The benefit of staying at our Rouen apartment (or gite), Au Petit Robec, was two-fold. On the one hand, its location was perfect, with many good restaurants very close by like Le Rocher and La Walsheim. On the other hand, the apartment’s cosy kitchen is well-appointed, which enabled me to make some nice meals “at home” like Chicken Normandy.
We arrived in Rouen on a Sunday. I knew from our 2014 trip to Northern France that many restaurants close for Sunday evening, with some only re-opening for dinner on Tuesday. So in planning our dinner for that evening, we had two things in mind: one, to find some place that would actually be open that night; and two, to possibly order a large dish that would leave us with ample left-overs in case we needed to use that for our Monday night dinner as well.
La Walsheim, a catch-all family sort of restaurant was indeed open. We looked over the menu and asked the waiter if the Choucroute Walsheim would be a lot of food, explaining to him that we wanted to take some home with us.
He assured us that it was definitely a lot of food, and boy, he was not kidding! I had some of each of the sausages and the pork in the dish (with some sauerkraut, of course) and we took home most of the massive pork ankle (or whatever part that was) home with us.
And while we did eat those leftovers for the next day and more, we did not have to use that for our Monday dinner. Instead, after doing grocery shopping at the Monoprix (one of the few markets open on Monday), we had the ingredients to make one of the “Normandy-style” dishes whose recipes I had brought with me, Chicken Normandy (as interpreted by Emeril).
The only adjustment I had to make was that where cream was called for, I used a mixture of coconut and soy milks. The resulting sauce was probably a bit thinner than in the original recipe – I let it reduce to get it thicker, but found the electric stovetop a bit tricky to adjust so as not to have it reduce too quickly. Nevertheless, we were very pleased with the result.
We are big fans of moules-frites, that typical Belgian combo of steamed seafood and crispy fried potatoes (with mayonnaise for the latter). So when we discovered there was a restaurant that specialized in this dish, Le Rocher, we ended up eating there twice, once near the end of our two week period on our own in Rouen, and once at the end of our week with our friend Faith.
This restaurant has many varieties of mussles dishes that feature the rich local cheeses, like Rochefort (that’s what Therese ordered and loved). But by sticking to the basic version, moules mariniere, basically mussles in white wine with garlic and celery, I was safe.
The logistics of eating outdoors on this street made the experience that much more fun. You see, on Rue Eau de Robec, there is actually a stream passing down one side of the street. The restaurant’s tables are situated between the stream and the storefront, and periodic wood or concrete over the stream is what enabled our waitress to maneuver through this maze, bringing our food, etc. We had the same waitress both times we ate at Le Rocher, a young charming Morrocan woman who was attending university in Rouen, and who would’ve very much preferred to be in Paris rather than sleepy old Rouen.
To conclude, I will leave you with a few more photos of our lovely street in Rouen with its hanging flower baskets and gurgling stream.