Sunday, August 22, 2010

Los Angeles - Return to Bottega Louie

Hope everybody had a great weekend.  Mine was a bit of a mixed bag, most notable among its events being what seems like a pretty definite demise of my trusty camera.  Remember that Marie Antoinette post?  All those horizontal lines were apparently the camera, and not an effect of photographing video.  And every other picture I've taken since then looks like it was taken in the midst of a white-lightning storm.  So now you know.  (Sad face, I was getting quite attached to that camera!)  Meanwhile I think I still have some Bottega Louie pictures from the Jury Duty era.  I did promise to return there (didn't I?) and ever faithful.......

OK their croissants are excellent, and so accordingly, are their pains au chocolat.  Could be the best in L.A.  That's saying alot considering we have one or two P.Q.'s here, a Bouchon, and a Kayser Bread Bar.

I did not sample the beignets.  But one ALWAYS has to have something to go BACK for.  Isn't it so?

The Bottega Louie grapefruit jellies are a great success.  Somewhere between a classic pate de fruits and the old reliable fruit gummy.  Much tenderer and tangier than the jelly bean favored by past U.S. Presidents.  (If you can name that jelly bean loving President, I'll send you a packet - of grapefruit jellies.)

Finally the pieces de resistance - the macarons!   Aren't they pretty?  I did not sample the green ones, but a few others

managed to make it home with me.  Reminding me why I might not ACTUALLY have lost so much weight further to several sweltering days traipsing around Paris, camera in hand.  Because jury duty came immediately after.  (3 weeks of sitting all day!  And Bottega Louie.)  

Well with all the votes in, that livid blue one with the scattering of gold flecks on it was the clear winner, hands down.  (Who woulda thunk it?)

I've mentioned before that alot of American chefs have yet to figure out that great cuisine is about figuring out how to make something taste MORE.  And they frequently mistake "more" for very aggressive flavoring in one or two dimensions only.  Although these macaroons had a nice pouf-ey crown, and kept their tenderness very satisfactorily in plastic in the frig over a couple days, the fundamental flavorings did not entirely serve them well.  The coffee flavor (yellow, above) tasted only of the sharp edges of a brazilian robusta and none of the round smoky or chocolatey/vanillaey dense flavors that an arabica might have lent them.  The flavor was thin, and verging on sawdust-ey and if you hadn't known it, you might NOT have guessed: coffee.  The pink ones:  rose flavor.  The meringue was not so bad, but the white filling, cloyingly sickly sweet.  Wrong again!  WAY sweet!  The orange one was meant to be a tangerine or satsuma but you know what,  how many OTHER orange flavored macarons have YOU seen or tasted?!!!!  Could there be a reason for that?  In this case, VERY WRONG!!!!!!  (So.  Very.)  It tasted like artificially flavored orange soft drink or childrens' aspirin.   In fact, after one bite and a few days languishing in the frig, it went into the trash.  The flavoring was so overwhelming that it came out in a great big overpowering nose wrinkling whiff as soon as the box was opened.

So back to the winner, the blue macaron, Earl Grey flavored, in fact, with a nice dark chocolate filling.  Don't let the blue put you off....THIS IS THE ONE (you should put your dollars down for!)!!!!  If the chef is reading this, subtle flavoring is the way to go if you're thinking of making more macarons man! 

Isn't that really their charm when you think about it?  Something that is so light on the tongue with mysterious haunting flavors?  It should taste like eating a dream, with the precise flavor just slightly beyond reach, like a memory of childhood which is so utterly specific but unattainable and ineffable all in the same sensation.   It should really NOT be a smack in the mouth with something cross-eyed-provoking that makes you jump off your chair.  You would spill your hot drink down you!

Chefs: if you have any doubts, just ask Pierre Herme!

So I have said my piece.  (Do you care?  In case you don't, thanks for bearing with me!)  It doesn't mean I will NOT be going back to Bottega Louie.  I will, I will.  But I might skip the orange macarons and the Jury Duty part. Now.......... back to my online shopping for a new camera!  Wish me luck! I need it!


  1. La camera est morte: Vive la camera! You're gong to get yourself the camera of your dreams and the old one will never be missed.

    Blue macaron it is. Thank you for being the guinnea pig.

  2. i mean 'you're going'. Not 'you're gong' which sounds like an insult in chinese :)

  3. Sadly my total macaron experience is similar to your blogpost here! They're so appealing when they're lined up in a well-lit glass case, but I find I'm disappointed every time. Macarons seemed to be everywhere in the bay area at the start of the summer, but we've yet to find one that tastes as good as it looks. :(

    (great photos here, btw!)

  4. oh this place is definitely fantastic!
    so sorry to hear about the camera, I hope you find one that suits you soon! Your photos are so beautiful anyway no matter what camera you may use.

  5. OK! Those are some encouraging words! Thanks for being so sweet all! I'll take them! (But you know, with all that gleaminess and white marble and windows it's hard to take bad pictures of Bottega Louie!)

    Jen - so sorry to hear your macaron life so far has been underwhelming. That's very sad for all involved. Have to say I'm surprised to hear that about SF. Well. Now you have a good excuse to go to Paris if you haven't been lately!

  6. Ronald Reagan!!!!!!!! Good luck with camera, I can relate, have been following, just not commenting.