I’m a huge proponent of trying foods in a variety of interpretations. Every culture has their own delicious translation of well-known fares. Take savory-filled pies for example. In India they’re called samosas and are usually fried and filled with potatoes, onions, peas and spices. In Italy, calzones are baked with meat, tomato sauce and cheese. In Spanish cultures, empanadas can be stuffed with a multitude of things from chicken and rice, to cheese and eggs. Every variety is special and tasty in its own way and I’m open to trying them all.
I can’t say I have a favorite cuisine, as I truly love something (or many things) in every one. The exception to this statement, is desserts. Which I, hands down, favor French over anything else.
(My Italian grandparents are rolling in their graves…)
My Twitter profile description states that I am ‘on a never-ending quest to find NYC’s greatest croissant’. This is the still the case, though I do have some serious candidates in mind now. But until I find that shining beacon of buttery-layered glory, I like to take a break now and again and give a few other French delicacies some love and attention.
I found a cafe near my office that has a great lunch special: $9.99 for a cafe sandwich and 4 macaron’s of your choice. :::swoon:::
This place, Mille-Feuille Bakery and Cafe, just happens to have quite amazing macaron’s. And the sandwich was pretty good too. $10 is sadly pretty typical for lunch in NYC, but to get a bonus pack of macaron’s is like my dream come true. Seriously, I’ve had dreams about macaron’s.
The cafe sandwich I ordered, the ‘Le Nicois’, might look sort of ordinary but it was definitely extra. Ordinary that is.
Served on rosemary olive oil bread (sort of a foccacia-French hybrid), the tender white tuna was really the star. It was further highlighted with accompaniments of the typical Nicois variety: kalamata olives, capers, parsley, red onions, red peppers, hard boiled eggs, olive oil and one surprise condiment – creme fraiche. The creme fraiche did an amazing job of bringing the whole sandwich together and really gave it a dreamy and luxurious quality.
The macaron’s I chose to cap off my meal were: rose, coconut, chocolate, and pistachio.
The rose macaron had the most delicate of flavors, in fact I almost missed it entirely and was about to write it off as a vanilla buttercream tinted pink. But upon further concentration, I noticed the sweet floral quality, which was more of an aroma than a taste, in the back of my mouth. Very interesting.
The chocolate had a nice, albeit expected flavor. The coconut I offered to my office-mate, so I’ll report back on that one next time. The pistachio though – oh my sweet, delicious pistachio. This little nugget of airy, green-dyed, sweet goodness packed a punch of flavor that I was not expecting. True, it was a little heartier to the palate than the traditional French macaron (which is supposed to collapse in your mouth upon contact). But that variation definitely did not make it any worse, just different. And holy buttercream, was this one good and different.
After this lunch experience, I’ve decided that I might just have to pick up another quest to explore in parallel to my croissant-seeking one. That of finding the greatest French macaron in New York City. A lofty goal, but I think I’m up for the challenge. 😉 Especially when the New York Times gave me a such a great head start!