Road Trips: L’Estrade, Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, France

Date Night is on the road, but it’s Friday, so how about some French food in France? This week we are in the small village of Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt, which is just a few miles up the road from where we are staying. L’Estrade is one of the highest-ated restaurants in this small village. We are unable to make a reservation because when we call they are not open, so we take our chances and go early, hoping that we can snag one of their last tables. We are not able to get seating on the patio (which is desirable on this hot night), but we are happy to have a table.
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This is a very small restaurant, with only one seating per night. There are maybe seven tables outside, and probably the same amount indoors.
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It’s empty because it’s early. By 8pm the place is packed and the chef is turning out beautiful creations from her closet-sized kitchen in the back.

We start off with a nice cold beer. The restaurant is not air-conditioned.  Although it’s cooled off from the high 90’s of this afternoon, it’s still quite warm.
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Our Leffes are delivered with a crostini amuse bouche.  Yes those are sardines, but in combination with the tomato spread and the crunchy bread they hit the spot.
It’s tomato season and the heirloom tomatoes are gorgeous.  We split a tomato and burrata salad for our next course.
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Since we don’t grow our own tomatoes, it’s been a long time since we have enjoyed something this packed with flavor.

The menu changes daily, depending on what local ingredients are available. Everything you need to know is listed on the black board.
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Roger chooses the lamb chops. They are served atop a mixture of vegetables and they are surrounded by chips. He says they are the best lamb chops he has ever had.
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I am feeling adventurous and I order the poelee de poulpes. Our server has a pretty good command of the English language, which is the only reason I order the pan grilled octopus. It also comes on top of veggies and surrounded by chips.
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We are sharing a dessert this evening. The hardest part is deciding what to choose. After hearing the description of every single one, and after careful consideration we go with the Charlotte Chocolate and peach sorbet.
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It’s described as something with coffee and chocolate and we are expecting a cake resembling tiramisu. It’s more like a firm mousse cake. I don’t taste the coffee part at all, and there is no way to be sure of what it really is. Rest assured it’s delicious and we have no trouble making it all disappear.
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In a less-formal setting there is a pretty good chance that one of us licks the plate!

On the way into L’Estrade we see a band setting up on the street several buildings away. During our meal we hear live classic rock and roll. After dinner we join the small group of music lovers who are just out having a good time on a beautiful evening.
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It’s the second time in the last few weeks that we are lucky enough to enjoy dinner and a show on date night!

You can keep up with our travels on our bicycle travel blog:
www.tandempalooza.wordpress.com

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