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Macarons in Los Angeles?

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adrouault Jun 30, 2012 11:38 PM

Is there any place to get good macarons in Los Angeles?

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  1. PeterCC RE: adrouault Jul 1, 2012 12:20 AM

    I know you're French, so my idea of what a good macaron might not meet your ideals, but I've had good macaron from Le Pain du Jour in Santa Monica.

    [Edit: Uh, apparently they moved to Hawthorne? Does anyone know if they're still selling out of their SM storefront?]

    I've heard conflicting reviews of the macarons at Amandine, but their other French pastries are supposed to be top-notch (I've had their croissant, and it is one of the better croissants I've had).

    I've heard great things about Maison Giraud but have never been personally. Google Cache shows a post for Mother's Day mentioning French macarons, but it's not on their live Facebook timeline for some reason.

    21 Replies
    1. re: PeterCC
      J.L. RE: PeterCC Jul 1, 2012 12:34 AM

      Most of us can search online. I'll comment on macarons I've actually tried.

      My favorite macarons so far has been 'lette in Pasadena, Europane in Pasadena, and my best pick these days are the macarons from Frances Bakery in Little Tokyo.

      Surprisingly to me, Amandine's are just passable. Maison Giraud's are decent, but nothing to write home about.

      1. re: J.L.
        PeterCC RE: J.L. Jul 1, 2012 12:41 AM

        > Most of us can search online. I'll comment on macarons I've actually tried.

        I know, and I try not to just be a human search engine in my responses, but since I'm not even sure my macaron standards will be up to snuff for someone actually from France, I thought I'd offer a few alternatives that I haven't tried but where the reputation for quality French food had been established by other Chowhounders' experiences. In other words, more meta-analysis than LMGTFY.

        As I said, I have had the macarons at Le Pain Du Jour, which I've enjoyed (FWIW), and I have had other excellent French pastries at Amandine. It's disappointing that the latter's macarons are just passable.

        1. re: PeterCC
          J.L. RE: PeterCC Jul 1, 2012 01:41 AM

          "... I'm not even sure my macaron standards will be up to snuff for someone actually from France... "

          It doesn't have to be up to snuff for someone from France. It just has to be good enough for your taste buds to recommend it to another Chowhound. But to do that, you have to try the macaron first. That's all I meant. Sorry if it sounded harsh. So thanks for your Le Pain du Jour rec - I just might go and try that myself one of these days...

          1. re: J.L.
            PeterCC RE: J.L. Jul 1, 2012 01:54 AM

            No worries. Just wanted to clarify my position. I too prefer the personal experiences, opinions, and recommendations from my fellow Chowhounders, and do personally find comments that simply regurgitate search results, be they from Google, Yelp, or CH itself, to be generally un-useful. I guess I was just insecure about my sole rec and wanted to include a few more places I know to be Chow-worthy for other French baked goods.

            1. re: PeterCC
              J.L. RE: PeterCC Jul 1, 2012 02:26 AM

              Yeah, some do tend to do that...

        2. re: J.L.
          Peripatetic RE: J.L. Jul 1, 2012 09:42 AM

          'lette started at Paulette* in BH and has expanded:

          http://www.lettemacarons.com/about.html

          Their macarons are not quite as good as Ladurée or Maison du Chocolate in Paris, or (my favorite) Yauatcha in London, but they are decent and widely available in the LA area now, even (last I checked) at Monsieur Marcel.

          * = presumably some obscure, parasitic legal firm sent a cease-and-desist letter, and Paulette just didn't want to fight it. It's the American way. :(

          1. re: Peripatetic
            ipsedixit RE: Peripatetic Jul 1, 2012 10:05 PM

            Y'know what's weird about 'Lette?

            A box of two macarons (4.00) costs more than one macaron (1.70)

            And a box of six macrons (10.50) costs more than if you bought six individual ones (at 1.70/each)

            Better really enjoy those boxes ...

            1. re: ipsedixit
              Peripatetic RE: ipsedixit Jul 1, 2012 10:16 PM

              Bizarre. Perhaps some lessons in basic numeracy are in order?

              I should mention that the last time I had Paulette macarons was probably three years ago, when they had just the BH store, so my take on them might be out-of-date. I wasn't blown away by them at the time, but I haven't found anything better in LA aside from Boule, which is long gone.

