Cape Cod is famous for its coastline and seafood. And you know what else? A unique French bistro that continuously wins rave reviews for its authentic cuisine and hospitality. Not exactly what you would expect in Wellfleet, Mass., Famous for its oysters!
This bistro is the PB Boulangerie Bistro that chef Philippe Rispoli opened in 2009. Chef Rispoli is originally from Lyon, France, and his little pastry shop is a tribute to all that is French. (Previously he was the executive chef at Wynn Las Vegas.) Here you’ll find food just like you would in Paris, but now you can enjoy it without the long-haul flight and jet lag. In fact, the only thing missing from this popular location in Wellfleet is a massive metal Eiffel Tower – but wait, that breaks down as soon as Chef Rispoli gets the right permit. PB Boulangerie is perhaps Cape Town’s best-kept secret – though it attracts dozens and dozens of customers delighted to refuel from France lhave life on pink. The award-winning spot was written in everything from Le New York Times To Le Washington Post. It’s been hailed as a destination restaurant, which means it’s worth the four-hour drive from New York or the two-hour trip from Boston on its own.
In the morning, from 7 a.m., the queues at the bakery are long and customers wait patiently to stock up on breads and pastries. You will find gourmet delicacies there such as multigrain bastard, white chocolate pain, peasant baguette and bacon-cheese bastards that the pastry chef makes in the wee hours of the morning. His name is Michel Bentz and is also from Lyon, France. Chef Bentz starts his day at midnight, preparing all the gastronomic delicacies.
But maybe you are more interested in pastries? There are chocolate-pear sables, coconut macaroons, chocolate bombs – and a plethora of other delicious French treats – that customers rave about. It is a popular pastry shop. In fact, while I was there doing this interview for Forbes.com, the bistro was closed – yet customer cars kept coming in with the hope that the bistro would be open. There are also lunch sandwiches galore; try the French Revolution which consists of a baguette topped with Boursin cheese, bacon, honey and green onions. And – of course – you can most certainly order a Quiche Lorraine or a Croque Monsieur.
As of now, due to COVID regulations, you cannot dine on site – only online orders are available and meals must be ordered one day in advance. Right now, this is the best way to get your PB fix. This is where you can indulge your appetite on wonders such as beef bourguignon, Moroccan lamb bolognese, whole roasted organic chicken, gratin dauphinois, carrot-ginger salad, foie gras from duck, onion soup and country pâté – just to name a few of the wonderful goodies. After Chef Rispoli removed all tables from his restaurant, due to COVID, he reinvented the space to make it a beautiful French market where you can buy anything Provencal. You will discover Marseille soap – as you would at any French flower market – as well as Le Petit Marseillais cherry shower gel, Provence herbs in white ceramic jars, imported rosé wine, acacia honey and much more. Do not miss the authentic Calissons de Provence that you will also find. You will be transported to Nice! “It’s a small grocery store like you can find in France. It’s unique, ”he told me in a telephone interview.
While I was conducting this interview, Chef Rispoli was preparing take-out salads – culinary creations where his attention to detail was impressive. The cucumbers have been peeled, just to reveal nifty green stripes. And he cut the seeded part of the cucumbers to make them more beautiful and tastier. And he added mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, and generous portions of fresh basil. The level of quality and care is certainly distinctive.
And if things couldn’t be more appetizing, there is the homemade ice cream! The flavor is vanilla, with three different toppings: cookies, raspberries and cocoa nibs.
And that’s the international scoop on Cape Cod!
For more on my Wanderlust trips, follow me on Instagram at @DebbiKickham and subscribe to Forbes.com.