Friday, February 29, 2008

Le Pain Quotidien

A new sandwich shop opened up just down the street from me recently, and after having to endure the jackhammer sounds from my office and falling dust as I walked by, I felt obliged to try out the end result of all this work.

Le Pain Quotidien, as you might imagine from its name, is a french-inspired eatery. Their concept appears to start with first and foremost with its bread which they make fresh using very high quality organic ingredients. The ingredients that follow are far from shabby as it uses high quality fresh cheeses, meats and vegetables. The sandwich choices are pleasantly eclectic and varied which is always nice as often I can get in a rut of finding something I like and ordering it again and again even though at the same time I do enjoy experimenting.

The service there was top notch. I ordered at the counter, but after that it was waiter service where the very professional looking waiter was very eager to get me any condiment or utensil I might like for my sandwich.

The seating is a refreshing departure from the norm. Instead of individual two and four-spot tables, most of the dining area is taken up by a large communal table where everyone sits down 'together' in a sense. It's a nice change from my desk and office I sit in for the rest of the day.

As you might imagine from the description, the major drawback is the price. It's a bit hard to stomach $11+ for an open-faced sandwich that quite frankly didn't really fill me up. Perhaps I am simply not the demographic they are shooting for as the venue seemed filled with female middle-aged professionals. Maybe some day I'll be two-thirds of that demographic and enjoy this type of food more often!

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

I've just discovered your blog on the Foodbuzz site. It's great to find another food guy in the Alexandria area.
Based on looking through your blog entries, I've found that we ended up in Alexandria at about the same time. My girlfriend and I moved here to Old Town in August from Denver, for many of the same reasons: less crazy than the city, King Street, so forth. And I look forward to sharing new food and restaurant discoveries with each other.
My blog is at, but mostly I'm just writing on Foodbuzz now. My screen name is Professor Corn. I just sent a Friend Request thingie there.
In terms of restaurants I don't see here yet, you need to try Farrah Olivia, Restaurant Eve, The Majestic, Eammon's: A Dublin Chipper, and Royal Thai. My two favorite restaurants so far in Old Town are Bastille and Ichiban. The second is a sushi house that delivers! - If you're in Old Town that is--we're close enough, so we spend too much money every month ordering from them. The first there is a French bistro on North Royal. I'll admit it, I'm biased because I work there a few shifts a week, in addition to my day job. The chef is amazingly talented, doing classical French stuff with Mediterranean, Continental, even Moroccan influences. It can get up to $50 or $60 a head, but if you want to try it on a budget, we've got a $29 prix fixe on Monday and Tuesday, and a nice $24 Sunday dinner.
Also--and finally, I promise--there are grocery stores you need to check out. You may have been to them, but I didn't see them listed on your blog yet. Balducci's on Franklin and St. Asaph is interesting. It's overpriced for a lot of things, but you can buy a whole rabbit from them. You can get wild boar, duck confit legs, and excellent #1 tuna. The cheese counter is wonderful, and the prepared foods counter is very good. Also, I saw that your wife is at Georgetown and, in Georgetown, is an honest to God Dean and Deluca. Very expensive, but a food lover's delight. I go every now and again just to wander about.
Sorry for the ridiculously long comment, but I got carried away and couldn't find a way to comment to you directly. Keep up with the blogging; I've subscribed to the feed. I look forward to sharing my findings on the Northern Virginia/DC area food scene.