March 2, 2012

Eat: Le Pain Quotidien (throughout NYC)

Unfortunately, during our first week in NYC, we spent most of our time visiting family in the hospital. There was a lot of takeout. A lot of Au Bon Pain from the lobby. So when Jared's aunt and I were beyond starving and had an hour to escape and actually go sit down to a very late lunch....well, it was the best lunch I'd had in a long time.
Le Pain Quotidien has locations around NYC (around the world for that matter), but never feels like a chain. It has a rustic European vibe. Communal tables and simple, well-made food.
On that first visit there, the soup of the day was tomato. And I'm a sucker for tomato soup. It was good. Really really good. Very fresh, not overly acidic, and the smaller cup size could have easily been a meal on it's own (well, for a normal person who isn't always ravenously hungry).  
And then. The tartines. The backbone of this establishment is an array of overflowing, open faced sandwiches. I got the Avocado tartine and it was mindblowingly good.  Avocado, chickpeas, tomato, slivers of cucumber, lettuce, scallions, and a drizzle of tahini. One of those meals where you say to yourself "I could totally make this myself" - and yet you know you would never ever be able to recreate how amazing it is. The success of these tartines is largely due to the bread. That is some good freaking bread. A dense hearty wheat bread that supports all those delicious toppings without getting soggy or wilting under the weight.
In fact, the bread was so good that a few days later I took myself down to the Le Pain on W. 72nd street and bought myself a loaf of wheat bread. Little did I know it was going to be HUGE. Beyond huge. Each slice is literally 12 inches long. It took 3 giant containers to fit it all in the freezer. Fortunately it keeps impeccably well in the freezer. There was so much that the single loaf lasted me one month. An entire month! The next time I got it I learned my lesson and only got a half a loaf. Highly recommend. Totally worth the freezer space.


jenny d said...

Yum! That does look delicious. And that's coming from a girl sitting at her desk stuffing her face with Olive's Greek style tilapia and lemon spring mix.

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