My husband and I were visiting a friend in Pasadena, CA recently when we happened upon a restaurant called “Le Pain Quotidien” translation: The Daily Bread. Mmm. It was about lunch time for us anyway (even though it was only 11 am in California) with the smell of delicious bread and coffee streaming out the door as guests walked in and out, how could we pass it up. We walked in and were greeted by a beautiful large, wooden communal table that looked as though it had been made by hand especially for the space. People were sharing food and conversation. There were baked goods in a large display case, and coffee and cappuccino being prepared by unusually happy baristas. It was the kind of place I dream of seeing in Berks County. The menu consisted of simple but delectable food, and each dish arrived on a small plate that looked so beautiful and appetizing. There was a large picture window so that guests could enjoy their food and drink while the radiant sun poured in the window, it was the kind of atmosphere that creates a certain level of kindness and respect for each other, the community, and the farmers and artisans who produce the food that fills our plates.
One of the things I enjoy about writing recipe articles is the challenge of trying to indulge the senses simply by reading about the inspiration for a recipe or seeing a photograph. The old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words” always seems to reign true, especially in this age of digital mediums capturing our attention. As I was trying attempting to create my own “le pain quotidien” at home, I found myself reflecting on the trip. I encourage you to stop and reflect on the moments and micro-moments that make your journey through life pleasurable. A simple scent can bring you to that place, so take in all that our markets have to offer. Have a conversation with the barista or compliment the farmer on their delicious vegetables that you bought from them last week. Paying kindness forward is priceless, and so are the reflections.
Slice a french baguette very thin, or purchase the “very thinly sliced” loaf. Lightly toast the bread and top with the following combinations:
Breakfast: mashed avocado, crème fraîche, grapefruit;
Lunch: Hummus, arugula, radishes;
Dessert: goat cheese, honey, mejool dates, walnuts.