Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Macaron Crawl: Battle 1 (Au De Paris vs. Pacific Bakery)

Last week the OCWeekly did a write up on Macarons in Little Saigon. They made mentioned of names of such heavy weights as Laduree. Laduree is like the Piccaso or Van Gogh of the Macaron world. I'm still surprised by the fact that you can get Macarons in Little Saigon. It's obvious that I'm just simply missing the big picture of that article...lol. I'm a huge Macaron fan. Did you know? or care? No? Whatever!

Ever since I had my first bite a couple of years ago, I knew there was just something special about these little gems. In case you didn't know, Macarons are little pastel colored French cookies. They are shaped like little hamburgers with two delicate shells sandwiching a creme type filling. These are not the same as the coconut mound shaped cookies. They are just worlds apart.

Naturally, after reading the OCWeekly write-up, I did what any normal Macaron loving person would do and devised a Macaron crawl for a party of one but then Sister K got wind of this crawl and wanted in. I was happy she came with me because she has actually had Macarons from Laduree's so I was excited to see what she had to say about the ones from Little Saigon. So the very next day, which happened to be a Saturday, Sister K and I headed straight to Little Saigon to seek out these little gems. Our first stop was Au De Paris Pastisserie and Boulangerie. This was the place the OCWeekly had written about so we thought it was appropriate to come here first. It was actually really hard to find this place. I drove right past it and didn't see it until I circled back. It is located amongst a multi-level white/beige nondescript type strip mall. The sign was really tiny as well.

As soon as we walked in, we saw them. Au De Paris only had 5 flavors available when we went.

One of the things I love most about Macarons are their pretty pastel colors. I mean really, what girl in her right mind wouldn't like this?

Coming in at $1.25 a piece, these were a deal! I got three of each of the hazelnut, pistachio and vanilla. Plus Sister K got a pistachio creme brule for later. :o)

This is the what the inside of the store looked like.

Aside from Macarons, they also sold cream puffs, cakes and varies pastries. It was not a very big place.

And as a point of comparison, we headed to Pacific Bakery. Why there? Well because after a quick search on Yelp, this was the place that many people commented had really good Macarons. This bakery in located in the same strip mall as the very busy and crowded Boiling Crab. If you know where I am talking about, you will also know that parking is a pain in the rear. If you can, avoid coming here around prime meal hours as it will take you a while to find a parking spot.

As you can see, not only do they have Macarons but they also serve ice cream, shaved ice, tea, crepes and cupcakes. What more could one ask for?

Check out the inside of this place. I love the Victoria Secret's theme wall paper...lol! This was such a hole-in-the wall. There wasn't even anyone at the register. She was in the back cooking. She finally came out when another guy came in to buy a soda. She was sweet, I forgive her for not minding the store front. :o)

I have a "thing" with taking photos next to very large food displays.

 We saw the writing on the wall...LOL!

And there they were. These cost $1.50 each here if you buy 7 or more. So they are $0.25 more than at Au De Paris but I noticed right away that they looked a lot prettier. Plus they offered more flavor. I think I remember 12 in all.

I picked out 2 hazelnut, 2 pistachios, 2 caramel and 1 coffee. The cookie shell was shiny and smooth looking and these looked so much more appetizing than the ones from Au De Paris. This is just based on my first impression.

Here, I did a side by side comparison of the pistachio flavor. The one on the LEFT is from Au De Paris and the one on the RIGHT is from Pacific Bakery. Even the coloring is a little different. I took a bite of both and they were both good in the fact that they were not too sweet. These things normally hurt my teeth at other places because they are over the top sweet. These were perfectly sweet. I then noticed that the one from Au De Paris had a more delicate shell while the one from Pacific Bakery was more chewy. However, after carefully sampling the two, Sister K commented that neither was anything like the ones from Laduree. She did say that the caramel filling of the ones from Pacific Bakery reminded her a little of the ones from Laduree.

Overall, not having ever had Laduree's Macarons, I say the winner here are the ones from Pacific Bakery. I just liked them more. So far, they are the best ones I've ever had. I really don't care about hype or snobbery, I just go with what tastes good to me. And Pacific Bakery has something amazing.

Up next, Battle 2...who will dethrone Pacific Bakery and take over the hold on my dessert loving heart? Stay tuned!

Au De Paris Patisserie and Boulangerie
9441 Edinger St., 
Westminster, CA
(714) 775-8465

Pacific Bakery
13908 Brookhurst St
Garden Grove, CA 92843
(714) 636-9866

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