Posts Tagged ‘macaron’
Seattle was blessed with consecutive weekends of glorious weather. The feeling of sunshine on bare skin is so restorative and we had a serene afternoon at the Washington Park Arboretum and the Japanese Garden, strolling and gazing at the blooming trees.
We leisurely looped the arboretum and garden, and had afternoon tea at Belle Epicurean.
Located at the Madison Park end of the botanic gardens, the second café by Carolyn Ferguson is in a spacious slate building.
A marble counter and glass cabinet displayed sweet treats.
The décor is Parisian chic with panes of vintage mirrors, framed black and white prints, and replica Thonet chairs and stools.
A gleaming espresso machine dispensed Caffé Vita coffee and there was a wine menu by the glass.
There were cake balls wrapped in mint and fuchsia foil, Rolo tart, and slices of raspberry mousse cake, Alhambra cake, red velvet crunch cake, opéra cake and coconut crème cake.
In the perpendicular cabinet were flat discs of pastel macarons and jars of pistachio, vanilla, rose water and orange buttercream.
Pastries included pain au chocolat, orange scented brioche and croissants.
There were also lemon brioche buns with citrus confit and spiced almond brioche bostocks.
Mr S ordered le feuillette, a savoury tart. Black Forest ham, Gruyère and Mornay sauce were encased in a flaky brioche crust. The golden, molten mass was buttery and cheesy.
My coconut crème cake was baked with coconut milk, pineapple juice and rum. The layers of sponge and coconut cream cheese frosting were decadent and textured with shredded coconut. The tang of pineapple and the residual alcohol of the rum tempered the sweetness, it was an adult dessert!
Belle Epicurean Provisions was connected by a doorway.
A wall of square shelves cellared hundreds of bottles of wines.
Opposite was Belle Epicurean branded dessert sauces, and cake and frosting mixes, Riedel glassware and cookbooks.
Bars of Michel Cluizel chocolates of various cacao percentages tempted us.
The fridge at the back was a trove of gourmet and artisan aioli, butter, chutney, compote, soup base, tapenade, vinaigrette, and ‘take and bake’ croissant, brioche, puff pastry and tart.
Belle Epicurean is a French trio of café, pantry and wine store!
New York was quiet on a Sunday morning. Four days of volatile spring weather concluded with drizzle as we walked to the Upper East Side for sweet souvenirs. I had scrawled Ladurée‘s address in my notebook for last September‘s trip but avoided the opening weekend. I had mentally prepared myself for a queue out the door and was surprised by an empty footpath. Hello Kitty macaron decals decorated one window.
Macaron towers and Ladurée branded merchandise were displayed in another.
Sea foam walls were calming and accentuated the colourful macarons on the counter. Tiers of ribbons cascaded down wrought iron bars on a mirror.
Different sized boxes were neatly stacked on shelves interspersed by mini monochromatic macaron towers.
I resisted the themed boxes (Hello Kitty!) and purchased two classic boxes of eight, one for us and one as a gift for our French friends.
I was careful with the bag on the flight and there were minimal cracks on the macarons. From bottom: pistachio, vanilla, chocolate, caramel with salted butter, raspberry, coffee, orange blossom and praline.
Despite my lack of appetite due to laryngitis I gleefully halved each of the macarons with Mr S.
I have happy macaron memories and they’re best shared!
This is a belated final post of my trip home in November. It’s been just over three months since I was in Australia and in that time we’ve had our first full winter in Seattle. There’s been plenty of rain, snow, sleet, wind and hail. But there have also been enough glorious days to sustain us through the darkest and wettest of the Pacific Northwest season. Sydney has suffered a drenched summer with mild temperatures and we experienced the prelude during our two weeks there. Thankfully our last day in Sydney was a lovely souvenir, a sundress and bare limbs day.
We walked to The Star in the afternoon to complete number five.
We have been loyal patrons at Adriano Zumbo since it opened in 2007. His sweet treats have special meaning for us as the talented and passionate pâtissier made our wedding cake (croquembouche) and desserts (macarons in four flavours). The original Balmain patisserie is a narrow room with a glass counter displaying his whimsical creations where the queue was regularly out on the footpath. He has since expanded to several locations and the one at The Star greeted us with a radiant neon pink sign.
The concept store has a patisserie on the left and a dessert train on the right which was closed on Sunday.
