Sunday, February 22, 2009

Brighten Your Day with a Paulette Macaron

It's been raining in the Bay Area, but everyone's trying to put on a good face about it because we've had a really dry winter so like they say, we need the rain. But with the overcast skies, it can feel kind of gloomy. One way to brighten your day is shopping for macarons.

Paulette's Macarons has been open for a month at the tony Hayes Valley, and it's the latest in Los Angeles companies making their way up north (hel-LO, Sprinkles and Pinkberry). The original Paulette is in Beverly Hills, and everything about it is very, well, Beverly Hills. From the cute shop, fancy packaging, women with French accents and chi chi prices, Paulette's is what you expect from a French macaron shop. And people have been checking out the store, curious to see whether Paulette's macarons are worth the price.

The store is pretty tiny and like I mentioned earlier is staffed by two French-speaking women from Southern California. The store sells only macarons, the French baked treat that looks like mini burgers but are basically really sweet confections.

Paulette makes all their macarons by hand in their Beverly Hills store and then ships them daily to their new San Francisco store. But depending on the reliability of shipping and the day's demands, the stock can be plentiful or kind of like you see in the picture, which is sparse. They have more than a dozen flavors, but the day I visited they only had six flavors available. Each macaron sells for $1.60.

I ended up buying four macarons. The first three you see above: Jasmine Tea, New Orleans Praline and Madagascar Vanilla.

The Jasmine Tea had a super green interior, and the filling had a nice almond flavor but not a very strong tea essence. But there was an aftertaste that reminded me of green tea, but not necessarily Jasmine.

The New Orleans Praline was interesting because of the nutty flavor, so I enjoyed it. The vanilla was clean and again, almond like, but nice and simple. All the macaron has a slight chewy texture, instead of a nice crunch.

I was a bit unimpressed by the macarons. That was until I ate the last one I bought, which was the chocolate macaron. Oh. My. Gawd. It was so good like a mini brownie treat. I love brownies, so I enjoyed this combination of macaron with a thick brownie center. As you can tell in the pictures, the chocolate macarons are a bit bigger than the other ones. The rest of the macarons weren't really big, like the size of a medallion.

Visiting Paulette's Macarons transports you to a little shop in Paris with its eye to details and colorful creations. But this is the kind of treat that isn't something you can get often, and may not really be worth the price. It's definitely found the right neighborhood to debut in, but I'm not sure if it's the right economy.

Paulette, 437 Hayes St. (near Gough), San Francisco. PH: 415.864.2400. Hours: Tue. to Sat., 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sun., noon to 6 p.m. Closed Monday.


Anonymous said...

My favourite Paulette macaron was the chestnut one. But, if you liked the chocolate one so much, you clearly go for big flavour, so I think you'd really like the caramel one as well. I have found that sometimes the macarons at Paulette can be stale. My husband and i prefer the La Boulange and Miette macarons. Someone on YELP has actually done a taste test comparing the common flavours at all three bakeries!

Anonymous said...

that's funny they do look like little hamburgers. I can't imagine a store dedicated to just the macaron...

Anonymous said...

I love macarons, so I'm an easy sell on a place like this, but that chocolate one - YUM. Plus, I'll just admit that since my middle name's Paulette, it seems meant to be. Except that I live in Chicago. Bummer!

Anonymous said...

Ben, here are the prices, it's $1.60 ea, bit cheaper if u buy 12 or 24. They sell coffee, tea too:

Individual $1.6
box of 2 pcs $4
box of 12 pcs - $19
box of 24 pcs - $36

Espresso $2
Double espresso $3.5
Long coffee $3
Macchiato $2.75
Cappucino $3
The (tea) $3

Single Guy Ben said...

Anonymous 1: yeah, I can see how it can get stale since they spend a half a day getting here from SoCal, then who knows how fast they sell out. It does last 3 days in the refrigerator.

Foodhoe, yeah, a whole store. They sell drinks so you can sit and enjoy the macaron if the weather gets nicer!

Shannalee: you know they ship from their Web site!

Anonymous 2: thanks for the complete listing of pricing. I thought I paid $1.50 each, who knows after you hand over a $20.

Passionate Eater said...

If this is a piece of Beverly Hills and Paris, then I need to try those airy macaroons before going to So. Cal. or Europe! I love your dessert discoveries Chef Ben (e.g. froyo, ice cream, pastries, cupcakes, and more).

Single Guy Ben said...

Just a qualification, PE. Although I think you'll feel like you're at a Parisian shoppe at Paulette's, I don't think their macarons are any where near as good as in France. But you probably already know that!

Anonymous said...

OK, Single Guy Chef, how do Paulette's compare to Bouchon Bakery's macarons? I must admit that I adore the ones at the latter, especially the cappuccino ones.

Single Guy Ben said...

Carolyn, I have yet to visit Bouchon Bakery. I can't wake up early enough to drive to Napa and get some goodies before the crowds. But one day I will and I'll definitely leave room for some macarons. I'm guessing it might be better than Paulette's only because it's fresh and local compared to ones flown in. It'll be interesting to compare how many flavors are offered, though.

Anonymous said...

seeing all the other comments i just want to tell you that there is no problem with transporting macarons, laduree does it everyday from paris to Geneva, and they are perfect.