All this buzz about Macarrons

21Jan09 062 21Jan09 048 21Jan09 046 21Jan09 023 21Jan09 022

No, that is not a typo up there — I meant to say “buzz” not “fuss”. 

People who are not familiar with the Pinay New Yorker’s being a Pinay Francophile as well will probably get lost in the thread of this conversation, but if you ever get the chance to sample Macarrons (NOT Coconut macaroons) — it is well worth the expense.  They are pricey not because they’re French but because making them takes some expertise and a whole lot of love.  (Believe me, I’ve tried, and they are not as easy as making your regular choco chip cookies.)

I got my Laduree fix when Alan brought home a box over the weekend (which are all gone by now of course) — the macarrons don’t keep long and are best eaten fresh for two reasons: the texture of the cookie is best when it is fresh and your teeth will literally sink into it when you take a bite.  Secondly, the filling is usually buttercream (unless it’s a fruit variation although that is rare.  I have seen this only with the Laduree varieties)  – in which case you have to take into consideration how long the egg component stays fresh, usually 3-4 days.

Heavenly!  Everytime I come across a French pattiserie, I watch out for this delicacy.  I am so sad that Fauchon closed their Park Avenue shop where they had quite a good selection of flavors.  There is still Payard which I had passed last Sunday on the way to Whitney with friends Gedd and Jelaine (and they actually ship!), and Bouchon Bakery over at the Time Warner Center over at Columbus Circle.  Recent discovery: Le Maison du Chocolat over at Rockefeller Center offers them as well albeit a little too pricey at 6 tiny ones for $30. (! — And I just discovered they have two other branches — on Madison Avenue and down at Wall Street). 

Even during the Christmas 2007 trip to Brussels, I had to stop by a branch of PAUL when I saw a branch in one of the streets around the Grand Place — they were the mini-sandwich size macarrons and available only in 2 varieties but hey, a macarron is a macarron is a macarron.

Each bite brings me back to Paris — and makes me want to go back again.  Hopefully soon. 

Blogging as the sun starts to rise..

I would normally be puttering around the kitchen just around this time but I did that an hour earlier when the boy woke me up.  (How lucky can I get?  I have a living alarm clock who will not take no for an answer when he asks Mommy to get up.. and he doesn’t have a snooze button..)  In fact, I’m already enjoying a hot mug of coffee as I try to decide if it’ll be cereal or a cheese sandwich for breakfast for me.  (The tyke is busy watching Noggin and is feeling a bit under the weather — so miraculously, he doesn’t seem to have an appetite this morning.. or then again, he might be stalling taking medicines as he knows I need to feed him first before I give him anything… hmmmm…)

It’s quarter to seven yet it looks like it’s the crack of dawn as the dark blue is slowly changing hues outside.  It’s supposed to be the best day of the week which will see unusually warmer (although still cold) weather — even for just a day.  I was supposed to go to school to join Angelo’s Pre-K class in their Chinese New Year celebration, but he’s teetering on the verge of a slight fever, so I think I’ll spare the other kids the danger of contamination.  Besides, the way he’s coughing, I don’t think a walk through the semi-freezing temperatures outside would help.  He’s staying home.  As for me, that provides me a good excuse to stay home, too, but there is much too much work to be done.  I will just leave early. 

Alan is coming home from Paris tonight.  It’s been a week and Angelo and I miss him terribly.  As I told him in jest, “Walang makulit sa bahay.”  No one is tailing me in the kitchen wiping and cleaning behind me as I cook.  I actually miss preparing breakfast for him every morning like I do.  (“Iced or hot coffee?”)  And while I enjoy walking Angelo to school, it can be quite a chore when you have to do it all week.  Of course we’re looking forward to our goodies, but just having him here again is enough.  I still can’t get used to these business trips — although I cope better now (I used to have such difficulty sleeping when he wasn’t sleeping next to me), I still wish he wasn’t away for so long.  But he’ll be back tonight so that’s reason enough for me to smile this morning (and to start blogging.)

So it’s Friday… yipee!  My favorite part of the week — looking forward to “no school, no work” as Angelo would excitedly say when he realizes it’s the weekend.   I remember that not so long ago, I used to look forward to weekends for the “gimmick” time.  Family changes all that.. It has redefined what “gimmick” is to us three.

