Macarons From the 70th St. Dining Strip


I finally had a chance to visit the isolated eating strip that's forming on NW 70th St. -- doesn't look like much yet, but I bet you that in five years the blocks between 13th and 15th Avenues are going to become a miniature verson of Ballard Ave. A few months back, Anne Catherine took over A Neighborhood Cafe and turned it into A Caprice Kitchen, a permanent home for her communal dinners, and now her breakfast and lunch as well. Across the street, Brandon Pettit is opening Delancey, a forum for him to express his pizzageekitude. Around the corner on 15th Ave. N.W., Scott Simpson is going hog wild with burgers and shakes at Lunchbox Laboratory. And Honore Artisan Bakery, whose bakery case may be even smaller than Cafe Besalu's, has produced the best macaron I've tried in Seattle.

I have a particular addiction to Parisian macaroons -- something about their texture of compressed air and the vibrancy of their flavors -- and so I tend to try them everywhere I see them. Bakery Nouveau and Le Panier, you have been bested by the newcomer. Honore's coffee macaron, with its caramelly cream filling, was so delicate that it crumpled with a touch, and I wondered if the baker needed feathers and fans to press the two halves of the sandwich cookie together. I apologize for this photo, where it is next to the equally light but not as miraculous raspberry macaron. It took all my willpower not to finish off the cookie before I got home.

I wasn't able to try the kouign amann, the Breton pastry that is apparently magical when you eat it fresh -- the baker says he makes them throughout the day; even so, it was sold out when I arrived. Apparently I'm not the only person who left work early to get to the bakery before it closes at 3 (it's open 7-3 Wed.-Sun. and closed Mon.-Tue.).

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