Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Spring Break, Part VII: On The Road Again

Le Chatelaine
1550 W. Lane Avenue
Columbus, OH 43221
(614) 488-1911

A LONG DAY. After visiting Sara, Chris, and nine-month-old Jonathan last evening, and stopping by see Stella and Mandy one last time, today Mint flies back to Brooklyn and my mom and I are driving ten hours south to Wilmington, NC. Yes, that's a long drive.

For lunch, my uncle John invited us to meet him at Le Chatelaine, a french bistro just west of the city on Lane Avenue. I had never been to or heard of the place, so we had no idea what to expect. For anyone visiting Le Chatelaine for the first time, I can see why that might make for a confusing experience.

The bread and pastry counter that dominates the entrance is certainly inviting, but the cafeteria-style food counter would certainly throw a few for a loop. Don't be put off, though--the bread, the food, everything at Le Chatelaine is incredible. The entire restaurant was literally built arond its bread oven, which should give you an idea how seriously they take their food here.

With no pretense of fanfare, just file through and order what you like. The tomato basil soup was fantastic, and all of our sandwiches, on house-baked baguettes, were delicious and made with fresh-cut veggies and meats. Le Chatelaine serves up authentic, hommade French meals just as you find them in France.

From there, Mint and I met my mom back at my aunt and uncle's house, where we packed up and drove to the airport, dropped Mint off, and headed south on Rt. 33. We took I-77 through West Virginia to I-74 and, several hours later, finally turned east onto I-40 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. It was about 3 a.m. when I-40 dumped us out into Wilmington. And for the record: my mom got a speeding ticket.

MIKE EATS NEXT TIME: Yes, even if it's only for the bread and sweet stuff.

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