Feedback Incognito: Did you say macarrons?

I have a rule here on my corner of the blogsphere that I will not publish comments that do not have a working e-mail nor a URL for me to track back to but there will always be exceptions to the rule and this will have to be one of them.  Well, first of all, it wasn’t posted as a comment.  I received a message from a member of this community although it appears now she created the profile to be able to send that message. 

“I never do this, but I had to write. So here I am, a Filipina-American female lawyer living in Chicago – but who use to live and practice in NYC – and googling late at night, when I came across your blog. And what was I googling? Not filipinas living in New York or anything that would reasonably lead me to your blog. No, I was trying to figure out – of all things – how the heck to get lavendar macaroons airmailed to me from some patisserie just outside of Giverny and whose name completely escapes me (this led me to Laduree macaroons, and then your blog). In any case, the coincidence was just too ridiculous – that I would be a filipino francophile attorney, missing my family so many miles away, living in a big city, and run into your blog. Thank you for that. Thank you for being a complete stranger but for having a blog that made me – a complete stranger to you – feel suddenly at home, surrounded by friends and even family (your mom sounds like my mom). And thank you for making me feel like I have a kindred spirit. Maybe the world is not so very large after all.”

To which the Pinay New Yorker says: This is one of the unexpected rewards of blogging — knowing that someone actually felt good because of something I wrote.  Thanks for taking the time to let me know. 

As for your macarron fix, I’d go to Payard Bistro (link will open to the specific page for their boxed macarrons) and order a box for shipping.  They don’t have quite as many flavors but the texture and flavor is close to Laduree’s which, to me, is still the best.  (They actually claim to have invented it.)  In the Philippines, Bizu is trying to give Manila a taste of it, and I snapped up some mango and pandan flavored ones — the taste is there but the texture is slightly different because they refrigerate it.  I guess the humidity and heat will not help the macarron to hold its flavor, but it’s a good attempt at it.  I wish Bouchon Bakery would ship but they don’t have an online store.  I tried their macarrons in their Time Warner Center branch over at Columbus Circle just this fall and it took me back to Paris.

I can totally relate to the feeling — pining, wishing for and remembering the taste and the presence of macarrons, food, and most important of all, family.

Again, thanks for visiting.

Such a struggle to get the words out

I have been trying to complete a coherent blog post here the whole week but have been unable to, hence the silence.  I can’t even remember the last thing I successfully wrote about — the server or my internet service provider was not allowing me to open my own blog page.  (Finally did!  I cannot believe my last post was last was…)

So here I am during my mid-weekend (it’s a long weekend for me thanks to Martin Luther King, Jr.) and everything has been done and it’s not even 8:30pm.  The tyke thought he was ready for bed and we even read a bedtime story already, then he said he wanted to watch just a few more shows.  Who am I to refuse on a long weekend?  No school tomorrow.  Plus, it gave me a chance to return to this post.

I’m on solo parenting duty all week because Alan is away on business to Paris.  It was a last minute meeting so I wasn’t able to even think about trying to join him for this trip.  Besides, it’s not the best time to be away on a whim from work right now.  So I had no choice but to just make a list of things I wanted him to bring back home at the end of the week.  (1) Starbucks Eiffel mug — we already have the Paris Arc d’Triomphe; (2) Laduree macarrons (OF COURSE!), (3) Camembert and Raclette cheese, (4) my DUPLO chocolates — easily available from any Monoprix and there’s one walking distance from the hotel, (5) and if I can only find the brand of caramels I so loved but which I had picked up from La Grande Epicerie.  (I would think this would be available at Galleries Lafayette’s Gourmet Store.  I have a few other odds and ends but he’s not optimistic he will get as far as the Boulevard Hausmann so I’m not pushing it. =(

Perhaps in the spring, we can plan a vacation there instead of piggy backing onto a business trip like this one.  I would love to keep going back to Paris but Alan has had enough and would rather bring us to other parts of France.  (Perk of the job — we get free hotel!)  I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will happen eventually.

