Restaurant Reviews: Les Madeleines Bakery

Are you tired of having the same food day after day? As a chef, I even find myself caught in this rut now and then. Normally, I love sandwiches, meat, potatoes and a great dessert. However, today I was filling frisky. I wanted to live life dangerously. Perhaps this feeling was due to the warmer weather or the smell of spring in the air. Either way, I needed a lunch that would match my mood and allow me to kick my heels up in excitement.

I found myself walking into Les Madeleines Bakery, which is located at 216 E 500 S. The bakery felt warm and inviting when I entered: The long glass case of baked goods lured me closer and closer until finally I was standing at the counter ready to order. I looked at the woman at the counter and asked for something different … something out of the ordinary for lunch. I then found a table, sat down and anxiously awaited my lunch.

The bakery was humming with activities. All around me, people were devouring the last morsels of their lunches before hurrying back to work. Came in and bought baked goods to be rushed off and devoured at their leisure. After a short wait, my lunch arrived. To my pleasant surprise, it was not the ordinary “lunch” sandwich.

In this world of calorie-counting, carb-crunching craziness, I was being served a sesame chicken salad wrap. This probably sounds harmless or even rather ordinary. However, this was not an ordinary wrap. It was chicken salad wrapped in rice paper. The see-through rice paper let me look at the freshly roasted chicken (not processed chicken) that had been carefully seasoned and wrapped in butter lettuce. It was like staring at a chrysalis anticipating that something wonderful was about to happen.

I took a bite and the flavors were delicate yet bold, different and refreshing. The textures were chewy but crisp, soft and spicy. I couldn’t recall having experienced so many sensations while eating lunch. Miso dressing and edamame complimented this wonderful dish, making it not only nutritious but delicious. Quite the change from the French fries and ketchup so many of us are used to.

While enjoying lunch, I had the opportunity to visit with Romina Rasmussen, the bakery’s owner. When she described her inspiration for creating my lunch as “boredom,” she had my full attention. Recently, she and a colleague had talked about how they were bored with lunch foods. Out of that conversation came the wonderful lunch I had enjoyed. Thank goodness for boredom! It was refreshing to visit with someone who was thinking outside the “lunch” box, and who shared a passion for food that went beyond the ordinary.

If you are feeling frisky and wanting to kick up your heels, I’ve found the perfect lunch. Go enjoy a sesame chicken salad wrap and have an “out of the lunch box” experience at Les Madeleine Bakery.

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