Talk about being bombarded with sweet yum-yums all at once! Soon after Diner AA walks in with her onolicious Peanut Butter & Cookie Butter Stuffed Mochi, Diner JM’s husband arrives at our office with a special delivery of these here L’Artisan Gourmet Parisian Macarons, flown in fresh that morning direct from San Francisco. Not just flown in fresh, but HAND-CARRIED on the plane by the chef himself!
And that chef would be Chef Alexandre Trouan, who began his apprenticeship at Master Chef Michel Belin’s Pastry Shop in Albi, France. Chef Trouan now operates a private bakery (phone orders welcome) in the San Francisco Bay area, catering his gourmet macarons for hotels, airlines and upscale gourmet retailers, including Whole Foods San Francisco. He also serves them at local celebrity events, including having provided his French delights for Natalie Portman’s wedding.
Let’s have a look at what we have here…
Purchased locally in the Bay Area, they run about $2 each, give or take, depending which set you buy. Which isn’t bad actually, when you factor in the beautiful gift box they’re all packaged in (not shown here). Of course if you purchase them online on their website, shipping is going to be substantial, being they’re fragile and perishable, requiring special packaging and handling.
Being Chef Alexandre is friends with Diner JM’s husband, having arrived on Oahu for a business meeting this past week, he brought his Macarons as a gift for them to share with family and friends. And man, did he bring a LOT!
What’s funny is, everyone kept telling me to hurry with the photo taking, where as you see here, they didn’t give a second longer to go for some macro shots, already having swiped a few. Gunfunnit!
Well they certainly LOOK gorgeously delicious! Let’s try the Raspberry, which is his best seller…
And? WOW! This baby’s PACKED with flavor! Incredibly rich, as most French pastries are. The filling is super creamy ‘n buttery, delicate ‘n airy, like mousse, while the shell is also delicate, yet sort of crumbly. And boy, does this scream RASPBERRY. Imagine what the other ones taste like!
Size-wise, these are on the dainty side, being about 2″ in diameter x 1.25″ in thickness, which is nice, as they’re easy to clasp as you bite through it, so it doesn’t squish apart. Unless you nibble like a bird, 2 or 3 bites, and its gone. And then you want another one, and another one.
I also tried the Pistachio, and it too had the same virtues as the Raspberry, albeit, screaming Pistachio nut flavor. C’est ci bon x 10! While I wanted to try all the other flavors, my palate was already overloaded on sweets, notably when combined from the earlier sampling of Diner AA’s Stuffed Mochi. Yet everyone was raving about the particular Macarons they tried.
If given the opportunity again, I’m especially interested in trying the Mango, Almond and Coconut Macarons. Perhaps I’ll write Chef Alexandre to send me a sampler gift box variety pack to taste in return for another blog feature here. Tee-hee!
Speaking of sampling, Oahu does have our own source for excellent Macarons over at La Tour Cafe on Nimitz Highway, next to Tanaka Saimin. La Tour also makes FANTASTIC Beignets, which are essentially a French version of a Malasada, of course in the French fashion, being more refined, and not as rustic.
Chef Alex is working on Hawaii-themed Macarons, including a 100% Kona Coffee Macaron. Other suggestions I have are of course the other obvious, being Pineapple, as well as perhaps a unique one called the “Hawaiian Hurricane” Macaron. What that would be is a Macaron based on the Hurricane Popcorn concept, having a combination of popcorn, butter, furikake and mochi crunch. Hey, if Jelly Belly can pull off Buttered Popcorn, which happens to be one of my favorite of their flavors, I so bet a “Hawaiian Hurricane” Macaron would work! Or how about a “Rainbow Shave Ice” Macaron? The premise being it would not only have the distinguishable 3-colored flavor combination, but also there would be some sort of frozen element. Not sure what, but surely the Chef could figure it out. Most definitely gotta’ do a Guava Lilikoi Cheesecake Macaron. Hawaiian Papaya Macaron as well. No brainers!
Summing it up, C’EST CI BON for L’ Artisan Macarons by Chef Alexandre Trouan. Huge mahalo to the Chef, Diner JM and TM for sharing them with us! Délicieux!
