Last night in Provence

provencehouseWe drove down into the town of Mausanne-les-Apilles for dinner at Le Bistro du Paradou.  The restaurant is located across the street from this absolutely adorable classic looking Provence home.

provencerestaurantI loved the feel of the place the second we walked in.  One large room with a bar that extends the entire length, wooden plank ceilings, tiled floor and just a great vibe.  Ends up they do not have our reservation.

provencekitchen I showed them the confirmation from the hotel and in the end we got (as far as we could see) the best table in the house.  The one that they use for when friends stop by.  The one that essentially sits in the back room by the kitchen.

chef:sourchefWe got to know the staff, the chef and the sous-chef.  We watched them prepare everyones meal.  More important we learned what a local watering hole this restaurant is.  All the locals came in the back to pay homage to the chef.  Fred found a photo album that we looked though and some of the people we had seen who had made their way through the kitchen were in the book.  It was an amazing night.

eggplantThe menu changes daily and it is what the chef prepares.  The wines of the evening, a bottle on your table, is chosen by the staff.  So if you are a local and you love his lamb chops then you come on Wednesday night.  That is all he is making unless of course you know him and he will whip up a rabbit leg on the side but otherwise it is what it is.  The first course was an option of escargot or roasted eggplant with sliced Parmesan over the top with a light pesto sauce, chopped tomatoes and a green salad on the side.  We both went for the eggplant.  It was fantastic.  It was like eating the best home cooked dinner ever.

lambThe lamb chops were also cooked to perfection with an eggplant caponata on the side and a nice helping of buttery mashed potatoes.

cheeseplateWe are in Provence so what is a meal without a cheese course?  Here is the plate they leave with you to take whatever you want.  When you are done just give it back.

provencedessertDessert is either sorbets or gelatos.  I went with lemon and strawberry sorbet and Fred had vanilla and chocolate gelato.  Both delicious.

Such a wonderful evening.  Both of our dinners in Provence were out of this world.  Already planning a trip back to Provence next October.