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What to buy at Miette?

tmsmama Mar 8, 2007 08:40 AM

Is there anything yummy at Miette? What would you buy there with a gift certificate?

Received a gift certificate for $25 for Miette. Looking at past posts, I'm thinking I'll be avoiding the cupcakes and cakes, and maybe trying the macaroons. The macaroon review was two years ago, though, so don't know if those are still made well.

Anyone tried ANYTHING yummy there recently?

  1. rworange Jul 15, 2008 11:42 PM


    Miette Confiserie
    449 Octavia St, San Francisco, CA 94102

    Miette Cakes
    1 Ferry Bldg # 10, San Francisco, CA

    1. a
      allsouls May 30, 2008 02:58 PM

      I've not tried any of their baked goods, but it is one of the very few places I've found that (on occasion) carries Caffarel 1865 giandujas at something resembling a decent price. Be sure to buy them in bulk -- the boxes are overpriced. They sometimes have some other interesting chocolates as well (including other wonderful Caffarel products).

      Note that I've mainly been to the Hayes Valley location.

      1. m
        mrs bacon Feb 27, 2008 08:06 AM

        It pains me to say it, because the people there are really nice, but the only thing I would even consider are the gingerbread cupcakes.

        1. pastryqueen Feb 26, 2008 02:45 PM

          I am sure the gift certificate has been well spent. . .but wanted to comment on how disappointed I always am with Miette baked goods. I don't understand how they consistently make such dry cakes. They must know the general consensus but pay no mind. Ah, well.

          That being said, the macaroons are worthy of their reputation. The confiserie is adorable and they have some interesting items but nothing that knocks my socks off. I bought some Mirabelle Caramels that were the worst candy I have ever purchased - I wanted to take them back but never got around to it. . .at least the tin was cute.

          The caramels were divine but somewhat inconsistent in texture - sometimes soft and gooey, sometimes grainy and chalky. Too bad because the flavor was pure buttery goodness.

          So. . . yeah. . in the end, I would say I just don't get Miette. .. just not my cup of tea.

          2 Replies
          1. re: pastryqueen
            linz Feb 28, 2008 08:05 AM

            their cakes are baked, then frozen until needed, then thawed out and decorated. some cakes fare well/are unaffected by time spent in the freezer. some (ahem) are not.

            i will say, i enjoy their graham crackers, but be careful when picking out a box to find ones that are not too dark and not broken!

            1. re: linz
              Atomica May 28, 2008 08:18 AM

              Please tell me which bakeries do not follow this method. Most bakeries bake cakes and freeze them until needed.

              That said, I hate their ginger cake, but I don't like ginger desserts much at all.

          2. a
            Agent 510 Feb 8, 2008 12:17 PM

            I've tried one yummy item there very recently...the grapefruit cream cake. Very tasty and (I'm guessing) a Miette exclusive. Worth trying a slice if they have it when you're there.

            1. p
              Pistou Feb 7, 2008 12:48 PM

              Yesterday at the Hayes Valley store I picked up a bag of their homemade "cracker jacks" for the second time. Completely irresistable and addictive. Brown sugar, butter, just the right amount of salt and peanuts.

              As points of reference, I love their macarons, but find their cupcakes to be dry and not very tasty. I haven't tasted the shortbreads, but after reading these posts I'll check them out next time.

              Has anyone tried the cotton candy?

              1. p
                prettypithy Aug 21, 2007 08:43 PM

                Wow, Miette was such a disappointment for me. Avoid the chocolate buttercream frosting (tastes like unsweetened crisco). The rose geranium macaroon was between fair and tasty.

                2 Replies
                1. re: prettypithy
                  vdv Aug 21, 2007 08:52 PM

                  The shortbread cookies are delicious--really rich (you can tell they're loaded with butter and sugar). Bought some as gifts for some friends; they loved the chocolate and lemon shortbreads. Perfect accompaniment to tea/coffee.

                  1. re: prettypithy
                    sugarbuzz Aug 21, 2007 09:32 PM

                    I find nothing good at Miette. Miette is like a bad blonde joke. Pretty to look at but nothing substantial under the surface

                  2. muimi07 Mar 15, 2007 03:16 PM

                    Your best bet is the macaroons. Those are little bites of heaven. As others have said, stay away from the cakes. Their prettiness is inversely proportional to their taste. And they are so very, very pretty.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: muimi07
                      tmsmama Aug 21, 2007 07:11 PM

                      Once again, I am appreciative of Hound recs...

