Monday, July 1, 2013

La Batisse, St. Avold, France: Sunday Lunch and the ABM

     Yesterday,we spent an incredible afternoon dining at our favorite place for Sunday lunch.  La Batisse, is a small restaurant located in St. Avold, which is about an hour's drive from our house.  While the impressive Lorraine American Cemetery is located in St. Avold, the town itself is dreary and devoid of much life...except for Sunday lunches at La Batisse.  The dining room is simple, yet refined.  You could say the same for the menu yet on each visit, we are amazed at the simple creativity of the chef.
Farewell Sunday Lunch at La Batisse

     While each day there is are "suggestion du moment" - daily specials, more often than not, diners request one of the "menus".  Frankly, these are the better deals.  For a set price, you get a choice of appetizer (entree), main course (plat), cheese and/or dessert.  These menus never change except that maybe you can vary your choices within the menu.  The menus also do not typically have fancy names.  At La Batisse, the menu that cost 22 Euros, is simply referred at Menu 22.  The menu that costs 30 Euros, is the Menu 30.  However, the highest price menu at 41 Euros is given a special name, Menu Excellence.  Yesterday, on what may be our final visit, we ordered two Menu Excellence and an extra plate for Dear Daughter and with a tasty aperitif, we began our dining afternoon.

     The entree was foie gras, prepared in-house by the chef.  It was incredibly flavorful and nearly melted in your mouth.  While I normally like toasted bread as an accompaniment, the sweet, almost pound-cake like bread was a welcome surprise.  Dear Daughter, wanting nothing to do with foie gras, finished the bread and various fruit garnishes.

     Course 2 was two slices of seared foie gras served with a slightly peppery but light fruit sauce and a small salad.  Again, the foie gras just melted away in my mouth.  Dear Husband's second course was a carpaccio of scallops.  It was incredibly creative - thin slices of raw scallops, lightly seasoned with a dollop of some sort of sorbet in the middle.  While Dear Daughter would have nothing to do with the foie gras, she did manage to polish off most of the scallop carpaccio.

Seared Fois Gras

Salmon Carpaccio

     Course 3 was the main course.  I elected to have the St. Jacques Forestiere (or scallops with mushrooms) while Dear Daughter determined that Dear Husband should have the beef filet.  Unbelievable!  The scallops were surrounded by tiny mushrooms and this incredibly complex sauce.  I would not have thought that mushrooms would go with scallops but this combination certainly worked.  Dear Daughter must have liked it as she quickly polished off two of the four scallops.  Dear Husband was presented with a filet of beef topped with yet another slice of foie gras and also surrounded by yet another type of mushroom and a rich sauce.  I am not a big mushroom eater but these were absolutely divine - the depth of flavor was incredible.

Scallops with mushrooms

Beef with Foie Gras

     But that was not all...following the cheese plate, which was mercifully small, came dessert.  For me...a carpaccio of pineapple...thin slices of carpaccio served with grated coconut and cinnamon and a delightful scoop of salted caramel ice cream.  Dear Daughter had the best creme brûlée that has ever been made.  Dear Husband and I managed to sneak one bite each.

Pineapple Carpaccio

Creme Brûlée

     We rolled out of the restaurant nearly three hours later - thoroughly satisfied - having had wonderful food, wonderful company and a wonderful time.

     But you ask, "Why did you title this The ABM?"  So, now I tell you.  (Sorry, I got carried away by the food, as usual.)  We were driving through a small village on our way home when I saw a bakery sign that indicated that you could get bread 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.  How could that be?  I know that the French love their bread, but there is no store in the world that would be open continuously.  I had to stop and investigate.  Here is what I saw:

Its an ABM!

     Now, what does that look like to you?  An ABM!  An Automatic Bread Machine!  You put in one euro and out pops warm baguette.  No joke!

And even was good!  Why can't we have one of these in our village??

Hey, you can't see that in Coronado!


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