Steven: Agitator for carbohydrates

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I have eaten at La Madeline all my life as a Texan: brunches and High School senior days at the Madeline on Champion’s Forest Drive in Houston, at the Lamar location during my University days, and now at the Arboretum location after years of missing their food whilst living in California.

But yesterday, after seeing the thoroughly forgettable “The Other Boleyn” girl, I thought nothing could lift my spirits like one of their pasta dishes with extra bread slices to sop up their tasty sauces. And there, where the tower of carbohydrates once stood was nothing but empty space and condiment bottles. Was the oven down, perhaps the yeast on strike. I admit, the bow-tie pasta was good, but there was something missing when I couldn’t augment my dish with jam and bread as a peasant’s desert.

I confirmed with the cook on duty that the practice had been done away with.

The free bread and excellent French roast was one of the primary means by which Madeline cooked its way into my heart and now some of that nostalgia and warm doughy welcome is gone.

Can anyone tell me if this most inhospitable measure has been undertaken at other locations about town? I may be willing to drive down to Jefferson if this is a store-by-store decision.

I think it bodes ill when a restaurant makes you pay for something that they’ve established in the customer’s mind is a free commodity ( case in point, Curra’s Long Bar on Parmer made one pay for chips and salsa ( anathema! ) – and now it looks like they’re skipping on their rent and are shut down ).

Any thoughts?

Letter to La Madeline corporate commentary ( horrible web site: table based, didn’t render in Safari or Firefox the “submit” button at the end, etc. )

I have loved La Madeline since I was a child in Houston, during my student years here in Austin, and missed it while living in Northern California. Now back in Austin, I had the pleasure of introducing my Californian girlfriend to your restaurant and the finer art of using the complimentary bread slices to soak up delicious sauces. At our preferred location, Arboretum Austin, these slices have now departed. I confirmed with the chef on site that this was so.

Why was this done? Is this a la Madeline-wide change?

If so I find this a very sad development. After the coffee went to pods the coffee suffered and now the complimentary bread is gone? Your site and mission statements reflect a commitment to hospitality, and the home-making power of simple food prepared well. I do not see how this change is compatible with your proclaimed identity.

If this was cost-based, a small surcharge to overall food should have been sufficient to offset your costs.