I know, I know — a chain?! What now? Ok. Hear me out.
When you’re on the road sometimes it’s nicer than you can imagine to saddle up to a menu you already know, with options you already know are going to make you happy. Which is why I kind of love Le Pain Quotidien — it’s literally everywhere around the world, and it’s been reliably great food.
There’s one just two blocks over from me in Midtown. The perfect place to grab a quick brunch with a friend who’s in town just for the morning. The quiche was insanely good, with a super buttery crust and a lovely filling. Served with a small side salad, it was the perfect portion size, and the atmosphere was decidedly non-Midtown “business bro”, which is always a good thing.
There’s one (a few) in Paris — the perfect rendezvous point when you have neither phone nor general sense of direction. And chances are that menu will be familiar enough that it won’t be panic inducing when the waiter looks at you blankly. I actually met up with a makeup artist friend here this summer, and while I had already eaten, I knew I could grab a quick cup of espresso and not be breaking the bank while doing so. Boom. Perfect.
That time I was in London and bumped into a friend at the train station? I just so happened to be at a Le Pain Quotidien. Now, with that kind of serendipity, I’m ok with putting my stamp of approval on this place.
And, let’s be honest, while we’re on the subject of chains: I also say don’t be afraid of that one with the big golden arches while you’re traveling — free wifi tastes even better with fries and a bit of special sauce. But don’t quote me on that.