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Jul 12, 2007 12:43 PM

Belgano, SF - has Leonidas chocolates, Laduree macarons, Kookez cupcakes - anyone try it?

Just found out about this place from Yelp. Is this place a hidden gem?

Supposedly they have:
Leonidas - Belgium chocolates
Ciao Bella gelato
Kookez cupcakes
Laduree macarons - from France

Open late

3901 24th St (between Noe & Sanchez St)
SF 94114

Any reports?

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  1. Do they really have Ladurée macarons? Not mentioned in previous reports.

    Belgano Chocolatier Gelateria
    3901 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

    1. It's a typical Noe food offering: cute looking, overpriced, dissinterested service, mediocre.

      Many previous unimpressed mentions.

      Have not been back since my first time, so no idea about macarons, but I did notice cupcakes in the window (as if Noe Valley bakery's 25 kinds of cupcakes weren't enough).

      1. I had to find out for myself, so I made a phone call. Left a message then a guy called me back (didn't catch the name).

        He said Yes, they sell Laduree macarons, BUT only gets them Once a Month, so it's hit or miss. When they do get them, they sell out FAST! He sells them for .75c he told me, I wonder how big they are cuz that seems really, really cheap! I should have asked about this month, but I didn't.

        Please someone find out more, and report back if you are able to get any!!

        Daily 10:30am - 10pm, until 11pm on Fri & Sat!

        6 Replies
        1. re: hhc

          When I was in Paris last October I went to Laduree to see what all the fuss was about; got in line and then when I found out the price -- I think equal to at least $1 U.S., I asked if I could just taste one to see if I liked it. They let me have one and I did not understand all the frenzy and walked out. So, if it's .75 here, that's not so bad.

          1. re: walker

            I'm sure the macarons are miniscule, one bite. I won't even go into the carbon footprint thing of shipping the things over here from France, but what about freshness? Won't they be stale by the time they get here?

            1. re: Atomica

              Macarons are cooked fairly dry, then the filling moistens the almond/meringue from the inside leaving the shell crisp and the interior cakey and tender if all goes well. When I've made them, they aren't really edible until the day after I bake them because the shell cracks and my filling squeezes out. It's a very delicate balance between dryness of meringue, stiffness of filling, and total moisture content which can result in a surprisingly stable product. There's no flour and very little starch in the ground almonds so there isn't anything to stale. I'd be more concerned about the type of ganache or buttercream they use, but there's surely enough sugar to keep those tasty for a few days en-route to San Francisco. We successfully shipped Laduree macarons from Paris to friends in San Francisco once and didn't get any complaints from office mates...

              In my book, an example of a bad macaraon can be found at Patisserie Philippe, where the almond meringue didn't taste of almond at all, and the whole thing had the stretchy/chewy texture of a sweet marshmallow which is probably easier to make but isn't quite the right thing.

              1. re: SteveG

                I knew that I would be able to hunt down macaroons in San-Fran.
                I've been on the hunt for those damn buggers for months now, hitting every sweet-shoppie in sight. Down here you'd swear asif people have never heard of the things! The typical response is a blank stare.
                If anyone could help me out and recommend some quality source where I can mail order them, or even more prefferable coulde someone direct me to a really good recipy? Thanks, any help is much apreciated,

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    If you do go the home cooking route, the best place I've found for almond flour is Rainbow Grocery, in the refrigerated bulk section near the olive bar. Trader Joe supposedly carries it, but almond flour should be refrigerated and used as soon after grinding as possible because it goes rancid easily; there's a risk the stuff at Trader Joe has been in the distribution pipeline far too long.

                    Rainbow is great for this sort of thing, because they serve many customers who are vegetarian/vegan and don't eat wheat products so things like almond or other nut flours get a lot of use to replace wheat flour.

        2. Last time I was in there, the young guy behind the counter was incredibly rude and mostly interested in talking on his cellphone. I was in there for a brief moment and asked a couple of questions (mainly about the cupcakes, which were new at the time). He said to me, "Are you going to buy something?" You can probably tell I'm still a bit angry about it. Nope, not going back. They can kiss my shiny metal a**. Not a hidden gem.

