Monday, February 22, 2010

Les Madeleines

 'Les Madeleines makes the best macaroons.'

When I was a kid growing up my aunt Rose used to always make macaroons for Christmas. She made hundreds of tiny little macaroons - crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside. I always ate tons but for whatever reason grew an aversion to them over the years. I think I just overdosed on macaroons every Christmas or perhaps just longed for something new and different. It's interesting how times change and something that revolted you as a child excites you as an adult. Fast forward to current day where I find myself drooling over any glass bakery case which prominently displays delectable macaroons. I'm not sure what my problem was but now I love macaroons. I LOVE them.

Simply put - Les Madeleines makes the best macaroons. They're light and fluffy like cake with a texture and flavor that only dried coconut exudes. The macaroons are uniquely scented with orange and one end is delicately coated in chocolate giving a sophisticated feel to this little morsel. Les Madeleines also makes classic French macarons. You've probably seen these colorful cookies that look like little sandwiches. Also quite good. On the day you hit Les Madeleines the content of their glass bakery case may vary. They have also been known to run out of things and not replenish. So be forewarned. When you see something you want, get it. Also be on the lookout for their classic black and white (or half moon) cookies (just like in New York!). I can only describe these as more of a cake or shortbread that is shaped like a big cookie and iced with half vanilla icing and dark chocolate icing. It's more or less like a cookie-brownie-cupcake type thing, but is absolutely delicious.

If you're not up to eating sweets (blasphemy?) try to drop into Les Madeleines for lunch. They have a small assortment of lunch items. My favorite is the sesame chicken salad wrap. House made chicken salad is wrapped up tightly in a lettuce cup and again tightly wrapped in a rice-paper-cellophane wrapper. Alone the sandwich is a little dull, but dipping it into the sesame/miso vinaigrette really evokes a wonderful flavor, elevating the sandwich a couple of notches on the taste meter. Edamame is served on the side, a really healthful and fun alternative to potato chips. I also normally get a fresh limeade to wash it all down with. Les Madeleines is a favorite lunch stop of mine where I can pick something up quickly and then head back to work so I can work through lunch in my office. It's a sad life I know but that sweet treat for dessert (a macaroon or black and white perhaps?) helps me to finish off lunch with a smile and energizes me to tackle the rest of my day.

I just love pastry shops and bakeries. Although I myself am not much of a baker, I really appreciate the artistry involved in such an endeavor. My aunt Rose would stay up long nights to finish her macaroons for the Christmas holidays. If you've ever made macaroons, you know they can be a sticky mess. So I know a lot of skill and a lot of love go into making these little things. I for one was always grateful for my aunt's industriousness...and I for one am grateful that I can find a little bit of my aunt in the macaroons at Les Madeleines.

Les Madeleines ~ Salt Lake City, Utah
216 East 500 South
Chef Romina Rasmussen

Les Madeleines Patisserie on Urbanspoon

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