Bryant Park is a wasteland of frozen zombies in the winter; you can walk by on your way to the NY public library and see not a soul in the park. But the summer is a different story. They have movies on the green, an outdoor cafe, and a merry-go-round. In short, it's the quintessential New Yorker summer hangout...as close to nature as you can get without going to, shudder, New Jersey. And right in back of the carousel is a very nice, tucked-away chocolate shop: Lily O'Brien's Chocolate Cafe.
But what drew me in like a tractor beam were the macaroons. Small delicate meringues with any number of heavenly fillings. Chewy and sweet, light and yet decadent. The macaroon is one of the most understated residents of a bakery, and when done well, are capable of transporting otherwise sane people into swooning adolescents. At least, that's how I feel about them.
Lily's even had an Earl Grey macaroon, which was...yes, blue. Adoration would be the word, as I let the true taste of tea dance over my tongue. So often when chefs say something is flavored with Earl Grey, it disappears into the taste of the dish. Lily's really does theirs right, giving a bright punch of flavor. Besides, who could say no to this color?
But if European style macaroons don't thrill you, take heart. Lily's has the big clumpy kind that taste like an Almond Joy.
The other nice thing about Lily's? They give you a free bon-bon with every coffee. So, if you're feeling a bit peckish on you way to visit the public library lions, stop in and give Lily's a chance. It's worth it!