NYC: A Million Macarons. Hello, Ladurée!

[photo from Robyn]

Ladurée is here! In NYC! At last. It was so odd and yet exciting to see the popular French macaron parlor right here on Madison Avenue. To report back for Serious Eats, I visited the macaron haven with Robyn early this morning. It’s just one bus ride from my apartment, pretty convenient. As the bus passed 57th Street and approached the high 60s I started to spot more and more Asian Females. Should have figured they were all, and I really do mean all, heading to Ladurée, heheh.

Robyn snapped the above photo, caught me leaning against the doors. Silk navy dress and flats, an always reliable outfit. The woman I was chatting with works with Ladurée, and had a seriously awesome dress and heels. I’d love to pull off bright colors like her, but in the end darker shades seem to work best on me. Some things you can’t change ;)

There were a million macarons and what seemed like a million people in line, but surprisingly enough, zero chaos. Everyone was on their best behavior! Ahh that must be The Power of Macarons, wouldn’t you say?

I mentioned favorites, must-get flavors in the post: dreams of pistachio, vanilla, rose petals, a salty caramel, strawberry and mint, and green apple (a seasonal flavor).

There were madelines and financiers, my two favorite types of baked goods on the planet. These were nutty, butter-rich bites. All golden you see, a slight crunch at the very edge, and complete with that perfect madeline hump.

And there was ice cream too! In fact, ice cream and sorbets. Think salted caramel, coffee, pistachio, apricot, and of course, strawberry sorbet.

We got to meet Ladurée’s chairman, David Holder, who shared some tidbits with us:

Macaron à la réglisse aka the Licorice Macaron is the one flavor they won’t sell in the US. Why? Because the FDA didn’t approve, crazy.

– There will be one exclusive NYC macaron flavor: CinnamonRaisin. It debuts on September 8th, 2011 (in junction with Fashion’s Night Out)

– Ladurée will open a tea salon in the Soho or Village area next spring. The tea salon will have a full kitchen, and that’s when they’ll start baking pastries. Hello, Ispahan!

[photo from Robyn]

You can recognize green and gold Ladurée shopping bags a million miles away. Talk about brilliant branding strategies, it’s the kind of shopping bag you’ll fold up nicely and keep to reuse over and over again. Until there are so many wrinkles, and maybe a hole. And then that’s just another excuse to return for more macarons (and shopping bags!)


864 Madison Ave

New York, NY 10021

(646) 558-3157

NYC: A Tiny Tea Set: Spicy Chas-Chas and Rooibos

A sweet and simple tea set before I head to the opening of Ladurée‘s newest location on Madison Ave (ahh so excited!!). It’s but a few blocks south of Lady M – home to the mille-crepe and my favorite cake boutique in the city. And then. Only a matter of time before Pierre Hermé opens here, and man when that happens…

Can you imagine life with macarons and mille-feuille every day? Salted caramel glacé and ispahans just a cab ride away? Until then, hot cup of rooibos, sugar on the side, and trio of Cha-Chas from Lark Fine Foods. I wrote about these on Serious Eats last year. Perfectly round cocoa cookies with a whip of cayenne lingering on the tongue. Spicy!

Espresso Cups, Reversed: Anish Kapoor for Illy

May I interest you in morning espresso*?

I’ve been told it makes mornings all the more bearable. A bright and elegant start for hectic weeks. Or even better, a smooth beginning to a day of nothing but relaxation.

These espresso cups come from the new Anish Kapoor collection for Illy, the Italian espresso and coffee brand. A longtime resident of London, the Bombay-born designer wanted to answer the question of: ‘what do I see when I look into a hole?

And the answer was turned into an espresso cup, commanding themes of mystery, ambivalence, surprise, doubt, error, and desire to understand.

They come as a pair, a limited edition set, a modern twist on the classic. The cup and saucer exterior is kept simple, pure white and the interior is lined in platinum (handle carefully, fingerprints on metal drive me nuts ;). For a real surprise, lift up the cup to find a hole in the saucer!

