Monday, September 20, 2010

Our Start...

We got a mention in the Huffington Post a few weeks ago in an article about the Hester Street Fair.

While getting filmed, Suchin Pak introduced us by saying, "Christina had the best email ever. She had a four page dissertation on why she should be at the Hester Street Fair."

I want to share with you the email that got us started. Basically, we had heard that the Fair was opening up and I asked Simon if he was interested. We were still a relatively new couple (only official for a month!), but something about it just felt so good. I'm glad we did this b/c it really helped us mature as a couple. We've known each other for less than a year, but Macaron Parlour is our baby and we love watching it grow.

Simon sent two inquiries through the website with very bare information on us (and no response) so I finally decided to take matters into my own hands...

Hi there,
I believe my partner in crime, Simon, may have already sent information about a potential vendor named Moostachio for the upcoming Hester Street Fair. While our LLC goes by the fine name, Moostachio, it's not going to be our official name. We may be funky and crazy, but we're not going to be standing around wearing giant felt mustaches for some sort of 8 hour gimmick.
Anyway, I'm writing again to request a space with more information about who we are. Simon and I fantasize about our future in the wonderful world of pastry. In this fantasy, I would be squashed somewhere in a tiny kitchen doing all the producing and occasionally surfacing for air while I gush to patrons about the love that gets mixed into each cookie. Simon would be out front, having such long engaging conversations with passerbys that they will be forced to buy pastries out of guilt. And then they'll come back for more b/c they're so damn good.
I'm a pastry student at the Institute of Culinary Education with a fond love for all sorts of cute tiny desserts you can pop in your mouth while walking. For the past two years, my sister and I have held spots at the Brooklyn Flea under the guise of "Lemonade Stand" or "Alex's Lemonade Stand" in order to try to fundraise for pediatric cancer (we donated our profits to Alex's Lemonade Stand. Check this out: I also had an Etsy site where I sold macarons to fundraise online (went down after Christmas, but feel free to look up b/c I plan to revive within the next few weeks: lemonadestandnyc) I'd love to shift over our game to the LES and support this great Manhattan neighborhood. Also, donating part of the profits to a worthy cause is something I would enjoy continuing at Hester Street.
Simon perfected his front of house manners around the corner of Essex/Hester at the brand new Baohaus. His bright spirit keeps everyone laughing, and yet he somehow always manages to add on to people's purchases. You think you're going in for one thing, and he'll somehow trick you into also getting a drink and some fries. He's not bad in the kitchen, either. The other day, I Iron Cheffed him into making dinner using only the secret ingredients of...whatever was available in the sparse kitchen. The Chairman would approve of what he came up with (and it was heart healthy, too). Between the two of us, we'd like to strike out and have our own little thing.
There will be lemonade, of course, for fundraising purposes. All profits from that will go straight into helping sick children. There will also be macarons, both the uber pretentious like passion fruit milk chocolate, and the downright silly like s'mores. For the s'more macaron, unlike any place in New York, I make them with brown sugar instead of white and add in honey so they're even more like the camping treat we all adore (attached is a picture of brown sugar macarons with honey buttercream. Also delish). We're trying to work on some savory versions (tomato and basil? candied bacon?) over the next few weeks. I have a fond love for other French pastries including madeleines and florentines, which will find its way into our stand. I also make a killer set of the usual fare - brownies, blondies, cupcakes and cookies. Check out the pictures I attached of some of the items we hope to offer.
We've been fantasizing about what to offer for the longest time, but now we just need a place to execute. We'd like to get at least an 8x8 spot for the opening weekend (both days, if possible. Or just Sunday if not) and we hope to become regular stand holders, rolling out sorbets in the summer, and spiced treats when the leaves turn colors. Plus, if we get the go-ahead, we'll finally get the push to stop eating cookies all the time and to start actually finalizing our future venture. We promise that we'll give you an official name by the Monday after Easter.
Thanks for your time and I hope to hear good news soon.
Christina Ha
Simon Tung
aka the Moostachio people

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Macaron Class

Well, due to disappointing 5 minute drizzle Earl, we canceled our first class. The good news is that we rescheduled it and we hope you can make it to our new class.


What: Macaron making classes! You’ll be working in groups of 2 to learn the technique behind making beautiful macarons. Simon Tung and Christina Ha will supervise every step to help you master your technique. Since this class is going to be held outdoors, we won’t be able to offer lessons on making fillings. However, we’ll have fillings available for you like matcha (green tea), pumpkin, and peanut butter cup along with the recipes for you to recreate at home. You and your classmates will share macarons and take home approximately 20 goodies each!

When: Sunday, September 19th. The classes will be 2-3 hours long and will be held at the Hester Street Fair. We’re having one at 11 am and one at 3 pm.

