Restaurant Review: Le Pain Quotidien

The Avenues Mall has finally opened in Bahrain and I now understand why it’s almost a tourist spot in nearby Kuwait. When you walk into the mall, you some how forget that’s where you are instead, your eyes and mind trick you into believing you’re walking down a bustling market lane with shops and interesting eateries every which way you look. The fact that it has a beautiful promenade by the water is a wonderful plus but, this is not a review of the mall, it’s a review of Le Pain Quotidien, or LPQ as it is commonly known to us non-French speaking folk.

A couple of days ago, I ended up having both breakfast and dinner at LPQ and was happy both times.

In the morning, I met up with some friends and we thought we would check out the new Starbucks in the mall. It’s supposed to be one of the best in the world. Not one of us were impressed. So, we backtracked to the rustic looking LPQ we had seen on the way there.

When you walk in, you are greeted by their very courteous staff and while you follow them to your table – either indoors or out – delicious looking bakes and pastries (think scones, muffins, cookies, cakes and tarts) are displayed very elegantly behind clear glass. You also see shelf after shelf of organic honey, jams, preserves and spreads which they sell to customers.

We ordered almond croissants, a raisin roll and bread and hummus to eat. We also ordered cappuccinos, hot chocolate and Moroccan mint tea to drink. The eats and drinks were fresh and tasty but not spectacular. However, the beverages are served in little bowls instead of mugs or cups. Although I was not very impressed in the beginning, I found that there was something strangely warm and comforting in holding a steaming cup of chocolate milk (or coffee or tea) to my lips to take a sip. The only draw back – since it is a wide-mouthed bowl, the drinks became cold very quickly.

97ec3322-040c-4706-99f0-3231bd1043cdLater that night, the husband, daughter and I decided to go to the mall again, and thanks to my marketing of the place, the husband insisted we stop by LPQ for a quick snack (which turned into dinner because they are quite generous with their portions). Their soup of the day was mushroom and their quiche of the day was chicken and leek. We ordered one of each and waited for about fifteen minutes before our order was served.

The soup was everything you could want from a mushroom soup. Thick, glossy, rich and earthy I would go back again and again if only to drink that soup during the winter months ahead. The quiche was also tasty, served with a side of roasted potatoes and a light salad. However, I found the flavour of the leeks was rather overpowering and I did not enjoy the quiche as much as I did the soup. The one thing missing in the menu is choice for vegetarians. Almost all their dishes have eggs or meat in them and so, if you’re a vegetarian, LPQ might not make it to your list of favourites.

It is not the cheapest place in Bahrain serving this cuisine. But, the ambience is rather special and all their ingredients are organic.

If you’re making a trip to the Avenues, stop and give it a try. I doubt you will be disappointed.

My rating: 4/5

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Winter is coming

No offense Game of Thrones fans, couldn’t resist using that as my title when it is so apt for my post today. Well…I think it is anyway.

img_0719Those of you who have been reading my posts through October know that I joined a group of women as part of the Learn and Serve initiative. Well, I’ve finally completed what I set out to do early last month and I feel good. Plus, for me it was delightful (no other way to describe it) to watch absolute novices go from not knowing how to make a chain on their crochet hook to finishing sixty inch long mufflers complete with tassels! Some of the women even want to move on to making caps. I am not even their teacher but I still feel proud of them.

I don’t have photos of their work, so you’ll have to make do with just mine. For now.

The temperature is falling here in Bahrain and the days are growing shorter. Just in time for winter, we’ve completed our project and hopefully will bring a little warmth to those who need it most this season. Did I mention I feel good? 🙂

Just one more

October went by and I managed to post everyday. Yay!! 

Today, I spent more than a few hours watching TV shows and thought that after 31 days of posting, I needed a day off from my blog. Turns out, I need to post one more thing before I can…

Thank you!

Thank you to two people in particular, Deepthi and Simi who read Emily before I thought it was ready for…well…for anyone else to read. Deepthi has read even my initial 500 word draft and Simi spent hours of her time editing and offering helpful suggestions when I sent her my final draft. 

Thank you to friends who read Emily from beginning to end and sent me encouragement regularly as I posted her journey on my blog.  When I first wrote the story I intended to try and have it published. But after re-reading it a million times I decided against it and posted it chapter by chapter here instead. Thanks to all the positive feedback, I now believe I can actually write another long story and hopefully all of you will have it on your shelf in the near future.

October was a good month for me. 

Thank you for being a part of my happiness.

Emily: Epilogue

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THE END

Emily saw a photo of Ethan in the main article in the science and technology section of the newspaper and caressed the once intimately familiar face. She made a mental note to call him later to congratulate him on his latest success. He was making history like he had always hoped and as she had always known he would.

“Emily! He’s waking up!” Ma called.

Emily smiled a peaceful, content smile as she put down her cup of masala tea and walked towards the bedroom. It had taken years of long, hard struggle before the court had finally granted her permission to adopt a child. When she first met Isaac, he was only a few months old and had the sweetest smiling face. Emily had felt an instant connection. When she took him home, it was as if she was finally whole again.

Mrs. Marlene Vaz watched her daughter’s face light up as she picked up her little boy. She had never seen Emily look as happy as she did when she was with Isaac. Even after Faith was born and they were on talking terms again, she was not able to fully understand or accept the circumstances that led up to her daughter’s failed marriage. She was after all from the generation where, when something was broken, it was fixed, not cast aside. But perhaps she had been wrong to assume that happiness for everybody lay in settling down in a marriage. Perhaps true happiness came in several different forms. All she had ever wanted was for Emily to be happy and she realized that she didn’t really care about the means to that end, especially when Isaac was the most beautiful of means.

Emily was finally exactly what her mother had always prayed she would be – complete, happy and completely happy.

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Thanks for following along with my story!

UBC: Post 31! I made it!!! 😀