Recent Macaron Goodies

So many you’re new or maybe you have short term memory loss or maybe you’ve intentionally been blocking out all previous mentions of macarons on this here blog, but for those of you late to the party let me be the first to tell you: I love macarons. If you want to play catch up: read this, this, this, or this.

Anyway. Given that Ladurée is in another city and, ahem, really expensive, I’ve had to stop being so picky about where I get my macarons or learn to live without them. Clearly the latter is not an option, though it seemed that Philly hadn’t caught on to the whole macaron craze (does it count as a ‘craze’ if it’s just me?) yet. It’s kind of like the frozen yogurt trend or the popularity of cupcakes of the past few years. It take my city a while to catch up. Which it finally did, last week, when I had not one, but TWO different macaron experiences. Which was good, because I’d literally been itching from withdrawal.

I work in the same business park as Urban Outfitters headquarters, which makes commutes in the morning a really fun game of guessing which people on the subway work there. Here’s a hint from someone who is always right: look for the person who looks like the most homeless, and you’re on the right track. Bonus points for some sort of stupid, floppy crocheted hat or tights with holes in them. Oh, and it’s sort of a giveaway but every employee inevitably wears oxfords or lace up boots. Once, I saw a girl in an outfit so ridiculous it actually crossed over from being insane to being completely normal, so homeless did she look. Combat boots, ripped purple fishnet stockings over leggings, an enormous denim jacket with white sweaters for sleeves, a bright red gingham scarf, and a floppy hat. I couldn’t stop staring. It was awe-inspiring how stupid she looked.

Anyway, aside from my bitchy proclivity to judge others harshly based on their wardrobe choices, Urban also provides the only meal option for the area in their cafeteria. It’s an enormous industrial warehouse that’s been converted to a giant dining hall but still retains the exposed metal beams and huge windows. It’s amazing, and hard to really describe how cavernous it is, but totally styled-out. There’s an enormous koi pond in the middle.

from here

Anyway, they have 9 or 10 different gourmet stations to choose from for food: you can get fresh rolled sushi, grilled sandwiches, salad with raw tuna, the works. They also have a dessert station with the usual cupcakes and cookies. You have to walk right by it on the way to the registers (where sometimes, depending on what you’re wearing, the cashier will mistake you for an Urban employee and give you a discount on your meal), and on my most recent trip there with coworkers last week, I saw a tray of brightly colored macarons. I was so happy I could have hugged the homeless woman in front of me in line.

Verdict: Smaller than Ladurée, but a lot stiffer. With the exception of the vanilla flavored one, perched on top there, it felt like eating hard candy. I bit into the strawberry one on the end and the filling didn’t budge. This was probably because they’d been sitting out rather than in refrigerated cases. Still, they were cheap, readily available, and only a stone’s throw from my office. (And if you’re wondering, yes, I did set them up on my desk for a photoshoot).

And then, a mere 3 days later, on my walk home I passed a yummy French bakery I’d heard rumors of having macarons, though I’d never been able to spot any in their cases, I spotted them. There, from the street, I saw trays and trays of macarons. Obviously never one to turn them down, and committed to continuing my unofficial taste-test, I popped in and bought 16 of them.

Verdict: Weirdly flavorless (cranberry) or overwhelmingly flavorful (like the green apple and cinnamon ones), and the muted colors aren’t doing it for me. Harder and chewier than a macaron is supposed to be, and I don’t think I needed to buy 16. But they were less than half the cost of Ladurée. A fair substitute if I’m in a pinch.

You’d have thought that eating over 20 macarons in a week would have satiated my craving, but no. I still had my heart set on a set of Ladurée candles I mentioned in my first Friday Five Gift Guide. Retailing for $60 at the store, and $75 in the online shop based in San Francisco I found that also sells them, they are prohibitively expensive, but something I wanted nonetheless. Wild strawberry and brioche scented? SOLD.

Magically, I found only one set of the candles on eBay, and it happened to be the set I wanted. The person was selling them for less than what they usually cost, so I snatched them up without a moment’s hesitation, further solidifying my reign as the Crazy Candle Lady. Seriously, I love candles. And I love Ladurée. This is like a match made in heaven.

I love them. I couldn’t resist burning the brioche candle before snapping this pic, so no, she didn’t sell them to me used. The jars are really delicate ceramic with a beautiful white ceramic crest on the front of each. They make the entire room smell delicious even when they’re not lit, which has made a certain four legged creature in my house completely bonkers.

The return address on the mailing label they came in was a penthouse in Manhattan, so naturally I googled the seller’s name. Is that creepy? No? Then perhaps finding out that she is a socialite, party girl, and proclaimed “self-medicated label-whore” (from her Twitter profile) and then screen-capping her more outrageous tweets is. You guys, my money is sitting somewhere between her nostril and her brain right now.

