Friday, August 25, 2006

Le Pain Moleskinien

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. Hey there's a café au lait bol hanging out!
I love the long spacious common table. The condiment bottles sail across that broad expanse like ships - think of the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa's like a landscape to my eyes.
You can pretty much pick out what you want to eat by looking at your neighbor's plate. Guess I'm "outer-directed" but it 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 said 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 of 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 BTW 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's 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 their exchanging email adresses. Where else can that happen in New York?
I used to focus only on Le Pain's delightful desserts (the Belgian Brownie was a repeat performer.) I'd walk in, get my brownie and walk out. But then I discovered the the joys of sitting down at the big table and combining 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 to help yourself on the table. And if you've got a bit of leftover crust from your tartine, and who hasn't left their crusts, since we're all watching our carbs like hawks... Well then you can end your meal with a sweet by dabbing on spoonful of jam or a glop of their outrageous hazelnut nutella. YUM!


  1. Your sketches are fun to see, and your narratives are mouth-watering! Yesterday's blog made me do something about moleskins. Come visit my sites! Have a good week-end.

  2. oh how mouth-watering! why must Le Pain only be in NY & LA :(

  3. Oh Connie..are they? Hey you'll just have to Paris :)
    Me too!

    Kate - I can't wait. You'll never regret it your first Moleskine or any of the others for that matter. A very nice friend to have :)

    Go to this official moleskineus site, and perhaps you, too, will win a free notebook because of your sketches. It's worth a peek!

  5. I love PQ! It's so neccessary in NY where there just aren't enough places above 14th street for a good cup of coffee and people watching. They also have the best baguette in Manhattan in my opinion. And I want to suggest their amazing quiche. Mmm...I can just smell the gruyere!

  6. The best tapenade is from this place too! Gee, how i wish we could have lunch together!

  7. Another clever and very catchy post! Your blog is so much fun!

  8. hey Carol, thanks for the tip...I think I'm heading over to the Grand Street branch and/or Union Square branch as well. I say this idea of communal table on the food network. awsome idea.

  9. Yes, watching carbs like a hawk...but I could be tempted otherwise...did some one say Nutella?

  10. A friend directed me to your site saying that I would like it and she was so right! :) It's lovely!

    I love Le Pain too! My favorite is their Brunette Belgian praline die for! When friends and family visit NY I always ask for a jar :)


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