Thursday, November 27, 2008

Los Angeles: Patisserie Chantilly

Ah Choux! - a selection of cream puffs for your gustatory pleasures.

After feasting for Thanksgiving, we're back on the streets again today to eat more. This time, Polly has taken us to a little Japanese pastry place called Patisserie Chantilly.

Over the years, I've come to love French Pastries. But, truth be told, there's always a sweet spot in my heart for Japanese-style French Pastries. Typically, they're good. Quite delicious. And while the French know how to indulge in the finer things in life, leave it to the Japanese to refine it slightly, add their own twist and present it in beautiful packaging.

While a simple sheet of wax paper might me enough for the Frenchman, the Japanese will have it giftwrapped - and that's just for lunch.

Parisian style Macarons a la Pierre Herme.

Patisserie Chantilly is a small, boutique kind of bakery. It's located in a strip shopping center in Lomita, a somewhat sleepy-looking part of Southern California. From the outside, it looks rather plain and innocuous. Inside, however, and you see what most people miss.

The decor is simple yet modern. Clean lines, bright finish and a cheery Japanese staff that makes you think that perhaps you've landed in Kanazawa instead of Lomita.

Caramel Macchiato - not Starbucks.

Hiding in the lighted bakery case is the reason we've trekked this far: Black Sesame Cream Puffs. A little baked Pate Choux, sliced and filled with creamy, buttery black sesame goodness. My Goodness, it looks quite nice!

Some of you might have heard of that imported Japanese phenomena called Beard Papa (not "Bearded Papa"), let me tell you now that these two are not one and the same, nor are they remotely similar - other than the fact they're both "cream puffs."

No, no, these are light, airy... "puffy." The black sesame cream is rich, buttery and well, kinda odd. I'm not used to the black sesame thing, but I can certainly see it going places. For me, it's relatively new and I'm liking it. Liking it enough that I'm tempted to order more en masse.

Mont Blanc a la Angelina.

The rest of Chantilly's offerings are just as good. There's Parisian Style Macarons, like you'd find at Pierre Herme except without the shiny satin finish Herme has mastered (along with the bazillion flavors they offer). I also spied the Mont Blanc - a pastry that I've only seen in one place (and the same place that made it famous): Angelina on the Rue de Rivoli in Paris. I should have tried one here but didn't. Mainly because I didn't find the Mont Blanc at Angelina to be that earth-shattering.

There's also a selection of other fine pastries and baked goods, along with a selection of wrapped cookies and other delights.

Our cream puffs are offered for Final Inspection before being packaged.

Patisserie Chantilly offers some truly delicious stuff but it caters mainly to its' local, Japanese clientele. The staff all speak Japanese and most of the patrons were Japanese. If this were a white owned bakery in a hip part of L.A. it would be as famous as places like Magnolia or La Brea. But these guys crank it out for their loyal following, and the "in the know" gaijin who, reportedly, drive all across SoCal just to have their cream puffs.

Patisserie Chantilly
2383 Lomita Boulevard, Suite 10
Lomita, CA 90717

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