Size Matters: A Delightful Discovery at La Madeleine

Photo by Katherine Tallmadge
La Madeleine Fruit Tarts
La Madeleine Fruit Tarts

What a surprising respite! I was delighted Saturday morning, after my three mile walk to Memorial Bridge and back, to find La Madeleine open at 7:00 am. I was delighted to find a delicious cafe latte - and muffins and pastries even a nutritionist could love - and they weren't "diet" pastries.

Yes, you heard right! How could I enjoy La Madeleine and even its pastries?

First, I admit I'm a food snob. I buy all my fruits and vegetables at Farmers Markets, because I believe so strongly in the benefits of seasonal, locally grown produce. There are few restaurants I really enjoy because I expect fresh, superior ingredients, interesting small plates, and polite, professional service. I only frequent independently-owned businesses, because I think it preserves the uniqueness of the town and I want to support small businesses. So I've been at a loss since my favorite diner, Furin's of Georgetown, closed and Laura and Ricardo Bonnino left Griffin Market, along with their one-of-a-kind Italian delicacies. What to do? Where to go?

So on Saturday morning, after my walk, when I was in the mood to sit at a cafe and enjoy a latte and a little something, I broke down and tried Le Pain Quotidien - CLOSED - just as well. I've never had a good experience there and I blame them for Furin's closing (rightly or wrongly). Okay, what next... I wandered over to La Madeleine across the street, into which I have never walked before, tried the door, and it opened. Uh-oh, am I really in la Madeleine? I skeptically, cautiously walked up the stairs. After I asked if they could serve me a Cafe Latte and I was met with a cheerful YES. I was committed. But, "My! those muffins are huge," I said, feeling tempted but calculating the 500+ calorie counts in my head. "But," says a perky cook behind the counter, "we have smaller ones, let me show you!"

And there began my delightful discovery of an array of mini pastries, desserts and muffins I could enjoy and even recommend at la Madeleine. The size was perfect, just enough to enjoy, but not feel over-stuffed and miserable. I borrowed the manager's pen so I could scribble down some of the numbers for you:

Mini Blueberry Muffin - 160 calories (regular is 630)
Mini Lemon Cream Cheese Muffin - 170 calories
Mini Bran Muffin - 140 (regular is 550)
Mini Fruit Tart - 150 (regular is 500)
Mini Lemon Tart - 200 (regular 820)
Mini Sacher Torte Parfait - 300
Mini Tiramisu Parfait - 220 (regular 520)
Mini French Vanilla and Fruit Parfait - 110
more...

I had a lovely time, sitting among the country French decor at the window, a lively Vivaldi playing in the background. Friendly, professional staff buzzing around. Will I visit more than once or twice a month? Probably not. But it's nice to know it's there!

For more information about la Madeleine, and what to look for in restaurant eating without the bulge ...

For more details: KatherineTallmadge.com

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Anonymous

Furin's may have closed, but Bernie's son, Chris, is still making fresh and delicious cakes, cupcakes and cookies through his new business Cakes by Chris Furin. His website is www.cakesbychrisfurin.com.