Welcome to Sparkling or Still: the blog where San Pellegrino taste meets a tap water budget!

In New York City, we have access to the best of the best, la creme de la creme, but what does a budding gourmande do when her bank account doesn’t allow weekly excursions to Citarella, let alone the chance to sample the tasting menu at Per Se? Does she curl up with a bowl of Cheerios and reruns of Iron Chef, dreaming of a raise and/or becoming a food critic for The New York Times?  Well, maybe sometimes, but usually I’m out, pounding the pavement, and hot on the trail of something delicious!

So, consider Sparkling or Still a chronicle of foodie exploits on a dime (with an occasional splurge). I’m not promising to cook through Julia’s masterpiece or eat with Gael Greene on a regular basis, but I hope to record the sweetest, savoriest, and most memorable bites…with plenty of obvious food puns.

For the amuse bouche of Sparkling or Still, please accept with my compliments: the macaron, and not just any macaron, but straight from Paris, courtesy of my lovely roommate. Sarah remembered how I loved the Laduree macaron when I visited her in London and could get the special dessert at the Harrods Food Hall, so when she saw them on her layover in Charles de Gaulle, she knew I would appreciate them.  For one thing, they come in the most beautiful packaging; so pretty that I repurposed my square, mint-colored box as a ring holder and I know I’ll find something to put in the lavender cylinder that Sarah chose.  As to the cookies themselves, do not confuse these with the coconut and egg white confections called “macaroons.” These are pastel sandwich perfection: meringue cookies on the outside and a spread of cream or preserves in the middle. They come in classic flavors like raspberry and chocolate, pistachio and caramel…and are so airy and light you could eat several at a time, but I’m savoring them and strictly rationing one macaron a day! I have tried to find something similar in New York, but honestly, they are unreplicable.  I found the Payard macaron a nice option, but the restaurant closed last summer (sadness!). My other favorite is from Patisserie Margo in Minnesota, where the rose petal macaron is perfection, but seeing as they’re nearly as far away as Paris, I don’t get there very often either.

But, that’s what makes having a Laduree so special, so, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go indulge. Thanks for reading, here’s to eating! Cheers. EE