Friday, May 18, 2007

A Touch of Paris Steps from Grand Central

Madison Avenue's Chez Laurence

Dear Postcards from New York Reader,

Manhattan's hurry-up pace means it's rare anyone ever has time for breakfast. Most people either go without, or at the very best grab coffee, tea, a doughnut, bagel or muffin from a sidewalk vendor's cart on their way to the office. Or, after settling in at their desk, at the first opportunity for a morning break, join a line in front of one of these ever-present carts.

Now if you have occasion to plan a breakfast meeting, better yet, it is Saturday morning, or you are on vacation, consider a leisurely "civilized breakfast" at Chez Laurence, a French patisserie on Madison Avenue a couple blocks from Grand Central Station.

Step in the door. Immediately, the aroma of fresh baked bread wafting from unseen ovens is enough to make one drunk with anticipation. You'll begin debating what to order as a charming French waitress escorts you to a tiny marble top table. After just having passed a wide glass display counter of the most deliciously tempting pastries and baskets filled with baguettes and loaves of bread.

Warning, a choice will be tough. The only comfortable solution, promise yourself to return very soon. Today you will order a croissant, next time, a brioche, then a baguette, the time after that, pain au chocolat. Mmm! Think of melted chocolate between flaky layers of bread warm from the oven.

Your croissant arrives, rich with butter, warm to touch, crisp and flaky on the outside, firm and tight on the inside, and ohhh so succulent. You salivate to devour it at once. Don't even think about the calories. Luxuriate in tearing it apart, butter a small morsel and drop it on your tongue. Perhaps instead of butter, slather a morsel with orange marmalade or raspberry preserve.

If you desire more than a croissant for breakfast, scrambled egg whites served in a cup with onions, tomatoes, scallions and ham is an excellent choice. After all, one must make some concessions to cholesterol. And, how about some orange juice? Fresh squeezed with lots of pulp; it is absolutely delicious.

There you have it, a truly memorable breakfast. Enjoy! Bon Appetit.

Jacqueline Cable
For Postcards from New York

Address to remember: Chez Laurence, 245 Madison Avenue at 38th Street, 212-683-0284. Hours: Monday- Saturday 7-11 PM. Closed Sundays.

Directions: From Times Square MTA 7 or S train to Grand Central Station. Or 4, 5, and 6 to Grand Central, short walk to Chez Laurence.

Photo by Joseph Knight

©Copyright 2007 The Cable Group