Sunday, March 29, 2009

[NYC '09: Lunch, day 2] Bouchon Bakery: Because God Loves Us

(A picture is worth a thousand words...)

Bouchon Bakery has been on my “to-go” list for the longest time. I could’ve gone last year when I was in Manhattan but I couldn’t drag my lazy ass from the upper west side down to Columbus Circle and I was preoccupied with the cupcakes from Crumbs and everything else from Zabar’s. Well, this year, I was determined to visit Thomas Keller’s casual eatery so, on our first full day in New York, we subwayed out to Columbus Circle.

The bakery’s system is a little confusing at first – there’s the dine-in area at the front and there’s the to-go bakery counter in the back. We ordered from the to-go counter since we had planned on picnicking in Central Park. Also, everything costs about $3.00 cheaper if you order to-go. Good, my poor wallet needs that extra $3.00.

(Achingly Flaky Pastries)

It’s difficult to describe exactly how I felt when I laid eyes on the glass desserts case. It was a feeling beyond joy and excitement even…everything felt almost transcendent. Beautiful works of art disguised themselves as tarts and pastries and I could own a piece of that art in exchange for mere money. Wow. VERY wow.

(Reminds me of someone I know. Cough *YVONNE* COUGH)

I opted for the hot-pressed vegetable jardiniere sandwich on toasted multigrain ($9.75) for my main lunch meal. And, on top of that, I bought three macarons – caramel, vanilla and pistachio ($2.75/ea). Yep, there was no way I wasn’t getting Bouchon’s macarons. I had pretty much made this cross-country pilgrimage FOR these delicate cookies. I was brimming with joy when I was handed my small bouchon to-go bag, complete with paper-wrapped sandwich and boxed up sweet treats.

(High quality: Even the coffee kicked ass)

With Bouchon in one arm, we skipped over to my favorite spot in Manhattan: Central Park. Personally, I like the upper parts of the park more (think the Conservatory Garden and the Reservoir) but since we had come out of Columbus Circle, we entered the park at 59th and trekked our way around the lower side and eventually settled down to eat at the Chess and Checkers House.

The food at Bouchon is absolutely amazing! The veggie sandwich was so well-made – I loved every single bite of it. The crusty multigrain bread was spread with a layer of pesto and sandwiches layers of roasted eggplant, portobellos, red onions, bell peppers and wonderfully ooey gooey gruyere cheese. It was wholesome and filling.

(Say [gruyere] Cheese!)

But the star of the show was definitely the macaron selection. $2.75 a pop sounds expensive but Bouchon’s macarons are literally three times the average size. The meringue shell is a little less airy and delicate than, say, Jin’s but that’s understandable given the size (it was as delicate as you can get without shattering under its own weight). The fillings were all amazing. The best I’ve had so far! It’s so rich – it tastes almost like ice cream! The caramel macaroon was definitely my favorite and tasted like a small piece of heaven. The vanilla was light and sweet. The pistachio macaron had a distinct nutty flavor. All three macarons were extremely well-made. I’m a definite fan. And I totally disagree with those who think Bouchon is overpriced. The food quality is outstanding and, after trying their macaroons, I can’t believe Paris Pastry has the gall to charge $2.50 for their macarons when Bouchon’s are about five times bigger and better!

(This makes me happy)

Bouchon is definitely my new favorite bakery. FARK…I wish I lived in New York :(

(Bite of heaven: Caramel Macaron)

(Pistachio ice-cream-like innards)

FOOD: 5/5

10 Columbus Circle, 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10019
(212) 823-9366

No comments: