Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Today's sampling of food heaven

It's finally fall!

Today's sampling of food heaven came in the form of some new autumn flavors at Panera. I love a cafe that changes with the seasons even if it is a chain it's one of those small business type touches that make the experience feel more personal.
Anyway it's fall so they've added the Orchard Harvest chicken salad, a pumpkin spice latte and a creamy tomato soup. I could only handle two at a time so I ordered the salad and the latte. The latte seemed to take forever to make and when it was done the barista handed me this barbie sized cup I swear was no bigger than a thimble. Assuming I was just stupid I went to take it when it turned out he was just messing with me. He laughed and gave me the real thing later (which was normal sized) although I spent the rest of my lunch wondering where he got a cup that tiny to begin with...

Anyway the latte was one of those concoctions that would make coffee lovers gag, it tasted like some sort of coffee/pastry kitchen mishap, half delicious half nauseating. I enjoyed it but I doubt I'd order it again.

The salad however was orgasmic. Well it was orgasmic for a salad anyway "All-natural chicken, field greens, romaine, dried cherries, fresh D’Anjou pears, Gorgonzola, toasted pecans & our cherry balsamic vinaigrette". 
Ignoring the fancy wording and the fact that I've been positively pear obsessed lately it was the combination of dried cherries and pecans crossed with the chicken and romaine that made for a harmonic pairing of dinner and cake flavors. If(when) I ordered this again I wouldn't pair it with such a sugary drink though I think maybe an unsweetened coffee, tea, or even a beer (yazoo hefeweizen!) would be perfect.

Later we went to Provence for some macarons because I've been pining for them since my unbirthday in February but was too lazy to make the trip back in search of them since every Provence is way out of the way of our usual hangout. And since I'm now obsessed with orally analyzing the chemical structure of  edibles these days (to mentally catalog and compare against my own culinary endeavors) when it came down to it I couldn't choose which one I wanted. Chocolate, Lemon, Pistachio buttercream, Lavender honey,  Raspberry raspberry jam. 
So many pastels and combinations , what's a girl to do?

Order one of each.

Oh pfffft. Like I ate them all at once, I still have a few left! So far the raspberry was my favorite with the most distinguishable flavor and perfect heavenly chewiness. I really am a sucker for all things almond.

What's that you say? Why did I call them "macarons"? Well a quick google/wiki search will tell you that the diifference between a macaroon and and macaron is the lack of coconut and the swap of some fancy french feet! I'm still pretty sure I said "macaroon" when I ordered but it's not exactly the the first time I've looked like an ass at Provence (framboise anyone?") and I'm sure it won't be the last.
At any rate I'm inspired, I think I see some macarons in my baking future....

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