The heat didn't stop crowds from flocking to Sunday's Bastille Day festival on 60th Street, which commemorates the beginning of the French Revolution. Despite rocketing temperatures, festival-goers pushed their way toward white tents that housed delicate tarts and rainbow-colored macarons. And, not surprisingly, the food from some of the best French restaurants and bakeries in the city seemed to be worth the wait.
Most impressive was the number of well-known patisseries that set up shop at the festival. Dominique Ansel Bakery showed off an artful display of cannelés — small, bundt cake-shaped pastries with a toasted brown shell and custard-like interior. Also present were Mille Feuille, Financier Patisserie, and Payard, along with several other bakeries offering croissants, fruit tarts, and éclairs.
Macarons were by no means forgotten. Macaron Parlour and MacarOn Café boasted rows of the almond and meringue-based sweets in spectrums of pastel colors. Both macaron makers play with untraditional flavors in addition to the classics, like MacarOn Café's Pumpkin Cinnamon and Macaron Parlour's Cheetos (no, not a typo — and yes, it tastes good).
And of course there were crepes. The crepe stands were easy enough to find if you followed the trail of people sitting on the curb, balancing paper plates on their laps, and looking pleased. At stalls equipped with their own cooking stations, thin layers of batter were poured onto hot griddle pans, stuffed with fruits and chocolate spreads, sprinkled with nuts and powdered sugar, and handed out to lines of customers.
Savory fare also had its place, with a few sandwiches on baguettes among the more showy sweets. The online French food store Simply Gourmand brought a selection of packaged cookies and biscuits imported from France, and Les Anis de Flavigny mints in their pretty signature tins. Maille offered different varieties of high quality mustard: smooth Dijon Originale, Old Style with flecks of mustard grain, and a horseradish flavor (to name a few).
You'll have to wait a year for the next Bastille Day, mais pas de problème — it's only a little extra trouble to hunt down most of these foods yourself.