Each year Adriano Zumbo celebrates his birthday with Zumboron Day. This year there were sixty flavours of macarons!
A sample of each flavour was lined along the window to tempt us. Left to right: finger bun (Australian iced bread), fried chicken, and gin and tonic.
Left to right: liquorice, Margherita pizza and mandarin.
Left to right: toasted marshmallow, vanilla ecstasy and Vegemite.
The interior of the patisserie was bright and funky. Desserts in cone stands enticed passers-by, a bathtub was topped with high tea tiers and Zumbo, Adriano’s cookbook, and the table has purple shoes!
A 360 degree view of each dessert with a description card.
Ovens warmed savoury quiches, pies and sausage rolls.
Peach boxes encased seasonal macarons.
‘In case of emergency break glass’ for sugar hit!
I heart Zumbo.
The stainless steel kitchen with containers of ingredients.
Trolleys of macarons for Zumboron Day.
Man Goes Peanuts: peanut butter crunch, mango compote, mango burnt honey mousse and pain d’épices. Peanut butter and mango were a curious combination in this layered and textural dessert.
Tarte aux fruits de la passion: passionfruit curd and pâte sucrée. The passionfruit tart and opera gâteau are my favourites at Adriano Zumbo. A glossy two toned disc was studded with passionfruit seeds, a perfect balance of luscious piquancy.
We savoured our last night in Sydney with a bottle of Champagne and macarons.
Our cache of of macarons: butterscotch caramels, chocolate orange, cinnamon doughnut, coffee, pandan and coconut, passionfruit and yoghurt, rice pudding, salted butter popcorn, toasted marshmallow, and vanilla ecstasy.
These colourful jewels were a sentimental farewell to Down Under.
My beloved Sydney, I miss you dearly.
Named after the owners’ son, the logo of a crown and lion’s head was prominent on a textured frame. The café was decorated in an eclectic style with chocolate walls and miniature Eiffel Towers dotted throughout.
Classic French techniques fused with Japanese influenced flavours to create intricate pastries.
On a tiered tray topped with a crown were guimauve (marshmallows), sablé (Earl Grey, sesame and matcha) and jams (peachy peach, and apple cinnamon and milk caramel).
On a crystal stand were glossy apple and banana Danishes streaked with chocolate.
Golden parcels of phyllo were dusted with powdered sugar.
An acrylic case protected the delicate rainbow macarons.
A couple of tables lined the wall and the counter seating had a candid view of the vacuum coffee makers with Lion’s father as the barista.
A vintage cabinet displayed the menu, and a dainty teacup and saucer.
We perused and purchased, the desserts carefully packed in a branded cardboard box.
Clockwise from top: mocha, chocolate and green tea. With a crispy crust and a chewy centre, the perfectly shaped macarons were ethereal.
Layers of coffee soaked sponge cake, ganache, buttercream and chocolate glaze, the opéra gâteau was exquisite.
We’re delighted that Lion’s parents are sharing their lovely pastries with us!
I suffered from a cold last week and my appetite was low. Drowsy from medication and hibernating at home, I craved for congee. Without the requisite Chinese ingredients of dried scallop, salted duck egg and preserved egg, I comforted myself with cups of tea instead. I knew congee is sometimes on the menu at Ba Bar so we walked up to Capitol Hill for a weekend lunch.
Sydney suburbs have clear boundaries defined by the government. Your address has your suburb and postcode. In Seattle there are neighbourhoods. Areas are referred to as Queen Anne and Ravenna but only Seattle is in your address. We thought Ba Bar is in Capitol Hill. We strolled to the intersection of 12th Avenue and Madison St, and checked the map. It was another five blocks south!
Located near the Seattle University campus, Ba Bar is in a converted building with floor to ceiling windows. In the entrance foyer, a bakery counter is on the right and adjacent is an open plan kitchen. Produce and spices line the ornate shelves and wooden benches.
A ladder leans against the liquor cabinet, copper mugs hang on hooks and a chalkboard displays an extensive beverages list.
A tumbler contained a pair of chopsticks and a serviette stamped with the Ba Bar logo, ‘street food, cold drinks’.
The lunch menu is categorised into salad and small plate, noodles in broth (phở), vermicelli bowl, rotisserie and Saigon French.
