Are you in le mood for a little Euro outdoor cafe action this week? If you’re gonna be Downtown, you should check out the very Belgian Le Pain Quotidien, and do what the Belgians do best: relax.
LPQ recently opened in the newly renovated, historic, 100 year-old PacMutual building on 6th Street with a diverse breakfast and lunch menu (there’s another one on Larchmont, too). This is a very pleasant breakfast spot, with clean patio seating in one of the quietest sections of 6th. Coincidentally, the PacMutual was recently named as the building with “The best free Wi-Fi in Downtown Los Angeles” in Downtown News.
The folks at LPQ obviously consider baking bread as an artform (translates to “The Daily Bread” which puts a slightly more fancy spin on standard, punny cafe-naming conventions such as “The Daily Grind”), with each loaf in their case looking more like a sculpture than something you might eat (this is making me miss my beloved Acme Bakery in Berkeley, next to Cafe Fanny), and they have a lengthy thesis on their site about their “process”. Besides giving some mouthwatering carb-licious details to make even the most devout Atkins dieter step outside of the Zone for good, their mission statement also makes for amusing reading (“…it brings the nuanced taste from the past to our time-honored loaves”, not very subtle but very quot-able), check it out if you have the time. Here are a few aggravating excerpts:
“The Daily Bread is much more than mere sustenance; it’s a way of life. As our loaves emerge from the ovens, warm and fragrant, friends gather around our communal tables to share in the time-honored tradition of breaking bread.” The term “breaking bread” needs to be retired. Nowadays, it just brings to mind images of Bryan Cranston baking in his tighty-whiteys.
“The hum of conversation fills the air, jam is passed around the table, and, ever so gracefully, time slows.” I am filled with ennui.
“When our founder, Alain Coumont, was a young boy in Belgium, he went to his grandmère’s house every Wednesday afternoon where she greeted him with a small bowl of steaming hot chocolate. Alain cupped his hands around it, letting the warmth seep into his body and chase away winter’s frigid chill.” Who are you, Jean Cocteau? Get le fuck outta here!By all means, order the croissant with Paris ham and aged gruyere cheese. Ooh la la, this shit is the bomb. The toasted croissant is served with a slab of salty, buttery ham & gruyere, and a menage a trois of mustards and greens – and definitely beats the slow-roasted ham version at the Starbucks next door (although that La Boulange sammy is undeniably delicious), and it’s only $2.00 more than the La Boulange ham sandwich. Add an organic soft-boiled egg for another $2.00.
You can skip the $3.95 pain au chocolat, though. It’s boring and unimpressive. LPQ can wax philosophique about their organic bread, but at this point a pain au chocolat is just the European equivalent of a chocolate donut. But definitely try the coffee. Their organic coffee brew is amazing, and this week the coffee is free when you make a to-go purchase (normally $3.35).Overall, Le Pain Quotidien has a great, relaxing atmosphere with very polite servers. With an organic, mostly-sustainable menu – with standard, authentic fare (like the french-toasty pain perdu) and awesome seasonal specials like avocado toast – AND cutesy, delicate porcelainware, this is the perfect place to bring your mom. Sa bonne!
Le Pain Quotidien is located at:
509 W 6th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
SKATEBOARD DIRECTIONS: Well, what do you know? LPQ is a just yards away from the world-famous three-stair, down the hill from this triple-set, and one block away from the Standard Hotel’s double-sided ledge par excellence!