Who: We can accommodate up to 6 students at a time. Sign up individually or with friends. First come first serve.

Price: $50 per person.

How to sign up: Just email Simon (simon(at) and let us know which class you would like to sign up for. We’ll send you an invoice on Paypal and once we’ve received your payment, you’re all set. We just need you to show up!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Thank you for your support and sign up for our first macaron class!

We wanted to thank you for your support these past few months. We’ve been in business for almost exactly four months and we couldn’t have done this well without wonderful supporters like you. We love chatting with our fans and sharing stories about the neighborhood, macarons, and just about anything. We hope to see more of you soon now that the weather is cooling down.

We wanted to share some exciting news. We’re going to start offering macaron making classes. There are 2 tentatively scheduled for this Saturday, September 4th, but we’re only going to hold this class if people are going to be around this weekend. Please email us back and let us know if you’re interested in signing up.


What: Macaron making classes! You’ll be working in groups of 2 to learn the technique behind making beautiful macarons. Simon Tung and Christina Ha will supervise every step to help you master your technique. Since this class is going to be held outdoors, we won’t be able to offer lessons on making fillings. However, we’ll have fillings available for you like matcha (green tea), pumpkin (which hasn’t even hit our stands yet!), and peanut butter cup along with the recipes for you to recreate at home. We’ll also include a voucher for a scoop of delicious ice cream from Guerilla Ice Cream to make a frozen macaron dessert!

When: Saturday, September 4th. The classes will be 2-3 hours long and will be held at the Hester Street Fair. We’re having one at 11 am and one at 3 pm.

Who: We can accommodate up to 6 students at a time. Sign up individually or with friends. First come first serve.

Price: $50 per person.

How to sign up: Just email Simon (simon(at) and let us know which class you would like to sign up for. We’ll send you an invoice on Paypal and once we’ve received your payment, you’re all set. We just need you to show up!

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Ok, in the past month, Simon has finally baked for me! He was trying to make his version of a candy bar cookie, but they went in the oven as dough spheres and came out as pancakes. At least he tried! However, he's not off the hook. I got a great new baking book from Dorie Greenspan and I want him to go through it and make something. How are we ever going to come up with some new recipes if he doesn't bake more?


I started the Pastry and Baking Arts Diploma Program at the Institute of Culinary Education back in January. It's been a great 8 months and next week, it'll be finally over. I can't believe I'm almost there! I had a few rough spots like the one time I decided to go out and party with friends on a school night (and that never happened again) or waking up 15 minutes before class started. The skin on my hands are irritated b/c I always finished so early that I was the first one to the dishes and there were days where my body ached so much from standing, I couldn't get out of bed.

However, during the past 400 or so classroom hours, I have never missed a class or even been late. I asked thousands of stupid questions and stayed late to seek advice. I looked into every volunteer opportunity and won several scholarships. I started an externship at a fantastic restaurant with a really wonderful staff and talented pastry chef. Most importantly, I gained the confidence to start Macaron Parlour with Simon.

Since my last post, we were mentioned in both Time Out NY and Daily Candy. I feel like dozens of opportunities have popped up from this exposure and I am so grateful for the generous support we've received from the community. It's been hard for us to keep up with everything since we're a team of two, but it's worth it. I spend almost 70 hours/week in the kitchen now from school to MP to externship and I'm so excited, I don't even get feet/back pains like I used to! I still get tired though...I need like 9 hours of sleep a night to function and my teeth are probably turning brown from all the coffee I have to drink to keep up.

Thank you for supporting Macaron Parlour. We love you and we love hearing from you. If we're slow to respond, please know it's b/c we're on a really unusual schedule, but we read your emails and collect your business cards and Simon shares your stories with me after the Fair on the weekends.

After my graduation next week (I'll share a picture of my graduation cake), I'll have a little bit of a weekend break and perhaps you can finally catch me at the Hester Street Fair or I'll devote that time to developing and testing the 5 or so macaron flavors I have in mind. Either way, good things are to come for Macaron Parlour.

Friday, July 16, 2010

R.I.P. Greenpoint Food Market

First, I would like to state that in the 2 months since writing a post about Simon, he has still NEVER baked for me (making macarons does not count). If you see him this weekend, or any point afterward, I give you permission to embarrass him about it.

RIP Greenpoint Food Market.

We learned about the Greenpoint Food Market through other artisan food vendors. We were so excited when we got our first confirmation email from Joann saying that we have a spot at the next event. Unfortunately, the GFM was laid to rest after a New York Times article exposed that many of the vendors were producing out of their home kitchens and without other permits.

