“I take a bite of the camembert & honey filled croissant and think about how the crispy pastry holds the two flavors together in perfect harmony…” Tel Aviv caf? and pastry shop, Le Moulin, helped Noa Shachar to help her friend forget the daily grind.

Yasmin never has any time. She is always headed someplace, always in a hurry, always off to fix something or straighten out a situation. “You’ll never believe what happened,” she pants into the receiver when I call to make sure she hasn’t forgotten our meeting tomorrow morning. “What happened?” I ask, bored. “All the contact information in my cell phone has been deleted,” she reports. “I got to go to the service station in the morning and get it fixed!” “That does sound bad,” I apathetically agree, thinking that for someone like her, who runs into a crisis every day - car towed away, purse stolen, a relative in the hospital, etc – perhaps the loss of cell phone data is not the worst thing thin imaginable.

“Don’t you remember our breakfast tomorrow?” I get to the most important issue on the agenda. “Oh no! I completely forgot! What do I do with the phone? I got class at noon!” I wait a moment. She needs this time to regain her composure. “What time are we scheduled to meet?” she asks. “Ten, then thirty, whenever you like,” I reply and listen to her think aloud. “Okay, I will meet you at ten, then I will drive over to my grandmother’s and bring her that thing she need, then I will rush to get the phone fixed, and I might even make class.” “Ten O’clock,” I tell her. “It’s decided so don’t be late.”

Before entering Le Moulin, the small and cute place at which we decided to meet, I almost miss the fact that there is a pastry shop inside. The location is low-profile, on Bugrashov Street adjacent to Dizengoff Center, but when one finally goes inside it is impossible to not fall under the spell of this caf?. The shelves are stocked with breads and other pastries, a special fridge is filled with cheeses, and menu offers sandwiches, salads, and quiches to those with an appetite.

People from the neighborhood come in to buy their bread, or to have their morning coffee a read a newspaper. Yasmin and I sit down and get down to the business of catching up, as she is in a hurry. We haven’t met in a while. “So…” she asks, “what about that guy?” I squirm and say “well it turned out that… oh forget it.” A fresh soft almond croissant is served to our table, and disappears in an instant. “Don’t ask…” she starts up again, although she seems calmer this time, and I instantly know that she is going to regale me with the tale of another tragedy of sorts that befell her – why not? That’s why agreed to meet, anyway.

Le Moulin’s special bread, like the other pastry shop products sold here, is prepared in the bakery at the back of the story. The bread is rich, chock-filled with goodness, and although it appears smooth on the surface, it is apparent that there is a whole new world behind the crust. We spread some butter and fresh pesto on the bread, and continue our catching up. Yasmin has by now forgotten her troubles, and is now waxing poetic about how well things are going for her, how nice school, and of how much the bread is delicious. Right then, the owner offers us to taste something new – a croissant filled with camembert cheese and honey. I take a bite and think of how the strong flavor of the cheese is refined by the honey, and of how the crispy pastry of the croissant holds the two flavors together in perfect harmony. Yasmin and I share the wonderful flavor, and when we are full and content, we sit back and relax with a good cup of coffee.

The store also sells wine from a fine boutique winery, as well as olive oil. Even the butter used to spread on the pastries is of the finest quality. The intimate atmosphere and simplicity, alongside the culinary quality, are all apparent and help make our morning special. The hour goes by quickly, and we are full and energized, ready to start the day. Yasmin no longer looks so stressed. So I send her off on her way. With such a terrific start to her day, chances are that nothing bad will happen.

Le Moulin
72 Bugrashov, Tel Aviv