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Sandwiched.

Finally – shorts/skirt/dress weather has arrived!

69 degrees and rising

Even better, Saturday was Macaron Day!  13 different bakeries around New York were offering free macarons, which are two cookies (made of almond powder, sugar and egg whites) hugging a filling.  Being the lover of all things sweet and all, there was no way I was missing out on the goodness.  So, we ventured out.  With no particular order or route in mind, we walked from Grand Central to La Maison du Chocolat by the Rockefeller Center and picked up our first macarons of the day.

Beautifully packaged hazelnut macaron

Delicious, as always.  Thick ganache sandwiched between the two airy cookies.

We wavered between going east or west, and ended up decided to go east first.  Next up were Mad-Mac macarons at La Bernardaud on Park Ave.  The store had a beautiful display of colorful macarons all set up.  I was surprised that no one else was in the store taking advantage of the tasty little goodies.  The hard part was decided which flavors to get.  We ended up choosing lemon and pistachio.

Pistachio on the left, lemon on the right

Pistachio on the left, lemon on the right

Mad Mac makes good macarons, though the flavors were somewhat muted.  The lemon macaron wasn’t particularly lemon-y.  I think I enjoyed the pistachio better.  Good ratio of cookie to filling.

And then it was a few blocks west and a few blocks north to F.C. Chocolate Bar, which was located on the top floor of Mauboussin, a jewelry store filled with lots and lots of diamonds.  Definitely not within my price range.

The macarons were lovely however, perhaps the favorite of the day.

Exotic options

The passion fruit ganache caught my eye, and the lady behind the counter said that the yuzu citrus ganache was particularly delicious – and so our decisions were made.

Yuzu on left, passionfruit on right

Isn't that beautiful?

The cookie was moist and light (and plentiful) – and the ganache was quite flavorful (citrus taste was there, but not overwhelmingly so).

After all that goodness, we opted to take a slight detour through Central Park (and thus missing out on a few more locations on the Upper East Side).  There were people sunbathing in swimming suits…near the ice skating rink filled with skaters.  Quite the juxtaposition.

And too soon, we had reached Columbus Circle.  Bouchon Bakery!  But first, a pit stop at Godiva for a Cheesecake truffle.  Mmm – the cheesecake filling could have used more cheesecake flavor, but the texture was just right.

From Bouchon, we chose caramel and raspberry macarons (tiny versions of the ones in the display case).  We also picked up a croissant, whose taste failed to match its looks.  Large in size and buttery in taste, but lacked the shatter or depth in flavor of some other croissants I’ve had (e.g. Almondine…mmmm).  The macarons were – well, they were too small for me to make any real judgment.

Raspberry on the left, caramel on the right

With the day so nice, we decided to walk over to Sullivan Street Bakery.  Which turned out to be further west than we initially thought.  Completely worth it though.

Picked up a ciabatta loaf and a small roll with olives studded throughout.

Olive roll

The texture! The crumb! The crust!

We munched on the olive roll as we walked down 9th Ave.  And I believe the words, “They make WONDERFUL bread,” at least ten times before we had even meandered ten blocks.  At least one exclamation after every bite.  The bread was delicious – the crust was thin and crackly, yet the crumb was moist and slightly chewy.  The olives were a great touch – and much welcomed after all the sugar from the macarons.

The sugar and the salt and the sun made me thirsty.  Remembering from my Lehman days that a 7-11 was right around the area, I decided a Slurpee was in order.

Apple mango

Definitely not something I would drink frequently, but I appreciated the iciness of it all.

Macaron Cafe on 36th was the next stop on the tour.  We’d been there once before and had enjoyed the macarons.  This time, the lady gave us each a vanilla macaron in a pretty plastic bag.

We were a little macaron-ed out for the moment, so we saved them for later and moved on to the next location.  Which happened to be La Maison du Chocolat again, this time in the lobby of the Empire State building.  Interestingly, that was the first time I’ve stepped into the building.  Nothing could make me want to brave those crowds…except for the lure of macarons.  Surprisingly, the chocolate store was completely empty, and we chatted awhile with the two men behind the counter.  One of whom had the most adorable French accent.  After saying goodbye, we marched down 5th Avenue until we hit 23rd.

Unfortunately, Madeleine Patisserie was out for the day.  Not ones to be deterred, we continued onwards toward the last macaron stop of the day: L.A. Burdick.  The little store was bustling, and the people behind the counter was extremely friendly.  We picked up two ginger macarons, and a free soda as well.  (Not just any soda either, but some fancy French soda.  In fact, I’m drinking it as I type.)  Must go back there – they had the most wonderful display of pastries and chocolates, but I was too full from macarons to partake.

And the macaron part of the day was over.  Well, except for the fact that we had saved one macaron from each place – so 7 macarons were currently residing in my bag.  (There’s now only one left…)

Next destination: farmers market.  Apples and carrots were among the products we picked up.  Then lastly, Whole Foods on Bowery for branzino (which J broiled for dinner), clams, Turkish apricots, and some other stuff.  And where I picked up samples of pretzels.  Like three times.  I couldn’t help it.  My body needed salt after all that sugah.

And then it was back home for dinner.

Clam and tofu soup, the brazino, and cabbage.  Accompanied by the ciabatta loaf.  Mmm…

Caught up on Modern Family during dinner…and then a few episodes of Entourage.  Tried to read a little See-fuh, but pretty much failed.

Wow – that was the longest post ever.  Today’s update still to come!

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