Thursday, 09 February 2012
When Le Pain Quotidien first opened at Fashion Island in late 2011, I knew I had to try it. Fresh baked organic bread is enough of a draw, but when I found out about the large variety of vegan options available, I made visiting a priority. The bread and bakery chain, with a bunch of locations in New York, Los Angeles and all around the US, has clearly labeled the vegan choices with a (v) right on the menu, making it super easy to order.
I've now had a chance to try plenty of LPQ's vegan items, and have never been disappointed. With that said, I will warn that it is a little pricey. They offer a nice setting and you are served by a waitstaff, so I guess that along with the superior quality of the food justifies paying a premium.
One Monday morning, I was craving a solid breakfast, which I rarely make time for, so I headed to LPQ to try their tofu scramble. This was one of the best scrambles I've ever had. Tofu, tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and just a bit of vegan cheese combine with seasonings for a delicious, protein packed breakfast punch. A small side salad with a light vinaigrette and two different slices of their freshly baked bread come on the side which complete a filling meal.
Two of the animal-free lunch options are the the vegan quiche (pictured at top of post) and the black bean hummus tartine. The quiche, while far from your typical egg tart, was light and fresh. Six vegetables, including artichoke and seasonal veggies, with a garlic-herb undertone all wrapped in a gluten-free buckwheat crust. SO. GOOD.
The black bean hummus tartine is an open faced sandwich served (obviously) on their fresh organic bread, with homemade black bean hummus, tomatoes, avocado, radishes, cucumber, bell pepper and a side of their house spicy tahini. I used the spicy tahini liberally and it tunred out to be a good choice. Black bean hummus is a rare find, but when you see it on a menu, I suggest you try it. I had black bean hummus at a winery in Temecula for the first time last year and loved it. The tartine is also served with a side salad of organic baby greens with a light vinaigrette.
The pastry counter is far less vegan-friendly, but LPQ does always guarantee that they have a seasonal vegan fruit cannele. I'm not sure what a cannele is by definition, but what it tasted like was somewhere between a muffin and bread pudding. It was rich and moist and buttery and sugary and I could eat these every day if they didn't contain what I assume is a bajillion calories.
Freshest ingredients, organic hearth-baked bread and plenty of light, healthy vegan options, Le Pain Quotidien gets my mark of approval. Like I said, it's a little higher in price but the quality of the food and ingredients makes it totally worth it. Check out the site for locations and menus.
This post is contributed from the Vegan Vagrant!