“Dessert?” She says, her face looking pained at even the mention of the word.
“But it’s your birthday!” I insist, nodding at our waitress at Marché Moderne to bring us the proposed dessert menu.
“But I’ll need coffee…” My mom continues, still not convinced.
“That’s okay. I’ll need tea.” I counter.
Even though I’m feeling just as taxed as my mom after our shared lunch of the special plum arugula salad and Marché's decadent Alsatian Tart Flambée with caramelized onion, smoked ham, crème fraiche and cave aged Gruyere ($13), I can’t help myself. Pastry Chef Ameliz Marneau’s desserts are impeccable – in presentation, composition and, most importantly, balance of flavor. I’d want to order one even if it weren’t my mom’s birthday.
Except, on most days, I probably wouldn’t.
On a normal Saturday, I would agree with my mom that, “Yes, I’m too full too.” Or, “Yes, we shouldn’t bother since we’ll need coffee and tea.” Or, “Let’s just pop over to See’s and get free samples of chocolate instead!”
Today, however, the celebratory occasion offers the perfect excuse to be a little indulgent and impractical. I know I’ll be too full afterwards, but than again, I’m always a little too full.
After a few moments of contemplation, my mom and I settle on the Macaron dessert served with cassis berry sorbet and fresh strawberries ($10). Our waitress’ eyes light up when I place the order – apparently Marneau has perfected the French macaron.
I’m a little overwhelmed when the artful plate arrives. Both my mom and I stare at each other in bewilderment – how do we eat this thing?
Our coyness doesn’t last long. I swoop my fork in and pierce a bite of the tart sorbet and delicate vanilla macaron shell underneath. The crust of the delicate cookie shatters on my tongue revealing the signature chewy texture underneath. With a decorative sweep of vanilla ganache on the side of the plate, it’s a refined, deconstructed version of a traditional macaron that is both classic and modern.
It’s the type of dessert that isn’t taxing – the type of dessert that one should never be too full to enjoy. And on this particular day, it’s the type of dessert that is perfect for a reluctant birthday girl – and her very insistent tea-drinking companion.
3333 Bristol St # 3001
Costa Mesa, CA
Phone: (714) 434-7900