              As an aside, I looked up Yauatcha in London, and it seems they stopped making macarons around 2010, and have gone way downhill in other respects.. I haven't been there in over six years, so if you happen to be in London, don't make a bee-line for them on my recommendation. But, in their heyday, they were amazing.

              1. re: ipsedixit
                JAB RE: ipsedixit Jul 2, 2012 02:00 PM

                Perhaps, if ordered individually, you have to hold your hands out. I didn't notice that on my one visit to 'Lette at Fashion Island.

                1. re: ipsedixit
                  j
                  JudiAU RE: ipsedixit Jul 2, 2012 03:34 PM

                  I think they following the French model where they charge for (fancy) packaging. That being said, they've refused the sale of anything less than a box to me on multiple occasions on the past. Which annoyed me enough that I never go there.

                  I had quite good pistachio ones at Little Next Door the other day. They were a little "wet" tasting but the pistachio flavor was outstanding.

                  1. re: JudiAU
                    A5 KOBE RE: JudiAU Jul 12, 2012 08:35 PM

                    If you buy one, they give you a small, chinese takeout-like box.

              2. re: J.L.
                JAB RE: J.L. Jul 1, 2012 09:32 PM

                I've enjoyed Frances more so than Lette myself.

                1. re: JAB
                  MonsieurKnowItAll RE: JAB Jul 1, 2012 10:49 PM

                  Yeah, not too many people know about Frances in Little Tokyo. My sweetie gave me a bite of the lavender…amazing. I like to cool them in the fridge before eating. I heard the French look down on that.

                2. re: J.L.
                  ipsedixit RE: J.L. Jul 1, 2012 09:57 PM

                  +1 on the Euro Pane rec.

                  Love the Sea Salt and Caramel.

                  1. re: ipsedixit
                    Peripatetic RE: ipsedixit Jul 1, 2012 10:09 PM

                    I rarely disagree with ipse, but I was disappointed with Euro Pane's macarons. I don't think 'lette's are all that much better, though. The best I've had in LA were at Boule Atelier on La Cienega, but sadly they closed a long time ago -- around 2008 if I remember correctly.

                    1. re: Peripatetic
                      choctastic RE: Peripatetic Jul 13, 2012 11:04 AM

                      The best I ever had in the States was at Boule when they first opened, but they went drastically downhill after a couple of years, sometime around the remodel. I remember looking at a macaron I had just bought that featured a wildly bubbled top and mismatched bottom and thinking it was time to move on.

                      1. re: choctastic
                        j
                        JudiAU RE: choctastic Jul 15, 2012 10:24 AM

                        Yeah. They were really lovely during the period that they were really lovely. Sigh, really imperfect place.

                  2. re: J.L.
                    o
                    omieurhomie RE: J.L. Jul 2, 2012 10:39 AM

                    Second J.L. recs. 'lette is my #1 (Little Tokyo branch). #2 would be Frances Bakery. Both store's macarons aren't too sweet and pack a lot of flavor.

                    Favorite flavors
                    'lette - earl grey
                    Frances - green tea

                    guess I love my teas...

                  3. re: PeterCC
                    SilverlakeGirl RE: PeterCC Jul 12, 2012 03:48 PM

                    I used to buy from Paulette in Beverly Hills ... but, after sampling Bottega Louie's, I have switched.

                    I always get half vanilla and half salted caramel.

                    BTW, also they go nicely with Stumptown Coffee Cold Brew in their refrigerated case. I have not found it anywhere else.

                    1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                      TonyC RE: SilverlakeGirl Jul 12, 2012 04:55 PM

                      Stumptown Cold Brew also available at Sycamore Kitchen.

                      1. re: TonyC
                        SilverlakeGirl RE: TonyC Jul 12, 2012 06:52 PM

                        Thank you.

                        I added it to my list yesterday.

                  4. lapizzamaven RE: adrouault Jul 1, 2012 08:47 AM

                    Cafe Luxxe in Brentwood has macarons that i think are excellent...much better than ive tried elsewhere..I was leaving Whole Foods the other day and saw they had them...I tried one...baaaad and that does not mean good!

