Mad About Lemonade

I had an infuriating experience today at Le Pain Quotidien.

I’ve only been there once before. I told you about it.

Well today I went back. I ordered their egg salad sandwich and a lemonade. A mint lemonade. The mint lemonade costs $2.50 but I thought I’d splurge.


They handed me a plastic cup with ice and an orange liquid with mint leaves. I took a sip and felt an instantaneous need to regurgitate. You know when you brush your teeth and then drink orange juice how bad that tastes? Well this was that experience in liquid form: mint and orange juice.

“Excuse me,” I said as kindly as I could. “I ordered lemonade and you gave me orange juice.”

The man behind the counter, unimpressed, took the cup from me and went into the kitchen. He came back moments later with a new cup, also filled with an orange liquid.

I eagerly took a sip hoping to rid my mouth of the horrible experience from the last cup. Only it was the same experience! Ugh!

“What’s the deal with your lemonade!” I said in a frenzy. “It tastes like rotten oranges!”

A woman behind the counter said: “It’s our recipe. Lemons, oranges, brown sugar and mint.”

Let me tell you something about their recipe. Those things may be in it, but the lemons are few and far between, the oranges do not taste like oranges but, instead, orange concentrate or, worse, Tang. That brown sugar was undetectable and the mint floated at the top like detritus on the top of a swamp. It was the worst lemonade I ever had in my life. You can’t even call it lemonade: it was Tang toothpaste water juice. I didn’t even try to get my money back. I kept sipping at it as if I were crazy and I wanted a moment of clarity: that one sip would get things right, expose a balance of flavor I’d somehow missed. But it never came. Instead I was left with regret, anger and half a cup of $2.50 battery acid.

In other news: the egg salad was good.

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