We shared a plate of Huế dumplings (bánh bột lọc chay). Made with tapioca flour, the slippery wrapper was thick and translucent. A curious mung bean paste was gritty and dry, remedied by spooning the spicy soy vinaigrette over the morsels.
Mr S ordered the special of Painted Hills beef stew. A steaming bowl of tender beef and carrots was served with bean sprouts and Thai basil. Egg noodles soaked in the aromatic broth and were gleefully slurped. It was a soothing dish and reminiscent of Chinese herbal soups.
Much to my disappointment, there was no congee on the menu. I consoled myself with a bowl of grilled chicken vermicelli. Piled on cold vermicelli were crispy imperial roll, grilled Draper Valley chicken, shredded lettuce, sliced cucumber, caramelised shallot and peanuts. A cup of chilli fish sauce (nước mắm) balanced precariously on the vermicelli and added a salty heat to the salad.
A bargain at ninety cents each, we nibbled on coconut chocolate macarons with an espresso and a cup of tea.
The return trip is always quicker when we know how far we’re going!
We spent a week in California wine country last year. To avoid driving through San Francisco, we picked up our rental car in Napa. After a serene ferry ride, we were a little frazzled by a long bus trip into Napa. Despite having a dinner booking at Bouchon for the next evening, we made an impromptu stop in Yountville. A quaint manicured town, Yountville is home to Thomas Keller and his restaurants, The French Laundry, Ad Hoc and Bouchon.
We enjoyed a lovely lunch at Bouchon - the best croque madame I’ve ever eaten and impeccable service in a French bistro atmosphere. Afterwards we crossed into the bakery for some sweet treats. In the car I gently cradled the carry bag with macarons, a TKO and a lemon tart.
I decided to save the momofuku compost cookie for Hurricane Irene so I strolled to the Time Warner Center on Columbus Circle for dessert after lunch at má pêche. The building has an outpost of Bouchon Bakery and is also the location of Per Se.
The café was busy with work lunches and tourists. There is a delectable selection of soups, salads and sandwiches, including lobster sliders as the special of the day.
An array of pastries and baked goods tempted the queue, for immediate consumption or packaged as gifts.
Rows of pastel coloured macarons filled an entire shelf.
There was a tray stacked with TKO, Thomas Keller’s interpretation of an Oreo.
I limited myself to one macaron, I could not rationalise a pain au chocolat and an éclair for Hurricane Irene!
Perfectly round discs of meringue enclose a spread of buttercream. Fragrant with vanilla, the macaron was crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside. It was light and soft, and more than double the size of macarons I’ve had in Sydney!
I’ve now had memorable experiences at Bouchon on both the East Coast and West coast!
We were obsessed with bread during our first month in Seattle. Expats have told us American bread is sweet. I spent an extended period of time at supermarkets, reading the labels, comparing ingredients and analysing nutritional value incessantly. We tried two loaves that were failures. One was an organic sourdough – it tasted fine and was organic but at $6.50 a loaf, was too expensive. The other was a whole wheat loaf – we made toasted sandwiches for lunch on a weekend and the smokey, salty flavours of smoked salmon clashed with the sweetness of the bread. It’s edible when chased down with a cold beer.
Ms S had pointed out Le Panier on our city tour and on a day I was exploring Pike Place Market, I queued up for a pain aux graines, a multi grain loaf. The bread was fresh and soft, with a chewy crust. And not sweet. The wait time is quickened by the enticing baskets of baguettes and loaves, and the trays of baked goods. While Dahlia Bakery and Boulangerie Nantaise is more convenient, I have added Le Panier to the bread list.
On another day after a walk along the waterfront, I decided to hike up (why did I think Seattle was flat?) to Le Panier for a quick lunch. It was busy on a weekday, full of tourists, mothers with babies and toddlers, and locals and office workers, all with one eye on the menu, and the other on available tables.
I ordered a champignon feuilleté - puff pastry with mushroom in cream sauce, and a pistachio macaron. The birch colour table, the unbleached wax paper, the pale green macaron and the lightly browned puff pastry makes for an extremely drab photo! The feuilleté was crispy and flaky on the outside, and warm and oozing with mushrooms on the inside. It was a small parcel of savoury contentment. In contrast, the macaron was disappointingly overcooked and lacking in personality. It was brittle and shattered in one bite. Only the green dye identified it as being pistachio. Nevermind, I shall return for their breads!