                      We were in the area this weekend [finally made it to Ferry Plaza to spend the Miette gift certificate], and bought 16 macaroons- $24 dollars of the $25 gift certificate, worth, to be exact. The pistachio go down so easily -- and the rose ones were divine. Not so big on the chocolate ones, though. Two days later, and there are only 3 macaroons left -- dangerous stuff! :) Thanks again.

                      1. re: muimi07
                        calieskimo May 29, 2008 01:15 PM

                        Someone already said this but Yes, the Pistachio Macarons are the best of the bunch.. then a further second, Hazelnut. The Choc. Lavender is also good and the Choc. is standard. Still, I prefer the macarons at Boulangerie -- bigger, chewier, airier, richer almond taste and overall all of the different flavors are great.

                        1. re: calieskimo
                          tex.s.toast May 30, 2008 12:02 AM

                          Perhaps the reason you prefer others is because you have not tried the rose-geranium. deliciously avoiding tasting perfumey but with a really awesome intense flavor. so good.

                          1. re: tex.s.toast
                            Pistou May 30, 2008 07:55 AM

                            I totally agree about the rose geranium macarons. I don't ordinarily care much for floral flavors in my food, but these are subtle enough to be just an interesting note, not a flower bomb.

                            1. re: Pistou
                              Ruth Lafler Jul 15, 2008 04:20 PM

                              I have to disagree. I bought three macarons today at Miette: one pistachio, one apricot and one rose geranium. The rose geranium was the only one that had any flavor, and I thought it was really strong, with a harsh, herbaceous note. I have to agree with calieskimo that they weren't nearly as good as the ones at Bay Breads/Boulange. They were soft yet gritty without any chewiness. The texture and tooth-aching sweetness of the fillings reminded me of the frosting on a cheap supermarket cake. Not recommended!

                              On the otherhand, I had some of their shortbread at a party the other day and it was quite good.

                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                dreamsicle Jul 17, 2008 08:36 PM

                                Most of the macarons that I've had at Miette are chewier than Bay Bread's. As Ruth mentioned, the flavors are very subtle and barely discernible, probably except for the chocolate-based ones. I'm neither a fan of the buttercream fillings since they're more oily than creamy, leaving a greasy film on the lips.

                                1. re: dreamsicle
                                  Ruth Lafler Jul 21, 2008 02:43 PM

                                  The chewiness is probably a factor, at least somewhat, of how fresh they are.

                      2. s
                        sarvey Mar 9, 2007 08:07 AM

                        Went to Hog Island happy hour last night and stopped at Miette to buy some salt caramels. They're gone! No more salt caramels. The counterperson told me that the person who Miette buys them from couldn't make enough so they stopped buying them. So sad. I got some strange licorice caramels that I don't recommend and a vanilla caramel which was pretty good.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: sarvey
                          rabaja Mar 9, 2007 08:12 AM

                          That's not the story I heard re; why they no longer have the salted caramels, but I suppose it makes for better PR...

                          1. re: rabaja
                            sarvey Mar 9, 2007 08:57 AM

                            Do tell!

                          2. re: sarvey
                            kateadelle Mar 13, 2007 08:42 AM

                            There are sea salt caramels at the candy shop from a new vendor. They should also be at the cake shop soon.

                          3. Emily Hope Mar 8, 2007 07:21 PM

                            I've never tried any of the pastries at the Ferry Plaza shop (based on negative reviews here and a general indifference to sweets) but I am in love with their walnut shortbread, available at the Blue Bottle kiosk in Hayes Valley and I'm assuming in the Ferry Plaza, too. Buttery, browned well, and with plenty of salt on it--yum! The perfect little treat to go with a latte. The peanut butter cookies, not so much.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Emily Hope
                              emily Feb 7, 2008 12:24 PM

                              I love the walnut shortbread, too. I only got one bag last month while in SF and the shortbread was SO GOOD. Great balance of sweet and salty. I'm seriously thinking of paying the ridiculous $15 shipping fee and having some sent to me. I've avoided Miette in the past because of all the negative reviews, but I might try a few more things next time, like the gingerbread cupcake.

