I am a creature of habit. I have a routine for everything… exercise, sleep, and especially, food. As a result, I tend to frequent only a handful of restaurants in New York City. Don’t get me wrong, I love going to new and hip places, but I also love my local faves which I go to more often than not. It seems like now that I have a family of my own, I am more concerned about quality of food and proximity to home than hipness or anything else. Guess I am getting old. *Le sigh*
Le Pain Quotidien is one of my all-time-faves. It is perfect for breakfast or lunch and always hits the spot. Luckily for me, there are two close to our apartment (5 minute walk for a more crowded and intimate setting or a 10 minute walk for a spacious and more kid friendly version). The ambiance is uber European which makes me feel cultured, and relaxed. Wood interiors, classical music, French themed food… it’s almost like you ARE in Paris when you go there.
Also, they are located all over the city! Which is always a relief because whenever I am desperately hungry and need something good to eat and don’t know the area (not that that happens all that much…because my life revolves around a 10 block radius), it is always comforting to come across a Le Pain that serves healthy and reliable dishes. They are in 6 states (New York, California, Maryland, Virginia, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania) and Washington DC. In NYC alone, they have 26 locations!
Everything at Le Pain is delicious — the pastries and bread (which you can take-out), jams and nut butters, cookies and pies and granolas. You name it, it is scrumptious. My go-to’s for breakfast are: steel cut oatmeal with berries and a soy latte. For lunch, the smoked salmon salad or the gazpacho. For bread, the raisin nut bread. For pastries, the pain au chocolat (but of course) and the brioche. SO GOOD.
Caution: Unless your father/husband/brother/boyfriend is European, they will probably not love this place. Ken is not a huge fan, mainly because his idea of breakfast is greasy food in huge servings (as much as I try to change his eating habits, some things will never change). Le Pain does not have bacon or sausage (the one egg dish they have is a quiche that they serve with salad), so the menu is definitely more catered to female types. That said my father, who is European, loves the place; so whenever he visits, it is a great place for the two of us to eat gazpacho and spend quality Papa/daughter time.
If you haven’t tried Le Pain Quotidien, I would definitely hit it up. A delicious, easy, fresh and simple restaurant!
Have a great weekend!
Anika Yael Natori, aka The Josie Girl.