Some people may curse me for blogging about a chain that is almost as prolific as Starbucks in New York, but I really can’t get enough of it. To give this bakery some props, it was first opened in Brussels by a man who was fed up with the quality of bread in Belgium, and it has since become one of my go-to spots for not only homemade organic bread, but also for a filling, healthy lunch. I had my first Pain Quotidien experience in Paris, where I instantly fell in love with the cafe’s wooden communal tables and jars of creamy hazelnut spread shared among the customers for bread dipping. But sugar aside, the real value behind Le Pain Quotidien’s menu is bright, beautifully crafted, quality health food. Their main show-stopper is their creative tartine variations, open-faced sandwiches on brown sourdough bread, but their fresh salads, soups, bakery items, and bowls of hot cappuccinos are equally notable. When I’m in the mood for something light, refreshing, and culinarily satisfying, I head straight to the Pain Quotidien down the street and feel thankful that such an affordable, delicious, and pleasant place is situated just steps from my apartment.
I have visited Le Pain Quotidien countless times, but some of my favorite dishes lately are the gluten-free vegetarian quiche (pictured above) and the lentil and quinoa salads, which come with avocado, lettuce, and fresh vegetables. Avocado, which I love, is thankfully found on a lot of their salads. And though these items are all vegetarian friendly, the menu is filled with lunch items that have prosciutto, chicken, or tuna. In fact, my sister’s favorite is their version of a turkey club – an open faced turkey sandwich with avocado and whole grain mustard.
There’s always something new and exciting to try on their menu – my next item is the ricotta and fig tartine. While I wouldn’t suggest it for dinner, when you’re in a part of New York city filled with Au Bon Pains or other processed-food chains, Le Pain Quotidien will be your saving grace.