macaron hunting at ‘lette and bon epi / orange county, ca
After our breakfast at Tip Top Meats, we headed up to Dana Point… to go whale watching! But, I decided I wanted to try all about the food first before the whale watching trip. One of the things I wanted to do while we were up in Orange County was to try out some macaron cookies. Now, don’t get these confused with “macaroons” which are those coconut haystack looking things. These are some “fancy French-like” cookies that come in a variety of flavors and a rainbow of colors.
I had a list of like, four places to potentially try but after a long day I decided that two was enough. After checking into our sweet hotel at the Ayres (which, by the way, greets with you free cookies at check-in … hello, my kind of hotel!) we headed over to Newport Beach for dinner. I’m writing about dessert first. Because I can!
We went to Fashion Island in Newport Beach to try out ‘lette macarons. Fashion Island reminded me very much of Fashion Valley, but with way more parking and better access. Lots of fancy name brands, that kind of thing. I wasn’t here for fancy shopping though, only food and cookies!
They have this interesting shelving set up to display the macarons. It was kind like a long wave and the macarons are pointed out at you so you can clearly see the cookie and the filling inside. There’s room to hold a lot of macarons at once and it seemed like an efficient way to display them since the cookies didn’t stack on each other.
This is the outside of their little store front. I hear that ‘lette will be at UTC soon in it’s own little stand, but hasn’t opened yet.
I got a box of six for $11. They come in this simple box. I can’t remember if I had to pay extra for the box, I just knew I wanted one to help protect them.
Here are the macarons inside. I don’t remember which is which, but we got a chocolate, salted caramel, pistachio, earl grey, rose and lemon.
The ‘lette macarons have much less height than the Bon Epi macarons I also tried. The shell was light with a very very light crisp on the outside and a nice, soft chew. They were quite soft and the fillings were nice and proportional to the shell. I really enjoyed the ‘lette ones, the salted caramel and the pistachio my favorites of the bunch (though I didn’t actually get to try them all… sigh).
Over at Bon Epi Cafe, they have a TON of macarons on display in a case. They are all stacked here, the way I see them in most places. They have so many flavors and colors here…
I’m sure there are more than this, I didn’t manage to photograph them all.
They actually have other goods (cakes, breads, coffee, etc) here but we only tried the macarons.
I sprung for a 10 macaron box.
The Bon Epi macarons are so tall that the tenth macaron couldn’t even fit in the box! It was smooshed on top…
Okay, I really don’t remember all of the flavors I got from Bon Epi. I didn’t write it down and I can’t remember just by looking at them! But like I said, these are much taller and fuller looking that ‘lette’s version. I found that some of these macarons were also a lot crunchier. I’d take a bite and the shell would fall apart a little and shatter and fall all over my shirt. This happened with more than one, so maybe that’s just how their macarons come out. The flavors were very good, but I didn’t really like them this crunchy. They were still good but I think of the two, I preferred the ‘lette macarons since they were softer and didn’t crumble as easily as Bon Epi’s.
There’s plenty more macarons to try out there and if you have any suggestions for places to try in Southern California – please let me know! I tried a few at Whole Foods in the past and I think I need to do a post about their version sometime, too.
1131 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Bon Epi Cafe
2750 Alton Pkwy, Ste 101
Irvine, CA 92606