Wednesday, October 13, 2010

eating with the greek: little french cookies

My friend, whom we shall call The Greek, is a big fan of sweets. He is also incredibly picky, undeniably opinionated, and has a pretty discerning palette. Over the past several months, a few patterns have emerged in our time spent together. First, The Greek is on a never-ending search for the world's best donut. Second, he loves little French cookies, which is incredibly funny to me because they are small and cute and often pink or some other shade of pastel, and The Greek is not typically a fan of small, cute, pink things. But he loves his macarons. Go figure.
He also has very strong opinions about the way feta should taste, the characteristics of the perfect Reuben sandwich, the ratio of meat to beans in a burrito, and which mobile truck serves the best tacos.
I, on the other hand, don't have a huge sweet tooth. Don't get me wrong-- I love a good German chocolate cake and am a sucker for all things related to custard or pudding, but I usually pass on dessert and opt for another glass of wine.
While The Greek loves all things meat, I tend to prefer vegetarian options, (although I do eat meat, as well.) I love red wine, The Greek loves beer and white wine. I am crazy about every type of Asian cuisine, The Greek is a big fan of Mexican. The differences keep going.
As you can imagine, making food that we both like can be challenging, as can eating out at a restaurant that suits both our tastes.
The good news, though, is that we are both incredibly open minded and up for pretty much anything. We love trying new cuisine, we have a lot of fun hanging out, and we both thought it would make a pretty entertaining topic on my blog if I wrote about some of the things we eat.
Hopefully, you'll enjoy it, too.

-We are not food critics, nor do we want to be.
-While I am a food photographer, and am around a lot of great cuisine much of the time, I am not a food blogger. There are many people out there who do a great job of blogging about food, (like them or her, her, her, and her, just to name a few.) I do enjoy eating and talking about food, though, and I really love taking photos of it.
-We may often encounter cuisines we know nothing or very little about. We are not authorities....or even educated about these things. These posts will be about our experiences and our opinions and our goal is to keep it fun and share them with you.

On to the little French cookies...

The Greek discovered macarons (aka: the little French cookies) through his sister, who is a big fan of all things French and is a wonderful baker herself. Earlier this year, The Greek came across Honore Bakery, his new favorite place to buy pastries.

Honore Bakery is located on a street in Ballard that is home to a number of awesome businesses, (like Delancey, for example, which makes some of the tastiest pizza in Seattle, and Bella Umbrella, which rents and sells the most awesome vintage parasols.)
Honore is small and charming and sells a modest selection of unbelievably delicious French pastries. The people who work there are warm and friendly, and it's the perfect place to curl up with a book, and some coffee and sweets on a rainy day.

The Greek and I always buy the same thing at Honore: a few varieties of macarons and a couple of canneles, which happen to be my favorite pastry.

Canneles are like little baked custard cakes-- firm and caramelized on the outside and soft, eggy and mildly sweet on the inside. I adore them because they are not overly sugary and because of my aforementioned love of all things custard-like.
I had my first cannele at Dean and Deluca in New York and it was all downhill after that. I have been on a quest to find canneles ever since. Honore's cannele, with hints of citrus, is one of the best I have had.

The Greek, on the other hand, really, REALLY digs the macarons, (which are pretty darn great, but a bit too sweet for me.)

The texture of the macarons at Honore is perfect. The outer part is crisp and then chewy, and the filling is smooth and creamy. The Greek especially loves the hazelnut, (I agree) and the coconut caramel. However, the pistachio is also nice, and the coffee flavor is pretty great as well.

The Greek has done his fair share of tasting macarons. While living in southern California, he frequented a certain high end French cafe in L.A, (which will not be named here to protect the innocent.) When asked for a quote about his French cookie musings, The Greek said, "Honore's virile and heroic macarons make (unnamed Hollywood cafe)'s French cookies seem flaccid and depressing. To be fair, they have great wine and one of the best cheese plates I've ever had, but on their best day, their macarons are lamentable in comparison to Honore's."

Well, okay then.

On another note, I have to do a shout out to Shelli Markee, who I have never met in my life, but who has some art hanging in Honore that I absolutely LOVE. Check out the photos of the wire birds hanging from the ceiling. How cool are those?????
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Jackie said...

OH!!!! I did a blog on Honore, too, because I absolutely ADORE their macarons (before I figured out that I really shouldn't have too much sugar...) However, I never tried their canelles (or ANYONE's, for that matter). Sounds delicious.

Your description of the Greek cracked me up. I am VERY picky about some things (would be curious to see what is in a perfect Reuben for him) - I am a maverick; I like shaved (nee, practically crumbled, so thin!) pastrami, very well drained GERMAN sauerkraut (not American), mayo (NOT thousand island, yuck!) and a slab of dill havarti, and DARK Russian rye (not LIGHT rye), and TOASTED. Yes, you can see that I've experimented. HAH!

Chef said...

fabulous pics Clare though have you ever taken a shitty one? I love their canneles too - I think we both were in Honore together for the first time, remember? Jackie - get thee to Honore for a cannele toutsuite!

Sharlane said...

In your next life, you should come back as a food writer!

sara said...

flattered to mentioned amongst the other blogs your referenced :) your pictures are lovely - best to you!