After a great experience at Le Pain Quotidien, I decided to go back with other coworkers two more times. The second visit proved to be as good as the first. The third did not.
We sat upstairs again, away from the noise. We started with a vegan chai made with almond milk and mint lemonade. The mint lemonade was my favorite as there were big pieces of fresh mint in the lemonade. Yum!
I noticed a seasonal special that caught my eye -- vegan kale caesar. Yes, please. One of the women I was with was gluten-free and she asked if they could get some gluten-free bread. The server seemed to have gotten confused as he kept looking at me to let me know he could replace my bread. No, I wanted my normal bread. So, I tried to tell him that. He still brought the gluten-free bread for me so I had to send it back.
When the vegan kale Caesar arrived, my worries about it not being big enough were immediately relieved. It was huge and delicious! It was loaded with kale, organic carrots, shaved fennel, cabbage, croutons, and gomasio. There were tofu triangles with sauce all around it and an amazing miso-lapsang dressing. It was really good. And so was the gluten-rich bread.
I decided to return not too long after that visit for another lunch. This visit was not as great. My coworker order the vegan kale Caesar and I decided to try the avocado & omega-3 tartine.
When my coworker's salad arrived, I asked what was on top of it. That's when the server said it was chicken. I told her we ordered the vegan salad and she apologized and offered to bring a new one. My coworker, who is not vegetarian, said there would be no need as she would eat it as is.
My avocado & omega-3 tartine was served on a dense bread and topped with a lot of mashed avocado as well as chickpeas, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds and drizzled with cold-pressed colza oil. The four open-faced sandwiches were served with microgreens. They seemed very fresh and healthy, but needed something else. I put some salt and hot sauce on them and they were a bit better. I think they were just a bit too simple for me.
Afterwards, when our server picked up our plates, she apologized again for the salad. My coworker said it was fine as she wasn't vegan. The server then said one of the most offensive things I've ever heard in a restaurant. She said that vegans complain all the time and she thinks it is because they don't eat enough. Wow. I decided not to identify myself as a vegan and instead just share this with the world.
So, even though they serve great fresh food at Le Pain Quotidien, my memory is now clouded by the offensive statements the server made about vegans. I like the food here, but I expect an apology from this cafe.
Le Pain Quotidien
701 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314