I had dined at Le Pain Quotidien only once before, but had such a great experience that I was delighted to find another location in Alexandria, VA. Le Pain Quotidien means "the daily bread." It is a bakery full of rich, fresh, organic breads, but also a cafe serving fresh organic meals. And what I like most is its unusual menu full of several vegan options.
It was raining pretty hard so we dashed inside from the car to find bread, bread, and more bread galore. We walked up a tall stairway to an inviting dining room and sat ourselves at one of the smaller tables while we waited for the waitress. Her name was Mimi and she was delightful as she encouraged us to go for the bottle of wine we were eyeing. Why not?! So we started with a Tempranillo -- the special of the day. I can't say that it was very good, but it was also not very expensive. Oh, well.
I also had a Strawberry Lemonade that was so fresh I actually had strawberries in my straw!
Since we ordered an entire bottle, we got an appetizer for free so we went with the only vegan one -- Mediterranean Assiette. It was an assortment of their breads along with hummus, babaganoush, and quinoa tabbouleh. We all loved this appetizer. The breads were delicious and when topped with the rich eggplant spread, it was a match made in heaven. All of the spreads were great, but the babaganoush took home the gold.
For my entree, I got the Six-Vegetable Quiche mostly because I haven't had many vegan quiches before. This tofu-based quiche had layers of shredded carrots, spinach, and sweet potato on a gluten-free buckwheat crust topped with fresh artichoke. It was delicious!
My friend had the Seared Quinoa Cake, which was just as good. This quinoa cake was made with vegetables, covered in a tomato sauce and served over hummus. The fresh avocado was a nice touch as well. I couldn't decide which was better as both entrees were very good.
All in all, we had a great visit to Le Pain Quotidien. The service and food were great though the wine really wasn't. The prices are pretty high at $13 - $14 per lunch entree, but they were well worth the price. This is a great place to go if you want to treat yourself. I know I'll be back soon. I just won't order the Tempranillo next time.
Le Pain Quotidien
701 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314