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December 30, 2011

New Mac City

I got totally spoiled this holiday season: a face-shaking electric toothbrush, the full set of Harry Potter movies on blu-ray, a cutting board with my precious stand mixer on it...

While I was in New York I also got myself a little something--or rather, several little somethings.

I've been really unhappy with the way colors turn out on my macs. They're dull and pastel-y and not at all like the vibrant hues I see in cookbooks that inspire mac attacks. I figured there was no place better than New York to satisfy my colorz needs.

A google search led me to New York Cake in Midtown Manhattan, which reviewers gushed was a baking paradise, even if the customer service was a bit lacking. True on both accounts, I discovered. They had entire walls devoted to cookie cutters, and something magical called disco dust in every shade imaginable. The same was true of their coloring selection, which was available in airbrush, gel or powder form.

There was also a cat roaming the aisles.

I nabbed seven shades in hues of green, yellow, pink, purple and red, and also found several flavorings (lime, coffee, pomegranate, cassis) to add to my basket.

Then I spied something too good to be true: PRINCESS FLAVOR. I can only imagine the awesome and promise to report back once I've concocted something.

The store is conveniently located a hop, skip and a jump from Maison du Macaron, so of course after my shopping trip I had to stop there (purely for research purposes). They had about a gazillion flavors, of which I sampled cranberry, cassis, caramel and lavender nougat. They were pretty good. Not Ladurée caliber, but decent.

Speaking of Ladurée, you know there's no was no way I was going to pass up a trip there (or several) when I was in the same zip code. Last Friday I waited in line for an hour for a chance to taste the yum flown directly from Paris each morning. A box of six cost $20, which is totally exorbitant but totally worth it, especially when given as a hostess gift to a lass who had never tasted such glory in her life. Regardez:

This is what Ladurée does to people from Nina Graham on Vimeo.

December 28, 2011

Christmas in World Cities Tour: Year 2

Christmas in New York from Nina Graham on Vimeo.

Last year Paris, this year New York. Christmas is just more magical for this Jewish lass when celebrated in Culture Capitals.

This fall I got the travel itch real bad, not having left the Midwest since returning from France in May. When combined with a week-and-a-half off from work, a cheap ticket on Sun Country and free lodging from friends and their wealthy relatives, there was really no stopping me from heading to the Big Apple.

My gal pals and I spent the day feasting and lounging in our schmance-city Upper-West-Side penthouse, skipping around Central Park, gazing upon the sparkly oddities in the Bergdorf Goodman windows and dropping 'bows in a crush of tourists at Rockefeller Center. It was just the bestest.

Next year: somewhere warm?