I don’t even know what kind of drug you do when you light it on a spoon, but I’m really afraid to google it. At least if my life ever goes off the rails to the point that tweeting openly about my illicit drug usage doesn’t bother me, I’ll know never to use a plastic spoon. At least there’s that.

So once the awkward realization that I just gave $50 to a clubrat drug-user faded, I was able to appreciate the absolute insanity of the situation. Of course the person I buy Ladurée candles from has both a prescription and illegal drug problem. Anyone that lives in a penthouse and has a “von” in their last name who has a spare set of overpriced French candles that smell like macarons laying around they need to sell off to fuel their cocaine addiction is OBVIOUSLY the one person I end up giving money to.

Oh well. Have any of you ever bought something off eBay and then googled the seller? I never had before but now I’m super leery of where my money is going now. Who would have thought that my quest to have everything Ladurée related would lead me here? Maybe this is a sign!

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January 11, 2012 / design / eat / drink / LEAVE A COMMENT / 22

22 comments

  • Oh my! Where to begin!! The universe gives you such gifts, doesn’t it Erin? I’m new here but I’m starting to realize that these things happen to you so that you can document them here in your inimitable fashion for our amusement and delectation.

    I, too, am obsessed with macarons despite never having tasted one (go figure!) – they’re just so pastel, pristine and perfect. I harbour dreams of making some myself someday ……….

    Oh, and don’t knock the homeless look. I’ve been known to whirl through my wardrobe tornado-style and go out in whatever has adhered itself to me on occasion.

    • I’m actually giggling out loud at your description of getting dressed “tornado-style” and wearing “whatever has adhered itself to me on occasion.” Seriously. I keep re-reading it and laughing more. The mental image is unbeatable, and I’m sure it’s the same method employed by the Urban employees, only with less grace and flair than what you pulled off, I’m sure. If your blog is any indication, you’ve got really impressive style. I doubt you’d ever be able to look actually homeless, try though you might, haha.

      You write the most eloquent comments, Chi! I feel like such a fraud for even trying to keep up :) Weird stuff does tend to happen to me, and even when it’s not weird or interesting I just write about it anyway! Don’t worry, you’ll stumble across a really lame post here and all your kind compliments will go flying out the window :)

      • “If your blog is any indication, you’ve got really impressive style. I doubt you’d ever be able to look actually homeless, try though you might, haha”.
        What a lovely thing to say – thank you!

        A fraud? You’ve got to be kidding me! Have you read your own blog, lately?! :D

        P.S There are much worse vices than cheese. Take the aforementioned would-be drug fiend, for example. That is all kinds of messed up!

        • Touché! About the drug-fiend part, I mean. I’m not agreeing with you about me being funny :)

  • If you heat something up on a spoon then you’re melting it and you can’t snort liquid, I think this girls a faker. Ps my knowledge comes from my job and not illicit drug use. Your money is safe.

    • WHEW. That’s a relief! Thanks for the help.

  • I’ve left my reading glasses at home and misread Chi has having got dressed “tomato-style” which has got me sniggering at work with people I don’t know who now think I’m a freak. I can’t stop giggling! It’s had the same effect as those autocorrect texts on iphones which I just can’t get enough of.

    And having met Chi, I can attest that she’s nothing of the sort. She’s stylish, glamorous, unique and very well put together. There ain’t nothing windy about her! And she has the best grin.

    Chi, there were macaroons at Eat, Drink, Shop, didn’t you see them on the counter??

    Anyway back to the post. Erin I’m going to have to stop reading as it makes me feel all kinds of inadequate. You’re so funny and you find such awesome things to write about. My posts feel so dull and uninteresting next to yours. humph.

    The homeless spotting is hilarious. I do that with girls that work at Lucy in Diguise but they’re a bit easier to spot. I wanted to go to that shop and wasn’t sure exactly where it was as SoHo is a maze and I saw this girl on the tube with red lipstick and a dress with horses on. I just followed her for ten minutes (she didn’t see me, I am adept at stalking) and ta-da, I was right.

    I might try to sell my half-used Diptique candles on eBay and see how far I get.

    PS The God of Cake is now firmly entrenched in family lore. On Christmas Day seven people read it in our family and now everything we become obsessed with is ‘xxxx is all that matters’ as we shake our heads maniacally. So thanks for that, it is the best post ever written!

    • Aw, now I’m jealous you UK bloggers all know each other in real life! Tomato-style is funnier than tornado-style, as it implies she just flung herself at the clothes and then laid there. Either mental image is making me chuckle. Your new coworkers are going to think you hear voices if you keep laughing in your cube, missy! Mine at least already know I’m loopy.

      You just hush your face now about you being inadequate, you’re nothing of the sort. I’m envious all of your posts have a clear and concise message. Mine seem to wander all over the map and ramble on longer than I think anyone wants to read. I’d absolutely cry my eyes out if you stopped reading, though! Or I’d be on the next plane to London to grovel and beg for you back. Either or.