Use as a traditional espresso cup – saucer on the bottom…or…reverse. Place the saucer with a hole on top of the cup and watch the steam come up. Not necessarily functional until you remove the saucer, but utterly gorgeous. After all, this is about the art, and if you’ve seen Kapoor’s larger than life monochromatic works, this is like a miniature sculpture for the home. But do we use it for the breakfast table or art display shelf? I say both!

*In the evenings, replace espresso with a heady shot of hot chocolate and whipped cream

NYC: Cleaning House and Little Treasures

Hurricane Irene came and went, and aside from lots of rain/wind we are left with six types of cheese, two baguettes, and three containers of banana pudding. We did however – with the help of friends who evacuated Tribeca, finish all the wine ;)

With little else to do on Saturday afternoon but wait for the hurricane and guests to arrive, I cleaned the apartment. Like a real deep clean. All the nooks and crannies, even the bottom of the fridge and back of the pantry. Dusted off all the dvds, re-organized the closest, and found a few little treasures along the way, including…

…a box full of old planners and notebooks from the past few years. It’s strangely rewarding to be able to pull out the 2008 or ’07 or ’06 planner and figure out exactly what I did (or sometimes, even ate!) on that specific day.

Underneath the bed, tucked into a canvas bag inside a blue bag within a black suitcase was a silky grey and pink Hermès scarf I had written off as either lost or stolen a few months ago. So relieved to “rediscover” the scarf, perfect in time for the fall season.

Shoeboxes packed with Hawai’i photos, family, friends, vacations and one of Buddy at grandma’s house. I mounted these photos on my bedroom wall when Shann, Steph, Darien and I lived together in the 13th Street apartment. Ahh, that seems so long ago…

Had a chance to finally group together all my Paris-related books. Most are about food, a few are about style, and Elaine Sciolino’s (the Paris correspondent for the New York Times) La Seduction: How the French Play the Game of Life is a must-read about French culture and how they use “the art of seduction” in everything from politics to food, business, and of course, clothing. Next on the reading list is My Little Paris which Carol blogged about the other day.

[Not to get off subject, but Elaine also just penned an NYT article on All the Tea in Paris – perfect if you’re a tea lover heading (or even not heading) to Paris!]

From top to bottom: Patisseries of Paris, Clotilde’s Edible Adventures in Paris,, The Sweet Life in Paris, La Seduction, and Parisian Chic.

I received these little perfume bottles in the winter of 2007 and haven’t been able to part with them. They were special previews from a dinner I attended at Payard’s (when the Madison location was still open), but I don’t believe they ever made it into production. Save for bergamot, the scents themselves are overwhelming. But I love the bottles and how they fit – alongside an antique bottle from Steph, so nicely into an old chocolate box.

That’s Saturday afternoon for you :) Our friends showed up just before 7pm and we had a rather nice evening/sleepover of movies, wine, pasta dinner – Ben made a killer, extra garlicky penne arrabbiata, followed by cookies and cocktails, then a cheese plate. Hooray for oozy, buttery triple-crème goat cheeses!

NYC: Friday Afternoon Tea

Friday afternoon means slipping into a grey summer dress, a new issue of Travel + Leisure, warming cups of Oasis – citrus green tea from Tea Forté, and butter cookies by Yoku Moku. Rock sugar sticks in Amber and Saffron are seriously pretty, I could stare at them for hours before a spin in the tea cup. Just half an hour of relaxation makes all the difference in a day. Treat yourself well. A few weeks ago, I re-started yoga after two years of no workouts. As much as I’ve tried to avoid exercise, there’s no denying that it makes a pretty noticeable difference, more mentally than physically. Now the hard part: mustering the discipline to continue this on a regular schedule!

Earthquake on Tuesday, Hurricane Irene this weekend…what is the world coming to? I stopped by Whole Foods today and it was mayhem. People hoarding canned goods, water…the chip/cracker shelves were totally empty. Stocked up on cheese and baguettes and those addictive samosas from the by-the-pound station..and then someone rolled their cart over my foot not twice, but three times. Goodness.

Happy Friday :)