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The Oasis of the Communal Table

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Every day the weather reports call for heat – if we’re lucky it’s eighties and nineties, if we’re not it’s up around the century mark. Sometimes, it seems like it’s almost too hot to eat. Fortunately, Pain Quotidien has a plan for you. They’re making an excellent gazpacho as this summer’s special soup. It’s finely blended and garnished with a little pesto, some julienned radishes, cucumbers and mangos. (It sounds like a lot more than it actually is.)


In case you’ve been lost in the flurry of chain openings of Pink Berries and such, there’s been another chain insidiously opening all over Los Angeles. Pain Quotidien is from Belgium, and they hopped over to New York City before hitting LA. They specialize in bread, and have several different kinds of bread available behind the counter, along with a number of desserts and pastries. It’s sparely decorated, with a big black board for specials and just plain wooden chairs and tables everywhere else. The walls usually have antique farming tools – threshers and the seats of old tractors. They have a large table where people can sit in ones and twos and other smaller tables for more private eating.

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Mostly, they serve tartines or open face sandwiched. Sometimes they can be dry and uninteresting, but some of them are quite good – like the turkey and the roast beef. If this isn’t your style, they also have Mediterranean and Tuscan platters, with meat, cheese and dips for bread. They have fresh soups, and breakfast foods – oatmeal, eggs and of course pastries. The coffee is great, the iced tea is excellent (none of that fruity shit – that stuff is so 90s!) and they have a fresh lemonade with mint that looks killer. You can even enjoy bread with a selection of jams or hazelnut spread.

Personally, I like to have my gazpacho (which comes with a large slice of white bread) with a little prosciutto – a perfect lunch that doesn’t raise your temperature.

Le Pain Quotidien, see website for locations.

Photos by Jacy for LAist