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.

WELL.

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.

10 comments

  1. Tang has a certain charm. But it does not pretend to be anything other sugar space powder.

  2. That sounds odd. Wouldn’t oranges in lemonade make it an entirely differeny drink? I’ve only been to Le Pain Quotidien once but I just got half a loaf of bread. Mmmm yummy…

  3. Sounds unpleasant…do they not get that there is nothing “quotidien” about a bizarre quasi-lemonade recipe? Oh irony…

  4. Just wanted to drop you a note and tell you that “Bunnies, Carrots, Cupcakes” is hilarious. And reading your blog makes me want to move back to NYC.

    Well done. I’m so happy I discovered your site! Keep it up!

    And whatever happened to Horace Chesterbottom?!

  5. Tang Toothpaste Water Juice.

    Oh, my gosh.

    Adam, if I ever start a rock band, do I have your permission to name it that?

  6. That’s the worst, when you’re expecting great things and it’s not even meh. Or maybe it’s worse when it’s meh? Actually, those have to jockey for second and third, because the WORST is when you don’t get anything at all. My favorite restaurant is closed for renovations, and I’m about to graduate, and there was no warning so I couldn’t even have a farewell dinner. Sob.

  7. My wife, Linda, is pregnant now and seems to constantly crave lemonade on most days. While this seems a little odd (to me), at least she’s not hankering for pickles & ice cream or something. Had she experience the concoction of so-called lemonade you described, the result of that may have involved her amputating the hands of the poor soul who mixed it up.

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