                    1. k
                      kssdrose RE: adrouault Jul 1, 2012 11:47 PM

                      I've tried Bottega Louie in Downtown..absolutely amazing!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kssdrose
                        u
                        unagithefish RE: kssdrose Jul 12, 2012 02:44 PM

                        +1 on this rec for Bottega Louie!!! Go for dinner... stay for the macarons ;)

                        www.eatTALK.net

                      2. echoparkdirt RE: adrouault Jul 2, 2012 09:32 PM

                        It's hard to make a bad macaroon. Is it the most universal dessert among the peoples of the world?

                        I'm a fan of the ones at Canter's mmmmm

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: echoparkdirt
                          b
                          bulavinaka RE: echoparkdirt Jul 3, 2012 01:25 AM

                          Are you referring to macaron - two almond flour-based wafers sandwiching a filling - or macaroon - shredded/flaked coconut base?

                          If it's the latter, the best I've ever had was at Gjelina Take Away. Flaked coconut with a nice brown patina and just a hint of citrus - exceptional. If it's the former, I'd pick Jin Patisserie in Venice, but they have to be relatively fresh, and the flavors tend to be more SE Asian-inspired.

                        2. m
                          mikkel obe RE: adrouault Jul 3, 2012 11:33 AM

                          the best that i've tried in LA are lette in BH and jin patisserie on abbot kinney. the ones at bottega louie are good but not great and definitely #3 on this list.

                          bouchon bakery also makes them, but i haven't had a chance to try them...

                          1. sarahbeths RE: adrouault Jul 9, 2012 03:37 PM

                            Definitely Paulette's bakey in Beverly Hills. It's what got me addicted to them in the first place, and no other ones in LA compare, imho. My french friend got me a box for my birthday and she thought they were just as good as the bakeries in France. When I visited Paris a year ago I traipsed to Laduree and they tasted just like Paulette to me :) My favorite flavor is the pink wedding cake.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: sarahbeths
                              liu RE: sarahbeths Jul 9, 2012 05:06 PM

                              I give my vote to Paulette as well...for both the quality of their product and for their very fine customer service.

                              Recently, I ordered a gift to be sent across the country. Paulette herself took the phone order. She was extremely patient and advised me as needed. The package arrived quickly and in beautiful condition. The rave reviews could be heard thousands of miles away!

                              1. re: sarahbeths
                                choctastic RE: sarahbeths Jul 13, 2012 11:08 AM

                                Ladurees are the standard and I find them to be too sweet. There are others in Paris that are prettier and tastier, but Laduree is the mother ship. Paulette's macarons are probably the nicest looking ones I've seen in LA, but I haven't been looking too recently. If I was still a macaron fiend, I would check out Bottega Louie just to see...

                              2. f
                                fdb RE: adrouault Jul 12, 2012 04:16 PM

                                My friend just brought me a box of Laduree's from NYC. Heavenly! I've gone through the phase of trying every macaron that I can get my hands on in LA (as with cupcakes prior to that). Nothing that I have tried in LA compares to Laduree. Definitely not Paulette! Really don't like the excessive food coloring on their macarons. Texture does seem right to me, either. Only places that I would get my macarons are Tavern (from their larder) and La Provence Patisserie--both in Brentwood.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: fdb
                                  m
                                  maudies5 RE: fdb Jul 12, 2012 05:30 PM

                                  The Larder at Tavern Brentwood is my go-to place for macarons. I prefer them to the ones at La Provence. In Beverly Hills, the Bouchon Bakery also makes some lovely ones.

                                  1. re: fdb
                                    J.L. RE: fdb Jul 12, 2012 06:49 PM

                                    L'Aduree is Paris is the standard by which I measure macarons. But alas, we're on the L.A. board.

                                    1. re: J.L.
                                      d
                                      delleelise RE: J.L. Jul 13, 2012 08:41 PM

                                      Maybe it's because I've just come back from France, but I don't care for Bottega's.... I find them to be pungent and artificial-tasting.

                                      I second L'Aduree. I'm sticking to macarOONS while in California. :P

                                  2. e
                                    EricDC RE: adrouault Jul 14, 2012 01:20 PM

                                    Bottega Louie has good ones.

                                    BAY CITIES ITALIAN DELI sells 'em 6 for $5! Way to go, west side!

                                    1. c
                                      cls RE: adrouault Sep 12, 2012 01:33 PM

                                      Proof Bakery in Atwater when they have them.

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