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Where can you go to both break bread and bake bread?
This Le Pain Quotidien is only the second location in the world to have an on-site bakery, so it’s only natural the restaurant will be offering baking classes to the public.
I had the opportunity to check out the bakery and sample some menu items prior to opening, including the popular Tartines, their signature Belgian open-faced sandwiches. We tried the Smoked Atlantic Salmon with avocado and chopped dill, Grilled Chicken & Smoked Mozzarella with arugula and basil pesto, Chicken Curry Salad with a side of harissa-cranberry chutney, and Roasted Turkey & Avocado with whole grain mustard and tomato vinaigrette.
All tasted fresh and full of flavor, but it was the Grilled Chicken and the Chicken Curry Tartines that got the attention of my taste buds.
I also sampled vegan blueberry muffins, brownie muffins, chocolate muffins, a pistachio tart, apricot tart, cheese almond Danish, and savory cheddar muffins. All were bursting with flavor.
But back to the bakery, and baking classes. Bakery manager Jonathan Eng, who relocated to Newport Beach after serving as the head baker at a New York location of Le Pain Quotidien, gave me a tour of the bakery area.
“Our new oven was made in France and assembled here on site,” he told me. “It’s a gas oven, steam injected. We can bake 50 to 60 baguettes at a time. It’s a beautiful piece of equipment—it’s the Rolls Royce of ovens.”
“For the bakery class, everything is done by hand,” he added. “We go through all of the steps of making bread. You’ll mix the bread by hand, and people can load their bread into the oven.”
I learned that Le Pain Quotidien uses organic flour in their bread, serves only organic wines, and they’re a green certified restaurant. They accommodate vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, and offer breakfast, lunch and dinner for in-restaurant dining or take-out service. A wide selection of soups, salads, and tartines all incorporate signature breads.
One more thing Le Pain Quotidien has that few other restaurants in OC have: a communal table, which is a trademark in all of their restaurants around the world.
Le Pain Quotidien presents seasonal offerings on a menu that changes with the seasons, and artisan bakers are creating new breads and pastries to retail only in the Fashion Island locale.
For more info, visit www.lepainquotidien.us.
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