arrived in St. Etienne Monday afternoon to meet Sophie and her sister Julie. We had a brief look around a Christmas market, sat in Subway to warm up and then went to meet the rest of their family and friends at a restaurant not far from their town of Yssingeaux in Haute-Loire. We ate at this restaurant last time I stayed with Sophie and it was amazing! A little sort of back-country bar plus restaurant. The owner and chef loves collecting caps (the kind you wear on your head) and has a pretty significant collection hanging from the ceiling of the restaurant. The last time I was here for an entrée I had a salad with confit des oignons, foie gras, corn, magret de canard and of course plenty of bread! For a main I had braised veal with veges and for dessert pear and almond tart. So french and so delicious.
Monday night was no different. I unfortunately left my camera in the car so will do my best to describe this amazing meal for you…. Update: One of my fellow diners sent me a few photos!
the bar (complete with foosball table!). No idea what this drink was but it was delicious!
First Course: the same salad as my first visit. I could never turn down an opportunity to eat foie gras! The magret de canard has a fine slice of fat around the edge which I noticed no one else seemed to eat… I probably should have followed suit, when in Rome do as the Romans do, but I couldn’t resist, duck fat… Mmmm
Second Course: The second course arrived and the first things I noticed were steamy, baked cheesey goodness- this I was looking forward to! Sophie told me it was shrimp lasagne. I had never had seafood lasagne before and let’s just say it is nothing short of amazing! Very rich though and as I thought this was the main course I ate every last morsel. And wiped my plate clean with bread. Again, when in Rome, do as Romans do… It soon dawned on me when my knife and fork were replaced that another course was about to follow. I took another sip of Côte du Rhone and braced myself.
My French Table: shrimp lasagne, côte du rhone and baguette
Third Course: More duck! How could I possibly refuse?? Our third course was a tender duck leg with a mushroom crepe and steamed veges. The duck was beautiful and clean tasting and went perfectly with the crepe. The crepe batter was light and thin which I was thankful for once I tasted the incredibly rich sauce. Mushrooms slippery and musky in a rich creamy sauce, absolutely delicious but I admit, I did not have the courage or stomach capacity to finish it. The veges also warrant a mention. In light of my recent vegetarian diet I think I have the authority to say that the cauliflower was potentially the best cauliflower I have ever tasted. Lightly herbed and cooked to perfect tenderness, I could have eaten a plate full. The spoon glinting at the top of my place seating was a reminder of what was to come…
Fourth Course: Dessert is probably my favourite part of any menu, though if duck is involved in the main meal it is truly a tough contest. After the duck and crepe course we were granted une petite pause. Then the table was tidied, lights were dimmed and a stool brought to the head of the table. The chef brought out from the kitchen a giant white, fluffy, lightly crisped log; poured on hot cointreau and lit a match! I so wish I had had my camera. The cake disappeared and reappeared only moments later thickly sliced and accompanied by a fresh raspberry coulis. The log was made up of a hard biscuit base, vanilla ice cream and fluffy, whipped egg whites lightly spiked with orange liqueur.
sauce art, fresh raspberries and beautiful refreshing vanilla dessert
A refreshing tea to finish off along with cries of “I will never eat again!” Hmmph, who am I kidding? Praline brioche is calling my name…
A wonderful evening, maybe not so conversationally for me-a group of 12 makes a french conversation very difficult to follow. The food, on the other hand, was truly spectacular.
Read Full Post »