Friday, March 02, 2007

The Mighty Cream Puff -- Beard Papa


Beard Papa
Hollywood & Highland Shopping Center
6801 Hollywood Blvd.No.1.5.-153
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 462-6100

Again, I'm not really a dessert guy. But the overwhelming response to my post about Mashti Malone's tells me that I should really let you know about Beard Papa.

The shopping center at Hollywood and Highland is surely one of the most curious destinations in Los Angeles. Aside from the rat's-maze escalator system (after six years of going there a couple times a week I STILL go the wrong way at every counterintuitive turn) and the utterly-without-irony giant white elephants that loom over the not-quite-failed enterprise, there are some truly odd food outlets. There's the taqueria that isn't quite a La Salsa or a Rubio's; the pizza place that isn't a Sbarro (althought their NY style pizza is not bad); and the bizarre, well-hidden mini-food court with just three establishments serving steak and potatoes, Mongolian BBQ and falafels.

All this is sure to confuse the tourists, but nothing leads to quite so much scratching of Midwestern heads as Beard Papa. Located in the middle of the staircase leading to the main courtyard off of Hollywood Blvd., a few steps away from the Red Line Station entrance, I stood and watched for several minutes as tourists waddled up to the menu, saw "cream puffs," glanced cockeyed at the Santa Claus-like Beard Papa logo and walked away as if their logic circuits were fried.

Locals know better. The cream puffs being squeezed out behind counter of the small, spartan shop are transcendent. You watch as the puffmaker squeezes a dollop of freshly-made filling into your freshly-baked puff. There are three varieties of puff on most days: one filled with simple, buttery vanilla cream, with just a hint of citrus; a chocolate-covered "eclair;" and a special puff-of-the-day that might filled with be caramel cream today, strawberry tomorrow, pumpkin in the fall. The pastry dough is unbelievably light and airy, the filling decadent and sweet without being cloying or overly rich. These babies make you ralize why the phrase "light as a cream puff" need not be an oxymoron. Add a generous dusting of powdered sugar (handle with extreme caution if you're wearing black!) and you've got the best reason I can think of to hop on the Red Line -- next to saving the planet, that is.

12 comments:

  1. Yep - Beard Papa's cream puffs are good (but not great, in my opinion) -- it seemed to have picked up some momentum in L.A. but never quite got the speed of cupcakes or... *shudder* PinkBerry & its yogurty comrades

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  2. Cream puffs are a guilty pleasure for me as well. I'll have to check these out.

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  4. Gotta love those Cream Puffs! There's another Beard Papa, convenient for Westsiders on Sawtelle, just north of Olympic in the mini-mall on the east side of the Street!

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  5. I just posted recently about Beard Papa, too! They're so fun. Love your photo.

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  6. You have described the odd Hollywood & Highland so well! It sure is an hodgepodge place! I'll have to try Beard Papa.

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  7. Oh, and did you see that Cantaloop opened up? When I first moved here 4 years ago Mashtis was the only icecream shop on the block. Now Disney has one, the Egyptian theater has one and Cantaloop too. That's more ice cream than I can handle! It's hard to try new things when Mashti's is sooo good!

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  8. Aloha595:47 PM

    Beard Papa had a huge following here in Hawaii when they arrived yearly for a week at Shirokiya, our local Japanese Department Store. They finally opened up 2 or 3 outlets a few years ago and they continue to be overwhelmingly popular "bring a box" treats. Next to malasadas or "coco puffs" that is! (Cocopuffs are also cream puffs, filled with cholocalte cream and topped with a dollop of some sort of coconut dense cream...mmmm)

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  9. Anonymous6:42 PM

    Beard Papa's cream puffs are the best. My all time favorite is the original vanilla. They have more than ten locations in Los Angeles. I hope they will have one in Pasadena soon.

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  10. That is great! Look at it my side: http://desszert.com/en

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  11. Anonymous6:41 PM

    I walked by today in Pasadena and saw a banner showing the Beard Papa is coming to Lake Street in Pasadena. That is great news!!! Now I can have the great tasting cream puffs in my office.

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  12. I too like cream puffs of Beard Papa. I make it a point to come every time I'm in the neighborhood. Strawberry could be the close second.

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