      What’s Lucy in Disguise? I’ll have to google. It sounds like the premise is the same, though, as homeless spotting at Urban Outfitters, only more refined and stylish. Here I was thinking I was all hip and knowledgable about London and you just keep proving me wrong. Not that the “Monkey” show seems to be hip or anything, but never the less it’s one more thing I’ve never heard of. As far as weird old tv shows go, I think Crystal Maze is my favorite. :)

      DUDE. Send your Diptyque candles to me! We finally go them more readily available here, but I haven’t bitten the bullet and bought one yet. I’m dying to. My brother got me a gift card for a boutique in the city that sells them, and I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ll purchase. You never know with eBay, there’s always someone out there who will want whatever it is you’re selling! Of all the random stuff I’ve sold I can tell you it’s the truth.

      I’m loving that your family all read The God of Cake. That is one of my favorite posts on the entire internet. I still read it occasionally just for a chuckle. The entire thing is genius from start to finish. Cake is all that maaaattterrrssss!

    • “I’ve left my reading glasses at home and misread Chi has having got dressed “tomato-style” ……..”
      Well, red is my favourite colour …….. :D

      “And having met Chi, I can attest that she’s nothing of the sort. She’s stylish, glamorous, unique and very well put together. There ain’t nothing windy about her! And she has the best grin.”
      Awww! Thank you, Annie – you do say the sweetest things! :)

      “Chi, there were macaroons at Eat, Drink, Shop, didn’t you see them on the counter??”
      I did, as a matter of fact, but as I’m intolerant to sugar, etc. I settled for a visual feast instead.

      There! Now all our “inadequacies” are on the internet for all and sundry to read – happy now?

      P.S. The God Of Cake is pure, unmitigated comedy gold!!! :D

      • Annie is the absolute sweetest, I second that!

        If it makes you feel any better about your sugar intolerance, I’m lactose intolerant! But I still eat tons of cheese, I can’t help myself.

  • Um, I hope her twitter is fake! PS I google a lot too. Information is power! hahaha

    • No, unfortunately her twitter account is real! But I was informed above that she’s probably faking all of the drug usage, which is a relief, but sad because…who does that?!

  • I tell you, you have the best stories. OR, rather, you have a very clever way with words. A wordsmith, you are. In any case, it all makes for really great reading (and comments)!
    I was just about to tell Annie to forgo ebay and send her Dityque candles to me, but you beat me to the punch. It seems we both love a good candle and are lactose intolerant. (The latter I would gladly sell on ebay.)
    Confession: When I read Annie or Chi’s comments, I read them with an English accent (in my head, not out loud!) so it’s sounds even posher. Yup, I’m a dork!

    • Thank god YOU copped to it, because I was embarrassed to admit that I too read their comments with faux-British accents! I didn’t even realize I was doing it for a while! Not only do we have that in common, I would also love to sell my lactose-intolerance on ebay. How much do you think it would go for? Negative 5 dollars?

      You’re so sweet, Theresa! I’m glad you like reading and hanging out here :) I love having you.

  • I, too, read your blog/comments in a voice I perceive to be your own, Erin! :D

    As for selling my food intolerances on eBay ….. why didn’t I think of that?? I have so many, I could be rich beyond my wildest dreams!!! :D

    • Oh gosh, I love when Brits feign American accents. It cracks me up when my cousins do it to make fun of me.

  • How did I miss Wednesday? Argh. It’s been a long week. But: “bitchy proclivity to judge others harshly based on their wardrobe choices” we *are* the same person. Only you’re way cooler.

    • Phew I’m so glad it’s not just me. Are we allowed to bitch sometimes? I find all this niceness and positivity exhausting sometimes. I’m not that nice, really! I thought it was an American thing but clearly not!!!

      I told my American friend yesterday that I need to move to the US. I think it’s my spiritual home. Now, California or Philly? Who wants me to come stay??? for about a year….

      PS No one’s having my diptique candles. Although you can have the Roses one if you like as it’s burnt down. I bought R their Christmas candle for Christmas. In a supreme feat of buying a present for someone else that’s really for you!

      • Oh my god, it’s extremely exhausting trying to be nice all the time. I envy women who can pull it off and be sweet as sugar constantly without any hint of sassiness. This is why I surround myself with girlfriends who understand this and have a biting sense of humor and sassiness of their own. It makes everything a LOT easier. That way I don’t have to pretend to not think someone looks like they are homeless and keep it to myself.

        Come to the US and let’s be judge-y together! Though if you had the choice between Philadelphia and sunny California, um….I wouldn’t be upset if chose the latter. You’d be smart to do so. It would just mean a flight across the country for me, and guaranteed brilliant, beautiful weather all the time for you!

    • No worries, no worries at all!

      And I felt nervous writing that, but it’s the truth. I’m super judge-y and bitchy sometimes, it’s unavoidable. Glad to know I’m not alone! Though I would never peg you as bitchy. And you are definitely cooler than me.

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