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Our Daily Bread at Le Pain Quotidien

“And the greatest of all is love..”

Reading Shanna’s latest post, which was coincidentally written just before one of the most horrendous school shooting incidents in US history last Friday, felt like a ringing bell, a reminder for us to reflect on our lives and our attitudes towards others.

In Shanna’s words, “this life is not perfect (and not all there is); partly, that all things are complicated (again); and, mostly, that alongside grief there is comfort, and alongside hard things there are good.

Thank you dear Shanna, for always being a breath of fresh air, and for using your words to enlighten those who chance upon them. And yes, it’s so true, that we’re always in need of a reminder to count the small blessings we have, which are dusted across our days.

There’s a necessity for us to be shaken up once in a while and have the goodness in our lives highlighted blatantly for us to see, and realize that for all the bad in the world, there is still goodness shining like gold in the dirt.

As I wrote in a previous post on the things which make up a contented life, it’s often the small things which bring us joy in small amounts, but are constant reminders of life’s blessings, a reason to celebrate and gather together, toasting to another day, month or year well-lived and loved.

I have written on a pink post-it adrift on my work desk, the following bible verse -
Love is patient; love is kind and envies no one. Love is never boastful, nor conceited nor rude; never selfish, not quick to take offense. There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope and endurance. Faith, hope and love last forever, but the greatest of them all is love.

the greatest of these is love

The greatest of these is Love

I am constantly grateful to be able to thank god and count the blessings in my life, and right now I’d like to propose a little food for thought.

I believe that while our lives are sprinkled with blessings and good things, we should also strive to be the ones who light up the lives of others, to be that little sparkle for our colleagues on a dull, blue Monday, or be the ringing laughter that lifts the atmosphere through love at home with the family.

How about we all stop for a little while in our tracks, take a breather from our never-ending busy schedules, and see whose lives we can touch and spread a little kindness to? What if we decide to say a simple “thank you” with a smile instead of taking it for granted when someone does a kind deed for us? Wouldn’t it be beautiful for us to be the light and source of inspiration for someone else, even if you might never see him or her again?

Shanna’s response to my comment on her post states simple that “not only can we notice light, we can be it.” It’s so true.

we can be light

We can be light

On a lighter, more food-related note, I thought I’d share a lovely new cafe we discovered over the weekend!

By pure coincidence, Juan and I chanced upon Le Pain Quotidien, a newly opened Belgian bakery in the Barrio Norte neighborhood, while we were driving to pick up some Christmas gifts at the Paseo Alcorta shopping center.

We were charmed by its homely, rustic look, and the very humble but lovely name, which translates to be “The Daily Bread”, and like so many other times, decided to see what this new place offered.

Le Pain Quotidien’s beginnings..

According to the Entre Mujeres publication, Le Pain Quotidien’s origins are as simple and inspirational as the products it offers. It started at the end of 1980, when Alain Coumont, the renouned chef of one of Brussels’ best restaurants, realized that he was unable to offer his customers quality bread. Alain ended up launching a bakery to provide bread to his restaurant – bread made from a simple recipe containing flour, and made of a salt and water base, a recipe tested and perfected by Alain. Not long after, the bakery’s potential exceeded the restaurant’s capacity, and Alain decided to take the chance to set up his own business.

In October 1990, the first Le Pain Quotidien opened its doors along rue Antoine Dansaert in Brussels. The name grew from Alain’s desire to give bread the importance it deserved – a food which for centuries was fundamental and primary to survival.  The concept was a success from day one – a concept always centered on simple ingredients, planned around wooden furniture and a large communcal table, which would be the centerpiece of any future restaurant.

As of today, this global franchaise has at least 7 restaurants all over the world, scattered in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Brussels, India and France.

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The bakery’s front doors (Img Source: Infobae)

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Le Pain Quotidien – Two floors of goodness

Entering its doors, bright, honey lights and the toast-brown wooden floor welcome you with warmth, as if the baker himself were inviting you to his kitchen table.

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The bakery counter boasting freshly baked breads

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The chest of random things, overlooking the street

We were immediately transported into a large dining hall-like room, with a long communal table the main object of the space.

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The communal table on level one

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The cupboard of homemade in-house produce

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Waiters and customer, all together

Seated near the staircase leading to the second floor, an upward peak presented a lovely rug on display.

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Looking up the stairwell leading to the second floor

Since we weren’t really hungry, and were just two hours away from dinner, we ordered the Bread Basket set, which came with an assortment of freshly-baked breads, butter, in-house marmalades and dulce de leche, and some tea to sip along. 

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Bread Basket Set -Cesta de Panes (Img Source: Entre Mujeres)

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Speciality red fruits tea

Fresh bread, spread with soft butter and rich and thick jams.. ideal for a Sunday afternoon..

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Whole wheat fruit bread with butter and blackberry jam

I think the reason for its global success is the concept of warmth, gathering together over a communal table, and the philosophy of using simple, organic ingredients, going back to basics.

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The communal table & simplicity concept

Juan and I agreed that the bread baked in Le Pain Quotidien had a rich homely taste, but that we will definitely have to return to try a proper meal, such as toasted bread with salmon or some other dish on the menu.

At 35 pesos per person, it was an ok price – not exactly cheap, but not ridiculously expensive either.

For now, Le Pain Quotidien is getting an 8/10. Till we try it again!

felicia | Dish by Dish

Felicia is a Singaporean that's currently located in Buenos Aires, also known as the "Paris of South America". After moving to Argentina because of love, she found herself grappling with the mysterious concept known as cooking. Starting this blog has helped her explore the kitchen, the effect cooking has on our lives, and generally helped her make more friends with people like you! Please stay a while and explore!

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Lovely comments

  1. gracelimsaifong says:

    Oh How I love bread. I ate so much of freshly baked bread during our Mediterranean Cruise last month and I never seem to get enough of them.

  2. Thanks for dedicating the post to Newtown, CT. It was a tragedy. Talking and reading about it today still hurt.

    • I know what you mean – the hurt from wondering how anyone could kill his own mother, let alone 26 other strangers, and shoot them so many times – it was as if the killer (who amazingly was only 20 yrs old) had so much rage and anger he exploded from it, and had to hurt others in doing so.

  3. My daughter and I love the ambience at Le Pain Quotidien in london’s Covent Garden. The buzz is fantastic. So cosmopolitan with great staff racing around keeping everyone happy. Fab salt and pepper grinders on the tables. I bought a set to remind me of a great experience.

    • Hi! I know, its a great place to have coffee and good conversations, or simply read a book in the peace and tranquility while nibbling on some homemade bread toast!

      Which reminds me, I’ll have to return to Le Pain Quotidien again to try something else other than the tea set!

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