A single word from a poorly-hung tarpaulin grabbed my complete attention. Macarons! A second glance confirmed the wave of thoughts that flooded my mind. Single O, should be of the French variety (Americans like to call it, Macaroons vs Macarons). It was clear that a visit to a French bistro is on the horizon. So like a bee to a flower, I think you get the picture.
Macarons are a meringue-based confectionery with origins that are still debated on; France calls dibs on it today, but some beg to differ, saying that Italy should take the cake. Debates aside, macarons basically have three principal ingredients: sugar, almond paste and egg whites whipped to stiff peaks. Revisions of the recipe vary from country to country, with the American version most common on this side of the world. Macaroons that are common here are chewy and dense, thanks to the dried grated coconut and condensed milk added to the meringue.
The French version (and I quote Wikipedia) is characterized by a smooth, domed top, ruffled circumference and a flat base that sandwich either a ganache, jam or buttercream. It has a soft, egg shell-like crust, should have a creamy filling, should easily melt in the mouth and is mixed with a little bit of food coloring to represent its flavor.
Dainty, colorful macarons are showcased right up front as you enter. I was relieved to find out that Macaron Tango didn’t just carry flavors that are in everybody’s comfort zone, like chocolate and vanilla but also had more adventurous flavors like salty caramel with diced apple and white chocolate with banana. The cafe’s owner recommended that we try her favorites; the pistachio, salty caramel with diced apple, dark chocolate and the white chocolate with banana. She said they are best eaten with either coffee or tea. Putting all our faith in her, we had one of each with coffee. I was glad we followed suit because the salty caramel-diced apple combo macaron put me in such sugar bliss that it was impossible to have just one.
The cafe does not only offer macarons, other French pastries and coffee, but they also have pizzas (they make 12 flavors from meat-filled to vegetarian), sandwiches, pastas and all-day breakfast meals. These are for those who would rather stay in the bistro for a nice French meal and hold off on the sugar. One should also ask what the chef’s lunch set of the day is, as they like to change it up often. My sister and I had to decide between fish fillet in dill sauce and fillet mignon in mushroom cream sauce, we chose the former. It came with a zuchini flan (like a quiche but without the crust, yum!), potatoes au gratin (double yum!) and a green salad with a sweet and tangy vinaigrette (we can appreciate a side of salad too, you know!). The meal also came with a glass of iced tea infused with mango syrup. As if that wasn’t a meal in itself already, their lunch sets also come with dessert! Ours came with a serving of leche flan (not very French, but it’s always a welcome treat ). Meals are supposedly for one person but we shared a single order and were more than stuffed when the dessert finally came rolling in.
Did I mention that an actual French chef (the owner’s husband) prepares everything at Macaron Tango? He is always game to teach you how to pronounce the French words on the menu or to explain how the dishes are prepared. The waitress was also kind enough to tell us that in a week they will be introducing new macaron flavors. Now there’s another excuse to come back, as if my sister and I were not contemplating when to find some extra time for another visit.