Fancy Nancy had it right: “Everything in French sounds fancy.” Oo-la-la indeed. Confused about these candy-colored cookies? Unlike their kissing-cousin, coconut macaroons, macarons are fluffy almond meringue pillows sandwiched with a dollop of ganache or buttercream, in flavors limited only by the imagination. Talk about good stuff in a small package: crispy outside, chewy inside, the perfect portability and neatness of these creamy confections make them a neat treat for tiny taste buds, especially for tea parties or car trips. Look mommy, no crumbs! (And by nature, they’re gluten-free, too.) While spots have popped up all over town, these are our favorites for days when the kids are with us.
Who knew? Amidst the aroma of freshly-baked loaves, this Brentwood mainstay whips up macarons in fun & funky flavors like tropical guava and subtle lavender. Reason it’s so kid freindly? It’s an easy stop before the kiddos head to nearby Barrington Park for basketball or soccer practice, or throw a few balls with Fido.
11625 Barrington Court
Brentwood, Ca 90049
Open Monday – Friday from 6:00 am – 7:00 pm, closes Saturday at 6:00 pm, Sunday from 7:00 am – 4:00 pm
Smack dab in the heart of Downtown’s shopping district, you’ll find a rainbow assortment of traditional French macarons to suit the whole family. This place has it all: authentic croissants, freshly baked bread, and a killer wine list – contained in a cacophonous café fortunately forgiving of boisterous behavior. For a special treat, share ‘Le Grand Macaron’ filled with vanilla cream, raspberry jam and fruit. (Insider’s note: Grab a European-style sandwich or homemade pizza for takeout and explore nearby; Bottega Louie is a hop, skip, and a jump from the Central Library, or a short stroll to Angel’s Flight and the Grand Central Market.)
700 So. Grand Ave
Los Angeles, Ca 90017
Patisserie service is available every day from 10:30 am until 11:00 pm Monday – Thursday & Sunday, and until midnight Friday & Saturday.
Looking for a reason to visit Thomas Keller’s SoCal patisserie? His famous macarons would be reason enough. Sized for your appetite: mini for your mini ones, Parisian for you (or hungry kids). It gets better: the bakery and namesake bistro border an urban oasis. The beautiful Beverly Canon Gardens adjacent to the Montage hotel are a swell spot to sip a cool chardonnay while the kiddos wander through lush hedges, fueled with a sack of fresh macarons. (Insider’s note: well-behaved wee ones are welcome to use lavatories at the Montage.)
235 No. Canon Dr
Beverly Hills, Ca 90210
Open daily 7:00 am – 9:00 pm, Friday & Saturday until 10:00 pm
The Buttercup LA
Conveniently located at The Olympic Collection, swing by after a sushi dinner on Sawtelle or a visit to a nearby Japanese market. Buttercup specializes in pretty gift packages of assorted varieties, including many classic flavors such as vanilla bean and pistachio; exotic choices vary, from rose petal to taro. The sea salt caramel paired with Earl Grey tea is a great pick-me-up for activity-weary parents on the go. The short-term plaza parking enables quick stops, even during rush hour!
The Buttercup LA
11301 W. Olympic Blvd.
West Los Angeles, Ca 90064
Open daily noon – 10:00 pm
Branching out from their original Bev Hills location off South Beverly Drive, ‘lette (shorted from Paulette) now peddles her passion in 5 locales around town. Fresh mint, lychee and chestnut are a few of the rotating selection, each handmade fresh daily and deliciously displayed right at little guy eye level. Check out the unique local color of each shop: a stop at the Little Tokyo counter balances out a salty noodle supper at neighboring cafes, while the Old Pasadena shop is a stone’s throw from Kidspace. Larchmont Village’s nearby neighborhood gems include a nostalgic general store, terrific toy shop and local independent (!) bookstore with a cozy kiddie corner.
We drool over the eclectic concoctions created by the French national who first opened Napoléon’s at Westfield Topanga, recently doubling his operation with a tiny kiosk at The Americana in Glendale. St Patty’s Day inspired a kid-friendly Bailey’s Irish Cream, while lemon meringue pie and baklava are on regular rotation. Lucky kids will devour a peanut butter and chocolate, a perfect pick-me-up during a shopping spree, especially when combined with a ride on Topanga’s indoor carousel. (Insider’s note: stuck at home new moms or those fed up with traffic can order online for fresh, quick home delivery.)
608 Americana Way (across from the fountain)
Glendale, Ca 91210
Open 10:00 am – 9:00 pm daily (and until 10:00 pm Monday – Saturday)
6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd. (2nd floor, near Macy’s)
Canoga Park, Ca 91303
Open Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sun 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Do you have a favorite flavor? Where’s your perfect place to enjoy macarons?
–Kim Orchen Cooper
Photos courtesy of Kim Orchen Cooper, Meghan Rose, Bottega Louie via Facebook, goodiesfirst via Creative Commons