Address: 132 west 23rd Street, New York (btw 6th and 7th avenue)
Macarons, the ever so popular French cookies actually originated from Italy and was introduced to France as an almond meringue type cookies similar to amaretti. This beloved French dessert was brought over to France in 1553, and made seriously popular worldwide by Pierre Desfontaines Ladurée, cousin of Ladurée founder Louis Ernest Ladurée, when he brilliantly created French macarons with two macaron shells joined together sandwiching the ganache filling. Macarons with vibrant, pretty colors are also Ladurée signature.
Now my box of macarons was not from Ladurée, it was from Madeleine Patisserie in Chelsea. You wouldn't believe me if I told you I went to Ladurée at Champs Elysee in 2006 without trying their famous macarons, only to fall in love with macarons after eating one at Stohrer in Les Halles Paris. I finally tasted some Ladurée macarons when Nan brought home some from Paris, and they were heavenly - chewy, crunchy, perfect!
Madeleine Patisserie has an impressive collection of macaron flavors, but the meringe is not as soft and chewy as I would like. They offer classic macaron flavors such as pistachio, chocolate, caramel as well as more exotic flavors such as pear brandy, lemon espresso, sangria. Chocolate Eclair there is pretty nice as well.
Now that I've tried macarons at Madeleine Patisserie, Bouchon Bakery and Cha An, next stop will be Payard, Cafe Macaron and all the other participants of Macaron Day NYC 2010!
Address: 31 West 17th Street, New York, NY
Phone: 212- 675-7223
George Mendes is no doubt one of the hottest (and hottest looking) chefs in New York right now. Armed with impressive culinary training with legendary chefs such as David Bouley, Alain Passard, Roger Vergé, Alain Ducasse, Martín Berasategui (of San Sebastian!), the talented young Portuguese American chef has been creating buzz around town since he left Tocqueville and opened his own Iberian/Portuguese restaurant, Aldea in Spring last year.
After reading about the restaurant's attractive lunch deal at serious eats website, I gathered an army of male yaokuis and we marched to Aldea on a beautiful good friday afternoon to enjoy its sweet $24.10 lunch deal. I was not disappointed, and I'm pretty sure the boys were equally happy as well. The lunch menu was short and simple, with a good selections of appetizers, entrees and desserts, and you can go with prix fix or ala carte. We ordered Jamon Iberico, Jamon Serrano, Mussel Soup, Potato Soup, Skate Ala Plantxa and Arroz de pato etc. I'm a soup person, so I really enjoyed the mussel soup and potato soup. Arroz de pato, which is a rice dish with all the good stuffs such as chorizo, duck confit and cracklings on it was also the crowd pleaser. Skate a la plantxa was done nicely as well.
Aldea is perhaps one of the more exciting restaurants to have opened in NYC lately; it has a lot of potential. It also reminded me of the Alkimia or the Arzak/Mugaritz of Barcelona and San Sebastian. with less emphasis on the science of molecular gastronomy. I like this place, I really do and I can't wait to return for more good modern Iberian/Portuguese food!
*photos taken with iphone