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Boule, Boule, Boule

I had written up a whole review on the fortune I spend at this joint and the kid hit the keyboard and poof, gone.

Let’s see, I got three different flavors of macaroons, pate de fruit, tarte tartin, carrot cake, cheesecake, and wild honey ice cream.

I thought I got enough of a cross section of items to test the mettle of the place.
Absolutely nothing was recommendable. The first case in a long type of complete and total hype. Paying a lot for something does not make it good. Heck, I’ve gotten better baked goods at Vons.

I just don't understand.

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  1. Totally with you on this! It's all stylish packaging and very little substance. Service is also off hand and disinterested. I have never been in there with more than two people in front of me and it takes about 15 minutes to get my so-so éclair.

    1. Are you trying to tell me that all those dessert delights aren't supposed to be tasteless? I'm not surprised that everyone is starting to notice, it's like Soylent Green?

      1. I agree-- it's an awful waste of money. I've spent a fraction elsewhere for far superior stuff.

        3 Replies
        1. re: PseudoNerd

          Where where? I've avoided Boule because of the traffic and faint feeling that it might be style over substance. I'd love to know where people prefer.

          1. re: Pei

            hey, Pei,

            I think it'd depend on what you're looking for...? I mean, most places aren't consistent in the quality of their items across the board, so...

            At this point, I think the "truffles" and "chocolates" even from places like Rocky Mtn Chocolate Co. might be better-- sorry, I exaggerate (and am being a bit facetious), but still...

            I really want to try L'artisan du chocolat, but I keep driving around the area without any luck finding it!

            1. re: PseudoNerd

              I have bought from L'artisan du chocolat at the South Pas Farmer's market. I think he said that his shop is next door to Picholine, which was at 1st and Temple or thereabouts (I only went there once). But he's pretty reliably to be found on Thursdays in South Pasadena. Great stuff.

        2. As someone who has tried most everything there, I agree there is some poor stuff, but I would still say the ice creams are fantastic--arguably the best in town.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Adsvino

            I have to disagree; the flavor of the ice cream was fine, even good, but the consistency was lousy; it was grainy and not at all creamy. Many years ago, I had my first taste of honey ice cream at the African Marketplace from some restaurant that I still curse not remembering the name of - it was awesome (with peach cobbler - oh yum!). I tried looking for a recipe to make it myself and couldn't find one at the time. What a difference a few years make! Last year I was able to find so many, I could barely decide. The one I picked came out awesome - fabulous flavor and creamy. So, if I can make it better my first time out, I'd guess that Boule, charging a small arm and leg for a pint, would do a smash up job. Nope, I think I'd just head up the street to 31 Flavors and pick up whatever sounds good!

            1. re: Adsvino

              My, how some tunes have changed. Some of us have noted how crappy a value Boule is for years...

            2. they were great a year or two ago, before the "staff upheaval" that got rid of the best of their choclatiers. She was amazing. I forget her name.

              11 Replies
              1. re: Diana

                What happened? Why was there a "staff upheaval"? I thought some of those people just quit. I liked some of the people that worked there before a lot better. Their chocolates are still my favorite in town. I have noticed a different vibe...that blonde woman that manages or oversees is really annoying.

                1. re: hazelnutty

                  They were forced to quit, let us say.

                2. re: Diana

                  haven't been there in over a year so maybe that's why I remember it as being really good. The croissants were great, the macarons were the best in town and the ice cream was good if pricey. Well, evryting was pricey but I digress.

                  1. re: choctastic

                    they don't have croissants anymore.

                    1. re: hazelnutty

                      If you've not been to Maison du Pain on Pico and Hauser, you've got to try it. Their croissants are marvelous, as are their tarts and pastries. I've never been dissatisfied with anything I've gotten there. I used to pick up staff meeting goodies - really spoiled everybody.

                      1. re: Ndelible

                        I'll have to try it. Like I said before Boule is still my favorite when it comes to chocolates and truffles.

                        I'm not really a big fan of croissants and tarts...

                        1. re: Ndelible

                          Maison makes a great chocolate mousse.

                          Or rather, they DON'T make a great chocolate mousse. It's never there when I drop by.

                          So I've stopped dropping by. Though their other stuff is pretty good I'll grant.

                        2. re: hazelnutty

                          yes i know. they got rid of them years ago. or was it a year ago? anyway they're long gone.

                          1. re: choctastic

                            I think it was yrs ago...

                            Consistency is a real problem in this town!!!

                            1. re: hazelnutty

                              Hey Hazelnutty, consistency is a big issue in our city. I think alot of it has to do with the nature of LA and alot of its people: LA is a cluster of towns in a perpetual transitory process populated by so many emigrants that look at LA (as well as periods in their lives) as a way-station before making their next move - the move that will hopefully fulfill their dreams.

                              There's alot to be said about change, both good and bad, and in Boule's case, I think of it as analagous to the Lakers rebuilding. There's probably some serious egos that built this house, and sometimes things come to a head. Loyalties divide and split up. The remnants of the team are left to start over again. If the leadership has any interest other than riding on their legacy, they will rebuild in hopes of once again being at the top of their game.

