I don't consider myself a cream puff man. Everytime i think of cream puffs i think of my mom bringing home a giant white carton of cream puffs from Costco that are labeled CREAM PUFF.
Since no one in their right mind can finish a carton of cream puffs my mom stashes them in the freezer until the glacier caps melt.
I know, that just sounds beyond appetizing eh?
Since that's my principal experience with cream puffs (and nasty whipped cream puffs from chinese/japanese bakeries) i don't hold them in very high regard.
So when my girlfriend tells me that there is an AMAZING cream puff eatery that i MUST try, we decided to drop by on the way from LA to Diamond Bar. The location? Beard Papa.
Beard Papa's is actually a chain store that started in Japan and branched out into America. Los Angeles is particularly lucky since it has i believe 4 out of the 14 or so branches located in America grouped within a 15 mile radius of one another (oh those asians can't get enough of it). According to my encyclopedia of a brain (wikipedia.org), when the Singapore's store opened there were giant giant lines waiting outside. The hope for this company is that it becomes the next Krispy Kreme, i'm not quite sure its ready to be there yet since the White Community of the USA embrace donuts significantly more than creme puffs.
Enough of the back history! And back to my story at hand.
Reluctantly i took my girlfriend to the Puente Hills branch of Beard Papa due to my hateful history with creme puffs (i probably mentioned i dont like creme puffs to her about 8 times that day) But we ordered half a dozen to take home since they are supposed to be amazing!(8.50, 1.50 for 1, 17$ for 12).
They process is like a small assembly line. They don't fill the puff with creme until you order it, it gives the creme a nice gooey taste and keeps it rather fresh. Supposedly they make new puffs every couple of hours.
After they fill them up they sprinkle a snowfall of powdered sugar (or as i'd like to call it, fake crack rocks) and set them in little individual wrappers and put them into a box. Think of it as an assembly line....
A very pointless assembly line, since they go from one box that they use to powder to another box they use to hold...
And finally into the cute little beard Papa containers.
These puppies are not your average one bite creme puff. These take quite a few bites to finish as you can see by the sheer monstrosity of it all, who says all Japanese things have to come in small packages (ohhhhhh snaps. J/k).
The creme puff is actually surprisingly good, so good while dropping my girlfriend home in Monterey Park i went to the Beard Papa's and bought out the rest of their creme puffs (um... okay there were only 6 left in the store , so sue me (i dare you in 3 years) ).
The puff itself is a lil better than your standard flakey crust, it has a soft bite too it, not so soft that its mushy but not so crispy that it gets messy. THink of it as a perfectly baked mini croissant. I personally wish they were a little fresher but its still rather satisfactory.
The real star of the show is the creme inside. They use real vanilla to make the creme and its very thick and creamy (not that crappy whipped kind you usually find), its almost like a custard. I could not get enough of this stuff. I'm a huge vanilla bean fan an it has a very strong vanilla bean flavor that makes me droll like Homer Simpson.
Supposedly you can refrigerate the puffs for up to 24 hours, we stuck ours in the fridge for about 3 hours and they actually tasted better with the chilled creme filling inside.
I highly suggest these, you won't regret it!
Puente Hills Mall
1600 Azusa Avenue #160
City Of Industry, CA 91748
Monterey Park Store
141 N. Atlantic Blvd., #106
Monterey Park, CA 91754