Occasional readers of Radio Free Daglan may well believe that my wife Jan and I eat exclusively at Michelin-starred restaurants. But that’s absolutely false! Why, just three years ago, Jan and I had lunch in a restaurant that was barely mentioned in the red Michelin guide!
Seriously, however, Jan and I do eat at home quite often, and quite well. And we also eat at what normal people would call casual restaurants. Like, for instance, the café La Plage (it means The Beach) in Castelnaud, about 10 kilometres north of our village. There are no Michelin stars in sight, nor will there be. Ever.
However, La Plage has a pleasant terrace to visit if you’re out riding your bike, or renting a canoe or kayak for a Dordogne River trip, or driving around to see the sights. Here it is, as seen from the front parking lot:
Sometimes I have a pizza there, since I find La Plage’s pizzas are pretty acceptable by French standards. Jan, with her gluten allergy, usually has something involving meat, like a cheeseburger served with no bun, or beef steak served en brochette. My personal favourite, however, is a plate of that French classic sandwich, a croque-monsieur.
If you’ve never had one, it’s simply a grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich, but served with a béchamel sauce on top; then it’s broiled (grilled) briefly, to puff up the sauce and brown it a bit.
For nine euros, this is what you get when you order a croque-monsieur at La Plage — the sandwich plus a decent green salad plus some nice, crispy French fries:
And if you look closely, you’ll see not only two halves of a cherry tomato on the left of the plate, but also a decorative dusting of paprika. Hmmmm … maybe Chef does have some higher ambitions.