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My Happy Place: La Gourmandine in Lawrenceville

My Happy Place: La Gourmandine in Lawrenceville

Saturday morning was one of those mornings when I needed to get OUT of the house, or it would be a bad scene. Baby Beez was being bad. Bad bad BAD. I wasn’t feeling well, and didn’t have the patience to deal with her shenanigans. Mr. Beez was being an active parent and trying to run interference, but Baby Beez just kept screaming that she wanted Mooooommmmmmy, but as soon as she’d sit with me she’d be all snarls and screams and elbows and knees and just awful. We skipped gymnastics on Saturday morning awful. It was bad news bears.

Mr. Beez and I agreed that it would be a good idea for me to step out of the house for a minute, so both she and I could calm down. “I’m going to the French Bakery,” I announced. “One in France?” He feared. A trans-Atlantic flight was very tempting at the moment, but I agreed to stay within city limits.

I arrived at La Gourmandine shortly after it’s 9:30 am opening, and the line was already out the door and snaking its way down the sidewalk. There’s always a line on Saturday mornings, but the bakery workers are efficient, and waiting in line gives you the time to look at all the heaping baskets of delicious bread and pastries, enjoy the aroma of the fresh baked goodies and make up your mind.

I love La Gourmandine so much. I love how the owners operate the bakery with total French attitude. This place shuts down for vacation. There’s no fill-in manager, they close down and announce “see you in 2 weeks, folks!” Only recently have they decided to open on Sundays (first open Sunday will be next weekend). They focus on quality, and are so immensely popular that they can operate the shop on their own terms. These folks are not begging for customers. A man behind me in line remarked to his companion that they should franchise La Gourmandine and make barrels and barrels of money. There’s already a buttery bakery franchise, and while I like Panera Bread just fine, the quality and care can’t hold up in the same way when the operation is a single neighborhood storefront. And anyway, franchising wouldn’t fit with the shop’s French attitude and sensibilities.

So, Saturday. I was in no mood to hold back. I got sandwiches (the baguette/butter/proscuitto/pickles sandwich is the the sandweech of my dreams), I got brioche, I got pastries, I even went for a fancy dessert and got the macaron with fruit. Everything was amazing. I could never work there, because I would literally eat delicious bread until I made myself ill.

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I returned home from my outing, arms full of bakery goodies. We shared sandwiches, chocolate croissants, all kinds of things. Sugar, butter and flour did wonders for my frustration. And after everyone took naps, the day was even better. La Gourmandine, you can do no wrong. And this week, you even prevented me from donating my kid to Goodwill.

La Gourmandine on Urbanspoon

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