Now that’s just cruel, Amelie’s. Cruel to invite a bunch of food writers and food bloggers over to your uptown location for a spring menu preview, load it up with macarons, danishes and dessert . . . and schedule it on the first day of Lent.
So much for that “giving up sugar” plan.
Anyway. On to what’s new and my favorites among the things I tried:
New soups. No, SAL (spinach/asparagus/leek) isn’t going anywhere. But since I usually mix my SAL with another soup, I’m always looking for good finds there. The new Tomato Crab Bisque I tried has high soup-mashup potential, with big chunks of crabs and little bits of capers. Also new in the spring soup rotation: Broccoli, Bacon and Fresh Peas (ooh, major SAL match), Chicken Bacon and Shiitake, Split Pea and Ham, Herbed Chicken and Rice, Pesto Provencal Vegetable and Tomato Basil and Goat Cheese.
New salads: Oddly, they served an old salad at the “new menu preview” (not old as in limp, old as in it’s returning from previous seasons), the Strawberry, Goat Cheese and Almond. New and more interesting: Broccoli, Bacon and Fresh Peas, and Radish, Edamame and Spiced Cucumber.
New danishes: To round out your soup, it’s nice to have a small-bite pastry. They’re adding a savory one to watch for, Feta, Spinach and Caramelized Onion Danish. It’s a puff pastry swirl with an onion/butter touch instead of the sweet filling you’d normally get.
New French sodas: Personally, I’ve already been hooked on the French Lavender Soda for a while. For the preview, they sent out several new flavors. Most favorite: Paris Rose Cafe Soda, sort of like a fizzy coffee soda with a double shot of espresso, along with smoky lapsong souchong tea and pink peppercorns. Picture an adult version a chocolate soda. Second favorite: Grapefruit and Tarragon Mint Soda.
New macarons: Yes, you know they were going to pelt us with those. SouthPark magazine editor Sarah Crosland and I flipped over the new Lavender Lemon flavor. You have to really, really love lavender, which can be a little like a bubble bath, but the creamy lemon filling pulls it together.
The flavor of the day, according to Amelie’s anyway: Lychee. I counted in at least three items, from the pastry case to the beverages.