French pastry treats called macarons, not to be confused with American macaroon coconut cookies, come in 18 colorful flavors at Le Macaron, opened Oct. 11 at WestShore Plaza, next to P.F. Chang's.
The small, round, lightly crisp shells are made of finely ground almonds and egg whites. Inside goes creamy ganache (chocolate), cream or fruit jams.
Most popular: Madagascar black vanilla and Belgian chocolate.
Also irresistible: Caramel Fleur de Sel, basil-white chocolate, rose, candied ginger-chocolate, key lime strawberry, Colombian coffee and Sicilian pistachio.
The macarons are all gluten-free - some are dairy-free - and are handmade without preservatives or artificial flavors. Each petite pastry is 80 calories or less. Macarons are sold for $2.10 individually, six for $12.60 or a dozen for $24.
"The owners' son-in-law chef, who was born and raised in Provence and trained in Paris, makes the macarons in our Sarasota kitchen and they are delivered daily to Tampa," said Susan Russo, operations manager. Le Macaron has seven corporate locations including International Plaza and Countryside Mall, plus eight franchises from Winter Park to Miami.
Le Macaron, 173 WestShore Plaza, is open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Call (813) 207-2029 or visit LeMacaron-US.com.
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Mastectomy boutique has grand opening
Bra shopping "like any woman would enjoy" - that's the welcome in store at About You Mastectomy Boutique, a non-medical shop for women affected by breast cancer.
"Soft cup, molded, seamless, sports, front closure, camisoles ... any bra you can think of, plus custom-made prostheses to match the existing breast," said Cindy Heckrow, co-founder with daughter Jessica Hernandez and Jan Adams. The women hosted a grand opening Oct. 16 in the Palma Ceia Shopping Center on Henderson Boulevard, near Outback Steakhouse.
"Bras, breast forms and balancers are covered by insurance after mastectomy, lumpectomy or reconstruction," Heckrow said, "even if the surgery was 30 years ago. If they gain or lose weight, a new one would be covered." About You is also certified to fit lymphedema garments.
Heckrow said she has fitted 6,000 women since she began working out of a durable medical equipment company in 1976, "not a very pleasant atmosphere," she said. When she brought everything home to fit her own mother in 1990, she realized she needed to make house calls. Her staff will travel to 10 counties in addition to in-store fittings.
About You Mastectomy Boutique, 3401 Henderson Blvd., is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by appointment 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 3 p.m. by appointment Sunday. Call (813) 876-2727 or visit aboutyoubras.com.
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Fitness studio puts music at the front
Dance vibes thrive at Soul Rooster, a musically driven fitness studio opened Oct. 12 at the northern end of Britton Plaza.
"Rolling Stones, Barbra Streisand, Britney Spears - easy-to-follow choreography captures everyone's taste in music," said owner Tiffany Meeks, a former sports law attorney.
When she couldn't find a dance fitness program in Tampa, Meeks formulated the Soul Rooster concept, "a workout to release mind and energy through the art and culture of dance," and trademarked the name. The music permeates the boutique studio, down to the bathroom "wallpapered" in album covers and lockers lined with vinyl records. Eight instructors feature different styles, from jazz and Latin to hip-hop, old-school groove, ballet and swing.
"I searched for months to put together my team," Meeks said. "All eight were hired for their positive energy. When you walk in, you feel it. When you walk out, you feel even better."
Drop in on a class for $15; buy five classes for $65 or 10 for $120. An introductory monthly unlimited pass is $99, thereafter $129. No contracts required.
Soul Rooster, 3802 S Dale Mabry Highway, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; closed for private events Friday; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Call (813) 839-7100 or visit SoulRooster.com for class schedule.
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