CITRUS PARK — Citrus Park Mall gained a little piece of French-inspired heaven May 9 with the opening of Le Macaron.
The elegant decor of this chic, boutique-style pastry shop is certain to entice passersby.
But it is the display case filled with row upon row of vibrantly hued macarons that will draw them in.
Not to be confused with macaroons, the coconut-based cookie common in America, macarons (pronounced mah-kah-ROAN) are small round shells made from ground almonds and soft meringue that are then filled with cream or fruit-based spreads. Delicately crisp on the outside with rich fillings in flavors such as Belgian Chocolate and Black Currant, these bite-size, melt-in-your-mouth confections — believe it or not — are gluten free and come in at just under 80 calories each.
French natives Rosalie and Bernard Guillem opened the first Le Macaron nearly four years ago on St. Armands Circle in Sarasota. The couple looked to create a wholesome, family-run business, and they found the perfect niche serving jewel-toned macarons in a setting patterned after the French patisserie. Today, the company boasts seven corporate-owned and 10 franchise stores throughout Florida and Puerto Rico.
Le Macaron also carries artisan chocolates, assorted pastries and imported gelato. (Be sure to sample the Violet gelato, which packs a surprising, floral-inspired punch.)
Le Macaron is located near the food court at Citrus Park Mall at 8021 Citrus Park Town Center in Tampa. The store is open daily during mall hours. For more information, visit lemacaron-us.com or call (813) 920-4148.
Bright Eyes optometry office just for kids
NEW TAMPA — Bright Eyes Kids, an optometry office catering exclusively to children, is now open. The office, which opened May 4, is the second location for Dr. Nathan Bonilla-Warford. He has been providing vision care for all ages at Bright Eyes Family Vision Care in Westchase since 2006.
Bonilla-Warford designed Bright Eyes Kids to fill a specific need in the community. "Many parents tell me they take children to pediatric dentists because they know that they will be comfortable and well cared for, and they would like the same for their child's eyes and vision," he explained.
In addition to routine eye exams and corrective eyewear for children under 18, Bright Eyes Kids also offers specialty services, including vision therapy and orthokeratology, an innovative procedure that corrects vision without the aid of contacts or glasses.
Valerie McDaniel is grateful for the new office. She has been traveling from Tampa Palms to Westchase on a weekly basis for the past year for treatments to correct her son's lazy eye. Though she is quick to admit it was well worth the drive.
"It has been remarkable how much improvement we have seen in the last year," McDaniel said.
Bonilla-Warford hopes that by adding this second office he will be able to reach more children who can benefit from the unique services he offers.
Bright Eyes Kids is located at 15303 Amberly Drive. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Bright Eyes Family Vision Care, located at 9912 W Linebaugh Ave. in Westchase, will continue to serve patients of all ages, Monday through Friday. For more information, visit brighteyeskidsvision.com or call (813) 792-0637.