What? L’ Artisan Gourmet Parisian Macarons by Chef Alexandre Trouan
Where? San Francisco Bay Area (private bakery, call (415) 725-0337), and online at www.LArtisanMacaron.com
Big Shaka (pros): C’EST CI BON Délicieux! Genuine French recipe by a genuine French Chef. Fresh, top quality ingredients and cage-free eggs. Packed with flavor! Texture is incredible! Aloha spirit.
No Shaka (cons): n/a
The Tasty Island Rating: 5 out of 5 Macarons (custom rating for this post!)
P.S. Adding to the Pfunny Pfood Signs post, we have here Restaurant Wada…
Yeah, this is somewhat juvenile humor, however, I can’t resist saying that next door, coming soon will be Restaurant Fiya!
Which since I’ve placed my baby in the picture, let me take a moment to explain my experience owning and driving the AMAZING Toyota FJ Cruiser. Dude. DUDE. I’ve driven a Ferari 308GTS (same car Magnum PI drove). I’ve driven a 1968 Mustang with a massive V8 in it. I’ve driven a totally souped-up 1967 VW Bug with an insane dual carb engine in back. I’ve driven Volvos, BMWs and Mercedes (all owned by friends). None of those vehicles can TOUCH the FJ! When I first seen it, before owning it, I always thought it looked like a hokey Tonka Toy kinda’ design. But once I test-drove it on the lot, I immediately fell in love with Ms. FJ. In fact, she just may have single-handedly been able to get my heart back and given to her. I LOVE HER.
The FJ Cruiser drives like a combination of a formula-1 car and Big Foot. This model isn’t the 4WD version, as I INSISTED I didn’t want 4WD, however in hindsight, if I trade her in (NOT!), I’ll opt for the 4WD model next time. Still, even with 2WD (rear-wheel drive!), the traction on this baby is NUTS. Sure, she peels out the back tires if you gun off the light, but other than that, it’s like glue on the road. Around corners she’s tight, while over bumbs she’s rough, but still tight. Steering is super responsive, while braking is IMMEDIATE. She’ll stop on a dime. The relatively “square” short wheelbase (distance from front to back wheels) and wide track (distance between left and right wheels), along with Toyota’s “built-like-a-tank” suspension parts is key to the FJ’s sure-footedness. In fact, the FJ beat the Hummer off-road in several comparos.
And I love the utilitarian interior, with big knobs, rubber flooring and waterproof seat material. In it, you feel like you could start a food fight, and the next day, be driving your corporate boss to a meeting without even knowing any shinanigans went on. The stereo system was upgraded to a bluetooth model, since this is an older 2008 model (purchased with only 11k miles on it), which is great for connecting my Note 2 (soon to get the Note 3!) wirelessly. Most vehicles newer than 2011 typically have bluetooth as standard. Still, the speakers PUMP!
One of my complaints is the paint. I LOVE Toyota’s loud “Voodoo Blue” color, however, their factory paint seems to chip too easily. Which is baffling, as this car is built entirely in Japan, so you’d think the quality would be excellent in all facets, but nope. Seems they skimped on the chemistry in the paint resins.
My biggest complaint however is GAS MILEAGE. OMG, does this car SUCK! As in GAS! And not just 87 octane, but it requires premium 91 octane fuel, so even more expensive! Its rather large Toyota Tacoma-based V6 engine gets it just 18 mpg average. Ouch! This compared to my last car, which was a Buick (believe it or not) that got nearly 30 mpg. Thankfully I live and work right in town, so not too bad, but still. If were to drive from Waikiki to Ewa Beach (because you know, I’d love to do that), it would cost around $20 round trip in fuel. So filling the tank up at today’s fuel prices costs around $80-90 (depending how low the tank). Ack!
On the plus side of that, that massive Toyota V6 COOKS! Talk about b@lls! I have no problem passing cars on the freeway, and getting up to speed at on-ramps. As said earlier, being this is a rear-wheel driven 2WD model, the only caveat to its power is it tends to burn-out off the light. Fun, but sometimes a little frustrating. But fun!
Overall, I would rebuy the FJ Cruiser again and again and again. I LOVE YOU, MY BABY BLUE FJ BABY!