          1. The service sucks here, but I also think the service sucks at noe bakery...I think they pull the staff from the same "disinterested spoiled teens need part time job to appease parents" job board.

            The cupcakes at Belango are much better than noe bakery IMO....particularly the vanilla.

            12 Replies
            1. re: luckygrlllll

              The cupcakes are by Kookez up the street. I heard recently (from a friend of mine who bought a mess of cupcakes for her toddler's bday party) that buying the cupcakes straight from Kookez is a lot cheaper. I haven't tried them yet because I wasn't able to buy anything at Belgano that day (they have a very high credit card limit for an ice cream shop--do I need to mention that this is a violation of their agreement with Visa, Mastercard, etc.?) and didn't have enough cash with me.

              1. re: Atomica

                Atomica...soo true on the credit card issue. I had to have a cupcake last sunday so we stopped there on the way home, and I went to pay for my 2 cupcakes (6.50) they said the cc min. was $12...I was like...that means 4 cupcakes??? I cant do I scraped together the cash from the bottom of my bag and paid the rude counter boy who was texting on his cell phone.

                1. re: luckygrlllll

                  Very goofy for the type of store it is.

                  So, how were those darn cupcakes?

                  1. re: Atomica

                    You are spot on about the attitude of people working here. And none of the offerings are that mouth-watering, for me to ever go back.

                    1. re: osho

                      The cupcakes are worth every calorie. I favor the vanilla with buttercream frosting. I am a purist. The have a deep vanilla flavor, perfect moist. soft texture, and the right amount of frosting. Now I make my husband get them for me. :P

                      1. re: luckygrlllll

                        But the same cupcakes are cheaper at the source just up the street, no?

                        1. re: Robert Lauriston

                          I had a chocolate cupcake with choc. frosting and it was delicious. I'll have to try the vanilla buttercream. I don't remember the exact price, but my cupcake was less than $3. It's funny, because I found the service a bit odd, too, esp. considering the owner approached me a few days earlier while I was having lunch by myself in Savor. He stopped to admire my baby and I mentioned having just moved to the neighborhood and he told me to stop by his shop. I did, about a week later and he clearly didn't remember me. He wasn't rude, just sort of aloof, but the young guy totally ignored me and my friend (also with stroller). But, it was a good cupcake and Noe Valley Bakery was closed that day. And, I agree their service can be a bit rude, too.

                          1. re: cafecreme

                            I've had poor service at Noe Valley Bakery also....special ordered a customized cake for a friends baby shower; they mispelled "Congratulations". (even though they asked me to write down exactly what I wanted on the cake when I ordered). When I pointed that out, they told me they couldn't fix it (and since the shower was the same afternoon there certainly wasn't time to bake me another one)...but refused to give me any sort of discount or store credit for the error either. Basically, the attitude was 'you want the cake, or not?'; not even an apology, just a 'well, too bad' sort of shrug.

                            I've never gone back. To be honest, the cake wasn't that much better than something I could get at Safeway, so why hassle the parking and the cost (it was *really* pricey) for that type of (non) service.

                            1. re: susancinsf

                              Noe Valley's not really a cake sort of bakery. Breads and pastries are their thing.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                That type of lackadasical, uncaring service wouldn't change depending upon the type of baked good ordered.

                                1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                  They think of themselves as a cake sort of bakery, with the special displays in the window and the new-ish set of designs on offer.
                                  susaninsf, it's outrageous that they would mispell a basic word and give no apology. Makes *me* not want to return!

                                  I much prefer the cakes I've had from Destination, and they're very nice to deal with.

                                  Destination Baking Co
                                  598 Chenery St, San Francisco, CA 94131

                                  1. re: bernalgirl

                                    Kookez cupcakes are $2 and the same ones at Belango are $3.50. These places are within 3-4 blocks of each other on 24th st.