Tue Aug 12 2008
Photograph: Sasha Benjamin
It’s hard to find a good macaron in New York. No, not a macaroon, that dense coconut confection; what I look for are the small, airy French delicacies in which two almond-based meringues hold a creamy, chocolate- or fruit-flavored center. There’s something incredibly satisfying about feeling the thin shell of the tender biscuit give way to reveal a moist, lush core. Two bites, and it’s gone. I used to trek to Payard Pâtisserie & Bistro (1032 Lexington Ave between 73rd and 74th Sts, 212-717-5252) for my fix, but unfortunately for both my waistline and my wallet, a few blocks from the TONY office I found Macaron Café (161 W 36th St between Broadway and Seventh Ave, 646-573-5048), and have become a repeat customer. Every day, chef-owner Cécile Cannone puts out macarons in 15 or so flavors; she has about 70 different kinds under her belt, with classics such as vanilla sharing shelf space with experiments like violet, poppy and Toblerone ($1.75 each). Me, I crave the basic raspberry and pistachio, though the deceptively named white-chocolate macaron—with an Oreo-dark chocolate meringue—is particularly addictive. Bowing to its host country, Macaron Café also offers a peanut-butter version (meh), as well as something called the Big Mac: Two oversize cookie “buns,” complete with sesame seeds, hold a chocolate ganache “patty” with strawberry slices and mint. So it’s a bit on the heavy side—we’re indulging in Yankee tastes here—but I like to think of it as a perfect symbol of Franco-American cooperation.