When Macaron Parlour started, many people asked us why we rented a kitchen when Simon has a beautiful kitchen in his home. We tried explaining that it was illegal and we were trying to do the right thing. They said that no one was going to check so we might as well save ourselves the money. The only way we stopped all those questions is by saying that a commercial kitchen had a bigger oven so we could bake in half the time and have more time to devote to developing flavors. They liked the idea of new flavors.

It's crazy to me that in a city with so many resources and so many restaurants, it's so difficult to find a commercial kitchen. I have been doing research on commercial kitchens for the past two years and there really aren't very many kitchens that go out of their way put a listing on Craigslist saying they have space to rent. It's even harder to find a rentable kitchen that has space dedicated solely to pastry. The ones that are available have ridiculous rates ($375 per shift?!?!) and an 8 hour shift hardly seems like enough to get done. Simon cold called half a dozen places and we were lucky to find a kitchen within our budget that had adequate space, equipment, and a great location. But wow, if we were any poorer, we wouldn't have had such luck. It took all the spare money we had between us to make Macaron Parlour a proper legal identity. Even after being in business for 3 months, we still haven't recovered all of our initial investment.

I loved the idea of the GFM. I spent 3 years working in one industry, but fantasizing about baking. I just wasn't ready to make that jump. I wasn't sure if I had a viable product - if it was worth throwing away a steady paycheck for one that varies from week to week. The GFM was a great in-between location that could help you decide whether you should give up that desk job in exchange for a life making cookies, or jellies, or macarons. Everyone should be allowed the opportunity to dream a little and to see if that dream could become a reality.

I hope the GFM comes back in September and that the community kitchen they're banking on comes to life.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Not Quite Paris

Personally, I love slightly burnt food. When I bake bread, I want it to come out dark. I even toast my baguettes an extra bit to get that extra crisp crust. One time, my baguette caught on fire, but I ate most of it anyway (just scraped off the really burnt parts). At my first job at a cafe, I had a tendency to bake the croissants dark for the extra flakiness. I just like the crunch and the extra flavor. I've also been told that burnt food really isn't good for me, but I can't help it! (Ok, I don't like flat cookies that are burnt. They just taste bad.)

Over the past two years, I've come to understand that while my preference is unusual here, it's the norm in Europe. It appears that over there, they also like their breads, pastries, and even caramels a few shades darker than we do here. When I was learning how to make macarons in Paris, I was scolded for having shells that weren't rock hard. The chef instructor took a paring knife and slowly sawed through a "perfect" macaron to show me how dry and crumbly the inside is supposed to be. It was basically like a crouton. He explained that after being sandwiched with the filling, macarons should get some of their moisture from the filling and the rest from sitting for up to 2 days in a 80% humidity refrigerator. That's why Pierre Herme's macarons have a really unusual texture, which makes them incomparable to what we have here.

When I first came back, I did this. I baked my shells until they were rock hard, filled them, and let them sit in a fridge with a warm bowl of water (aka, the poor way of having a high humidity fridge). After the shells started to soften up, I mailed them out to my friends to generally good feedback. However, it's always hard to tell if the feedback is good b/c they want more or if they genuinely mean it.

Baking it through brought out more flavor, but the shells never seemed as soft as the macarons I've had in NY. After I finally thought about it, it seemed really counterproductive to bake macarons into burnt disks so that I could rehydrate them over the course of a few days. It was also an awkward conversation trying to explain the random bowl of water living in my fridge.

So when Macaron Parlour started, we changed strategy. I decided to toss that whole step and let them retain their natural moisture. If you break open a cooled shell, you can see that it's still got a little bit of softness in there. When I started mailing these out to my friends, the feedback seemed more authentic. They said that the shells are so much better and they enjoyed the cookies more. There's a little bit of sacrifice in the flavor of the shells in order to have something that better suits the American palate. That's when I realized that catering to this market, we can't use the same techniques our counterparts have in Europe. That's why everyone compares macarons here to the ones in Paris, but they never seem to live up to the comparison.

When it comes to comparing NY macarons to Paris macarons, but I would say that there's no way to compare the two b/c we're serving people used to different types of products.

Sometimes I wish more places served slightly burnt bread, but oh well...I guess I can use that as an excuse to take a vacation to Europe soon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This Sunday 6/27 at the UnFancy Food Show 2010!

We just got confirmation that we'll be at the UnFancy Food Show this Sunday!!!

I'm super excited because we'll be under the same roof as some vendors who have really supported us during our first few months. We'll def be partying it up on Sunday!

Big shout out to Boomtown, SCRATCHbread and Robicelli’s Cupcakes.

It will be at The Bell House and it's $5 to get in. The Daily News calls this "THE BEST Brooklyn based food event of the year."

