Le Pain Quotidien
Fond memories of France
Originally uploaded by lools.
I walk by Le Pain Quotidien every day on my way to work and back home. On many occasions, I've been tempted to step in and succumb to any one of this charming, old-style French bakery's many sinfully buttery temptations including apple turnovers, chocolate croissants and caramel tartelettes. But my internal carb-o-meter has always prevented me from taking the plunge.
Today, I had a big carb craving at lunch and was thrilled to know just where to go. When I walked in, I realized that Le Pain Quotidien was not only a bakery but also a restaurant. I was drawn to the front of the space that was dedicated to selling different baked goods and other typically French gourmet items from hazelnut chocolate spread to black olive tapenade. I resisted the urge to spend on something other than lunch but I could not help make a mental note of all the goodies I wanted to buy for my pantry.
The lunch menu is handwritten in chalk on blackboards that hang behind the counter. One can select from a delectable array of sandwiches and salads made from real bakery bread. And then of course there are plenty of pattisseries for dessert.
I bought a 3 mustard Gruyere Sandwich that came with mesclun salad and some pieces of fruit. The minute I bit into the sandwich, memories of France came flooding back. When I was an exchange student perfecting my French in Tours, "un sandwich au fromage" was my lunch de jour on a regular basis. It's amazing how food can trigger so many memories. My mind wandered down memory lane as I recalled my favourite food experiences in France. And, no surprise, many of them involved cheese!
I wanted to eat my sandwich at one of the communal tables at the back and soak up this quintessentially French atmosphere but work beckened and I had to get back to the office. I'll have to come back when time is not of the essence and I can kick back and delight all my senses.