Just as I promised yesterday, I’m tying up the loose ends from 2012. Previously I mentioned my favorite museum in my “home town,” the Frick Collection and two of my three favorite paintings therein. Since neither my younger brother nor my husband have ever been there and it was time for our obligatory yearly visit to Manhattan…well you get the picture. In case you don’t remember, or feel like clicking backwards, my preferences are Renoir’s Promenade and Boucher’s Rococo wintertime fantasy Winter. (Irony, I know…yes, here were use it from time to time.) You know what really baffles me about the pretty lady sledding in that painting below? She’s bundled from head to toe in furs and blankets. She has that lovely mink trim on the collar of her pink overcoat but check out her neckline! Surely her decolletage must be verging on frostbite. Therein lies the essence of Boucher: experiencing nature is romanticized, not practical. This is a painting originally owned by la Marquise de Pompadour herself, the woman for whom Petit Trianon was originally built.
The Frick and my “last Favorite” painting.
I’m guessing the above painting might be the favorite of many. (Actually, that’s outlandish considering all the Dutch Masters, Goyas, Whistlers and other mind-blowing artists Henry Clay Frick amassed.)
La Comtesse d’Haussonville in all of her reflective glory above can’t help but catch your eye with her discarded cape on the right-hand chair and opera glasses left on the mantel, as if she’s just come in the door. The detail the mirror provides is unique, at least it was to me when I first saw it. We can see that Madame d’Haussonville’s intricately spiraling plaits are held in place with a comb. A peculiar red ribbon hints that the future Countess may have just placed second at the state fair.
Even our dear Madame d’Haussonville does bear a relation to Our blog. If you watch this official Frick Collection video, you’ll find she’s closely related to one of the most important eye-witnesses to the end of the French monarchy. (Don’t worry, it’s short. You won’t learn that much.)
“That’s a good frickin cookie”
We’ve talked so much abouthe fact it’s around the corner from the Frick Collection made it a facile cajoling for your Blog Hostess to drag husband and younger brother Danny (aka “Beavis”) to the closest M@ mecca of dessert. There was surprisingly little complaint from the oft partners-in-whine considering it was well below zero Fahrenheit and the shop window gave away what would surely be binned as “girlie.”
A pastel-colored heaven, the macaroons themselves providing as much décor as the (pre-midnight) Cinderella carriages in the front window. Emilio, having had his head filled with so much m@ talk since April, was genuinely psyched about this venture as he’s got one hell of a sweet tooth. Plus, we all know European pastry shops are very different than those we’ve got here in the New World. The cookies were decked out for glamor, the waiting patrons for warmth. There was even a “bouncer” at the door to the (surprisingly) small patisserie. He was a youngish man starched stiff in a clearly company-assigned suit, complete with French accent. Be it the starch or his stature, the “bouncer” didn’t look like he could bounce a kickball, but in true doorman fashion he routinely opened the door for satisfied revelers exiting with boxes of les macarons incroyables, then gruffly allowing another handful in from sidewalk on Madison Avenue. (Frankly, I’d never had to wait like this to get into a nightclub. Guess it was our ratio: two pimps, one ho.)
Once inside, the line snaked over on top of itself in what my mom always called the “Disney World Trick.” You know, like a velvet-roped lower-intestine…no, not the right image for here. To my dismay, there were no cakes for purchase like I’d seen in the 2006 Marie Antoinette, but the seemingly endless rainbow of macaroons, each color a different flavor, dazzled like a jewellery store window. The entire shop smelled of the finest herbal teas, all packed in the same chatoyant cylinders.
Off in its own alcove, the famed pastry shop is now selling tote bags, umbrellas and–according to their website–cosmetics and perfumes as well. Emilio took my phone a with his long arms snapped photos of anything he found relevant. (Which did not include the “gift shop” annex, but it did include lovely lady in cement who holds the structure aloft.
At the lofty price of $2.80/cookie, I had to make the most out of my half of the eight-pack. Of the four I remember I chose dark chocolate, the rest were based on color. Each one was celestial…this of course being the understatement of the century. The starchy bouncer let us out into the glacial burst, Danny followed, asking for the hundredth time “What is these cookies claim to fame, exactly?” (When he found out the price, he declined all interest. ENTIRELY out of character, he’s an eating machine.)
Emilio and I didn’t even get past the line of waiting patrons before we opened the box and each grabbed a dark chocolate. Before I had even fully sank my teeth into it, I shifted my gaze to E and exclaimed “HOLY SHIT!” from the corners of my mouth. I didn’t imagine the texture a spun confectioners’ air in solid form. Were they made to simulate the dessert version of a pouf or maybe those panniers that were in style when she was first dauphine? I’ve never had any kind of baked good like that in my life and, in a complete reverse of personal taste, the chocolate was my least favorite one. Trippy!
So Our first m@ field trip was a success, I gave a cookie to my cheapskate brother so he could see how divine it was. (He agreed.) These truly deserve too be the pastries synonymous with the Queen of Fashion herself. I can’t wait to have a cake…and I have to restrain myself by having a large box overnighted by mail.