Tuesday, August 25, 2009


It's not just my Moleskine who likes to hang out at Le Pain Quotidien. I'm a fan of the 1131 Madison ave. branch near 84th street. The light is particularly good there for doodling, reading and taking table shots. Here's a café au lait bol hanging out!
I love the long spacious common tables. The condiment bottles sail across that broad expanse like ships - think the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria..it's a landscape to my eyes.
You can pretty much pick out what you want to eat by looking over at your neighbor's plate. Guess I'm "outer-directed" but it always works for me. "Ah..I'll have what he's having please?" This is the Paris Jambon with 3 mustards plate. The food is delicious and plentyful. Though an overseas Le Pain fan says we're getting bigger portions in the US.
Hmmm..that's not going to help the national waistline problem Le Pain. Please give us those tiny postage stamp portions the French are famous for. OH heck nevermind. Just look at this lush plate - the Mediterranean Tartine - Ricotta, Prosciutto, Pesto, Olives + Tartines. What's a tartine you ask? It's a hunk of bread on which you can slather anything you like - an open face sandwich that works for breakfast or lunch. Le Pain usually gives you 3 different types of bread, all very homey, all made from organic stone ground flour. Le Pain Quotidien is a Belgian company started in 1990.
Quotidien means everyday things and Le Pain's common table is full of them. I fell so hard for this little milk jug that I went on a quest to the Bowery restaurant supply stores and bought 4 of them. I love the reflections and metal is always a challange to paint. The common table allows you to overhear conversations too. Often strangers start conversing across their tartines and by the end of they meal they are exchanging email adresses. Where else can that happen in New York?
I used to focus only on Le Pain's desserts (the Belgian Brownie was a favorite) I'd walk in, get my brownie and walk out. Then I discovered the the joys of sitting down at the big table and multi-tasking eating, sketching and shooting.
There's always a delicious trio of Le Pain's homey brand of apricot preserve, real hazelnut nutella, and 4-red fruits preserve just waiting for you on the table. And if you've got a bit of leftover crust from your savory tartine... Well you can end your meal with a sweet by dabbing on spoonful of jam or a glop of their outrageous hazelnut nutella. YUM!
This is a repost from exactly 3 years ago...ahem


  1. This has made me sooooo hungry. A lovely post

  2. Thanks for raising memories of Le Pain Quotidien; my wife and I had breakfast in their St Pancras location before boarding the EuroStar for Paris last October. Nice way to start the day; then and now.

  3. Leave our crusts? No way--I'm not watching carbs. I love 'em and would rather exercise for 20 hours to work 'em off than give them up. Love these tablescapes, Carol!

  4. I love this restaurant. I went to the one in DC recently and blogged about it. I am going to NYC on Sunday and have already made this my lunchtime stop for the day. Followed by macarons at Macaron Cafe

  5. Looks like a cosy place - Paris away from Paris.

  6. How fun, Carol! Too bad I don't live in the 'hood and we could meet up for lunch and sketching!!

  7. It's always so nice to wake up to your "breakfasts".

  8. Mike in DC12:37 PM

    Carol, you are so right! Le Pain Quotidien is taking the world by sweet tooth. And hand-crafted breads and bakery items. In Washington, the Georgetown Le Pain is great for weekend brunch! Now Le Pain has moved into a Capitol Hill location, which is good for weekends and mornings and just any time, any day

  9. Heather12:38 PM

    ooooh, the grid Moleskine? It never even occurred to me to sketch on grid paper. Now you've got me thinking in a whole 'nother way (like always--I've been looking at all the colors in white for 3 days straight). I mean, why not? It would really help with proportions.
    I loved that you were obsessed with the little creamer and actually found them!
    Bon matin,

  10. Ahem - it's a new post to me :-)
    I love it! That sandwich looks so good right now & I love your art work!

  11. enjoying your work.
    so it is not always Paris?
    I am new.
    ("their exchanging e mails"
    should read "they're exchanging" meaning "they are exchanging") sometimes our fingers don't click what our brain knows.
    Beautiful work!

  12. All fixed Jan plus a few other tweeks..
    Must not run off to pool in future without reading the daily post...but then I might get hungry!

  13. Yes i miss le pain q in Paris, rue de grenelle one if i cant remember. Small,cozy and the arome of fresh baked bread in the morning. Never any of their cakes...miss their granola..
    They should open one in Melbourne!

  14. I so knew this was PQ from your first photo. Good shot capturing this place.

  15. it is delightful!!!

  16. I'm afraid I visit my Starbucks Quotidien instead of Pain....

  17. Anonymous12:46 PM

    I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.




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