                              1. re: emily
                                emily May 28, 2008 08:20 AM

                                In case anyone cares... I've been trying to figure out Miette's recipe for the walnut shortbread and I think it's based on Lindsey Shere's butter cookie recipe from "Chez Panisse Desserts". I called Miette and asked for the ingredients list and it matches exactly (except for the walnuts, of course); so, I made a batch (added more salt than the recipe called for to get the salty-sweet thing going) and ended up with an almost-matching cookie (though they weren't as cute).

                                Oh, and I tried an old-fashioned cupcake last time I was there and it was ok. Cake was a bit dry (edit: well, maybe not dry exactly, but it had an open crumb that I didn't really like), but I did enjoy the marshmallow frosting. I've yet to see the grapefruit cake there.

                            2. s
                              scenicrec Mar 8, 2007 06:37 PM

                              Miette's gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting is quite tasty...not the best I've ever had, but still good!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: scenicrec
                                asianstamp Feb 26, 2008 02:52 PM

                                I have to disagree about their gingerbread cake. It was quite dry and heavy (as in very dense). I got this for V-Day and that sucker sat in my fridge for quite awhile because it wasn't that good.

                                Cupcakes are good. Haven't tried the cookies but they look good too.

                              2. f
                                finchycocoa Mar 8, 2007 05:08 PM

                                I know you weren't interested in cupcakes but I think the gingerbread cupcake is perfect (chewey, moist, gingery). Their macarons are excellent as are their pot de creme. I also enjoyed the chocolate layer cake that had whipped cream in between layers and cocoa nibs in the cake.

                                1. c
                                  chemchef Mar 8, 2007 04:57 PM

                                  I second the votes for the mini scones and the macaroons.

                                  Sidenote... I am not usually dressed nice when I go to the FB b/c I am there for shopping at the farmer's market. Nevertheless, I've never had bad service at Miette.

                                  1. t
                                    TerriL Mar 8, 2007 01:58 PM

                                    I think their candied almonds are the best around -- very crunchy, with a hint of vanilla.

                                    1. JasmineG Mar 8, 2007 01:48 PM

                                      I really like their miniature scones. Definitely avoid the cakes and cupcakes.

                                      1. celeste Mar 8, 2007 12:43 PM

                                        I highly recommend the key lime tart. I think it's amazing. Also the chocolate sable cookies, with their hint of salt, are wonderful.

                                        I haven't had any service attitude at either the Ferry Plaza or the candy shop, and I've been a slob most of the times I've been there.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: celeste
                                          Atomica Mar 8, 2007 12:48 PM

                                          Thanks for the reminder. It was the chocolate sable cookies my friend bought that were so good.

                                          1. re: celeste
                                            Gary Soup Aug 21, 2007 10:27 PM

                                            Any idea how the chocolate sables compare with those from Balthazar in New York? A friend had me haul two bags of Balthazar's sables for her around for three weeks while I was traveling (and I got them to her without one loose crumb!) It would be nice if I could just point her to Miette ;-)


                                          2. readingstand Mar 8, 2007 12:14 PM

                                            I second Atomica re the service at the FB--indeed, I've become a regular mostly/precisely because of how super-friendly they are; on the merits, I'd occasionally get snacks at the FB's other exciting vendors thereof, but I'd miss saying hi to the folks at M, so I rarely do. And the confiseristas have been equally friendly on my two visits--indeed, on my first-ever visit (i.e., no pro-regular bias) they wholeheartedly embraced my candy-assortment-gift-making project and were amazingly helpful. On the original topic, the macarons remain fantastic (and it's super-fun to order "macarons" rather than Americanized "macaroons"). I like the pots de creme and caramels as well. And if you get stuff as a gift, they have very cute cards and Italian(?) candy flowers. The confiserie, meanwhile, is great fun for its dizzying assortment of exotic stuff (the shope looks like Willy Wonka and Laura Ashley teamed up); particularly good that I've tried include malt balls in every color (perhaps as much for fun value as culinary excellence) and a tremendous strawberry-flavored thick licorice.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: readingstand
                                              rworange Mar 8, 2007 12:17 PM

                                              Have you tried the cotton candy? This has me interested. If so, how expensive is it?

