Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Always an event

I had a long and difficult week, so I decided to treat myself to a late lunch at Woo Chon, one of my favorite Korean places in Manhattan. The meal was lovely - Bibimbab and all the kimchi I could eat. After mastering the art of smartphone and chopsticks, I headed down W 36th on my way to Penn Station when a sign with a very French looking O caught my eye. Koreatown had morphed into the Fashion District, and there, amongst papier mache creatures from dreams, stood a pastry case with fresh made macarons.

My love for macarons has been discussed. The shop is tiny, decked out in pastels, but still finds a way to have a full sandwich menu. The macarons are $1.95 each, and are also sold in boxes. There are a few places to sit, but I decided to just get some to go.

As I pored over the contents of the case, the women behind the counter gave one of their regulars an impromptu French lesson. I chose a poppy seed macaron (bright red, of course, and decorated with actual poppy seeds) and an orange blossom macaron (light yellow on one side, orange on the other). As I was about to pay, I noticed one of the servers was taking the time to curl the ribbon she had diligently placed on top of my small cellophane bag. While I fished for my wallet, I asked her not to bother - they would surely be gone way before I made it down 8th Avenue. "I am going to eat them!" "Well, yes, madame, that is what everyone does." "I mean they are for me, not pour ouffrir" (ah, my rustier by the day French!) She put the finishing touches on her bow and as she hands them to me says, "Here Madame, enjoy. A gift for yourself."

But of course. I should know better than to tell a French woman food is not an event. Had I not seen the "Macarons are Glutten Free" sign by the door, I would have felt very much removed from New York.

The macarons were fresh, fragrant, and as delicious as they were pretty. The poppy seed one, as much as I relate the poppy seed to Eastern European cooking, struck me as quintessentially American - direct and playful. Once DC gets over its cupcake craze, we can get started on these.

Macaron Café
161 West 36th Street
New York, NY 10018
T/F (212) 564-3525

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