Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

A night on the town

As we had failed to reach the Mange-Grenouille restaurant by phone, we decided to stop by on our way into Saint-Aignan and see if we could book a table for that evening. When we arrived, the restaurant was closed though, but there was a telephone number on the menu card and we jotted it down to call it later.

Our next stop was the pharmacy. Apparently some ‘drugs’ (in the medical sense of the word) are a lot cheaper in France than in Belgium. B. and J.L.’s family and friends being aware of this, had ‘placed an order’, leaving B. with an impressive list of ‘drugs’ to bring back from their holiday. As it was late Saturday afternoon, the pharmacy was closed and we decided to return during the week to do the necessary shopping.

Off we drove to the commercial zone outside of town to get some fuel – called ‘gazoile’ in France and ‘diesel’ in Belgium – for the car. With a full tank we were sure to have enough to take us through the rest of the week, despite the many excursions I had planned on my friends’ request. By then it was time to call the restaurant. Imagine our disappointment when the man on the other side of the line told me ‘Nous sommes complet ce soir’ (We are full this evening). We immediately thought of the obvious alternative ‘le Crépiot’, which had recently re-opened after a fire last September.

Self- and re-assured we set out for the next bit of shopping: some food items, napkins, plastic plates and glasses for Monday’s BBQ. I could have spent hours at ‘Facile’s’, a large department store selling kitchen, decoration and party goods! The place is huge … If you don’t find what you need here, it doesn’t exist. Especially the party section is amazing. The same stuff comes in all kinds of colours, and wandering through the aisles leaves you with the impression of being inside a rainbow. But there is no crock of gold at the end of it … just a cash register! I think I did rather well, spending only 50 Euros. The damage could have been a lot worse. One of the unusual things we bought were, what I like to refer to as, ‘scoubidoes’. Do you know what they are? To be fair, what we bought weren’t really ‘scoubidoes’, but the name fitted them beautifully. More about that in a later post.

Le Crépiot, later that same evening around 10.30 p.m. 
The queue was gone but the place was still buzzing!

We returned to the centre of the town, where we found a queue standing by the door of ‘Le Crépiot’ restaurant. We joined it to find a slate on the door reading ‘Désolé, nous sommes complets.’ (Sorry, we’re full!) Oops! What to do now? There was a pizza vendor’s van in the town square and we were seriously considering buying a pizza there and going home, to have it with a nice bottle of red wine from my friends’ cellar. Then J.L. remembered another restaurant, a place doing savoury ‘crêpes’, a specialty from Brittany, and salads. I’m not sure about the name of the restaurant ‘Le Bridouen’, or something like that (note to my local friends, please correct me if I’m wrong!). Like the other restaurants in town, the place looked really busy, but at least there was no sign on the door saying they were ‘complet’. We ventured in, keeping our fingers crossed. Would we feast on ‘crêpes’ or pizza tonight?


Susan said...

You were lucky if you didn't have to rely on the pizza van. My experience of them is you need to phone your order in early in the evening if you want to eat before you've starved to death. You can't just roll up to them, order and wait (well, you can wait, but you may not get your pizza for a couple of hours because they are busy cooking all the orders they got before yours).

chm said...

The word you are looking for is Bigouden, as in Bigouden Restaurant in St-Aignan. Pays bigouden is a region of Brittany, in Finistère, south-west of Quimper. It takes its origin in the headdress the local women used to wear that was called ... bigouden!

Niall & Antoinette said...

Glad you didn't have to fall back on the pizza van. I'm a real fan of savory crepes. When they're done well they are lovely.

Nadege said...

Sorry for your missed meals but it is nice to know that 2 restaurants were full. It means the economy is doing better and people going out, spending money. My father used to make scoobidoos and I had one as a key chain for a long time. Are these the "scoobidoes" you are referring to?

The Beaver said...

Bonjour Cousin,

Does the word bigoudis come from bigouden ?

chm said...

Bonjour Cousine,

No, I don't think so, even though it sounds close. It seems to have appeared around 1850. Here is a link that will explain that the origin of the word bigoudi is not perfectly clear:

VirginiaC said...

I hope you ended up having savoury crepes for dinner....that would have been my choice.

Craig said...

You wouldn't think that there is an economic slump given how full those restaurants are! I'm looking forward to reading about the crepes.

Bob said...

I am a pizza lover, but I can't imagine getting a good one from a van. So I vote crepes. Love the photo.

Ken Broadhurst said...

Walt went to the pizza truck last night in Saint-Aignan because he had a craving. He didn't have to wait long at all. We enjoyed the pizzas but they weren't the best we've ever had. The wait at the Amaréna pizzeria for a pizza to go was 90 minutes!

Bob, the pizza vans are all over France and they have a good reputation.

Louise said...

I so enjoyed the crepes in Brittany whenI spent time there in 2011...there was a lovely little restaurant in I look forward to reading about your dinner choice!

ladybird said...

Susan, I have no experience with pizza vans. They're not a common sight in Belgium. We have our 'fritures', which sell French fries and all kinds of greasy snacks and sauces. But some of them are really delicious ... every now and then :)

Chm, Thank you. I knew there was something wrong with my memory. And I forgot to take a photo of the façade ...

N&A, I've had some lovely savoury crêpes in Brittany in the 90-ties. But I have had some awful ones too ... Making them isn't as easy as it looks, I guess.

Nadege, Sorry for the spelling mistake. I know the word, but I've never seen it written in my life :) And yes, that is what they are, but not what we bought ...

The Beaver, Your cousin is so knowledgeable! It's always a joy to talk to him as you learn so much!

Virginia, It turned out to be my choice too! See my next post to learn more about it.

Craig, We were amazed too to see that, despite the crisis, people still finding it worthwhile to spend money on food. But maybe that's because that's the only fun we have left. I enjoy it anyway.

Bob, I know you love pizza and that you are very good at making your own creations. Will you send me one of your secret recipes?

Ken, How are the pizza's from the Amaréna? Should we try them the next time we're in town?

Louise, Brittany is such a lovely region and the (sea)food is delicious. I once had the best seafood pizza ever in the town of La Turbale. Wouldn't mind trying that again with a sweet crêpe for dessert :)