Cross posted on Pinay Francophile
I was walking down 74th Street towards Lexington to get my ride back to the office. I took my time since I had already taken the morning off and it was just after 11AM. I figured I had enough time to grab lunch, bring it to work, and then settle down.
This part of the Upper East side is pretty posh. It was a mildly cold day, the sun was out — a perfect day to take a stroll. If only my right arm wasn’t bothering me — I would’ve brought my camera and snapped away again. So I entered one fancy deli which showed their own cheese selection on one side, gourmet goodies like jams and exotic sardines and capers, fancy salads and a variety of lasagnas and quiches. There was a chiller full of ready made sandwiches that showed turkey with brie, egg salad with dijon mustard — I just couldn’t make up my mind. I walked out past the line for the cashier and stepped back onto 74th. Turning right on Lexington, I scoured the horizon for a deli and found several choices, but before I could make up my mind, I saw the bus stop. I decided to make my way there while mulling about the choices and I saw a comely window with Patisserie painted on it. It was a bistro type facade with French doors (what else?!) — and I thought I’d be adventurous and walk in.
I was greeted by coffee tables full of people having a late breakfast, and to the left was a dessert display that was just candy for the eyes! There was a variety of sandwiches, too, and I settled for a Croque Monsieur with Bechamel sauce — the French version of your ham and cheese sandwich with a twist — and I picked out two pastries to go with it. I picked out a coffee eclair and a second pastry I failed to get the complete name of, but which I attempted to pronounce in French, and with success at that according to the manager behind the counter.
As the gentleman was trying to put together my order, I casually asked him if they made macarrons and lo and behold, he signalled to the other side of the dining room where they were, next to the gourmet chocolate chiller. Macarrons in New York courtesy of Chef Francois Payard. I asked to have 6 pieces placed in my bag, and as I walked over to choose the flavors, a tray full of the goodies was there for the taking to taste! I sampled the coffee and passion fruit, (yes, I was greedy! LOL). Payard is a distinguished name in its field here in New York, and they definitely measured up to my beloved Laduree. I remember way back in March of last year when I first wrote about the macarons of Laduree, a fellow pinoy from LA wrote me about his favorite patisseries here in New York and how he had such a sweet tooth — and that Payard was a favorite stop of his, but alas, no macarons..! I immediately e-mailed Manny this morning (even before I could draft a blog post) to let him know that Payard now had macarons.
The texture and flavor was fantastic — your teeth literally sunk into the cream filling between the soft cookies, and I couldn’t wait to tell Alan I discovered macarrons in New York.. I left the patisserie telling the lady who put my macarrons in a small box that I’m very happy to have made this discovery — like a young girl walking into American Girl Place, for sure! And the best thing about it was that it was cheaper than Ladurees — Euro to dollar that is.. with Payard’s selling at $1.60 (but soon to go up to $1.70 in a few days, I heard) — compared to Laduree’s which costs over One Euro each, and I know the last time we bought it came to something like over $2.00 a piece. (Bizu’s comes to just over a $1.00 but that’s Manila..)
We are already planning to have dinner at Payard’s and in their mediterranean restaurant in midtown called IN TENT where the Executie Pastry chef is Fellow Pinoy Eric Estrella. Meanwhile, I’m planning another stopover there when I pick up my visa in two weeks time.