Review: Macaron Day 2011

21 Mar

Coincidentally, this post follows my homemade macaron post. According to the website, Macaron Day coincides with Jour du Macaron in Paris, created by la Maison Pierre Hermé. I forgot to mention that a percentage of the proceeds went to City Harvest. So it was for a good cause. Plus, I had never participated in Macaron Day before, so I was super excited to go!

Since there are a bunch of places in Manhattan, I looked up all the cross streets of each participating store, then printed it out, since I was not blessed with the gift of being good at directions. My friend Ryann and I made our way through a few places on the Lower East Side, then met up with our other friend Eun for the rest.

Though Sunday’s weather was not as amazing as it was on Friday, it was still very sunny! I really enjoyed walking around the city and not feeling like I had to rush to get somewhere. More details on which macarons I was able to gobble up, after the jump!

#1: Bisous Ciao (101 Stanton St.)
Our first stop was Bisous Ciao. I was really excited about going to this store because Dan got me macarons from here and I was hooked ever since!

Each store gets to decide that they want to give out, which is fair. Bisous Ciao made a special macaron just for Macaron Day. The Macaron Day special was salted caramel with a dark chocolate filling. It also had a cute little imprint of lips on them! The kind store owners warned us that we should wait for it to warm up a little bit but who has that kind of time? The  egg white texture was perfect, though I would have preferred a stronger salted caramel flavor.

Before we consumed any more macarons, we wanted to eat a real lunch. Ryann and I shared a banh mi sandwich and beef Pho at a random small Vietnamese restaurant on 1st St and 2nd Ave. The pork banh mi was delicious ($4) but their beef Pho definitely needed a more complex flavor ($7). (I just tried looking it up but couldn’t find the restaurant name. Sorry!)

#2 COURS La REINE (50 Bond St.)
Our next stop was Cours La Reine. The funny thing is, when we got there, I thought I had the wrong address, only because it was a hair salon! But once we stepped in, my feelings of discomfort faded as these beautiful macarons greeted me. (If I can eat banh mi sandwiches from back of a jewelry store, why not macarons at a hair salon?) I overheard a woman say these were better than the ones from Laudree, so that raised my expectations!

We got to choose a flavor we wanted, so I went with the Grand Marnier + Saint Helena Café flavor, while Ryann tried the Pomegranate + Pur Caraibe Dark kind. The Grand Marnier macaron was excellent, though the pomegranate one was better! I got a burst of pomegranate flavor, which was perfect with the dark chocolate.

At this point, we were hankering for some macaron and coffee action, so we went to ThinkCoffee and chilled there for a bit, waiting for Eun to come.

#3 Dessert Truck Works (6 Clinton St.)

Located two doors down from the famous Clinton St. Bakery (by the way, is it THAT good?), Dessert Truck Works was our next stop. There were about 10 people in front of us. An employee came out and told us that we would be the last people they could serve, since they were almost out of macarons. Whew! Eun ordered the goat cheese cheesecake to go, but I didn’t taste it.

This was the first time I had banana shaped/flavored macaron, with a caramel filling. I did not enjoy the fake banana flavor or heavy texture of the macaron. The caramel was overwhelmingly sweet.

#4 Jacques Torres Chocolate (350 Hudson St.)
By this time, it was almost 5 pm, so we knew that a lot of the stores would be running out of macarons. We decided to drive over to our last location, which was located all the way downtown. It seemed a bit odd that they would be located in such an isolated neighborhood. But upon closer inspection, we realized that the space was enormous! There was some sort of meet up going on when we walked in.

When we asked the woman behind the counter for macarons, she chuckled, saying that they ran out of the free ones at 11:30 am! “Things that are free in New York go fast.” No truer words have been spoken.

Each of us bought something anyway, since we were already there. Ryann and Eun each had a famous chocolate chip cookie (though not warm). I tried one of Eun’s macarons that she purchased – lemon filled with buttercream. I could taste the lemon zest and the cookie was perfectly done – chewy on the inside and hard on the outside. Delicious! I purchased 72% dark chocolate chips to make my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Macaron Day 2011 was a success, in my opinion, though I didn’t get to visit all of the places on the list. After seeing how difficult they are to get right, I have a new-found appreciation for those who can make macarons well.  I’m thankful that I got to indulge in some free macarons and enjoy a leisurely Sunday with friends. Thanks to Ryann and Eun for coming with me! :)

Bisous Ciao on Urbanspoon

Dessert Truck Works on Urbanspoon

Jacques Torres Chocolate on Urbanspoon

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  • http://www.cookingforone.tv jiji

    The macaron with the kiss on it is too cute! Any updates on the pho/bahn mi place in the east village? i live in the neighborhood and usually go to nicky’s so would love any new recs.

  • http://www.ambitiousdeliciousness.com Esther

    I’m convinced that the place was new, because it had those colorful plastic flags on top! It’s not listed on any websites. =( I want to say the restaurant was called Nam Restaurant or something, with a yellow awning! It’s small but they have table service. They have regular square tables and also high circular high tops.

    Hope I can go back and get the name soon!

  • Ryannkim

    I think the place was called Va-Viet. Definitely VA in the beginning of the name. It was SO fun sharing this experience with you :)

  • http://thoughtfulplate.wordpress.com kim

    I think you’re the restaurant is called V Nam Cafe.

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/v-nam-cafe-manhattan

  • http://www.ambitiousdeliciousness.com Esther

    YOU’RE RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you so much! =) It was bothering me for the past week. hahaha.

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