I sacrifice a lot to bring you all stories about our favorite destinations and eateries around Seattle. Why just today I made the journey out to West Seattle to try what some believe to be the best macarons in the city. It was a hardship and a struggle to be sure, but I took one for the team. Some sacrifices are just worth taking.
Now before you accuse me of a spelling error let me tell you about the macaron. This is not the sugar-filled, dense coconut delight known as the macaroon (note the different spelling). These are delicate meringue-based French cookies that come in every color imaginable- pink, purple, yellow, orange, green, and yes, even blue. Two of these cookies are usually sandwiched between a small dollop of butter cream, jam or ganache. The best macaron I have ever had was in Kyoto. I’ve never been to Paris, so I’m not sure how they would compare to my memory of that mango macaron I picked up one night. The Japanese do love their French pastries so I have a feeling it was fairly close.
The macarons at Bakery Nouveau weren’t too sweet and came in a multitude of flavors, some I had never seem before. They were definitely much better than the two I’d had at La Panier in Pike Place on Monday. I decided a wide range of flavors was needed to really make sure I got a feel for just how good these macarons could be. I sampled a mint chocolate, passion fruit, strawberry caramel, lavender and blood orange macaron. I was wise to bring a friend to help with my research. I think my arteries would have exploded if I had eaten them all on my own.
The strawberry caramel was my favorite. Just image light strawberry wafer cookies with a dollop of caramel in the middle; not a combo I would put together on my own, but it sure did work. I thought I would be over the moon for the passion fruit macaron seeing as passion fruit is one of my favorite dessert flavors. It just didn’t have enough punch. I couldn’t taste the passion fruit at all. It was delicious, just not the flavor I was hoping for.
As with any French bakery worth its stuff, Bakery Nouveau had a few specialties on the menu besides its macarons. I had gotten a heads up on the twice-baked almond croissant. I usually don’t grab an almond croissant when hitting a bakery; chocolate is more my style. This croissant was beyond anything I had ever experienced. It was flaky, crispy, not too sweet and gooey, but just the perfect combination of flavors that had Dek sneaking little pieces off the plate. I had to buy one to bring home for Mike. There was no way I would be able to describe this pastry and impart on him just how heavenly it was.
After my euphoric adventure into the world of French pastries, I walked off a little of the buttery build up by popping over to Again and A Gain, a small children’s consignment shop that carries a good selection of new and used clothing and shoes. The prices can be a bit steep, but considering some of the name brands they carry and the fact that all of the stuff is in great shape, it was still a bargain. Bogs boots for $18 are still a lot better than the same boots new for $50-70.
I was filled with pastries and laden down with a few more kids clothes when we left West Seattle and headed home. I think the sacrifice I made today was well worth it. After all, now you know that macarons look and taste very different from the like named macaroons. Both are tasty, but only one comes in every color of the rainbow. Now go out and find the best in your town.
Little Known Fact: In France Macaron Day celebrates the first day of spring. Many bakeries donate the proceeds of that day’s macaron sales to a charity. Although Bakery Nouveau did not claim to be doing this, La Panier did participate and sent their proceeds on to Seattle Tilth.
Know Before You Go
- Bakery Nouveau, 4737 California Ave SW, Seattle, tel: 206.923.0534
- Hours: Monday through Thursday 6am-7pm, Saturday 7am-9pm, Sunday 7am-7pm
- Seating is very limited. Don’t be afraid to share a table with someone. People are quite friendly.
- Street Parking is available for free and readily available on a weekday. Weekends can be a bit more crowded but the side streets usually have something available.
- If French bakeries are not your think there is also a Cupcake Royale down the street that serves up an amazing Salted Caramel Chocolate cupcake and Lavender cupcake that will have your heart exploding from the sugar high.
- Again and a Gain, 4832 California Ave SW, Seattle, tel: 206.933.2060
- Hours: Monday through Saturday 9am-7pm, Sunday 10am-5pm
- New and used items are available