Now I realize all I needed was the thought of missing out on Paris to get the words going.. ha!  =)  My tyke is asleep in front of the tv now.. time to bring him to the bedroom.  Meanwhile, I have letters (yes, the snail mail kind) and e-mails to write.  There are a ton of pictures from waaaay back to scan.  And then maybe I’ll come back here to write about the things I’ve been struggling to write about lately.

Holiday sale on!

I walked down to the PAPYRUS Store down in Grand Central to pick up a sympathy card for the boss.  How can I resist seeing 70% off screaming atop some of the more elegant (and definitely pricier when bought full price) holiday cards?  It wasn’t so much choosing the better ones but choosing the two boxes I promised to limit myself to before I end up buying a ton!

I vacillated at first because I was sort of hoping to make my holiday cards again in 2009 like I did this year.  (Although I am pinning my hopes on the possibility of spending Christmas 2009 in Manila..)   Then I told myself I can always make my own cards (still) and give these away to my sister who will definitely find good use for them.

Now is the best time to buy gift wrapping paper, holiday cards, winter coats and sweaters galore!  With most items discounted at least 50%, how can you beat that? 

Blogging in stops and starts

I haven’t been here much of late because life has simply taken me over.  I am not too happy that I am not being as prolific posting — but I just haven’t had the time to update my online journal.  Just now, I am seriously being tempted to just stop midsentence and move on to other things.

Could it be the cold weather?  (Excuses, excuses…)  There are just too many things happening around me.  It’s the second work day of the new year and I feel as if I didn’t have the benefit of two successive long weekends. 

Meanwhile, I’m trying to jumpstart my reading (again) which has been on haitus for the last four to six weeks.  I finally found the ideal canvas for a craft experiment I have been itching to launch — but have been unable to for lack of time and focus.  The only constant are the cards I’ve been sending to Pia.  (Reminder to self: mail out this week’s card.) 

I want to write about Ate Lian, my friends from law school, the guys from UP Manila — my batchmates from all those years in St. Paul (Pasig then Quezon City.) — many of whom have resurfaced thanks  to the wonders of technology.  (Are you on Facebook?) 

My bed is calling out to me — but I have to prep the coffeemaker for tomorrow’s brew first.  It’s going to be a busy day.  Beyond work, I need to keep writing and reading and keeping my brain active because sometimes I worry the last eight years have brought them into a state of lethargy.  You sort of get the hint when you find yourself putting on socks that you had taken out for the tyke to wear to school.  (Angelo and I had a good laugh with that, but I wanted to seriously bop myself in the head for getting myself into that situation.)  Twenty minutes to Cinderella time.. let me hit the sack — literally.  There’s tomorrow and the day after to write all that I have been meaning to write — if only I can sit down long enough to create the blogpost.

Greeting cards have all been sent

Part of the reason I love the holidays are the greeting cards that I receive and the ones that I send.  There were times in the past when I would get cards for my whole class.  During law school, I had made cards for everyone by hand.  This year, I decided although rather belatedly to do just that.  The only thing was, I was under time constraint to produce the card so I didn’t get to make as many as I had hoped to.  We did send out the same to friends and family, but I wasn’t able to send out as many as I had hoped to. 

Lesson learned — I should probably start creating the card for 2009 by October.

I am also trying to organize my addressbook.  There is something about reaching out during the holidays that makes it special beyond the Christmas message you send.  For many, it’s the only time that one finds an excuse to pop into the lives of others who are not part of our lives on a regular basis. 

I try not to do it en masse and just send out to a whole slew of friends and acquaintances.  As the years have gone by, I have come to take to heart the words I write in a card.  I try to remember those who remember, and those who are worth remembering.

There were a few that I had meant to send cards to which I still hope to do so with Happy New Year greetings instead of Happy Holidays.  New Year’s wishes should be good for the month of January.  Plus there’s the added effect of actually not coming with the bulk of greetings, and standing out (not just for being late) but for coming when you thought the last ones had arrived.  I am hoping to get that done this week.  There are just people who are worth the effort.

Every year, I tape the cards we receive atop our stairwell in the shape of a tree.  It’s a reminder of those who remembered, and are a visual of the messages of the season.  I can’t believe a whole year has passed us by.  It’s a new beginning with 2009 here.  Here’s to you, and you, and you… let’s all pray for a better year ahead for all of us.