There is nothing quite like brunch at Le Pain Quotidien on a miserable and drizzly Sunday....except when you beat the crowds by going on a miserable grey drizzly Saturday!!! Mwahahah, I so sneaky! The restaurant (3 different locations in Geneva...and to my chagrin, over 60 franchises worldwide. Sigh.) is what realtors like to refer to as 'cozy' and oozing 'rustic charm'. Except in this case that is not code for the size of a shoebox with a family of rabid raccoons already occupying it.
The charm of the place is the rough hewn communal tables, the limited amount of tables, the warm environment like your grandmother's kitchen and of course the shared jams and assorted spreads (Hey! Bring that back, I wasn't done with it yet!) Actually, I despise sharing my treasure trove of glittery sweet sparkly fruit spreads, then again I never played nice with others in school either. MINE!
I digress, normally the fixed brunch menu is my first choice. It has a wide selection of savory palate pleasers which are kicked off by a coffee or hot tea and the pastry of your choice. But, quite frankly, I was looking for something a bit lighter today. The spring menu was intriguing and coquette-ish with its early show of salmon fume or toast with chevre chaud, pears, honey and thyme. Which I must certainly return for...next thyme you might say ;) GROAN.
I settled upon (not literally, dear reader. I detest unnecessary laundry and am sure that the staff would not have been thrilled to see me spooning with the croissants.) a simple assiette de fromages, fresh squeezed orange juice, and some tartine to sweeten things up. The juice brightened up my day and each little fragment of pulp burst in my mouth like sunshine made 'pop rocks'. What about the cheese and tartine you might ask (go ahead, ask. I'll wait....) Well, rest assured, all is right with the world. I was able to mix and match a wide variety of breads (hearty and nutty, vaguely whole-wheaty, and some sor of 'country' loaf) indiscriminately with an equal diverse selection of cheeses (chevre, brie, parmesan, and some sort of not-quite-cheddar) AND top it all of with the chocolate spread or raspberry jelly of the maison.
What?! Quit making disgusted faces. I blame it on living in Sweden too long. The thought of jelly on a cheese sandwich is delightful! It's like the playful combination of pineapple on pizza or a french fry dipped in a Frosty. 'Don't knock 'em till you've tried 'em'. Also, 'If you can't beat 'em, join 'em'. And let's not forget the ever popular, 'When the going gets tough, the tough eat bruch'. Um, right. Moving on from overused cliches....
The only slightly negative comment I can make is that the breads, having been presliced earlier in the day were a bit less than perky. The were a little dry and rapidly passing their prime. Luckily the toppings helped me to forget all of that, even if I did have to fight tooth and nail to maintain my little pot of jelly. All in all, a quite fulfilling midday meal and a great place to lose track of time. Although, now that I am aware it's part of a world wide chain...I am a bit less enamored (but somewhat appeased after reading their history and finding out that they use mainly bio products). I miss my Mom-and-Pop greasy spoon diners. Everyone deserves scrambled Egg Beaters, homefries, and toast overflowing with butter and INDIVIDUAL SMUCKERS JELLY PACKAGES at 3am. Even if they do always run out of the strawberry packets first. Hmmm, that gives me an idea....Battle of the Brunch, anyone? (Faim, Alhambar, Pain Quotidien, etc. vs. American style brunch a la Chez Moi)