Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Au Bon Pain UMMS

Thai  peanut chicken wrap
When it was announced that Au Bon Pain was taking over the space at UMMS that for many years was inhabited by a Donna's, I greeted the idea with enthusiasm. Sure I was annoyed that a nationwide chain would be replacing a branch of the home-grown roasted vegetable maven's popular coffee shop, but after 12 years, I was tired of the food's high prices and the employee's attitudes. The folks at Au Bon Pain have so far been nothing short of courteous, and dare I say it, downright pleasant - always a good thing to encounter first thing in the morning, pre-caffeination.

While this neighborhood is already rife with restaurants that offer sandwiches, I was mostly excited about Au Bon Pain's array of fresh pastries and hot soups that would now be available to area diners. However, it's summer - too hot for soups - so I have stayed with sampling sandwiches for now.

On a recent weekday not long after Au Bon Pain opened the deli side of its operation, I tried the Thai Peanut Chicken Wrap (all natural grilled chicken, field greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, fried wontons, and Thai peanut dressing). The chicken, despite being white meat, was fairly moist, and I liked the inclusion of field greens rather than romaine or iceberg. The sandwich was crunchy and fresh tasting and the plethora of vegetables made it seem actually somewhat healthy. My only complaint - and it's a big one - is that they omitted the peanut sauce. Without the sauce, the sandwich was overall on the dry side. I'll chalk that up to being so new.

On my second try, I got the Roast Beef Montana, which had roast beef, an herbed cream cheese, and oodles of spicy brown mustard on a toasted cheese baguette. While mustard on roast beef violates Minx's Rule of Meat and Condiments (mustard on pink cold cuts, mayo on gray or white ones), the beef was pink enough to nearly qualify. As with much deli roast beef, it was kinda rubbery, but it tasted fine. Could have done with half the mustard, but maybe they were trying to make up for the lack of sauce in my Thai peanut wrap. The marinated red onions, however, were a nice touch and I wish there had been a wee bit more of them.

Finally, on an afternoon during which I was a bit pressed for time, I tried a Mediterranean Wrap (field greens, roasted red pepper hummus, feta, tomatoes, Kalamata olives, cucumbers, and sun-dried tomato relish) from their Grab N Go section. The wrap was not soggy in the least and boasted a filling heavy on cucumbers and olives with a bit of zesty sun-dried tomato flavor. The hummus was barely detectable, and then only as a texture. Not bad at all, and definitely a quick way to get in and out of the busy restaurant at lunchtime.

While the selection of sandwiches isn't groundbreaking or anything, and the chicken salad isn't half as good as that served by the hospital cafeteria (made by Aramark!) I think ABP fills a need for those of us in a hurry or who want a chocolate croissant or giant pecan roll for breakfast.

Au Bon Pain
UMMS
22 S. Greene Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
(800) 825-5227

Au Bon Pain on Urbanspoon

Posted by theminx on Minxeats.com.
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