Two restaurants, two unexpected experiences

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La Quarterelle was an unexpected delight.
La Quarterelle was an unexpected delight.

As part of my continuous travel through France, I left the Vosges Region a few days ago. I am now in Rouen, the capital of Upper Normandy, and the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.

Before leaving the Vosges, I happened almost by accident to walk in a restaurant that I had never visited before, in spite of my many trips to the area.

Upon my arrival in Rouen, I happened, also by accident to walk in a restaurant that I had never visited, in spite of my many travels to the city.

What is unusual is that, many of us, can become victims of our habits and return over and over to the same places, instead of being adventurous and trying new venues.

In these two separate visits, I was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the experiences.

“La Quarterelle” is a lovely restaurant located in the town of Remiremont, which sits in the foothills of the Vosges Mountain. It probably accommodates no more than 40 people at a time, but the atmosphere is most pleasant and very relaxed. The table setting is unusually upscale for such a small facility. The glassware is simply beautiful. They are fabricated in Alsace under the name of “La Cristallerie” (www.lacristallerie.com)

The owner/chef’s wife who runs the dining room is a charming woman who makes sure that everything is to one’s satisfaction.

My wife and I went there for lunch. We wanted a very light lunch, which would appeal to our taste buds. We were not disappointed. As an aperitif, my wife had a glass of fruity vin de Provence, while I had one of the very hearty local beers, “La Valheureuse”. As an amuse-bouche, we enjoyed a tapenade on toasts and a rich smooth lobster mousse, which was perfect to get us started.

Next, I ordered a main course, which consisted of an Atlantic cod filet with a very light horseradish butter sauce, while my wife had grilled shrimps (they call them Gambas) which sat on a very light pastry dough accompanied by two coulis, one of tomato and another, arugula. The flavors were divine, and the lightness of the items made it perfect for lunch.

Of course, we finished our lunch with a “Café Gourmand”, a great way to finish a meal we enjoyed bite sized desserts without indulgence.

La Quarterelle is definitely a place to visit when in Remiremont.

La Quarterelle is located at: 3 Rue de la Carterelle, 88200 Remiremont France. Tel: 03 29 23 98 69

Table des Hotes:

Table des Hôtes is located on Place de la Pucelle in Rouen less than 100 yards from the place where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake.

The Croustillant tartiflette is an excellent choice.
The Croustillant tartiflette is an excellent choice.

The restaurant is warm and engaging, in spite of its monochromatic design (gray tones). The service is exceptionally professional while friendly at the same time.

The food features “terroir items” which relates to the use of local products, particularly from local farmers. There are a number of menu items which change everyday to accommodate the arrival of daily produce, meats and fish.

During the season they feature a selection of “Moules et Frites” (Mussels & French Fries) cooked with different garnishes.

The day, my wife, Jacquey and I went to the restaurant, she selected Moules Provençales, which meant that the mussels were cooked in a rich broth of herbs, stewed tomatoes, garlic, thyme all of it marinated in wine. The mussels were cooked to perfection and the presentation was quite original, as they were shown into a red double layer pot, the top of which is used to store the empty shells.

For my part, I ordered an assortment of “verines” which are miniature glasses filled with different ingredients. On that day, the selection was a light flavorful gazpacho, cucumber laced in a Greek type yogurt, eggplant puree and a black olive tapenade. The plate was presented with a touch of elegance, which made it most appealing. The flavors were just right, not overwhelming and the combination of items contributed to the taste of each of them.

Next I ordered an “Egg en Meurette” which is a poached egg cooked in red wine and improved with the addition of mushrooms, tiny-diced vegetables, small white onions and a combination of herbs, which brought the wine background flavor together.

On that day, we decided to pass on desserts, but from a distance one could tell that they were quite enticing and beautifully presented.

When in Rouen, Table des Hotes is worth the detour.

In conclusion, it is worth to exploring new places as one might be very pleasantly and unexpectedly surprised.

Table des Hotes is located at: 23 Place de la Pucell 76000 Rouen France.Tel: 02 35 71 19 54

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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