Yes. It's a restaurant review.
We have two rules :
1. If there is a Plat du Jour (special of the day) one of us must order it
2. Rule one does not apply if the Plat du Jour is Andouillette.
(Andouillette is basically intestines wrapped up in a sausage skin. I've never eaten it, but the LSH has resolutely tried it a couple of times, trying to figure out what the French see in it. The last time, I sat in between the LSH and the ED as they both sampled andouillette in the Café du Cours in Reillanne. The waiter had extolled its virtues, and convinced them that it was "very, very special." I might as well have been sitting in a cowhouse - that's what it smelt like. Both of them tried hard to like it, that day, and both agreed it was in a lovely sauce, but it still ..um.. tasted like it smelled.)
So, no, thank you France, you make great food, but we're steering clear of the andouillette from now on.
We are very familiar with Céreste, having spent three months of last winter there, and we are looking forward to re-visiting our favourite eateries there, all in the interest of research, you understand.
The Café de France was the LSH's favourite place to go for a cup of coffee to take a break from work. It's a modern but basic café, situated on the (busy) main street, with tables and chairs outside which catch the winter sun very well. They've always served food of some sort, but at the moment, the chef/manager from another bar up the street is working there. His own premises suffered damage in a fire just before we got here, and he seems to have come to some arrangement with the owners of this place. Keen to support him when times are bad, we decided that the Café de France would be our next TGIL venue.
The sun was beaming down, it was a cosy 15C, so we (the LSH, Granny and I) settled ourselves at an outside table and indicated we were going to eat. There was a Plat du Jour, of Salmon fillet with tagliatelle, but I fully expected to be offered something else as well. However, something got lost in translation, because after setting our table, filling our water glasses and enquiring if we wanted anything to drink, three plates of Salmon Fillet with Tagliatelle in a lemon cream sauce were brought to the table.
Now I'm not great at eating fish, but it seemed churlish to send it back, so the three of us tucked in.
It was simple but tasty, the salmon was nicely cooked, with a good texture, the sauce was magnifique! The baguette was warm and mopped up the leftover sauce very well indeed. The only negative was that some of my pasta was not quite cooked.
We had a choice of desserts, Tarte Normande - an open apple pie - or Coulant au Chocolat, a chocolate pudding with a gooey, sticky inside. Granny and I had the Tarte Normande and the LSH had the Coulant au Chocolate. The tarte was good, served with a little Chantilly creme on the side and with a little caramel sauce. The coulant was the winner though, the LSH said it was the best he's had, and he's tried it in a few places!
We all had coffee to finish, served with those skinny Speculos biscuits that I love.
This lunch was typical of many cafés in France, simple food, well presented, and great value. The cost for a main course and dessert was €12 per person, and the coffee was €1.50.
Star Rating (out of 5) :
Service : ✮✮✮✮✮ (prompt and efficient, despite being quite busy)
Food : ✮✮✮ (The food was good but not outstanding and I had to take off a star for the undercooked pasta)
Value : ✮✮✮✮✮ (I don't know if we will find better value, but we'll enjoy trying)
Ambiance : ✮✮✮✮ (very pleasant sitting in the sun, but I know the inside is not as nice)
Highly recommended if you're traveling along the N100 between Apt and Forcalquier at lunchtime on a sunny day. They also do a good panini.