I'm not sure if there's a La Madeleine in St Louis, but in Atlanta, there are quite a few. There was one near my mother's office and so she'd often go for brunch or lunch with coworkers. The few times I went with her, I wasn't that impressed with any of their dishes. I was still fairly young (a tween/teen) and wasn't in the easygoing "try-anything-once" mode that I'm set to now. I didn't recognize most of the dishes or ingredients and didn't want to expand my horizons (if only I could smack my younger self, for several reasons).
I came to La Madeleine for years, up until my early twenties, just for the strawberry Romanoff. But alas, the portions got smaller, they refused to put extra sauce, and eventually handed you a tiny container of it on the side :( I eventually stopped going altogether and moved on to other desserts.
But the other day when we had friends over for our usual Game of Thrones night, I realized there was no dessert to serve! Simply unacceptable, especially in my home. So I grabbed the strawberries we had recently bought and sliced them up quick. Then I whipped up some creme fraiche with some powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and a splash of marsala and spread them over the strawberries. It was heavenly.
Only later did I look it up and find out the recipe for strawberry Romanoff sauce is actually online already, and I'll probably try it sometime, but mine was improvised and pretty delicious as well.
The other vendors were also incredibly helpful and kind. In particular, I adore the vendors from the Farm Fresh cupcake stall, who were very sweet. It was fun swapping goodies with them at the end of the day, and sharing my leftover macarons with my neighbors as well.
Joe and Mila were total troopers, hanging out with me the entire day, and a lot of my friends stopped by which I truly appreciated more than they'll know. It was an exhausting Saturday, but I learnt so much about how to improve in following weeks and what to change. Even though I've committed myself to an early Saturday morning for the next six months (and will never really be able to stay up late on a Friday night), I'm so glad I did this!
If you're in the StL area, try to stop by and say hi! I'm right next to Southwest Diner (the taco stall) and this weekend there'll be Mother Day gift boxes! :)
Inspired by La Madeleine
Makes 1 cup of sauce; serves about 4-6
2 cups strawberries; washed, cut
1 cup creme fraiche (or sour cream)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp brandy
Set the strawberries in bowls or on a large plate.
Beat the rest of the ingredients together until combined.
Pour sauce over the strawberries and serve.