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Oct 8, 2009 12:35 PM

Best Bakeries - canneles, french macarons, asian sweets

Visiting from SF and looking for recommendations on bakeries in the area. On the western cuisine side, I am specifically looking for superlative examples of french macarons, canneles, or pie. Bread too, though I am skeptical that anything will match Tartine Bakery here (have tried Bread Bar). Also equally interested in asian bakeries.

Will be staying in West LA, but have access to a car and plan to be in a few different areas including Monterey Park.

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  1. My favorite place for macarons is Paulette, but since you're visiting from SF, there's probably no need to try it since there's a Paulette in Hayes Valley in SF.

    Jin Patiesserie in Venice has nice macarons, good chocolates, and cute cakes with interesting flavors. Kristy Choo, the pastry chef, is from Singapore (I think) and her desserts often have delicate flavors and "asian" twists to them (e.g., use of green tea or red beans). On the same street on Abbott Kinney Boulevard is 3 Square Bakery by Hans Rockenwagner - baked goods with an ... Austrian bent (the pretzel roll isn't bad) - he also sells his baked goods at farmers markets throughout the area.

    Susina Bakery has great cake (and a good banana cream pie). Which reminds me that the Apple Pan is a burger dive but has amazing banana cream pie.

    You mentioned that you like Tartine - you may want to consider Huckeberry. It's run by Zoe Nathan and she used to work at Tartine. The maple bacon biscuit and sea salt caramel tart are pretty delicious.

    I've eaten at Eric Kayser's bakeries in Paris and the Breadbar is a huge disappointment (with respect to the bread and not the awesome guest chef dinners they host) compared to what you may be expecting given its pedigree. So I wholeheartedly think that you can skip it for bread. La Brea Bakery is somewhat analogous to Acme Bread up in SF. There's a store on La Brea but they also supply several restaurants and high end grocery stores throughout the area.

    1. For macarons and all French goodies I am hugely partial to La Maison du Pain on Pico & Ridgeley. They don't offer macarons or cannel├ęs every day so you may want to give them a call before you do the trek. I can only recommend their croissants too, the plain ones that is as I find their chocolate ones too rich. They have delicious mini-tarts and other delicate pastries in the case by the right of the register. Their fruit tarts are always great. It's a family-style type of bakery more oriented toward takeout, so sit-down service can be a little bit slow sometimes.

      I second Jin Patisserie in Venice too for a good combination of French/Asian bakery. I love their afternoon teas.
      Susina on Beverly & La Brea is fantastic but I cannot abide their espresso, alas. Love their Italian small cookies. Their cakes and tarts are fabulous.
      I've heard good things about the new Danish bakery downtown, Hygge, but I've haven't been...yet!
      Someone I've met recently mentioned Tavern (?) in Brentwood and only had good things to say, so maybe other people on this board can chime in and maybe correct the name if I got it wrong.

      As for bread I've never found anything really satisfying in LA, which, according to a couple of French bakers I've met here has to do with the type of flours. I concur that the bread at Breadbar is a big disappointment compared to Kayser's offering in Paris.

      1. I haven't had the canneles from Europane in Pasadena but they sound amazing:

        4 Replies
        1. re: mollyomormon

          i was just going to recommend these, they are amazing! crunchy creamy caramelly goodness.

          1. re: tastycakes

            oh yes, i finally got to try them two weekends ago and they truly were incredible. the other canneles i've had around town are just sad in comparison.

            1. re: mollyomormon

              Of course nothing compares to the ones in France, but I found the ones at Europane to be dreadfully limp and lacking that delicious lacquered crispness. LAMill occasionally has them and they're much better. Haven't seen them at Huckleberry, but I'm sure they would make them right.

          2. re: mollyomormon

            Their macaroons (not sure if its the kind with one or two "o"s) are rich and delicious. My favorite are the hazelnut ones and the sea salt caramels are popular too, pretty much a the pastries I've had here are! For Asian sweets I think of Phoenix (plenty of locations throughout the SGV).

          3. If you happen to come down to the Southbay area, Patisserie Chantilly (in Lomita) is an excellent French-Japanese bakery. Their cream puffs are excellent, and they have a nice selection of pretty pastries.

            1. I second or rec the following:

              Jin for macarons as well as some interesting desserts. Her chocolates are interesting, but closer to truffles in texture and richness. Most either really like them or don't care for them at all.

              3 Square/Hans Rockenwagner for pretzel breads, especially their pretzel cheese twist with bacon. They also have a mega-pretzel with cheese, plain with salt, or multi-seed. If you get any of their pretzel dough items, they will gladly warm it for you if you choose - please do so - they are amazingly good that way. Their chocolate-chocolate chip cookie is great as well. You really should give the cafe next to the bake shop a try as well. Their food is very good. Their wine list is short but the selections are good.

              Susina for various Italian-style small cookies, chocolate lava cake, berry blossom cake (and other cakes in general).

              Haven't been to Huckleberry in Santa Monica for a while, but my impression is very good. I was also left smiling with the maple backon biscuit.

              Really amazing Euro-style breads aren't found on every street corner, but La Maison du Pain in the Fairfax area and La Pain du Jour in Santa Monica have very good reputations for their breads, croissants and some pastries.

              Amandine in West LA does some pretty amazing croissants, pastries and desserts. Japanese-style French is how most describe it (the owner is Japanese), but I don't feel as much Japanese coming through as I do French - not a bad or good thing either way. What ever the case, their execution is superb. They do offer some breads - not many - and they are pretty good as well.

              Patisserie Chantilly is definitely Japanese-style French. The dessert case is loaded with things influenced by both Europe as well as Japan. The cream puffs are well worth ordering and waiting for. This place truly has the kind of pride and commitment to offering the best possible that one rarely sees even from an artisan establishment. Make the effort to try this place.

              Patisserie Chantilly
              2383 Lomita Blvd., #104, Lomita, CA 90717

              Amandine Patissiere
              12225 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

              Susina Bakery & Cafe
              7122 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036

              La Maison Du Pain
              5373 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90019

              Jin Patisserie
              1202 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

              Le Pain Du Jour
              828 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405

              3 Square Cafe
              1121 Abbot Kinney Blvd, Venice, CA 90291

              Huckleberry Cafe
              1014 Wilshire Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401