“Nothing ruins a dog walk like a hole in a poopy bag.” – Me, yesterday.
Back when we first moved to Vancouver twelve years ago, we looked into adopting a pug from a local pug rescue, but the process proved so difficult and time-consuming that we gave up and went the breeder route instead. And it’s a good thing we did because we ended up with Maximus, one of the sweetest, most well-behaved, easy-going dogs you could ever imagine. Now that Maximus is gone, I’ve considered getting another dog, specifically, an English Bulldog puppy who would , no doubt, make a welcome addition to the pack. The more I think about it, however, the more I wonder if it might not be better to adopt an older pug in need of a good home. After all, I do have a good home and given the meds and special care I already dispense, would one more needy furball make that much of a difference?
So just the other day, I was discussing my writing/producing partnership and how, over the course of our working relationship, we’ve each taken it upon ourselves to take the lead on certain projects. Dark Matter, for instance, was my baby, a project I developed on my own before eventually turning over to Paul for notes, thoughts, and continued development. Well, yesterday, I read the first draft of a pilot script Paul wrote, based on a series idea HE’S been developing on his own. And it was terrific. Now you may think I’m biased and maybe I am, but it would really be in my better professional interests to report that the script was “just okay” or “good” at best, that way I could weigh in with my notes and ultimately lay claim to some contribution that made it “terrific”. But while I did have some notes, I’m afraid I have to report that the script was pretty damn spectacular. I opened up the file he sent, planning to read the script in installments, but when I started, I ended up reading it straight through. See, this is one of those instances where having a writing partner comes in handy (the other being when you’re trying to wrestle a production assistant to the ground for that last slice of cheesecake).
International Macaron Day was March 20th. How could I have missed it? I mean it’s not like it was one of those silly made-up observances like International Literacy Day or International Human Rights Day. How DOES the U.N. come up with some of these commemorative events? Okay, okay. International World Health Day I get. Even International World Environment Day. But International Mountain Day? International Book and Copyright? How did you mark International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer? Did you curtail your use of hairspray? And what, pray tell, did you get your local weather man for International Meteorological Day? I don’t know, but International Children’s Day and International Youth Day strikes me as dangerously close to double-dipping. And what’s the deal with United Nations Public Service Day? What exactly are they doing the other 364 days of the year? Oh, and just so you know, May 17th is World Information Society Day.
But where was I? Oh, yeah. International Macaron Day. I ended up celebrating two days late by checking out a (fairly) new macaron shop: Soirette Macarons & Tea. It’s one of the many, MANY places in the city now serving the meringue and buttercream/ganache treats. I’ve been doing my research and would like to offer my two cents on the quality of the various offerings:
SOIRETTTE MACARONS & TEA
A mixed bag – but so it is with most every macaron shop I’ve visited including Jean-Paul Hevin. Most of the macarons were airy and delicious (the Guinness comes to mind) while a few were too similar in flavor and a tad chewy. Overall, however, pretty good.
Chewy, the buttercream in some hadn’t properly set resulting in a greasy texture. One flavor was advertised as Early Grey even though it was clearly combined with some other fruit flavor. We asked the woman behind the counter for clarification and she insisted it was Earl Grey. As it turned out, Earl Grey and blackcurrant (I think).
LA BAGUETTE ET L’ECHALOTE
Another mixed bag but, alas, not all that great. Some good, some overly sweet.
Smaller than some of the other versions I’ve had in town and they only offer about a half dozen flavors, but they do a very nice job with their macarons.
THIERRY CHOCOLATERIE PATISSERIE CAFE
Hugely popular no doubt thanks to its location and dining area but I was surprised at how underwhelming the macarons were here. I assumed I’d caught them on a bad day and tried again – twice – and still came away unimpressed.
Okay but, clearly, macarons are not their main focus. Stick with their superior cakes.
THE URBAN TEA MERCHANT
Shipped from France, they come in an variety of intriguing tea-based flavors. Intense. A little goes a long way.
THOMAS HAAS FINE CHOCOLATES AND PATISSERIE
Have to give credit where credit is due – the macarons here are pretty damn consistent in flavor and texture.
Meh. I’ve heard that since the last time I sampled some here, they’ve started carrying Kitchen with Carly macarons.
Below average. Macarons are not their forte but I hear good things about some of their other desserts.
MEINHARDT FINE FOODS
Limited flavors but very good. Also check out their ice cream sandwiches!
KITCHENING WITH CARLY
Also quite good but I can only find them frozen.
There are still a few places I need to check out including French Made Baking, Plaisir Sucre, and Cafe Regalade.