Best Dinner of My Entire Life – L’Auberge Gourmande, Grand Case

I knew as I was eating it that it was the best dinner of my entire life. And since I’m a senior citizen, I’ve lived several decades. On my 2nd evening on St. Martin, I drove back to Grand Case and the extraordinary French restaurants it is famous for. L’Auberge Gourmande had been too full to take me the evening before, but by going early the next night, I got in even without a reservation … sitting on the front patio overlooking the street. I also lucked out … customers were given a free glass of champagne that day – I never did understand why. On the menu I’d wanted to try an appetizer involving baked goat cheese, mango, nuts and spring salad with drizzled balsamic. The presentation was so pretty I took a photo before I even tasted it…

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I need a word beyond delicious to describe eating that appetizer. The mixtures of salty and sweet on the palate, the artistry of the colors of the fruit and vegetables, the different textures between crisp peppers and the soft, chewy cheese. I was aware that I making “yum” noises under my breath as I was eating it but couldn’t stop myself. That appetizer was so amazing that I wondered why I bothered to get a main entrée because anything else had to be a letdown, I thought…

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I’m not a seafood fan, so I ordered some fancy cheese stuffed breast of poulet… which came with baked stuffed tomato, delicate, not overcooked broccoli crowns covered with butter, sauteed string beans, scalloped potatoes. Again, the presentation was elegant. As the flavors sensuously filled my mouth, and I was again making appreciative humming sounds, I realized. This was the best meal of my entire life. I’m not that big a person and don’t usually stuff myself, but I couldn’t help it. I ate everything on the plate.

I have no idea how many calories were involved. But they were all worth it. In the film “Last Holiday” Gerard Depardieu plays a French Chef, who tells the Queen Latifah character the secret of life: “Butter.” I’m so there.

It’s a temptation to return to the same restaurant, and I talked to one woman who said they’d been coming back for years, because of the high quality of food. But perfection can’t be topped, and I don’t want to disappoint myself.  So I’ll try other restaurants on my remaining nights.

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