Saturday, August 12, 2006

In "Little Japan" - Sawtelle and Olympic

These amazing creme puffs were only the thing of dreams for me when I first heard about them. I had heard that one had opened at the new Hollywood and Highland center, and the buzz (and creme puffs) were good. I mostly have no business to do around Hollywood, so I never got the chance to go. However, one hot day last month, after the July 4th weekend - a bunch of us went to Nijiya for a lunch break...and low and behold...a Beard Papa had appeared out of the rubble that once was Mousse Fantasy. Better yet, Beard Papa and Mousse Fantasy were sharing the same remodeled space - a perfect dessert combo. The menu is very straightforward - cream puffs! When I had first gone to Beard Papa, they only had their original vanilla custard flavor. However, this time around - they also had chocolate and strawberry, in addition to their original. Their chocolate and strawberry cream puffs cost about 25 cents more...the extra flavoring expenses have to be made up somewhere!
The assembly line started when I ordered a box of 6. (they won't give you a box unless you order more than 4 - I think 3 and under and they give the puffs to you in a little paper bag. And NO they were not all for me...!) All the creme puff shells sit in a bin (relatively fresh, they seem to be baking these constantly). The creme puff technician gets instructions from the creme puff register lady - and away they go - C.P.T grabs a hold of one of the shells, inserts the nozzle of the huge creme canister into the puff, fills, then gently places it into the sugar bin. Creme Puff Sugar Bin technician dusts the creme puff according to what filling it has - white sugar for vanilla, cocoa-ed sugar for chocolate, and a pink sugar for strawberry.Since you don't know flavor is which once they're filled it's thoughtful that they're labelling them for you visually. (by the way, this time around I got 3 chocolate, 2 vanilla and 1 strawberry) So ingenious. All of them get placed in the box and you're on your way...
I took a picture of the "eat by" date last time I went to Beard Papa's. Eat by that date or die...kinda like the expiration date on the milk. Heck, the cream puffs don't even last that long in the house...yes that's because we eat them all instantly.
Gaze upon them...they are a thing of beauty...A close up of one of these beauties...note the crusty edges, perfectly baked, dusted powdered sugar on top - by the way did I mention these cream puffs are about the size of a baseball?
Does the cream puff live up to the hype? The only other cream puffs that I consider to be worth comparing these to are the choux pastry from Angel Maid Bakery (a future review, I promise!) These creme puffs are in a different category - not the choux pastry, so in my opinion, there is no "better"cream puff - they are both good in their own way.

The first careful bite of a Beard Papa cream puff (a careful bite, because you don't want the cream to be ejected out the other end of the cream puff - all over your hands)- is not what you expect at all. The shell has a piecrust type consistency. The inside shell has more of the traditional "puff" that most are used to. The creme is super delicious, a deep cream that is not sweet - but extremely rich. In the vanilla cream, there are flecks of real vanilla bean. The strawberry is definitely from real strawberries - not from a cornsyrupy artificial strawberry syrup. The cream puffs are huge - I'm usually used to the small bite sized ones. I guess if there was anything I had to complain about is the fact that they're a little TOO big - I like them so much that I go for another one and then I feel sick. Yeah it's not their fault - but I'd rather have them cost a little less and be a little smaller. That's the only complaint!

Here's my friend Amber experiencing her first Beard Papa cream the way she loved it.

Give these cream puffs a shot - they're really good but don't hold the same taste standards to them if you love more traditional, sweeter and smaller cream puffs. And thank goodness Beard Papa is closer to my area!

** by the way, thanks to Wonder to pointing out a few spelling mistakes. I have my own QA team!***

1 comment:

Owen Waring said...

Oh Beard Papa... the gut says no, but the tastebuds say yes!