                                            2. Chris Rising Mar 8, 2007 10:49 AM

                                              The pistachio macaroons are still delicious.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: Chris Rising
                                                WCchopper Jul 21, 2008 09:58 PM

                                                I also had a friend speak favorable of the pistachio macaroons.

                                              2. rworange Mar 8, 2007 09:11 AM

                                                Ahhhh ... as usual I can't find my notes on the good things to try at Miette. IIRC, the chocolate tart is good according to some ... it's not that I don't want to give places a chance, I'm just worn out throwing good money after bad.

                                                Can you use the gift certificate at their new candy shop, Miette Confiserie?

                                                I'm dying to hear someone report about the rose geranium or lavender cotton candy.

                                                The reports on yelp are hilarious. It seems the candy shop is following the Miette model. Dress up to get good service ... or so it seems from yelp reviews.

                                                There were some interesting sounding things like the 3400 Phinney Bread & Dark Chocolate which has french bread & sea salt with chocolate. Fernet drops sound worth exploring if you are into that sort of thing. It seems the taffy should be avoided. If you read those reports I'd disregard posters with only a few posts that give the place five stars ... and sing candy songs.

                                                Anyway it might be another option for that gift certificate ... please report back whatever you do.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: rworange
                                                  Atomica Mar 8, 2007 10:39 AM

                                                  Where do you see casually dressed people complaining that they were treated poorly? The average rating of the Ferry Bldg. location on Yelp is 4 stars. The only complaints I see are by vegans (no comment). I've always had friendly service-with-a-smile there. People seem to love being insulted by the nasty folks at Lulu Petite, because you never hear a word about it on this board. Gosh, I loved it when they had their sign up that read: "Directions to restroom or Slanted Door -- $1." For a business who makes so much money off tourists to feel so put upon by said tourists . . .

                                                  1. re: rworange
                                                    Ruth Lafler Mar 8, 2007 06:48 PM

                                                    Alameda Natural Grocery has the 3400 Phinney -- I tried the bread and dark chocolate and thought it would have been interesting with more bread (it was just bread crumbs) -- kinda like marshmallows in rocky road. The salt was good, though.

                                                  2. Atomica Mar 8, 2007 09:08 AM

                                                    I do happen to like the chocolate cupcakes. My friend bought a little bag of chocolate cookies and gave me one, and I actually really liked it. I've hated their little bagged cookies in the past.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Atomica
                                                      emily Feb 7, 2008 12:28 PM

                                                      The chocolate cookies are based on Pierre Herme's Korova Sables (or as Dorie Greenspan now calls them -- World Peace Cookies).

                                                      1. re: emily
                                                        Xiao Yang Feb 27, 2008 08:59 AM

                                                        The chocolate sables from Miette are quite different from those made at Balthazar in New York. Any clue as to how either version compares to those made by Pierre Hermé?

                                                        1. re: Xiao Yang
                                                          emily May 28, 2008 08:14 AM

                                                          I've been to Pierre Herme, but haven't tried the Korova cookies. However, I can say that the Dorie Greenspan/Pierre Herme recipe makes a better chocolate sable than the ones from Miette.

                                                    2. Robert Lauriston Mar 8, 2007 09:01 AM

                                                      Anything that by its nature won't be dry.

                                                      1. a
                                                        adido Mar 8, 2007 09:00 AM

                                                        I'm a New Yorker who visited the terminal market last week for the first time and was excited to try Miette because everything looked so cute. I should have known better. I also got there late so there wasn’t a lot to choose from. I had the Scharffen Berger cake it was just okay, if I could do over I'd go for the meringue tart instead. They also had lemon caramels that were really good but you’d get a lot of them for $25. The plates and tea towels were all really cute maybe don’t buy food at all.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: adido
                                                          rabaja Mar 9, 2007 06:52 AM

                                                          I too would go for non-food items, like maybe a small cake stand. The salted caramels are nice, but Miette doesn't even make them.

                                                        2. s
                                                          sarvey Mar 8, 2007 08:43 AM

                                                          Not much really. But I do love the salt caramels.

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