"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Thursday, October 14, 2010

MacarOn - October 13, 2010

Trying out a new macaron is very similar to a first date: You think about it, you adore it, you dream about it, then you approach it and you finally get to taste it.  And sadly as it is with a first date, it often does not lead to a second date.

The first thing that usually catches your attention on a first date is, of course, the appearance: I am not saying a love-at-first-sight, but least, it cannot be a repulsion-at-first-sight, can it? The shells were smooth with the regularly jagged sides - so far so good, as a well-dressed macaron should be. However, the encounter began to go downhill by the second glance: The macarons were too big, americanized and larger than the ideal, based on Sadaharu Aoki, Pierre Hermé and Ladurée - The Big Three, by about one-fourth of an inch in diameter. I am not following the Big Three in blind faith; the reason that all of their macarons are similarly-sized is because it is the right size - enough to allow you to enjoy the texture and savor the filling without being overwhelming; and with the flavor lingering, you yearn for one more. Taking the third glance, the date had seriously turned sour due to, what else, the thin, too thin, layer of filling.

Now you had a largely-proportioned date in your hands, and you gingerly came closer for greeting the macarons: "Oh, something smells bad." Surreptitiously checking the surroundings, you had realized it was actually a greasy smell, like stale fried food, and it happened to emanate from the very macarons.  My mind was stuck dumb:  "Why?" There is sbsolutely no reason tthat he macarons should have smelled greasy:  While a macaron is not exactly a low-calorie confection, at least, it is fat-free for the shell part; the fillings can be completely full-fat, depending on whether it is ganache, jam or butter cream, but there is no oil involved anywhere.  Even before testing out the taste, I already wanted to go home. 

Suspiciously, I took the first bite; due to the thickness of the shells, my teeth sank and sank and sank...cracking the crunchy outer layer then to the chewy, very chewy, interior. In terms of texture, this belongs to the Ladurée school - chewier and harder than the airy Pierre Hermé (I am surprised that while some are able to correctly cite to these two as the best macarons, all have failed to point out their differences). Had the size of this macarOn been smaller and thinner, the crunchy crust and the chewy interior could have almost resembled the denser Ladurée. However, size matters; not everything is bigger the better. Ladurée's shells are good because of its dynamite intensity: Crunch, an explosion of flavor, chew and chew and it is gone. On the other hand, you could be chewing for eternity, and this macarOn would still obstinately cling to your mouth.

Over-eager to take the best of two worlds, without the necessary skills, the filling leaned toward the Pierre Hermé school's whipped creaminess. Pierre Hermé's rose macarons are sheer perfection: The crisp outer thin layer of the macaron crumbles at the first touch to reveal angelically airy interior; and at this point, the whole macaron is tumbling down to a sublime crescendo - the purity of the filling expands like the Big Ban in your mouth. Ahhh... Well, this macaron? It is a mere shadow of Pierre Hermé: perhaps more like a shadow of a shadow.

Green Tea
One sentence should suffice: Was this green tea or green food coloring? (Hint: The latter is the answer.)  No, allow me to pronounce a very basic rule:  Do not use an ingredient if you do not know how to use it; and least of all, if you do not know what it tastes like.

This was the only filling they got right; simply because it was raspberry jam.  It was good jam, but, did they actually make the jam?  Based on their track record, I would seek to give the credits elsewhere.

There can be something said about "names": If you can name something very important, such as, a macaron shop (or a child), what would you name it? Let us take a person, after all, names can make or unmake a person, or at least to a certain degree, predestine the path of a person: For example, how do you think a child named "Devil" is going to grow up? (No, I am not joking; although the government refused to accept the name in the end.) A name can be a significant part of a being; therefore, Chinese pour over the strokes and meanings of each character, and American Indians refuse to disclose their "real" names. What can then be said about the name, "MacarOn"? Is it an effort to educate America how to properly pronounce "macaron" with the unpronounceable guttural "r"? However, if that was the case, it should have been "MacaRon" rather than a capitalized "O." Why do I keep going on about the name? Because I cannot recall ever having decent food in a ridiculously named place. When you name something, it shows the world what you are made of, does it not?

In any event, next, please!

MacarOn Cafe
Address: 625 Madison Ave. (between Park Ave & Madison Ave), New York, NY 10022
Phone:  (212) 486-2470 (But, do you really want to call?)

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