                              1. re: bulavinaka

                                Is somebody getting divorced over there? Are there investors who want out? What are you talking about??? Something definitely changed over there though...
                                Whatever...

                    2. The quality varies quite a lot, especially with items like macaroons. Sometimes they are terrific but more often than not they have that glossy look and have lost their texture. It is a real shame they stopped making the viennoisserie, I thought it was their strength.

                      There just isn't a lot of competition in LA...

                      22 Replies
                      1. re: JudiAU

                        I will say that the quality of the chocolates has been consistent, but I agree about the macaroons.

                        1. re: JudiAU

                          Sooooooo true about the competition in l.a. there isn't much out there...99% is just mediocre.

                          1. re: JudiAU

                            The chocolate chip macaroon was pretty good, but a little overdone. The others were horr-i-ble! I was shocked. This really is a case of a place gliding by on mystique and hype.

                            1. re: Ndelible

                              Did you try the pistachio and the lavender? I really like those. Did you have the sicilian pistachio chocolate, the passion fruit? Which chocolates did you try?

                              1. re: hazelnutty

                                I know I got the lavender (I love lavender) and two others - I don't remember now, but they sounded good at the time. I didn't try to sicilian pistachio chocolate or the passion fruit. I didn't try any chocolates that day.

                                1. re: Ndelible

                                  That's why I go there--you should have tried the chocolates...although you may not have liked that either...

                                  1. re: hazelnutty

                                    As I recall, I didn't see any chocolates that called out for me buy them, soo.. If the other items had been good, I probably would have returned to try the chocolates. Right now, I can't reconcile myself to return.

                                    1. re: Ndelible

                                      What places in l.a. do you like in terms of sweets?

                                      1. re: hazelnutty

                                        Oh sweets! I am one of those people with a sweet tooth! There are different places for different things.

                                        For reasonable birthday cakes: Hansen's or Fredrico's in Pasadena

                                        I like the cupcakes at Joan's & Von's - usually some kind of chocolate with white icing. Oh, and believe it or not, the cupcakes at Mrs. Bealey are really good - they have a crapload of frosting, but since I'm a frosting gal, that's right up my alley.

                                        For cheap sheet cakes I like the Pavilion's on Melrose, always a smile and since I tend to order the german chocolate cake with white buttercream, it's a special order; all have been amazingly good and people do not believe me when I say it's from a grocery store.

                                        For chocolates, I love See's and Teuscher's. I am not a real truffle fan, but will eat them if someone says they're good.

                                        Maison du Pain for pastries - really good!

                                        Sweet potato pie from 27th Street Bakery; their coconut cake is also fabulous

                                        I like the gelato place on Hollywood Blvd across from the Chinese Theatre; went there by fluke one day and was very pleasantly surprised.

                                        One of my all time favorite desserts is tarte tartin; the best one I've ever had outside of Europe was at the Louis XIV, now defunct.

                                        I adore banana pudding, but am still searching for one that rivals homemade versions my Mom's friends make.

                                        Donnie's cobblers are really good too. Those can be had at grocery stores in the hood.

                                        I recently had an amazing gelato caramel thingee at Mozza - it was great!

                                        In short, if it's sweet, I'll eat it!!!!

                                        I hate it when I'm put on the spot, I forget all of the really good places around town.

                                        1. re: Ndelible

                                          I think you did well describing what you like.

                                          I will only remark on the following:
                                          I can't stand Teuscher's. It's like putting cheap sugar in your mouth, except they charge you loads of money. I know it's from Switzerland oh ah oh ah...please I'm not impressed. I was thinking about this the other day, Teuscher in Switz. is probably what Godiva is to us...I should ask my Swiss friend. And if it isn't it should be...

                                          From the sound of it you and I have very different tastes so I understand you not liking Boule (for one thing I don't like caramel,except maybe for soft caramel candy)...what about Gin's on Abbot Kinney??

                                          1. re: hazelnutty

                                            Gin's on AK is actually Jin Patisserie (just so no one get frustrated looking for that other spelling).

                                            1202 Abbot Kinney Boulevard
                                            Venice, CA 90291
                                            (310) 399-8801
                                            www.jinpatisserie.com

                                            1. re: tony michaels

                                              Excuse me. Geez.

                                              Alright thanks for correcting me. You're right, I knew it didn't seem right when I was looking at it....

                                              1. re: hazelnutty

                                                We like Boule better than Jin. When we were last at Boule we dropped a $100 much too easily, but it feels like you are shopping for sweets in Paris, so maybe I can just put it down to a bad exchange rate. ;-D

                                                1. re: tony michaels

                                                  Interesting. If the flavor is good - expensive or cheap, I'm in! I'm trying to rack my brain for good pastries but can't seem to think of any right now. Geesh, I'm getting old.

