Category / Eating Out

Carbon Neutral Le Pain Quotidien

Le Pain Quotidien is doing a fabulous job by reducing and offsetting its carbon emissions, but it’s aiming high.  LPQ will be carbon neutral in all of its restaurants by 2020.  So what better way than to host a dinner to talk about what carbon neutrality means in practice.

Carbon Neutral Restaurant

It’s rare I don’t eat meat.  Don’t get me wrong, I can go without it, but I just know how to handle it as an ingredient.  Plants I’m not too sure of.  Le Pain Quotidien or LPQ has always impressed me, and when I get an invite to one of their events, I always try to be there.  Their City branch, right outside Monument tube was the venue for a Vegan supper, celebrating their carbon neutral status.

Monument Tube branch

The menu wasn’t altogether appealing as a meat-lover, but as ever, LPQ pulled off a magnificent feast.

Vegan Menu

LPQ Green Credentials

Not to forget the point of the evening, there was an informal address from the advisory group co2logic who measure and pinpoint where and how to change.  So how does this chain, known throughout the world, manage it?   Well, they calculate their carbon emissions, reduce and offset them and invest in a carbon reducing project.  They’ve chosen to invest in UpEnergy Group’s cook stove project which provides Ugandan communities with an alternative to their three stone fires.  In the restaurants, it’s looking at cooking and cooling mechanisms, materials used in-store from seating to lighting, delivery to waste.

Interior of restaurant

Vegan Menu

The Menage à Trois is a favourite of Alain Coumont, the chain’s founder, and the base hummus recipe is in his cookbook Le Pain Quotidien Cookbook.  Three small bowls of beetroot, roasted carrot and chickpea hummus were scooped out with vegetable sticks and bread.

Hummus three ways

Hummus, 3 ways

Roasted carrot hummus

Beetroot hummus

Chilli Sin Carne is also in the cookbook, and this vegan bean chilli’s main ingredient is tofu.  I didn’t feel denied of meat in the slightest.  It was a bowl of delicious and my dining partner was pretty impressed.

Chilli Sin Carne

The Pot Au Feu was full to brimming with chunky vegetables, and quinoa and served with more LPUK bread.

Pot Au Feu

Just in case we had room, an organic lentil and avocado salad was a bright plate of freshly shaved fennel, raw slaw, chickpeas, drizzled with a basil vinaigrette.

Lentil and Avocado Salad

A wedge of Pear and Chocolate Cake was next and a portion too far, so we shared this and the chia seed and coconut milk pudding.

Chocolate & Pear Cake

Chia Pudding

Did I say that this veritable feast was washed down with free-flowing wine for those who wanted?

Red & White Wine

“Good For You And Good For The Planet” indeed.

Le Pain Quotidien


Rock N Roll Ribs: The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

It might not be what you expect.  A restaurant selling barbeque food, set up by a British man, living in America.  Rock N Roll Ribs is far from the expected.  It’s co-owned by the drummer of one of the most successful metal bands in the world.  Alongside touring the world and playing golf, this is Nicko McBrain’s passion and very serious hobby.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Now, I grant you Rock n Roll Ribs doesn’t look much on the outside.   Inside it’s a cross between an Iron Maiden concert and the Third Circle of Hell.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock N Roll Ribs: A shrine to Iron Maiden

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock N Roll Ribs: The Music

You won’t hear Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, Kiss or Guns N Roses; it has to be classic metal, and it plays on a video loop.  There are huge stage props, direct from their concert stage, and include sarcophagus and cats and evidence of the band’s massive success.

Rock n Roll Ribs: The Food

It’s a destination for fans, and locals alike.  For those who are here on a ‘pilgrimage’  hoping to catch a glimpse of him, today they’re lucky as he’s in to eat lunch.

Rock N Roll Ribs: What to Eat?

Next, to the food.  Again, don’t judge when the plastic menus arrive because what comes from the kitchen is something very very different.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

You may be thinking what does an English bloke know about American barbeque. Don’t.  Trust me on this one.

The ‘Road Crew Onion Stack’ ($7.45) onion rings are some of the best I’ve tried.   Huge sweet Spanish onions, cut caveman knuckle-thick, are deep-fried with a seasoned panko breadcrumb.  Dip, if you will, into their spiced Grammy Sauce, think paprika spiced mayonnaise.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

I know, I know, I’m not a huge fan of menus like this but that aside, you can’t argue that the food is spot on and that’s what matters most. Here, a theme isn’t in the least necessary yet on the same hand; I can see why Nicko is taking full advantage of his rock roots.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

As he joins us in our booth, he makes it very clear to me it is all about the food and how it tastes.  Perfecting his ribs and sauce is something he’s always striving for, they fall off the bone, and the sauce is both sweet and tangy and smoked for 7 hours.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

We tried the chilli, mild, with a super not-too-spicy kick and.  ‘Gone With The Wind Beans’ sat in a delicious tomato sauce, sweet yet with a lovely kick of mild paprika.

Sauces are vital to any good platter, and there are a few to choose from, all available to buy at Rock n Roll Ribs.  I particularly liked the tabletop Spice Drums with Moby Rick’s very own secret spice blend.

Rock n Roll Ribs: The Appetite of the Beast

The Appetite of the Beast platter is for four people ($61.95) and features a little of everything.  A full rack and a half rack of baby back ribs, 1/2lb of pork and beef, 1/2 chicken, homemade fries, beans, slaw, corn on the cob and garlic toast.

The Rock n Roll Burger ($10.50) had a nice grind of beef and held together well, topped with candied bacon, sauteed onions and a melted Swiss cheese topping.  I chose to have it without the bun, served medium rare with salad.  A really good burger, without any need for the bread.  The Power Slave Slaw was sweet and thinly shredded, and that alongside the hand cut fries finished this plate of food off entirely.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Others on our table had half rack of ribs, coleslaw, fries and garlic toast.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Generous chunks of hickory-smoked Pork fell easily off the bone.  Coated with a sweet, sticky sauce not too heavy on the sugar.  Great chips or Aces High Fries, superb coleslaw and a garlic-smothered piece of bread made the Baby Back Ribs ($11.50) a joyful lunch.

Service is relaxed, and the waitresses know the menu inside out, many have been with the restaurant since its inception, which says a lot.

Rock n Roll Ribs: Merchandise

Trooper is the Maiden beer, ‘Eddie The Head’ the band’s Mascot is the figure on the label.   Brewed by Robinsons in the UK, it’s on sale as you’d expect with a few other alcoholic and soft drinks.

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

Rock n Roll Ribs, Florida

There are t-shirts, spice kits and aprons to buy, all featuring the restaurant and some reference to Iron Maiden.

Every year the owners hold a ‘thank you’ concert for locals and Maiden fans in the car park.  This year they’ll be celebrating their eighth birthday.

You’ll need a car to get here, but if you’re in the area, it’s worth a detour if you love good ribs and metal.

Rock n Roll Ribs, 4651 State Rd 7 (US441), Coral Springs FL, 33073