Size Matters: A Delightful Discovery at la Madeleine

la Madeleine Fruit Tarts (Photo by Katherine Tallmadge)

What a surprising respite! I was delighted Saturday morning, after my 3 mile walk to Memorial Bridge and back, to find la Madeleine open at 7 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 the Furin’s of Georgetown diner closed and Laura and Ricardo Bonnino left my neighborhood’s Griffin Market, along with all 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 was met with a cheerful YES, I was committed. But, “My! those muffins are huge,” I said, feeling dangerously 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 just enough to enjoy, but not too much to feel over-stuffed and miserable. I borrowed the manager’s pen so I could scribble down 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
Lemon Madeleine – 170
Mini Cafe Au Lait Creme Brulee (180)
Mini Vanilla and Fruit Creme Brulee (150)

I had a lovely time, sitting among the country French decor at the window, a lively Vivaldi playing in the background. Friendly and 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  what to look for in restaurant eating without the bulge…

Call Katherine: 202-833-0353 or Email Her
For more fabulous tips and simple, effective ways to lose weight,
buy her book, Diet Simple!

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