                                                  1. re: tony michaels

                                                    That's funny. I agree, I like Boule better than Jin. I used to drop $20 several times a week. I've stopped. I'm down to $10 and trying once a week or once every two weeks...we'll see it how goes...but I really like their stuff...

                                                  2. re: tony michaels

                                                    I haven't actually eaten at Jin's. I went once when I was in the area and nothing quite struck my fancy at the time. It's on the other side of town for me, so it's going to be one of those when I'm in the area type things, but I plan on sampling one day.

                                                    1. re: tony michaels

                                                      Thanks for catching that one, Tony. I did a Huh? I personally enjoy their macarons... all I know is so do alot of women, who make up most of my clients. I never scored so many points as I did upon presenting Jin's macarons as gifts to them... That wasn't my intention, but the swooning didn't stop for days... oh, had Jin been around when I was single... ;-)

                                                      1. re: hazelnutty

                                                        I am childish - I'll be the first to admit it... Thin-skinned? No... C'mon, Hazelnutty, I'm not intending to insult you - you're a little too sensitive... I work in Venice and live close by. Gin's on Abbot Kinney didn't register to me at first - that's all. Thus, the "huh?" That's it. Tony was just clarifying for those reading this post who may not know who or where Jin is... You can smile, it's okay... that's what good food is supposed to do - make you smile... I'm going back to racing my son's Hot Wheels while gnawing on a day-old buttermilk bar from Primo's...

                                                    2. re: hazelnutty

                                                      Ah, but my list are really my comfort sweets. I am down for the fine dessert dining experience; no problem. And as for Teuscher's, it's not a place that I go out of my way for; just liked the champagne truffles (and I'm not a truffle kind of gal). As for Boule, I would say that their baked products are downright poor, uninteresting taste and strange choices (a gelee over the cheesecake, mais pourquoi?). Not commenting on the chocolates, those might very good, but someone is going to have to give me one to try to find out....

                                                      =)

                                                      1. re: Ndelible

                                                        Well if I ever see you I'll buy you one hahaha....

                                                        Yeah the champagne truffle isn't bad, that's what they are known for...if someone gave me a box of their truffles I would eat them, now if someone gave me godiva I'd give it away. However, neither of which do I care to purchase.

                                                        1. re: hazelnutty

                                                          ...sounds like I can just hang around Boule and we'll eventually meet...

                                                          See, it's easier to agree than you imagined -- I ain't buying no Godiva or Teuscher.

                                                      2. re: hazelnutty

                                                        Teuscher is much too sweet (but then again, I don't like Swiss [or many Belgian] chocolates in general), and not worth the money. Boule follows suit.

                                      2. The more one experiences the Myers' food, the less one likes it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: jcwla

                                          I've not been to Sona and had been wanting to go; I'm going to re-think that position.

                                        2. I haven't been to Boule in about a year but i always remember it being very good, chocs, macs and ice creams all top notch. perhaps things have changed due to the staff departures that others have mentioned. something else i dont get is everyone talking about the snooty staff, when ive been they've always been nice, stand out nice, as in free macaroons and ice cream. might check them out again sat afternoon, any recommendations on what chocs are the best now they have a new chocolatier?

                                          6 Replies
                                          1. re: missholmes

                                            Oh, I had no complaints about the staff, actually, they the gal who waited on me was friendly. They were giving out samples of the ice cream if you asked - actually, they didn't have any of the honey ice cream available, so I took it on faith.

                                            No wonder I'm a non-believer.

                                            1. re: missholmes

                                              I don't know what everyone is complaining about either. It almost seems personal.

                                              I love the sicilian pistachio, coffee, passion fruit, vanilla truffle, rosemary-strawberry, lime/lemon. They're pricey, but I keep coming back to them. I try other places but it's just not the same. I just hope they don't change.

                                              1. re: hazelnutty

                                                Well, isn't all taste personal. Some things I think are great and others find it just okay or even bad, but that's life, right? Differing views help me decide what I'm going to try next. Just trying to do the same for others.

                                                1. re: Ndelible

                                                  Except for the fact that you judged the place without trying the chocolates and that's half their brand if you will...

                                                  I meant personal as in you have a gripe with them for other reasons than their offerings.

                                                  Listen I don' t own the place, nobody is paying me (actually I pay them hehe) so I'm not going to defend them. I'm just a little surprised that you didn't like anything there...I will say that they are expensive, the chocolates should be $2 not $2.50...

                                                  I liked neauhass(sp) but they closed-they had good chocolates. It's a shame.

                                                  To each his/her own.

                                                  1. re: hazelnutty

                                                    Yeah, I judged the place without trying the chocolates, but hey chocolates are less than 1/4 of the floorspace, so they're selling something else, not just chocolates.

                                                    1. re: Ndelible

                                                      I suppose it depends on how you look at it. Since L.A. has so few good chocolate places, it's a big deal even if it takes up 25% of their floor plan. It's just too bad you didn't start from the left to the right...

                                                      oh well happy eating anyway!!