LIKE fashion, food goes through trend cycles.
Take desserts: we've had cupcakes (bell bottoms), doughnuts (boyfriend jeans), whoopee pies (pleated pants) and cake pops (short shorts, obviously).
The macaron, in my opinion, is the skinny jean. It's sleek and sophisticated, and tricky to pull off. It's popular in a rainbow of pretty shades, has already been around for several seasons and it shows no signs of falling out of favour.
The meringue-based confection - not to be confused with the coconut macaroon - is not a new creation. It was introduced to the French court when Catherine de' Medici of Italy married French King Henry II in 1533, but it wasn't until the start of the 20th century that pastry chef Pierre Desfontaines first thought of taking two macaron shells and joining them with a tasty ganache filling.
Today, we celebrate the posh sweet. That's right, it's Jour du Macaron, or Macaron Day.
If you're downtown, mark the occasion at Bel Café, in the Rosewood Hotel Georgia or at Thierry, which will donate 10 per cent of today's macaron proceeds to the St. Paul's Hospital Foundation. The shop will be offering a limited edition spring-inspired "Cherry Blossom" macaron featuring a honey bush tea shell, honey butter cream and chef Thierry Busset's signature cherry jam in the centre.
On the North Shore, find excellent macarons - crisp on the outside, smooth and soft in the middle - at Thomas Haas Chocolates and Patisserie.
. . .
My latest obsession (a healthy one!) is the kale Caesar salad at the new Rainier Provisions in Gastown.
Opened in mid-February, the latest enterprise by the Heather Hospitality Group is a 102-seat delicatessen, specialty coffee shop and carefully-curated deli located on the ground floor of Gastown's heritage Rainier Hotel. It features an oversized deli counter slicing the same artisanal products served at Salt Tasting Room: humanely farmed charcuterie from East Vancouver's Moccia Urbani; D-Original Sausage Company's sustainable sausages, created by fifth generation German sausage-maker Drews Driessen and his family; specialty U.K. cheeses from London-based Neal's Yard Dairy; and J.Beethoven Corned Beef.
The deli features floor-to-ceiling shelves stocked with Italian olives, bottles of squid ink, Guinness mustard and quince paste. Olive oil lovers can bring a reusable container to fill up from the 200-litre storefront barrel as a unique and environmentally friendly way to enjoy authentic extra virgin olive oil.
For table service, I like the choice of roasted meats, sides such as mashed potatoes or polenta and gravy, and the medianoche sandwich, pulled pork, Italian ham and banana peppers on a pillowy Parker roll. But I was really taken with the pretty and delicious Caesar salad made with ribbons of green and purple kale.
Rainier Provisions is on West Cordova St. in Vancouver.
. . .
As always, when the team at Yew Restaurant and Bar at Four Seasons Vancouver do something they go all out.
This Saturday, diners are invited to "Dine on Lobster by Candlelight" for Earth Hour - the single largest, symbolic mass participation event in the world, when millions of people in 7,001 cities and towns across 152 countries and territories switch lights off for an hour as a massive show of concern for the environment.
At Yew, guests will enjoy a four-course lobster feast in the light of 1,200 candles. The $65 menu will include sustainably harvested lobster three different ways by exec chef Ned Bell, then dessert by pastry chef Bruno Feldeisen. Cocktail and wine pairings are extra, and if one of them is the gin, yuzu and cucumber juice concoction garnished with a fresh lobster claw recently served at a Visa Infinite Surf and Turf dinner, it's definitely worth the add. Seating begins at 6 p.m. Call 604-692-4939 for reservations.
Deana Lancaster has been writing about food and wine since 2000, and worked in restaurants for more than a decade before that. She is passionate about good food. Follow her on twitter @deanal, or send her an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.