Un petit peu de la France: La Madeleine

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Christine Hardey
Contributing Writer

----------------------Photo by Meaghan Colvin--------------------- La Madeleine is a French cafeteria-style restaurant with a quaint atmosphere and a tasty array of dishes. The chicken Caesar salad, pictured above, is highly recommended.

I have long-term ‘plans’ to live in the South of France one day, so it’s no surprise I feel right at home at La Madeleine, Country French Café.

La Madeleine on MacArthur Blvd between the 114 and 161 intersections is part of a chain of 60 cafeteria-style restaurants, founded by Frenchman Patrick Leon Esquerré after World War II, when he moved to the United States.  His first La Madeleine boulangerie (bakery) was opened on Mockingbird Lane, right here in Dallas.

The other night Meaghan Colvin and I traversed to the MacArthur location for my third visit of the semester.  I simply can’t get enough of the quaint, peaceful atmosphere within those half-timber Tudor Revival style walls (forgive me for being an architecture nut).

At La Madeleine, it’s all about the savory factor.  All their offerings appeal to your taste buds.

My ‘usual’ order used to be their chicken Caesar salad – easily the best Caesar salad I’ve had anywhere, and I’ve gotten that dish just about everywhere one can get it.  I did go back to that old favorite this past weekend.  It’s the finest blend between hot (the tender, warm chicken breast) and cold (the fresh, crisp Romaine lettuce).

Their Caesar dressing is prepared to perfection, white in color but subtle in taste, lightly tossed with the lettuce and crunchy croutons.  (Word to the wise:  Get the ‘regular’ sized salad.  The ‘large’ has the same amount of chicken but more Romaine, and you won’t be able to finish the whole thing.)

I could go on for pages about how fabulous that salad is, but then I wouldn’t have time to tell you about my other usual, which consists of two smaller dishes: the spinach pouchette and a cup of the country potato soup.

The spinach pouchette is a hot, flaky pastry filled with creamy spinach and is quite possibly the best already-prepared entrée of them all (much better than the chicken friand at the least).  The country potato soup is one of many delicious soups offered at this café.  You are given the option of adding bacon and cheese to the potato soup; I highly recommend at least the bacon, extra cheese is unnecessary.  They also have a French onion soup, if you want a taste of France herself.

There are many more salads, soups and sandwiches offered, and anything not available in the cafeteria line will be prepared immediately and brought to your table.  And don’t forget to check out the boulangerie/patisserie out in the front for Napoleons, éclairs, chocolate croissants and more.

Bon appétit!

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