|A very well-lit Dean & Deluca. That's ^ Miss Lee looking bored.|
In a moment of total weakness I broke down and took everyone, including Miss Lee to Dean & Deluca. Remarkably, there are two Dean & Deluca stores in Bangkok. As you can imagine, the food there is very expensive. I needed a break from pad thai and I was willing to pay big baht to eat panini, fettucini, crostini - actually any food that ended with "ini" instead of "gai." My turkey panini was nauseatingly expensive, but I knew it would be worth every bite.
I had just begun eating when I noticed a man on a motorcycle, pull up onto the sidewalk. He entered Dean & Deluca, with a large, clear bag, the size of a Hefty garbage bag, full of a variety of breads. He walked straight back behind the counter and into the kitchen. He came back out of the kitchen in minutes and stood at the end counter, obviously waiting for payment.
Curiosity got the better of me and I said, "Lee, go over to that guy, and ask him where he came from? Where did he get all of that bread?" Lee looked really confused. I expained my plan to her in 'Lee speak'. I said, "If he brings bread here, cheap, little money, I want bread from him, cheap, little money, not there (I gestured to the counter) so much money." Then I rolled my eyes and grimaced, as if, paying for the expensive bread was physically painful, to make sure she understood. She said, "Kah, kah, kah" and jumped up presumably to go talk to the bread the guy. But when she got to the end of the counter, she just stood there, like she was waiting for a bus, or loitering outside of 7-Eleven. Eventually, she started talking to the bread guy and after he was paid (in cash by the way) he followed her back to our table. He gave me his business card and said "delivery, everything, all places." I didn't need the delivery man, I needed the bread source.
|Doesn't that look delicious? Presentation is everything...|
I now know why they needed the delivery guy; he's probably the only person that knows how to get from the grocery store to Dean & Deluca. The grocery store was not easy to find. It was across a major thouroughfare, down a side street, down an alley, through a small mall, and off the back alley of the mall. I'm not kidding.
|Miss Lee leads the way. Sure hope she knows where she's going.|
|Pros: elaborate pipe system. Cons: no bakery case.|
We did locate the grocery store. It looked and smelled a little different than Dean & Deluca. I took a picture because I thought that would really be the easiest way to depict the many differences between the two stores and the one similarity (both stores sell food).
I concluded that Joel Dean and Giorgio Deluca might not know about the unusual supply chain at the Bangkok store. I took it upon myself to inform them via the feedback form on the Dean & Deluca website. Here is the feedback I submitted:
Dear Joel and Giorgio;
I know from your website that you created Dean & Deluca to "offer customers a sumptuous celebration of food and a venue to experience all of the pleasures that cooking and eating can bring." I currently live in Bangkok and recently had occassion to eat in your "enchanted emporium." It was indeed enchanted.
I thought you might want to know that the bakery items are being delivered in a garbage bag, by a very friendly (but smelly) young man, who arrived on a motorcycle from a nearby grocery store. At my request, the D&D store manager (she was really helpful) gave me directions to the grocery store. It is not an enchanted emporium. The venue is not a sumptuous celebration of food. However, they do sell a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, most of which I couldn't identify. The bread that's available at D&D is also for sale, but, it's a fraction of the price and it's not in an appealing bakery case. I scouted all around that grocery store and I saw no evidence of ovens, mixers, bakers - anything that would lead a person to believe that bread was being preared on the premises. I'm so curious to know where the bread is coming from? How many garbage bags, motorcycles and delivery guys are needed to get the bread from the oven, to it's final destination in the attractive bakery case at D&D?
I would super-sleuth all of this out myself, except that I am American, and don't speak Thai, so I stick out like a sore thumb. I took photos of D&D and the bread-supplying grocery store because I found the bakery and store dichotomy so fascinating. Sadly, I was unable to submit attachments in the feedback form.
I used to go to a really good Italian restaurant in Boston. The chef was a mom with twin babies, so she made the pasta at home during the day and snuck it in through the back door before they opened. I wonder if the bread is like that? Maybe some Thai woman with a bunch of babies is baking bread in her kitchen at 4:00 in the morning in preparation for the lunch rush at Dean & Deluca? Anyway, perhaps it would be better if the delivery guy came in through the back door before the store opened. Just a thought. If you find out who's baking the bread, please let me know. I'm really curious.
click here to see website for Dean & Deluca Enchanted Emporium
(Did you click on that link? What's up with that chef and the goofy grin? I bet he's really annoyed that they used that photo.)