See you there!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Learning to Make Macarons

I had my first macaron in 2007 when I went to Paris for a weekend to visit my friend doing a study abroad there. I waited on an endless line outside of Laduree, picked them by colors b/c my French is atrocious and I didn't understand the signs, took a bite of one with a questionable filling (never figured out what it was), and brought the rest back for my family. And I never saw them again.

Fast forward another year. I came across pictures of macarons while becoming familiar with food blogs. At the time, I was living with my family in NJ, and commuting to NY daily for classes at FIT and my job. I literally came home every day for 6 weeks and tried to make meringue again. I didn't have a mixer at the time; I tried whipping them by hand with my dingy cheap whisk (aka FAIL). I kept at it anyway. I have a tendency to get obsessed with doing something until I do it right. I went through dozens of eggs, bought countless pounds of super expensive almond flour ($13.99/LB!!), and kept at it for months. I got a KitchenAid for my birthday and still saw many more failures before I saw any success. In fact, I decided that I needed to take a real class to understand what everyone meant by flows like magma (I have only seen magma in cartoons and that stuff moves FAST b/c everyone is freaking out and running away, so I'm pretty sure that's not accurate).

Eventually, in April 2009, I went to Paris to take a macaron class at La Haute Pâtisserie Pierre Hermé. My French was still atrocious and the instructor never seemed to say as much in English as he did in French. He would talk for 15 minutes in French, then turn to me and say, "And American food coloring is too much liquid." I somehow still managed to learn a lot about humidity, temperature, and egg whites.

Working with some very talented people was a great experience and it's one of the factors that eventually pushed me to enroll at the Institute of Culinary Education. One of my teammates is the pastry chef of a macaron shop, Point G, in Montreal. Despite our broken conversation using mostly hand motions, he was very encouraging. When I had a piping mishap that lead to 3 macarons sticking together, he explained that I just invented the new Mickey Mouse inspired Pierre Herme macaron. (hm...maybe I should make those...)

When I first met Simon, he invited me to meet his kitchen. Somehow, he knew I would fall in love with it right away. In return, I introduced him to one of my favorite hobbies...sitting on the floor in front of the oven and watching the macarons rise up and then settle on their feet. It's extremely therapeutic. Simon likes eating broken shells and he would munch on them like popcorn as we watched our macaron cinema.

A year and a half after my first attempt at making macarons, Simon and I made use of all of those trial and errors and opened Macaron Parlour. Every day, I sit and think about what flavor to make next and sometimes the new macaron is born that week, other times, it takes weeks of research, trial, and error before we get close. We can't wait to reveal our new babies.

The only downside to owning Macaron Parlour is not being able to leisurely watch macarons anymore. After popping them in the oven, it's time to go back and start a new batch or make some fillings. Now we go over to check on them, do a quick dance if they're good, and continue our speedy kitchen pace. As we get later and later into the shift, the dance is less excited and more like a head nod of approval - as if we want the macarons to know they passed our test.

Hopefully, one day in the future, I want to host classes to help other people master the insane art of macarons. I envy everyone who got it right in the first try, but if I didn't struggle so hard, I probably would have never fallen in love with them.

Friday, May 21, 2010


I met Simon through our roommates. I really went on that first date because his Facebook status asked which cookies he should make that week and I was preparing to go to pastry school so I saw it as a sign. Then I went on the second because he said his dream was to open a baked goods truck.

However, Simon has yet to bake me a SINGLE THING.

When we opened Macaron Parlour two months ago, we were nervous! We jumped into it with limited funding and a dream. We saw that the Hester Street Fair was opening up in his neighborhood and we thought, "That's our opportunity to make our dreams come true." From the day we got confirmed, we had less than a month to put together all of our paperwork, rent a kitchen, come up with a name/logo, create recipes, and find a source for our ingredients.

Macaron Parlour would not exist without Simon. He has a zillion friends, who've been great resources. He is extremely patient and possibly the world's friendliest guy. He's at the stand every weekend, chatting it up with our fellow vendors at the Hester Street Fair, sharing our story to our clients, and making googly eyes at babies in oversized diapers.

He's also one of the last people you would expect to see selling French macarons. When I think macarons, I don't picture a guy in a t-shirt, shorts, and custom sneakers, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Visit us Next Saturday at the Fair

Expect to see us at the Hester Street Fair this Saturday, May 1st. The weather is supposed to be in the 80s so we'll be bringing out frozen dessert macarons. We'll be debuting our black sesame cookies and cream macaron. This picture has been floating around all over the web and we're excited to finally let our fans have a taste!

Christina & Simon

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Look for us this Sunday at the Hester Street Fair!

We're very excited for this Sunday, April 25th. It's Macaron Parlour's inaugural weekend. We hope to see you there rain or shine. Click here for directions.

Photo taken from