Paulette Macarons ick
ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew ew yuck ew ew ew
The above was written by my daughter who just got back from Paris and was craving macarons. We decided to try Paulette's after reading about them on the board. They are beautiful to look at, but have NO FLAVOR! We tried several and both agreed. Rarely do I toss out food. I tossed these out.
FYI: Kidlet tried a macaron at every patisserie she could find in Paris. Lived on them for months. Thinks Gregory Renard is better than Laduree.
I had some pretty good ones at Paulette over the holidays. Okay, the orange blossom ones were a bit odd and reminiscent of bathroom air freshener, and the cherry ones, as described above, seemed to have no flavor. The others I got, though - coffee, sweet wedding almond, violet cassis - were very flavorful. Not only that, but they were very fresh, too, which was one of my peeves the first time I visited Paulette.
Boule has really fallen from my favor. I went there a few days after visiting Paulette, and there were just three flavors - passionfruit, lemon, and two huge sheet pans of eggnog. It was December 30; was there still really that much demand for eggnog macarons? I wasn't the only person who walked out without buying macarons at Boule that day. And I don't care for Jin's small macarons at all, which are more like hard merengues with filling.
Being French and always looking for a macaron fix I was very excited when Paulette opened and went to buy a sampler. My friend Robin and I tried about 8 of them and were hugely disappointed. They all tasted the same. I mostly find them overwhelmingly sweet, cloying even, and too artificially flavored. Here's our review.
I've also had Boule and Jin. Jin's good, Boule was too sweet and dry.
My favorite macarons in LA are the ones from La Maison du Pain, but they don't make them on a daily basis. They tend to be less perfect looking than all their competitors but packed with flavors and most importantly not too sweet. If you happen to get some, my favorite flavors at LPDP are chocolate, blackberry, raspberry and lemon (with lemon curd as the filling). Their pistachio need improving, though. Their macarons are on the small side, which I tend to prefer. If you prefer large ones I guess Paulette is your place.
Here's my praise for LMDP's macarons:
So if I had to rate them I'd say in descending order1) La Maison du Pain, 2) Jin, 3) Boule and 4) Paulette.
This being said, I tend to find Laduree overrated but not "subpar".
Now after living in the US for a few years, reading reviews here and there of places I've tried and going out with fellow foodies, I've come to realize that taste buds are also subject to cultural differences. For my French palate US foods tend to be always too sweet, so I guess for someone born and bred here the sugar ratio expected in various foods may be different.
re: bad nono
That's strange, the Laduree ones we had were the worst out of the bunch, although I have to say we didn't do an absolutely exhaustive search (only Michael Cluizel, JP Hevin, and Sprungeli's luxemborgli in Switzerland). But the chief complaints we had are that they were wayyy too sweet. I didn't really care for the violet and rose flavors either.
Anyway, everyone's taste is different. For me, I wouldn't take a box of Laduree even if it's free. Not worth the calories.
BTW, I tried Chantilly's macarons also long after the other thread on macarons, and I like their matcha flavor. Thought it was quite different and has a true matcha taste, also the texture is what I preferred - lighty crunchy on the outside, slighty chewy within, and the filling is not too sweety/sticky/heavy/jam-like, more mousse-like.